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Health Capsules: April 4

By: Lisa Russell


Kids who specialize early in a single sport may be at increased risk for injury and burnout, new research suggests.

Kids’ early one-sport focus may increase injury, burnout risks
Parents looking to turn their children into future sports stars are a key factor behind the major paradigm shift that has taken place in youth sports over the past two decades. Rather than playing pick-up games with friends and having fun with sports in general, kids increasingly are specializing in one sport, at younger and younger ages. This shift has resulted in a greater risk of overuse injuries and earlier sports “burnout” among young people, according to studies presented at the recent meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons [AAOS].
Sports specialization among youth is defined as playing a single sport for at least three seasons a year at the exclusion of other sports, and early sports specialization occurs in children under age 12. In one study, a team of researchers from Columbia University surveyed about 200 parents of pediatric patients in the practice of the study’s lead author, Dr. Charles A. Popkin. The survey findings included:
• 57.2 percent of parents said they hoped for their children to play at a collegiate or professional level.
• About 80 percent of parents who hired personal trainers for their children were more likely to believe their children held collegiate or professional aspirations, and those children who received outside skill training had a higher injury risk due to the number of hours spent training and playing.
• One-third of respondents said their children played only one sport, while 53.2 percent had children who played multiple sports, but had a favorite sport.
• Only 13.4 percent had children who balanced their multiple sports equally.
“Culturally, we have found that parents have unrealistic expectations for their children to play collegiately or professionally and as a result, they invest in private lessons, trainers or personal coaches to help their kids,” Popkin said. “When you’re investing this amount of time and resources, there can be unwritten, indirect pressure from parents to specialize.”
The other study more closely examined the relationship between sports specialization and injury risk. For girls, the number of hours per week of activity was found to be a stronger predictor of injury than sports specialization. For boys, both specialization and the number of hours per week were predictive of injury.
The researchers involved in both studies said they hope to raise awareness of the risks associated with youth sports specialization, and to develop common-sense recommendations to reduce injuries and burnout. As a step in that direction, the AAOS and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine recently launched a campaign called OneSport™ to help address these hazards and prevent overuse injury.

The FDA recently launched an effort to reduce the level of nicotine in all cigarettes in the U.S.

FDA announces effort to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] recently announced what it called a “historic” first step toward making cigarettes less addictive, through the eventual mandate of reduced nicotine levels in all cigarettes manufactured. The announcement serves as an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, and is designed to solicit comments to determine what direction the agency might take to accomplish its goal, FDA officials said.
“Given their combination of toxicity, addictiveness, prevalence and effect on non-users, cigarettes are the category of tobacco product that causes the greatest public health harm,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users prematurely.”
According to the FDA, making cigarettes less addictive could reduce the number of new smokers by 2.4 million by 2025, and 33 million by 2100, reducing the number of Americans who smoke to just 1.4 percent – down from the current level of 15 percent. This reduction would potentially save more than 8 million lives by 2100, according to FDA estimates.
Zeller said the FDA now is seeking input related to setting a new nicotine standard for all combustible tobacco products, to determine the appropriate maximum nicotine level required to protect public health.

On the calendar
A Movement Training class designed specifically for individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is offered from 12:30-1:30 p.m on Fridays. at the Chesterfield Family YMCA, 16464 Burkhardt Place. Studies show that exercise can improve Parkinson’s symptoms and delay disease progression. The class includes 30 minutes of cycling and 30 minutes of land-based fitness activity. It is offered at no cost to the participant, with support from the American Parkinson Disease Association. YMCA membership is not required. To register, visit the YMCA welcome center or call (636) 239-5704.

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St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers an Asthma Control Education course from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 7 at the St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center, 13001 N. Outer 40 Road in Town & Country. The group size is limited to 16 participants to allow individualized attention to each child’s personal asthma management plan [children age 5 and over only]. Attendance is free, but advance registration is required by visiting stlchildrens.org/registration or by calling (314) 454-5437.

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St. Luke’s Hospital presents a Basics of Meditation program from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 at the Hospital’s Institute for Health Education, 222 S. Woods Mill Road in
Chesterfield [North Medical Office Building, Level 2].  Meditation is a research-supported practice that can improve overall health by reducing stress, relieving pain, lowering the risk for heart disease and more. Learn how to get started with meditation and receive expert tips at this free class. To register, visit stlukes-stl.com; call (314) 542-4848 with questions.

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TEDxGatewayArch hosts its first chapter event of 2018, Think Well: Healthcare Out Loud from noon-4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 at Sheldon Concert Hall, 2648 Washington Blvd. in St. Louis. Moderated by Maggie Crane of BioSTL, the event will focus on cutting-edge ideas in health, wellness and medicine and will feature six TEDTalk presenters along with a special interview with Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Ticket prices start at $45. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit tedxgatewayarch.org/think-well-2018.

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A Babysitting 101 course, sponsored by St. Louis Children’s Hospital, is offered from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, April 14 at the Children’s Specialty Care Center, 13001 N. Outer 40 Road in Town & Country. Topics covered include the business of babysitting, child development, safety and first aid, and fun and games. A workbook and light snack are provided. There is no minimum age requirement; the course fee is $30. To register, visit stlchildrens.org/registration or call (314) 454-5437.

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BJC sponsors a Family & Friends CPR course from 6:30-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17 at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center Clinical Learning Institute, 3005 N. Ballas Road. The course provides instruction and hands-on practice for parents, childcare providers and babysitters for adult hands-only CPR; infant and child CPR with breaths; introduction to adult and child AED use; and relief of choking in an adult, child or infant. The course is taught by registered nurses using the American Heart Association video-led curriculum. The course does not include certification. Participants between the ages of 10 and 15 must be accompanied by an adult. The course fee is $25. To register, visit stlchildrens.org/registration or call (314) 454-5437.

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West County SDA church holds an annual Health Expo from noon-3 p.m on Sunday, April 29. at the church, 16800 Baxter Road in Chesterfield. This interactive fair will feature a variety of health screenings, information for families with health concerns and help in locating community health resources. Vegetarian food samples will be available for tasting.  Attendance is free. More information is available online at westcountyhealthexpo.com.

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