Vegetarian diets are increasingly common among adolescents. Perry and colleagues studied more than 4500 adolescents to determine if adolescent vegetarians were more likely to comply with the dietary recommendations of Healthy People 2010 than their nonvegetarian counterparts. Vegetarians were found to be more likely to meet the Healthy People 2010 recommendations for fat, saturated fat, fruits, and vegetables, but they consumed less vitamin B12, more caffeine, and more diet drinks than nonvegetarian adolescents. Two thirds of adolescents in both groups did not meet the recommended intake of calcium. Vegetarian diets in adolescents can be a healthy alternative to the traditional American meat-based diet.
Despite high risk factors for poor health, Latino health outcomes are generally similar to, or better than, those of white people. This study of 15- to 24-year-old populations in California during 1989 to 1997 confirmed that the risk of death was generally lower among Latinos than among non-Hispanic white individuals. However, among 15- to 24-year-old males, the risk of death is increased nearly 2-fold compared with non-Hispanic white males, and the major cause of this increase was homicides and motor vehicle crashes. Over time, these differences in mortality from homicide seem to be decreasing, while there appears to be no lessening in mortality differences due to motor vehicle crashes.
The Seattle Social Development Project is a well-known controlled intervention, begun in elementary school and with long-term follow-up, to promote bonding of children to school and family. In this article, Lonczak and colleagues report on the effect of this intervention on sexual behavior and associated outcomes at age 21 years. The intervention decreased the number of sexual partners and increased the probability of condom use for both sexes, and among females it significantly reduced both the likelihood of becoming pregnant and experiencing a birth by age 21 years. The study demonstrates that the promotion of academic success, social competence, and bonding to school during elementary grades can prevent risky sexual practices and adverse health consequences in early adulthood.
Because cerebral palsy continues to occur among premature infants, methods to increase the reliability of early identification are necessary and important. This international group of investigators conducted serial video recordings of premature infants from birth until 56 to 60 weeks' postmenstrual age. Observations of cramped synchronized general movements, poor repertoire of movements, and abnormal fidgety movements proved to be 100% sensitive and highly specific for cerebral palsy in this age group. These observations may provide a much-needed tool for early identification and intervention for infants with neurological damage.
In the last decade, rates of invasive infection due to Haemophilus influenzae type B have dropped dramatically following the introduction of an effective vaccine, potentially altering existing guidelines for evaluation of children with fever. This large study of more than 9000 children aged 2 to 36 months visiting emergency care with fever found that 3% were bacteremic, with Streptococcus pneumoniae accounting for 84% of positive blood cultures. The mean time for a positive culture was 17.5 hours. Only 0.08% of the patient population who had not been treated with antibiotics at the initial visit developed serious bacterial infections. This study suggests that reserving antibiotics for culture-proven infection was not associated with an increased risk of developing serious infections.
This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(5):420. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.5.420