Three For Tuesday: Autism, Vanity and Teen Obesity

Well, it didn’t take long for headlines from yesterday’s list to make the news…hours in fact! And, just as the KidsHealth editors predicted, the list has already grown! But, that’s the nature of child health…here’s three headlines that caught my eye with one from the list and two not officially on the list but important nonetheless – and arguably honorable mentions for “the” list:

From the watch list: childhood obesity

The Boston Globe White Coat Notes reported yesterday that teen girls who saw themselves as unpopular were more likely to gain weight over a 2 year period compared to teen girls who perceived themselves as popular. The conclusions were drawn from a study published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and is one of the first studies to really look at not just self-esteem but social issues impacting teen weight issues. What is important about this study is it gives us something to work with pro-actively with teens in all schools regardless of socioeconomic status. I’ve always said “a busy teen is a happy teen” and now we can go a step further and turn that into a health statement “a busy teen with friends is a teen who is likely to be healthy and a reasonable weight”. Keep in mind that “popular” takes on different meanings for different kids and that it may not take being part of the “in” crowd to improve a teen’s sense of social standing in a school. In fact, all it may take is feeling part of the school community in a significant way. I’m sure we’ll hear more on this topic this year.

Not From The Watch List – but equally important
Autism and Vaccines: The Debate’s Final Chapter
Autism: not caused by thimerosal in vaccines A study reported in this months Archives of General Psychiatry found that cases of autism in California continued to climb despite thimerosal being removed from childhood vaccines. This is a very important observation because many parents and even physicians have clung to this belief that autism was caused by vaccinations despite many well done and repeated studies concluding the contrary. The most difficult part of assessing the autism data is figuring out if the increase in autism is real or due to our ability to diagnose it better. But, that aside, this study clears a much needed issue up.

Cosmetic Clinics Downplay Risk When we were in LA over the summer, there was literally a cosmetic clinic on every corner! With shows like NipTuck and Doctor 90210 on TV, I worry that people are not given the accurate information about the risks of cosmetic surgery. This article highlights that all surgery has risks, including “simple” cosmetic surgery. In my opinion, people need to think not just twice but thrice about cosmetic surgery because it involves one’s appearance. Be sure…be very sure…about why you want to make that change before you sign on that cosmetic dotted line. And, remember, a “good” cosmetic surgeon, will talk you out of it if you don’t really need it!

I already have bookmarked some other interesting headlines to tickle your fancy with so stay tuned…one thing is for sure, if we already have this much news a week into 2008, we are in for one interesting health year. The big question is whether we can learn from all this news so a year from now I can blog about how much more healthy we are in ’09 than in ’08. Anyone up for the challenge??


  1. I have also enjoyed reading research. And these were great to read. And sure, let’s hope that you are blogging about how much things got better in 09!