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News Round Up

Report: Air Pollution Could Kill 160,000 in Next Decade

More than 160,000 people could die over the next decade from strokes and heart attacks caused by air pollution warns the British Heart Foundation (BHF). While there are an estimated 11,000 deaths per year at the moment, BHF cautions that this number will rise as the population continues to age and wants the UK to meet World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on air pollution by 2030. Four in 10 children attend school in a high-pollution community.

Racist Housing Policies in US Linked to Deadly Heatwave Exposure

A study published in the journal Climate examines the link between historical housing policies to exposure to current deadly heatwaves. The study finds that deadly urban heatwaves disproportionately affect underserved neighborhoods because of the legacy of racist housing policies that have denied African Americans homeownership and basic public services. Each year, more than 600 Americans die and 65,000 seek emergency medical care for excessive heat exposure. As heatwaves become increasingly frequent and severe, scientists expect an increase in deaths and illnesses, particularly among vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, economically disadvantaged communities, and those with pre-existing conditions like heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

The Socioeconomic Impact of Road Accidents With Child Victims

A new report on the impact of road traffic accidents involving children reports that such accidents are a grave public health issue facing developing countries. The report from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) highlights the impact that traffic incidents with victims aged 0 to 17 have on a country’s economy and wider society. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of deaths of children over 10 years old throughout the world and a major public health problem in developing countries. In the poorest countries, children with serious injuries and disabilities caused by traffic accidents often push their families into poverty as they are forced to spend their savings, sell their property or quit their jobs in order to look after them.

No Child Left Inside: Small Grants for Getting Kids Outdoors in High Demand

For its first round of No Child Left Inside grants, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received an overwhelming response to its call for grant proposals. Program administrators received 200 applications in just six minutes from schools, nonprofits and community organizations. The majority of projects were focused on developing outdoor classes at schools. Lawmakers allocated $1.2 million to the program last year, for outdoor recreation and education projects, and to fund school-based outdoor sports like trapshooting and fishing teams. 

The Rise of Short-sightedness in Kids

As the number of people with myopia, or near-sightedness, has increased dramatically in recent years in various regions of the world, the risk of blindness with worsening severity of myopia has made the condition a major public health concern. While many studies have looked at possible risk factors, only a few factors have come out consistently around the world, one of which is lack of time spent outdoors in daylight.

That Public Playground Is Good for Your Kids and Your Wallet

In a study published in the Journal of Urban Landscape and Planning, Australian researchers found that having a playground nearby can add value to property. The presence of a playground added about 4.6 percent to the average property price. Researchers used ten years of property price history in a specific region of Australia to try to measure the value people place on playgrounds.

Children in Rural Areas Have Better Motor Skills

Researchers from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland found that children living in metropolitan areas have weaker motor skills compared with children living in the countryside. Study results also showed that children from the countryside spent more time outdoors, while children from the metropolitan area most frequently engaged in organized sports.

Study: Watching TV has Strongest Link with Childhood Obesity

An international health research centre which looked at city children’s habits found that watching television is the lifestyle habit ‘most strongly associated’ with obesity in children. Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) studied 1,480 children, looking at five lifestyle habits: physical activity, sleep time, television time, plant-based food consumption and ultra-processed food consumption. Of these, television watching was found to have the strongest association with overweight and obesity, as youngsters who were less active and spent more time in front of the TV were at greater risk of being affected by weight issues, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

The 2020 Grassroots Grants to Get More Kids Growing & Learning Outside Opens

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and the national nonprofit KidsGardening opened its Gro More Good Grassroots Grants, an annual grant program designed to get more kids outside through the development of youth-based garden and greenspace programs. The Gro More Good Grassroots Grants will support all types of community-driven garden and greenspace projects that directly engage youth. Grant funding will support the creation of new gardens and also the expansion of existing ones. Schools and nonprofit organizations across the country are encouraged to apply.

Exposure to Household Pet Cats and Dogs in Childhood and Risk of Subsequent Diagnosis of Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder

A study examining the relationship between exposure to a household pet cat or dog during the first 12 years of life and having a subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder found that exposure to a household pet dog was associated with a significantly decreased hazard of having a subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia. The researchers looked at 396 individuals with schizophrenia and 381 with bipolar disorder.

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