Tobacco kills over 400 000 people each year in the United States and 80% of adults who smoke began before the age of 18 years. Emery et al examined the effect of antitobacco advertising campaigns sponsored by different states around the country on youth smoking. Exposure to these state-sponsored antitobacco ads was associated with stronger intentions not to smoke and a 28% decrease in the chance of being a smoker. State-sponsored antitobacco advertising is associated with the desired outcomes. Recent cuts in these campaigns may lead to future negative health and financial consequences.
Excessive television viewing during childhood and adolescence is associated with a variety of ills, including obesity. While concern has been expressed about the long-term educational impact of television viewing, few studies have examined the effect into adulthood. Hancox et al used data from the longitudinal Dunedin study to examine the effects of watching television during childhood and adolescence on educational attainment at 26 years of age. For every hour of television watched per weeknight, the risk of not getting a college degree increased by 43%. Watching television during childhood and adolescence both had a negative effect on educational attainment at 26 years of age, potentially affecting socioeconomic status and long-term well-being.
With the growing obesity epidemic, increased attention has been placed on the role of fast foods in American diets, especially those of children and adolescents. In this survey of 2379 adolescents, Schmidt et al examined the consumption of fast food and its association with nutrient intake. Youth who consumed a high amount of fast food had a mean of 129 more calories per day than youth with low amounts of fast-food consumption. These individuals also consumed more fat and sodium as well. Dietary intake of fast food is a determinant of diet quality in adolescent girls and should be addressed.
Decreasing the use of antibiotics has become an important goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to prevent the development of resistant organisms. The most common use of antibiotics in pediatric practice is for the treatment of acute otitis media. In this prospective study, 169 pediatricians used a practice guideline that called for treatment with analgesics alone for children older than 12 months with otitis media, unless symptoms persisted for longer than 48 hours. Using this protocol, 65% of patients recovered without antibiotics at 30 days after initial examination. Practice guidelines based on a “wait-and-see” strategy appear to be applicable and effective and can decrease the use of antibiotics in children.
This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(7):605. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.7.605