Behaviors That affect pediatric health shift alongside changing mores and broader cultural trends. For example, cigarette smoking among youths fell in recent years as tobacco use became less acceptable, and pediatric obesity has risen in the wake of higher rates of adult obesity. The data below underscore the need for fresh clinical approaches and highlight enduring challenges for pediatricians.
Firearm Injuries and the ER
Almost two-thirds of the approximately 22,000 children and youths treated in ERs in the U.S. each year for gun-related injuries were involved in accidental shootings. An additional 30% were assault victims.
The Sleep Imperative
Less sleep is associated with reduced insulin sensitivity among teens during the academic year, according to a study in The Journal of Pediatrics. The study, of 31 obese or overweight adolescents, detected insulin resistance with compensatory insulin secretion among participants who slept less than 6.6 hours per night.
Lead author Stacey Simon, PhD, recommends strategies for physicians and parents to help ensure teens get adequate sleep:
- Evaluate teens’ sleep patterns during checkups.
- Promote quality sleep as equal in importance to other healthy activities.
- Emphasize the benefit of consistent bedtimes.
- Remove electronic devices that hinder healthy sleep.
Pediatric Obesity: 1 in 5
Roughly one-fifth of Americans ages 6–19 are obese.
Children ages 6–11: 18.4%
Adolescents ages 12–19: 20.6%
Sources: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CDC, Children’s National Health System, The Journal of Pediatrics