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Limiting TV ads for foods high in sugar, salt, fat may reduce child obesity

Limiting TV ads for sugary, salty and high-fat foods and drinks might help reduce childhood obesity, British researchers suggest.

They looked at advertising of these products between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. If all such ads were withdrawn during those hours, the number of obese kids in Britain between the ages of 5 and 17 would drop by 5% and the number of overweight kids would fall 4%, the study found.

That’s equivalent to 40,000 fewer kids in Britain who would be obese and 120,000 fewer who would be overweight, the researchers said.

The findings were published online this week in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Oliver Mytton, an academic clinical lecturer at the Center for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge, led the study.

“Measures which have the potential to reduce exposure to less-healthy food advertising on television could make a meaningful contribution to reducing childhood obesity,” the authors said in a journal news release.

But they also pointed out that they could not fully account for all factors that would affect the impact of the policy, if implemented.

They added: “Children now consume media from a range of sources, and increasingly from online and on-demand services, so in order to give all children the opportunity to grow up healthy it is important to ensure that this advertising doesn’t just move to the 9-10 pm slot and to online services.”

More information

For more on childhood obesity, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Another L.A. County child diagnosed with rare COVID-related syndrome

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04 , 2020 - L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer addresses a press conference held at the steps of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration to declare a health emergency as the number of coronavirus cases increased to seven, with six new cases in Los Angeles County. None of the new cases are connected to "community spread," officials said. All individuals were exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts. The additional cases were confirmed Tuesday night. Officials said three of the new cases were travelers who had visited northern Italy, two were family members who had close contact with someone outside of the county who was infected, and one had a job that put them in contact with travelers. One person has been hospitalized, and the others are isolated at home. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Department of Public Health director, speaks at a news conference earlier this year. (Irfan Khan/Irfan Khan/Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Another Los Angeles County child has been diagnosed with a rare, potentially deadly syndrome believed to be related to the coronavirus, according to the county Health Department, bringing the total number of children with the ailment in the region to 41.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said all of the children in the county diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome since the beginning of the pandemic had been hospitalized. The department said in a written statement Friday that 70% of the children with MIS-C were Latino, reflecting the high incidence of COVID-19 among Latinos overall.

Although none of the children reported to have the condition in Los Angeles County have died, nearly half have been sick enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

Children with the syndrome may have a fever and other symptoms including stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion. The syndrome can cause different parts of the body to become inflamed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“MIS-C is a new syndrome, and many questions remain about why some children and adolescents develop it after a COVID-19 illness or contact with someone with COVID-19 while others do not,” the CDC says.

As of Oct. 1, the CDC has reported 1,027 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children; 20 of the children with the ailment have died. Cases have been confirmed in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Arizona, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia are among the 10 states reporting the highest number of cases.

Just days before the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the county’s 41st MIS-C case, federal health officials reported that multisystem inflammatory syndrome began to show up in adults in the United States and the United Kingdom in June.

Friday’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” from the federal agency cited 27 adult cases and acknowledged that the data were limited. The CDC called it “an emerging syndrome” in adults and said more research was needed.

Like the childhood version of the ailment, MIS-A seems to affect Latinos and Blacks more than other populations. And, while it can kill, it usually does not.

“All but one of the patients with MIS-A described in this report belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups,” the CDC reported. “The majority (24 of 27) of patients with MIS-A survived, similar to those with MIS-C, associated with receiving care in acute, often intensive, health care settings.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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Maryland allows child care centers to expand capacity as part of economic recovery plan

The Maryland State Department of Education announced Thursday it will allow child care centers to operate at the capacity for which they are licensed, easing restrictions previously meant to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in an effort to support the state’s economic recovery.

Since May, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has gradually lifted capacity restrictions promoting social distancing inside “high-risk locations” such as restaurants, brick-and-mortar retail shops and places of worship. Now, almost all businesses have reopened in some fashion, though most still have restrictions such as capacity limits, face covering requirements and temperate checks.

The expansion of child care comes as a relief to both providers that operate on tight margins and parents who have struggled to find quality care while public schools continue to operate remotely.

“It’s a game changer,” said Rich Huffman, CEO of the Celebree day care and education program, which runs child care programs for multiple age groups throughout Maryland. “It allows for us to do what we do best, and it allows more parents to go back to work. It’s going to be a huge part of the state’s recovery.”

Child care centers can now have as many as 30 school-aged students in the same room with a ratio of one teacher for every 15 students.

Since July, child care centers have been limited to no more than 15 people per classroom. In March, the state closed child care centers except for the children of essential workers as the pandemic swept into the state.

State schools superintendent Karen B. Salmon said at an Annapolis news conference that more than 82% of licensed child care centers have reopened since March. But they have remained financially hindered due to the shutdown and capacity limits, she said, forcing many parents to turn to unlicensed providers who don’t meet state standards to care for children.

“Hopefully this action will assist in limiting the many unregulated and illegal operators that have sprung up in recent months, ” Salmon said. “There are no criminal background checks, no oversight, and parents can not be sure that their children are in a safe environment.”

Maryland Family Network deputy director Steve Rohde said the increased slots made available to families will mean greater protections for children. In the current situation, he said, there are fewer adults to help children wash hands and adhere to other health protocols.

While the extra slots will help some families who are on waiting lists at their day care centers, he said there are many centers that currently have openings.

“Parents are in a real quandary right now in terms of school and child care and their comfort level,” he said. “Getting back to the child care ratios in place before COVID is a good step.”

Some parents with young children had already secured temporary child care services to fill the gaps caused by the state’s restrictions. It’s unclear how many of them will switch back to licensed child care centers and providers.

Christina