Research

Household cleaners may cause obesity in young children

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Source: AllerGen Network News

Killing germs around the house may have an impact on young childrens’ waistlines.

The connection? The infant gut microbiome, according to a study led by AllerGen investigator Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj (University of Alberta).

“Infants living in households where disinfectants are used at least weekly are twice as likely to have higher levels of the bacteria called Lachnospiraceae at three to four months of age," observes Dr. Kozyrskyj. “Those same children have a higher body mass index (BMI) at three years of age, compared to children not exposed to frequent home use of disinfectants as infants."

The finding is more than an association, she adds: "Our ‘mediation’ statistical analysis suggests that a gut microbiome enriched with Lachnospiraceae early in infancy was likely directly responsible for children becoming overweight or obese.” 

The study also found that infants in households that use eco-friendly cleaners had decreased odds of becoming overweight or obese, though the reasons for this difference remain uncertain.

Reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), these findings are based on an analysis of data from 757 children participating in AllerGen’s CHILD Study

Instagram promotes positive attitudes towards breastfeeding

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Source: AllerGen Network News

AllerGen investigator Dr. Meghan Azad (University of Manitoba) met AllerGen Highly Qualified Personnel Alessandro Marcon (University of Alberta) at AllerGen’s 2016 Research Conference in Vancouver, BC.

Their encounter catalyzed a unique research project that explored the question of whether or not Instagram users are building communities of support around women who breastfeed.

The answer, the researchers found, is “yes”! 

Analyzing more than 4,000 images and 8,000 comments posted on Instagram using popular breastfeeding-related hashtags, they found that the platform was used to create supportive networks for new mothers to share their experiences with breastfeeding. Discussions were overwhelmingly positive with virtually no hostile content.

Their paper, “Protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding on Instagram,” was published in Maternal and Child Nutrition in August 2018.

The researchers suggest that Instagram could potentially offer “new avenues and opportunities to ‘normalize,’ protect, promote, and support breastfeeding more broadly across its large and diverse global online community.” This, in turn, could help improve breastfeeding rates by changing perceptions and building supportive communities for breastfeeding moms. 

Together we can make a difference for children in pain

Members of the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research have been working closely with the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres (CAPHC) and many others across Canada and beyond on a proposal to support a new network called “Solutions for Kids in Pain” (SKIP).

Anyone with an interest in children's pain management is asked to please take 5 minutes to complete the following online survey:

The Centre for Pediatric Pain Research will use your feedback to develop a network that will improve the way children's pain is managed in Canada and beyond! You can also follow their progress on Twitter @KidsinPain and #ItDoesntHaveToHurt.
 

CHILD Study: Maternal depression higher among certain ethnic minorities

Mothers who are Black or of First Nations ethnicity are at greater risk of experiencing stress and symptoms of depression during pregnancy and their children’s first five years, according to new CHILD Study research.

It was already known that mothers from ethnic minorities are more at risk for psychosocial distress while pregnant and until their children reach pre-school age, observes CHILD Study Director Dr. Padmaja Subbarao (The Hospital for Sick Children), but “our study showed that this pattern is more nuanced than previously thought.”

Dr. Subbarao and her team analyzed data from more than 3,000 mothers participating in the CHILD Study, who had completed detailed questionnaires in which they self-identified their ethnicity and described their distress levels during pregnancy and their children’s first years.

“Black and First Nations mothers consistently reported the highest stress levels compared to all other ethnicities,” says AllerGen trainee and study first-author Christoffer Dharma (McMaster University). “This difference was significant, even after we controlled for other factors that may affect stress, such as social support, a history of depression, and socioeconomic status.”

Although self-reported depressive symptoms may not always translate to clinical depression, it is important for family, friends and healthcare professionals to be aware of potential problems and to support a mother’s psychological wellbeing both during and after pregnancy, notes Dr. Subbarao.

The research was published online in August 2018 in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Can The Moblees™ Move Canadian Children?

Investigating the Impact of a Television Program on Children's Physical Activity

Background

The effects of messaging about physical activity and sedentary behavior purposefully integrated into children's TV programming on children's behavior is unknown. The Moblees is a Canadian childrens' show that explicitly promotes physical activity. Two studies were conducted to (1) examine whether children were more physically active when watching a Moblees episode, and (2) explore parental perceptions of the show.

Visit Frontiers in Public Health to read the article for free, or download the PDF