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23 August 2011

Backpacks can mean backaches for back-to-schoolers

Millions of children returning to school this fall will struggle under the weight of an overstuffed backpack, putting themselves at risk of injury, according to Dr. Joshua Hyman, director of orthopedic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

"Parents should inspect their child's backpack from time to time. They often carry much more than they should with extra shoes, toys, electronic devices and other unnecessary items," says Dr. Hyman, who is also associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"A backpack shouldn't weigh more than 15 percent of the child's weight, or about 7 pounds for a child who weighs 50 pounds. If it is textbooks that are making the bag too heavy, parents should speak with the teacher -- sometimes these books can be left at school," adds Dr. Hyman.

22 August 2011

Low Vitamin D Linked to Earlier First Menstruation

ScienceDaily (Aug. 12, 2011) — A study links low vitamin D in young girls with early menstruation, which is a risk factor for a host of health problems for teen girls as well as women later in life.

Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health measured the blood vitamin D levels in 242 girls ages 5-12 from Bogota, Colombia, and followed them for 30 months. Girls low on vitamin D were twice as likely to start menstruation during the study than those with sufficient vitamin D, said epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor, associate professor in the U-M SPH.