KidsHealth’s Annual List Highlights Important Issues Affecting Families in the Year Ahead

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With the start of 2012 , Nemours’ KidsHealth.org, the #1 website devoted to children’s health and development, looks ahead with its annual list of “Kids’ Health Issues to Watch.” As they do each year, the physicians and editors at KidsHealth sifted through health issues affecting children and families to choose a few important trends to keep tabs on in 2012. Of course, these are not the only important issues affecting children’s health — far from it — but the physicians and editors at KidsHealth feel that in the midst of many, these are notable:

Kids’ Health Issues to Watch in 2012:

  • The Risks of Postponing or Avoiding Vaccinations: When it comes to immunizing their kids, increasing numbers of parents aren’t just consulting their pediatricians for advice — they’re also paying heed to rumors and advice spread online. Even when the science or sources behind anti-immunization stances are proved unreliable or even completely discredited, it can be difficult for some parents to accept that vaccines are safe. As a result, health officials are seeing alarming rises in preventable diseases, mostly among people who are not immunized.
  • Helping Teens Take Charge of Their Health Care: Preparing kids for independence and adulthood brings many challenges for parents. Among them is helping teens start managing their own health care. But it’s important to guide teens toward taking on this responsibility. After all, parents won’t always be around to manage their children’s health care — and in most cases, once their kids become adults, legally they won’t be allowed to.
  • The Rise of Eating Issues and Disorders: Seeing the rail-thin models who strut down catwalks at fashion shows, you might think that eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia mostly affect women whose livelihoods are based on being thin. But more and more, these problems are affecting people from all walks of life — and, unfortunately, many of them are kids. Of the almost 24 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder, 95% are between 12 and 25 years old — and many of them are male.
  • Prenatal Surgery: Helping Babies Before Birth: Operating on a baby before birth may seem like science fiction, but prenatal surgery is becoming more and more common in special pediatric programs throughout the United States. Since prenatal surgery was first pioneered in the 1980s, it’s become an important way to correct certain birth defects that could be severe (and in some cases fatal) if babies were born with them unrepaired.
  • Mobile Health Apps: Choosing Wisely: Many parents no longer just call their pediatrician for help and advice. Many also look for health information online. And, more and more, their sleuthing is done via smartphones and tablets, which has given rise to health-specific apps. It’s important for parents to take note of where this portable health information is coming from. Just as you would vet a website to make sure it’s run by reputable health experts, make sure your apps are credible, accurate, and up to date.

To read more on each topic, visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/kh_misc/2012_issues.html.

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