Just say no … to the latte?

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Pediatric Primary Care Physician
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Today’s teens are on the go. In my own home, we juggle piano, Tae Kwon Do, violin, dance, and running 5Ks with schoolwork, eating healthy family dinners, sleeping, and, of course, having fun and being a kid!  Of those activities, sleep is most likely the first to be neglected, and teens often turn to caffeine and energy drinks to stay alert and in action.  But how much caffeine is too much and what’s in energy drinks anyway?

What is caffeine and what does it do?
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, colas, and energy drinks and is known to enhance performance in adults; however, it has not been studied in children and teens. It raises heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; helps improve attention and wakefulness; and prevents fatigue.

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Five steps to choosing running shoes for your active child

By Dr. Shaylon Rettig
Sports Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

A good pair of running shoes is an important piece of equipment for any athlete. Shoes that are chosen specifically for foot type and fitted properly can help keep young athletes healthy and possibly prevent injuries such as shin splints and stress fractures.

Foot Types and Shoe Qualities

  • Low arched feet or flat feet are those that do not have much of a gap between the floor and the arch of the foot when standing. This foot type is very flexible and needs a shoe that can control its motion. Look for a shoe that has a rigid heel counter and more durable foam in the middle third of the midsole (often there is a change in foam color or texture in these types of shoes).
  • High arched feet are those that have a large gap between the floor and the arch of the foot. This foot type tends to be rigid and needs a shoe that can absorb the shock of running. Look for a shoe that is flexible and has a thick and cushioned midsole.
  • Neutral feet are those that have an arch height between high and low. This foot type can accommodate most shoe types.

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Should I let my child watch 13 Reasons Why?

By Dr. Elena Mikalsen
Chief of Pediatric Psychology
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Mental health professionals have become increasingly concerned about the new hit Netflix show and its portrayal of the suicide of the main character, Hannah. While I am glad that the show can start conversations about bullying, sexual assaults in high schools, and teen suicides, I am also very concerned about how the show incorrectly portrays some facts about teen mental health and suicide in general.

Hannah’s suicide is portrayed as being caused by the actions of other people (bullies, friends, school counselor, etc.). In reality, decades of research on teen suicide have shown that 90 percent of teen suicides are the result of mental illness. Teens first develop mental illness, such as depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, ADHD and then slowly, over time (one to two years), become unable to cope with stressors in their lives. When a teen with mental illness encounters bullying, divorce, family violence, academic stressors, and other stresses present in teen lives, he or she develops thoughts of suicide and begins to contemplate ending their life. This means family, school counselors, pediatricians, mental health professionals are able to intervene and help the teen if symptoms of mental illness are caught early on.

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