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Pediatric Academic Societies Report Progress In Children's Health

Researchers from the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research and the Ambulatory Pediatric Association will present their findings at the joint annual meeting of the societies in New Orleans May 1-5.

Vaccines and vaccination, genetics and gene therapy, substance use/abuse and its effects on children, developmental biology, and socioeconomic disadvantage and its effects on children are among the major themes of more than 1,800 abstracts accepted for presentation at the meeting. More than 4,000 people are expected to attend.

Research being reported on Monday, May 4 includes:

  • Cocaine babies do not necessarily suffer birth defects In one of the first large, comprehensive studies to refute the long-held belief that cocaine-exposed babies often suffer major birth defects, Dr. Marylou Behnke and colleagues at the University of Florida College of Medicine found no consistent pattern of abnormalities in these children. In fact, more than 75 percent of the babies studied had no major problems, the same as a group of babies who were not exposed to cocaine in utero. Behnke is an associate professor of pediatrics.

  • School-based intervention helps reduce obesity in children For the first time, a school-based health behavior intervention program has been shown to reduce obesity in children. The intervention, called Planet Health, was developed by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, headed by Dr. Steven Gortmaker, a senior lecturer in the Department of Health and Social Behavior. Planet Health was tested in a two-year, randomized, controlled field trial in 10 Massachusetts public schools. It was effective in girls; for boys, however, there was no difference in the prevalence of obesity in the intervention and control schools. The program reduced television watching by both boys and girls. Other studies have linked television viewing
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Contact: Jennifer Donovan
jdonovan@oeamail.umaryland.edu
May1-5: 504/670-8502
Pediatric Academic Societies
4-May-1998


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