Friday December 13, 2019

Depression in Children Stay Undetected by Parents and Teachers- Study

The gold standard for identifying children who might be at risk for developing depression later in life is to ask the children themselves

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Depression is a major issue affecting millions of people, especially the teenagers. Pixabay

Parents and teachers may find it difficult to detect depression in young children, that can affect their social skills and academics, a new study shows.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, as many as 2-3 per cent of children aged between 6-12 might have a major depressive disorder.

But parents and teachers face difficulties in recognising depression in children.

The findings, appearing in the Journal of School Psychology, showed that children who show mild to severe symptoms of depression in second and third grades are six times more likely to have skill deficits, such as difficulties with social skills or academics, than children without symptoms.

However, when teachers and parents were asked to rate a child’s level of depression, there was only about 5-10 per cent overlap in their ratings.

Depression
Parents and teachers face difficulties in recognising depression in children. Pixabay

“Some people would view that overlap as the truth about a child’s well-being and areas of disagreement as errors, but we need to explore the possibility that each of them are seeing different aspects of children’s behaviour and mental health,” said Keith Herman, professor in the University of Missouri (MU), College of Education.

For the study, the team completed profile analyses of 643 children in early elementary school to explore how patterns between student, teacher and parent reporting can be used to gain a holistic picture of a child’s mental health.

Herman suggested that mental health professionals could work with teachers and parents to identify depressive symptoms early by including self reports from children in mental health evaluations.

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“The gold standard for identifying children who might be at risk for developing depression later in life is to ask the children themselves,” noted Herman.

“However, even if a child doesn’t say they feel depressed, certain outward behaviours might provide clues to the state of the child’s mental health. It’s important for teachers and parents to catch these behaviours early to prevent long-term problems that occur with depression,” he said. (IANS)

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Watching TV Increases Risk of Obesity among Kids: Study

TV watching most strongly linked to obesity in kids

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Identifying habits linked to overweight and obesity in the early stages of life can help us to define preventive strategies against other conditions. Pixabay

Parents, please take note. Among the lifestyle habits that influence the risk of overweight and obesity in children, watching television is the worst, suggests new research.

“Identifying habits linked to overweight and obesity in the early stages of life can help us to define preventive strategies against other conditions, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases during adulthood,” said lead author of the study Rowaedh Bawaked, researcher at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Spain.

The researchers analysed five lifestyle habits: physical activity, sleep time, television time, plant-based food consumption and ultra-processed food consumption.

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Researchers found that watching tv has serious effects such as obesity. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, was based on data from 1,480 children.

Parents were asked to complete various questionnaires on the children’s lifestyle habits at four years of age.

To calculate the health impact of these habits, the researchers measured the children’s body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and blood pressure at four and seven years of age.

Children who were less active and spent more time in front of the television at four years of age were at greater risk of being affected by overweight, obesity and metabolic syndrome at seven years of age, showed the findings.

The researchers also measured the time spent by the children on other sedentary activities, such as reading, drawing and doing puzzles. However, these activities did not appear to be associated with overweight or obesity.

“When children watch TV, they see a huge number of advertisements for unhealthy food,” said co-leader of the study Dora Romaguera from Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain.

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Another reason why watching tv leads to obesity is that the commercials of junk food attracts kids. Pixabay

“This may encourage them to consume these products,” Romaguera said.

Ultra-processed foods, such as pastries, sweet beverages and refined-grain products, are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat and low in nutritional value.

The study showed that high intake of these products at four years of age was associated with a higher BMI at seven years of age.

Moreover, television viewing “discourages physical activity and interrupts sleep time”, explained Silvia Fernandez, a post-doctoral researcher at Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

As the researchers noted, adequate sleep time in early childhood is essential for weight control later in childhood.

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The study concluded that adult health depends on the establishment of healthy lifestyle habits during childhood: limited television time, extracurricular physical activity, getting enough hours of sleep, eating lots of vegetables and avoiding ultra-processed foods. (IANS)