Children's Health

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An anti-circumcision group says Michigan’s Medicaid program should stop funding for circumcision.

Michigan has one of the highest circumcision rates in the country.

Norm Cohen is the state director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers. Members of the group picketed at the state capitol today.  Many in the group wore white pants, stained in the crotch with red paint. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report links a young child’s knowledge of fast food and snack food logos with their being overweight.

A research team asked three- to five-year-olds if they could identify various advertising logos.

It turns out the young children who could easily ID things like “golden arches,” "silly rabbits,” and “a king’s crown,” were more likely to have higher body mass indexes.

WKAR

There may soon be legislation on the governor’s desk that will make it against the law to sell e-cigarettes to minors in Michigan. The state House passed the bill today.   

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that simulate tobacco smoking. The devices produce vapor instead of smoke.

State Rep. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, defends his legislation against critics who want e-cigarettes taxed like tobacco products, which this legislation doesn’t do.

University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

It turns out parents are just as likely as other motorists to talk on the phone, eat, text or engage in other risky distractions behind the wheel, even with their kids in the car.

University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital quizzed hundreds of parents with young children about their driving habits.

It turns out 90 percent admit to using their mobile phones, eating and feeding their kids while behind the wheel.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, 11-year-old Brianna Allgood is being tested by a machine called a spirometer. It measures her breathing.

Brianna has asthma. Sometimes she has difficulty breathing. Most of us would have a hard time imagining what that’s like.

“It feels like your chest starts tightening and you’re like and you can’t really breathe much air,” Brianna said. 

Vickie Elliot is Brianna’s grandmother. She says she finds herself checking in on Brianna – a lot – just to make sure she’s breathing okay.

“Having a child like that in the home is scary because anything could happen,” Elliot said.

Brianna is luckier than some kids with asthma. Her family can get her to the clinic. They now know how to treat the asthma.

Elliott says it’s made a difference.

user mconnors / morgueFile

Winter doesn't just mean freezing temperatures  – it's also a time when we are more likely to get sick. Which leads us to our next question: Do you vaccinate your kids?

It seems for more and more Michigan parents, the answer is no. 

When it comes to kids not getting vaccinated because their parents claim some personal or religious exemption, Michigan ranks number four in the nation. 

But resistance to vaccinations didn't just start with Jenny McCarthy or the study by British doctor Andrew Wakefield that alleged a link between vaccines and autism – a study that has since been discredited as being based on faulty science. 

It goes back long before that.

Gender and medical historian Jacqueline Antonovich has studied and written about the history of our relationship with vaccinations. 

Antonovich recently wrote in the blog nursingclio.org about this topic, and it was pretty personal for her, as someone who has had whooping cough.

CDC

Child deaths in car crashes have declined by 43% over the last ten years.

But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there's still work to do.

The CDC says one in three children 12 or younger that die in a car accident is still not properly restrained.

Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz is with the CDC.   She says parent education and car seat distribution help make sure more children are buckled up properly, and she supports Michigan's car seat laws.

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, 2013

Overall, 44% of parents say they'd allow their child to take part in medical research if the child had the disease being studied.

Yet only 5% say their child has participated in a medical study.  

That's according to a recent National Poll on Children's Health conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

kakisky / Morgue File

Michigan is getting $14.4 million for a program that does home visits for pregnant women and new mothers. A key goal is to reduce infant mortality. 

The Michigan Department of Community Health will use the money for prevention-focused home visits in at-risk communities. 

Michigan's infant mortality rate is above the national average.  Fourteen out of every 1,000 African American babies in Michigan die before they reach their first birthday. That is three times more than white babies.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State health officials are celebrating the 50th anniversary of a screening program that has saved the lives of more than seven thousand newborns.

Starting with just one test in 1963, Michigan doctors now routinely test newborn infants for more than 50 potentially life threatening conditions.

Matthew Davis is the Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health.    He says infant screening is one of the best success stories in public health.

