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This Month in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
December 2010

This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2010 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2010

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(12):1085. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.236
Infant Media Exposure: Adverse Effects on Toddler Development

Media exposure plays an increasing role in the lives of infants and toddlers, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children younger than 2 years have no media exposure. This study sought to assess whether the duration and content of media exposure at 6 months of age were related to later developmental outcomes at 14 months. Longer daily duration of media exposure at 6 months predicted lower cognitive development and language development at 14 months. A 50% increase in media exposure was associated with an approximately 0.5-point decrease in language score. Exposure to older child/adult content at 6 months predicted lower 14-month cognitive and language scores. In these analyses, educational and noneducational young child–directed content were not associated with higher or lower cognitive and language scores. These findings suggest that media exposure represents a substantial public health problem.

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Relationship between total duration of media exposure at age 6 months and predicted development scores at age 14 months. Bayley-III Cognitive indicates Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, 3rd edition, Cognitive Scale; PLS-4, Preschool Language Scale–4.

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Infant Growth Need Not Be Rapid to Be Risky

As a result of the growing obesity epidemic, attention is now turning to weight gain in infancy and its relationship to later childhood obesity. In this study of 129 children, weight gain of more than 8.15 kg in the first 24 months of life had 100% sensitivity in predicting overweight at 6 to 8 years of age. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and delay in starting to eat solid foods were protective against later childhood obesity. Parent feeding choices provide clear opportunities for intervention by clinicians. Early infant growth, in association with other early-life risk or protective factors, may be a useful screening tool for childhood overweight and obesity.

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Physical Assault on Dating Partners, Peers, and Siblings

As many as 1 in 10 US high school students report having been “hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend” in the past year. Research on victims of dating violence has demonstrated that they are at risk for a range of negative consequences including death, injury, suicidal thoughts, substance use, disordered eating, and psychiatric disorders. In this study of nearly 1400 students in Boston, approximately one-fifth reported physical dating violence perpetration in the past month. Of the 256 boys who reported perpetrating at least 1 form of violence, physical dating violence was the least commonly reported form (14%), while 84.4% reported perpetrating peer violence and 49.6% sibling violence. Of the 351 girls who reported perpetrating at least 1 form of violence, 44.1% reported perpetrating physical dating violence, 65.2% peer violence, and 59.8% sibling violence. Investigating and addressing the overlap between dating, peer, and sibling violence has the potential to help reduce these problem behaviors.

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Overlap of the prevalence of sibling (SibV), peer (PV), and dating violence (DV) perpetration among students who reported perpetrating at least 1 form of violence, by sex (n = 607).

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Short- and Long-term Risk of Infections as a Function of Group Child Care Attendance

Preschool children in group child care (GCC) experience more frequent infections than children cared for primarily at home, and the risk appears greater when children attend larger GCC. These findings have created concerns that GCC may compromise the health of young children and their community. However, few studies have examined the effect of GCC on infections beyond the preschool years. This longitudinal study followed up children between 1.5 and 8 years of age. Compared with home-cared children, those who started attending a large GCC during the early preschool years had a higher incidence of respiratory tract and ear infections during this time but lower risk of these infections during the elementary school years. Children who started in late preschool had higher rates of respiratory and ear infections during that period but did not differ from home-cared children at other times. Participation in a small GCC did not confer any protective effect from future infections. Group child care was not associated with gastrointestinal tract infections at any developmental period.

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