The Check-Up: Smokers’ Kids Miss More School

Plus new allergy research pertaining to the pint-size set

• With Philly schools back in session this week, this article about school absences among kids in smoking households seems particularly fitting. Researchers from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital found that kids who live in homes where at least one person smokes inside are absent from school more often than kids in nonsmoking homes. Kids in homes with one smoker missed 1.06 more days of schools than kids in smoke-free homes. And for kids with two or more smokers in the home, the number of days missed increased to 1.54. Via the LA Times:

In all, the authors attributed 24% of absences among kids with one smoker in the house to smoking-related illness.  For kids living with two or more indoor smokers, that went up to 34% of absences.  A child’s likelihood of having three or more ear infections in a year went up with the number of people who smoked in the house.  Kids with two smokers in the house had more colds.

• Since we’re talking about kids, take a look at this study about why black kids might be more likely to develop food allergies. New research published in the journal Pediatrics found that black kids are twice as likely as white kids to be allergic to foods like soy and cow’s milk, and that black kids are particularly prone to peanut allergies. The second part there is especially interesting when you consider the researchers’ methodology; they looked at blood samples to determine ancestry, and found that for “every 10 percent increment in African ancestry, children were 7 percent more likely to have antibodies to the allergy-causing foods than white children. And the association was strongest for peanuts; more children with African ancestry showed antibody levels that would correlate to a possible allergic reaction if they were to eat peanuts,” reports Interesting, right?