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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
February 2017
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Could your teen’s screen time be linked to weight gain?

It’s no secret that a lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain. Anyone who works behind a desk for eight hours a day knows this to be true, but what about our kids? A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics suggests that teens glued to their tablet, smartphone or computer for hours on end may be more likely to become obese.

The trouble with technology

Today’s parents grew up at a time when they would play on the playground at recess and then come home after school and play in their yards or catch a pickup game of basketball with friends. These days, those activities are rare.

It’s not just a lack of physical activity that’s behind the study’s findings. Those who used screen devices for five or more hours daily were twice as likely not only to engage in too little physical activity, but also consume more sugary beverages and snacks, the researchers found. As a result, the teens studied showed a 43 percent increased risk of obesity compared with kids who don't use smartphones or tablets at all.

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How to help your child take medicine

Although medicine can make your child feel better, getting him or her to take it can be a battle. If your child is new to taking medicine, or if he or she is afraid to take medicine, there are a variety of tips to help make the medicine go down a little easier.

  • Mask the taste – Liquid medicines do not always taste the best and the coating on some pills can leave a bad taste in your child’s mouth if they are not swallowed right away. Try masking the taste with food, such as applesauce or a popsicle, to help hide unpleasant tastes.
  • Adjust head posture – Tilting your child’s chin up or turning it to one side can help make pills easier to swallow. You can also tell your child that he or she can pretend the medicine is food and to swallow the medicine the same way.
  • Be a role model – It’s no secret that kids learn by example. It’s important to have a positive attitude when it comes to taking medicine. You can also show how to take the medicine to help alleviate your child’s fears.

If your child still struggles to take medicine, talk with his or her pediatrician.

A decade after its introduction, the facts on the HPV vaccine

Why, after 10 years, are parents still conflicted about giving their children the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine? While all vaccines have risks and benefits, the HPV vaccine is particularly controversial because of concerns regarding safety and the age at which it’s given (young adults). If you are unsure whether the vaccine is right for your child, consider the following information from Mount Nittany Physician Group Pediatrics. 

Understanding HPV and the need for a vaccine

There are more than 40 types of HPV that can affect the genital areas, mouth and throat of males and females, making HPV the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. today. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with the virus, and roughly 14 million people become newly infected each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While these statistics may seem alarming, most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems (nine of 10 HPV infections go away by themselves within two years). Sometimes, however, HPV infections will persist and cause health issues, such as genital warts or cancer.

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Recent product recalls

Here are recent product recalls announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.


Name of product: Bolton Furniture dressers

Hazard: The recalled dressers are unstable if they are not anchored to the wall, posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children. The dressers do not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard (ASTM F2057-14).

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