  Teenagers in Michigan eligible for no-cost government sponsored health insurance like Medicaid and MIchild aren't getting signed up. 

That means they're walking around uninsured. Many aren't getting regular preventative care and many are relying on the Emergency Room if something comes up. This pattern can have a huge detrimental impact on a families finances, and a teens health. 

user mconnors / morgueFile

Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who do not have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

Despite adamant statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control that vaccines have no link to autism, an anti-vaccination movement is growing online, from parent to parent, and through activist celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are mounting fresh efforts  to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

This vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

We wanted to see how this story is being played out in the exam rooms of a busy pediatric practice, day-in and day out. Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Entrepreneurship is on the rise in West Michigan. We took a look at what this means for the Grand Rapids area and the rest of the state.

And, when you consider all of the possible "fixes" being discussed for struggling big cities like Detroit, there is an idea being offered up that has truly stood the test of time: attract more immigrants.

Also, we heard how a University of Michigan professor is using archeology to tell the story of undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S.

First on the show,  Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who do not have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

Despite adamant statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control that vaccines have no link to autism, an anti-vaccination movement is growing online, from parent to parent, and through activist celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are mounting fresh efforts  to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

This vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

We wanted to see how this story is being played out in the exam rooms of a busy pediatric practice, day-in and day out. Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He joined us today.

everydayfamily.com

Michigan has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a new effort is underway to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

The vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

“As parents prepare to send their children back to school….it is important they make sure each child is up to date with their immunizations,” says Dr. Kenneth Elmassian, the president of the Michigan State Medical Society.

More than a hundred children in Washtenaw County have been treated for Whooping Cough this year. There were nearly 850 cases statewide last year. One 3 month old child died. 

Cases of other preventable diseases are also on the rise in Michigan. State health officials blame Michigan’s declining child vaccination rate. 

Courtesy of Children First

Michigan has the highest rate of child poverty in the Great Lakes region, according to a report released Monday morning.

As Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reported, data from the 2013 Kids Count survey, a nationwide study that ranks states based on child well-being, shows that about 560,000 children in Michigan live in poverty.

That statistic has increased by 6% over the last several years.

In other areas, the state does show some signs of improvement.

Only 4% of kids in Michigan are uninsured. Nationwide, about 7% of children lack health insurance.

user herval / flickr

Our State of Opportunity project focuses on kids and what it will take to get them ahead. At the most basic level, that means ensuring children are healthy. But as Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra reports, nationwide drug shortages could threaten even that most basic task.

We called every neonatal intensive care unit in Michigan, and all but one got back us. Each one has experienced or is experiencing a wide variety of drug shortages in the NICU.

Medical diagnostic equipment
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  More than a dozen insurance companies want to be part of a health care exchange that provides coverage to Michiganders under the new federal health care law.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, McLaren, United Healthcare and ten other insurance companies have applied to be part of the new health care exchange.

Beginning in October, Michiganders will be able to use a federally run exchange to compare the health care plans.  It’s all part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," which takes effect in 2014.

textinganddrivingsafely.com

A new University of Michigan survey finds many parents are distracted behind the wheel.

The U-M researchers surveyed more than 600 parents to find out what distractions they face while driving with their children.

Drugsonline.com

University of Michigan researchers say more than forty percent of parents are making a serious mistake when they try to treat their toddlers for a cough or cold.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be used in children under age of four. The drugs have not been proven effective for young children and may cause serious side effects.

But a new poll by U of M researchers says more than 40% of parents are using the medicine to treat their toddlers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Blue Cross must pay hundreds of Michigan families who were denied coverage for behavioral therapy for children with autism.

Blue Cross contends the therapy is experimental, but doctors disagree.

The ruling may cost Blue Cross about five million dollars.

kbohn216 / MorgueFile

Babies spit up -- a lot. It often happens when they eat too quickly  or too much. It's normal, but it sure can scare parents.

