A new year often is a time for trend spotting. So every year the physicians and editors at KidsHealth.org, a website devoted to children’s health and development, evaluate the health issues that affect children and families to identify important trends to watch.
Most Notable Health Issues for 2012
The Risks of Postponing or Avoiding Vaccinations:
More and more parents aren't just consulting their pediatricians for advice about immunizing their kids—they're also heeding rumors and advice spread online. Even when the science or sources behind anti-immunization stances are proved unreliable or discredited, some parents may not accept that vaccines are safe. As a result, health officials are seeing alarming rises in preventable diseases, mostly among people who are not immunized.
Helping Teens Take Charge of Their Healthcare:
Adolescence is a time to prepare kids for independence and adulthood, but the process is challenging for parents. One thing parents should do is help teens to start managing their own healthcare. But it's important to guide them toward taking on this responsibility. After all, parents won't always be around to manage their children's healthcare—and in most cases, once their kids become adults, legally they won't be allowed to.
The Rise of Eating Issues and Disorders:
Seeing the rail-thin models in fashion shows or magazines, you might think eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia mostly affect women whose livelihoods are based on being thin. But more and more, these problems affect people from all walks of life—and, unfortunately, many of them are kids. Of the almost 24 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder, 95 percent are between 12 and 25 years old—and many of them are male.
Prenatal Surgery: Helping Babies Before Birth:
Operating on a baby before birth may seem like science fiction, but prenatal surgery is becoming increasingly common in special pediatric programs throughout the country. Since prenatal surgery was first pioneered in the 1980s, it's become an important way to correct certain birth defects that could be severe (and in some cases fatal) if babies were born with them unrepaired.
Mobile Health Apps: Choosing Wisely:
Many parents don’t just call their pediatrician for help and advice. Many also seek health information online. A side effect of their sleuthing via smart phones and tablets is a rise in health-specific apps. But note where this portable health information comes from. Just as you would vet a website to make sure it's run by reputable health experts, make sure your apps are credible, accurate, and up to date.
To read more on each topic, check out the full report at KidsHealth.org.