Bed sharing is a controversial routine about which health care professionals are often asked to advise parents. This systematic review sought to examine the evidence on the harms and benefits of bed sharing. Forty studies published between 1993 and 2005 that studied the effects of bed sharing were included in the review. Five of the 11 studies that examined the risk of sudden infant death syndrome found that bed sharing increased the risk of sudden infant death syndrome 2- to 16-fold. This risk was increased among infants exposed to cigarette smoke as well. The 4 studies that examined the effect of bed sharing on breastfeeding found evidence for a higher prevalence of breast feeding with bed sharing. Infants who slept in beds with their parents were more likely to have night awakenings than those who slept alone.
While the response to stress has been linked to alterations in immune function, few studies have examined the relationship of stress to disease in children. In this study of 169 children 5 to 10 years of age, parent stress at baseline was linked to illness in their children over the subsequent year. For every 1 unit increase on the stress scale, there was an 11% increase in the frequency of illness and a 36% increase in the rate of febrile illness. This was especially true for psychiatric stress in the parents. Long-term family stress was associated with increased natural killer cell function in children. The specific mechanisms linking family stress to child illness are not known.
In 2002, smoking was portrayed in 90% of movies rated PG or PG-13 and in all movies rated R. Smoking is also increasingly portrayed by actors on television programs. Because most adult smoking begins during adolescence, the effect of the media on smoking initiation has important health implications. This study of 735 middle-school students from 14 public schools found that 30% of students initiated smoking during the 2-year follow-up period. Moderate or high exposure to R-rated movies was associated with a substantially increased likelihood of initiating smoking. Having a television in one's room doubled the likelihood of smoking initiation. This study provides further evidence for the negative impact of having televisions in bedrooms; it also indicates the need for intervention by the entertainment industry on smoking by actors on television and in films.
The rise in the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents combined with the increasing use of bariatric surgery in adults has resulted in greater consideration of surgical approaches to obesity in adolescents. Using data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the authors found that the incidence of bariatric surgery in adolescents tripled between 2000 and 2003. However, less than 1% of all bariatric procedures in 2003 were performed on adolescents. Most hospitals doing such surgery treated 2 or fewer adolescents each year.
Distribution of adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery from 1996 through 2003 on the basis of data obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample.
This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(3):216. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.3.216