A University of Michigan study says doctors should be careful about using labels to describe babies with upset stomachs.

Dr. Beth Tarini, an assistant professor of pediatrics at U-M, says when doctors use terms like gastroesophageal reflux disease -- or GERD -- the only thing most parents hear is "disease."

"It can transform the way the parent views the child's health. It can take a parent who has a healthy child, and have that parent start to believe that that child is actually sick," Tarini says."Parents come into the office, understandably distressed that their baby is spitting up."

Tarini says sometimes physicians, in trying to help the parents, will reach for anything they can do to help, which can lead to the overuse of antacids, like Zantac.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

A new survey shows your health may depend on where you live in Michigan.

The University of Wisconsin puts out an annual assessment of the health of the nation’s counties. The survey compares different factors, including access to clinical care and personal habits, like smoking.

As you may expect, counties surrounding Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids score high on the survey, but so do several counties in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

UM Study suggests insurance biggest factor in doctor selection

Feb 19, 2013
Courtesy: C. S. Mott Children's Hospital

A new University of Michigan study suggests recommendations by friends and family are more important than online reviews when selecting a doctor.

Dr. Matthew Davis is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s  Hospital, and director of the National Poll on Children's Health.  He says location and whether a doctor will accept your insurance are the top two factors for parents.   He added, “the fact that it so far outranks, the type of practice that a Doctor provides, is a major commentary on the importance of how expensive health care is in the US and how it can really influence a family’s decision-making.”

flickr user Southworth Sailor

Today, I reported for State of Opportunity on some alarming new statistics on child abuse and neglect in Michigan.

You can click here to get the full story.

There is some debate about how to interpret a few of the statistics in the story.

One of the things I discovered while reporting the story is that it's actually hard to get good numbers on abuse and neglect in Michigan.

The state Department of Human Services provides a monthly fact sheet that includes the number of cases that were investigated, and how many were confirmed. But the numbers only cover two months worth of reports, and there's no detail on the nature of the cases, or where they occurred.

The Michigan League for Public Policy worked with the DHS to publish some more detailed measures of abuse and neglect in the latest Kids Count report.

From my perspective, even this report leaves as many questions as answers. 

That said, the statistics we do have are cause enough for concern.

Here are four to keep in mind: 

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Michigan authorities say four people are dead in two separate incidents of what may have been accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Flint police say they found a man and woman dead early Christmas morning and say a child is hospitalized as a result of an apparent accident, and a gas utility truck has been called to the scene.

Mlive.com says police aren't able to confirm that the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning but say no foul play was involved.

Project in 23 Michigan schools seeks healthy approach

Oct 27, 2012

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan education officials are launching a pilot project in 23 high schools that aims to boost academic achievement by incorporating physical, emotional and social health programs.

The effort dubbed "think.respect." is funded through a $24 million federal grant and will be administered by the Michigan Department of Education. Schools were selected based partly on persistently low achievement.

iRon leSs / flickr

Michigan's Department of Human Services (DHS) is piloting a new program designed to keep "at risk" kids in their homes instead of handing them over to foster care.

The program will target families with children younger than five years of age.

From DHS:

Health insurance is such a political issue, talked about all the time and so dispassionately, that it can be easy to forget just how important it is to some families. But, last year the Census estimated paying for health care pushed at least 10 million Americans into poverty.

insipidlife / flickr

Kids don't get enough exercise, and it's really bad for their heath. That's what many adults told a national survey. Lack of exercise was number one on the list of top-ten child health concerns according to the survey conducted by C. S. Mott Children's Hospital. Obesity and smoking rounded out the top three health concerns for kids.

user kahle / MorgueFile.com

People in the United States are more concerned about the physical fitness of their community's children than any other health issue.

That was the finding of a University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital poll on children’s health.

When asked about the nation's most pressing childhood health concerns, 39 percent of adults listed "not enough exercise," trailed by "childhood obesity" with 38 percent.

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