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Children’s activity levels reflect their mothers’, study finds

Children’s activity levels reflect their mothers’, study finds

One way to keep children physically active is for their mothers to be active, a new study suggests. British researchers used an accelerometer to monitor physical activity levels of 554 4-year-olds and their mothers for about a week. They analyzed the time the participants spent sedentary and the intensity of their physical activity.

The time children were sedentary or did light or vigorous activity was directly associated with the amount of time their mothers engaged in the same level of activity. Children who were normal weight and those who attended pre-school part-time were more likely to be sedentary in proportion to their mothers compared with children who were overweight or attended pre-school full-time.

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The findings suggest that mothers and their children are likely to participate in physical activity together, so mothers have the opportunity to influence their children to stay active, the authors wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Children’s physical activity levels tend to parallel the amount and intensity level of physical activity their mothers get.

CAUTIONS: The study period was too short to determine whether other factors were associated with the activity levels of the children.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Pediatrics, March 24

ICU visit linked
to risk of later psychiatric illness

Patients treated in an intensive care unit may be at increased risk to be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder once they leave the hospital, a Columbia University study reported. The researchers looked at about 24,000 “critically ill” patients — who were admitted to the ICU and required mechanical ventilation — in Denmark from 2006-08, a majority of whom were over age 65. They compared those patients with a group of hospitalized patients and the general population.

Among the critically ill patients, 6.2 percent had one or more psychiatric diagnoses before they entered the ICU, compared to 5.4 percent among hospitalized patients and
2.4 percent within the general population.

Within the first three months following ICU admission, the risk of a new psychiatric diagnosis among the critically ill who had no previous psychiatric history was low but higher than in the other two groups. The critically ill patients also were more likely to be prescribed psychoactive drugs. The findings suggest that critically ill patients who recover should receive more comprehensive follow-up because they are vulnerable to psychiatric illnesses, the authors wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Patients treated in an ICU and who required help breathing through a ventilator may be at increased risk for a psychiatric disorder once they leave the hospital.

CAUTIONS: The study did not look into how long the patients’ psychiatric diagnosis persisted after discharge, and for how long they needed to take medication. The researchers did not look at the type of medication administered in the hospital, which may have contributed to patients’ later psychiatric diagnoses.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of the American Medical Association, March 19LARA SALAHI

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