The Check-Up: Today’s Top Health Headlines
• You know the statistic: One in three kids in the US is overweight or obese. But is a children’s book aimed at dieting the right way to deal with it? Paul Kramer, a children’s book author, seems to think so; his to-be-released book Maggie Goes on a Diet is aimed at 4-to-8-year-olds and tells the story of an overweight 14-year-old Maggie who loses weight and “becomes the school soccer star,” according to the book’s summary. Media outlets from coast to coast are buzzing about the book, some for and some against it (TIME has a good summary here). Kramer told Fox News that he isn’t advocating “that any child should go on a diet.” You know, despite the book’s, um, title. What do you think? Good idea? Terrible idea? I’m dying to hear your thoughts.
• Here’s a strange correlation I’ve never considered: A new survey found that teens who use social-networking sites like Twitter or Facebook are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol, and nearly twice as likely to smoke pot than their peers who aren’t on the sites. Interesting, no? Of course, TIME.com casts doubt on the findings, saying that “the research methods used here cannot actually determine whether social media causes increased substance abuse or whether the association is simply related to a third factor, such as teens’ concern about their social status or conversely, having strict parents.” More research needed.
• If you’re considering a spray tan to darken up before your next vacation, read this story on the LA Times health blog first. While spray tans are obviously safer skin-cancer-wise than traditional sunless-tanning beds, apparently there’s been no research into the safety of the stuff when it’s inhaled or used near eyes or nose. Reports the Times: “The FDA has received reports of coughing, dizziness and fainting from people who’ve used sunless tanning booths — but it’s unclear whether these symptoms came about in reaction to sunless tanners or if they were related to preexisting medical conditions. A number of sunless-tanning-booth manufacturers have said that they plan to conduct studies demonstrating the safety of the process, but none has yet provided data to the FDA.” I’m not so sure I’m willing to take the risk for the perfect sun-kissed glow—but maybe that’s just me …