Subject: Studies in the News 07-30 (April 13, 2007)


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Studies in the News for
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Children and Families Commission


Contents This Week

Introductory Material HEALTH
   Early brain development and stimuli
IMPROVED CHILD DEVELOPMENT
   New Jersey's P-3 approach
   Florida's high-quality pre-kindergarten for low-income kids
   Helping young Hispanic learners
   Investing in young children
   Preschool teacher education and classroom quality
   Early intervention for 'Success by Ten'
   Preschool Matters - new issue
   Pre-k and early elementary math
IMPROVED FAMILY FUNCTIONING
   Respite care for grandfamilies
   Is kinship care good for kids?
   Childcare, work, and family self-sufficiency
   Teen parent families
IMPROVED HEALTH
   Orange county children health needs assessment
   Insurance coverage and children's health
   Food products dominate advertising to children
   Fatal injuries to very young children
   Hospital care for children from Spanish-speaking families
   Proportion of baby boys being born is falling
   Santa Clara County Healthy Kids program
   Decline in child maltreatment
   Screening young children for hearing loss
IMPROVED SYSTEMS OF CARE
   Childcare and military families
   Quality childcare
STUDIES TO COME
   Autism spectrum disorders
   Pregnancy weight gain linked to overweight kids
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News: Children and Family Supplement is a service provided to the First 5 California by the California State Library. The service features weekly lists of current articles focusing on Children and Family policy. Prior lists can be viewed from the California State Library's Web site at www.library.ca.gov/CRB/SITN/.

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

  • When available on the Internet, the URL for the full-text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

HEALTH

INFANTS & CHILDREN

Million Dollar Babies: Why Infants Can’t Be Hard-Wired for Success. By Sara Meade, Education Sector. (Sector, Washington, D.C.) April 2007. 8 p.

Full Text at: www.educationsector.org/usr_doc/Million_Dollar_Babies.pdf

[“Parents fork over billions of dollars for CDs, DVDs, toys and other products that promise to make their babies smarter -- and governments invest in programs to maximize children's brain development from birth through age three. But many efforts to build "brighter babies" are doomed to failure because they are built on misinterpretations and misapplications of brain research, a report says. That a baby's first three years are key for brain development is beyond dispute; scientists know that babies' brains change rapidly, growing and pruning synapses. But the author says a few early childhood advocates have misinterpreted or misused research to suggest that if parents don't sufficiently stimulate children's brains before age three, they'll do irreparable harm.” USA Today (April 2, 2007) online.]

[Request #S704024]

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IMPROVED CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Building Strong Rungs To Build Sturdy Ladders: The Status of Preschool - 3rd Grade Systems in New Jersey. By Cynthia Rice. ACNJ Policy Brief. (Association for Children of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey) January 2007. 10 p. *

Full Text at: www.fcd-us.org/usr_doc/BuildingStrongRungs.pdf

["As New Jersey’s successful preschool program matures, the challenges of connecting it to the early elementary grades are becoming more apparent. Key stakeholders believe that the payoff in student achievement by Third Grade will make PK-3 worth the effort. 'Building Strong Rungs to Build Strong Ladders: The Status of Preschool-Third Grade Systems in New Jersey,' a new policy brief from the Association for the Children of New Jersey, describes how New Jersey's school districts are grappling with how to integrate preschool learning experiences with the K-3 grades in ways that will benefit children." The Learning Curve (April 5, 2007).]

[Request #S704021]

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The Early Childhood Cluster Initiative of Palm Beach County, Florida: Early Implementation Study And Evaluability Assessment. Final Report. By Julie Spielberger and Paul Goyette. (Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago, Illinois) 2006. 79 p. *

Full Text at: www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1451

["This report evaluates a pre-kindergarten program that has a goal of providing low-income children with a high-quality, year-round preschool experience that will enhance their development and help them acquire the foundational skills necessary to prepare them for school."]

[Request #S704022]

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"Helping Young Hispanic Learners." By Eugene E. García and Bryant Jensen. IN: Educational Leadership, vol. 64, no. 6 (March 2007) pp. 34-39. *

["Hispanics are the largest and youngest ethnic group in the United States. Moreover, young Hispanic children make up approximately 80 percent of the U.S. English language learner population. They are a heterogeneous group, born both inside and outside the United States and having origins in Mexico, Cuba, Central America, South America, and the Dominican Republic. Young Hispanics bring a set of welcome assets to the education process: They often come from two-parent families, have a strong work ethic, are healthy, value education, and often are bilingual. Nevertheless, Hispanics lag behind their white and Asian American peers at all proficiency levels of reading and mathematics throughout their K-12 schooling. To improve their education trajectory early on requires rich language environments, dual-language programs, universal prekindergarten, and high-quality, bilingual teachers." NOTE: Educational Leadership... is available for loan.]

[Request #S704023]

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The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children. By James J. Heckman and Dimitriy V. Masterov, University of Michigan. IZA Discussion Paper No. 2725. (Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA, Bonn, Germany) April 2007. 100 p. *

Full Text at: ftp.iza.org/dp2725.pdf

["This paper presents the case for investing more in young American children who grow up in disadvantaged environments.... Adverse environments place children at risk for social and economic failure. The accident of birth plays a powerful role in determining adult success. Many have commented on this phenomenon, and most analyses have cast the issue of assisting children from disadvantaged families as a question of fairness or social justice. This paper makes a different argument. We argue that, on productivity grounds, it makes sense to invest in young children from disadvantaged environments. Substantial evidence shows that these children are more likely to commit crime, have out-of-wedlock births and drop out of school. Early interventions that partially remediate the effects of adverse environments can reverse some of the harm of disadvantage and have a high economic return. They benefit not only the children themselves, but also their children, as well as society at large."]

[Request #S704025]

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"Teachers’ Education, Classroom Quality, and Young Children’s Academic Skills: Results From Seven Studies of Preschool Programs." By Diane M. Early and others. IN: Child Development, vol. 78, no. 2 (March/April 2007) pp. 558-580. *

[" Policymakers are increasingly requiring that public preschool teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in early childhood education. Rather than focusing solely on teachers’ educational attainment, however, they should take a broad approach, supporting effective and comprehensive professional development activities. An analysis of seven major studies of early care and education suggests that policies focused solely on teacher education are not likely to increase classroom quality or boost children’s academic gains." Early Education in the News (March 31, 2007). NOTE: Child Development... is available for loan.]

[Request #S704026]

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Success By Ten: Intervening Early, Often, and Effectively in the Education of Young Children. By Jens Ludwig and Isabel V. Sawhill, Brookings Institution. (The Institution, Washington, DC) February 2007. *

["Success by Ten is a proposed program designed to help every child achieve success in school by age ten. It calls for a major expansion and intensification of Head Start and Early Head Start, so that every disadvantaged child has the opportunity to enroll in a high-quality program of education and care during the first five years of his or her life. Because the benefits of this intensive intervention may be squandered if disadvantaged children go from this program to a low-quality elementary school, the second part of the proposal requires that schools devote their Title I spending to instructional programs that have proven effective in further improving the skills of children, especially their ability to read."]

Policy Brief: 8 p.
http://www3.brookings.edu/views/papers/200702ludwig-sawhill_pb.pdf

Full Paper: 37 p.
http://www3.brookings.edu/views/papers/200702ludwig-sawhill.pdf

[Request #S704027]

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Preschool Matters. [Entire Issue.] By the National Institute for Early Education Research. Vol. 5, No. 2 (February/March 2007) 12 p. *

Full Text at: nieer.org/resources/printnewsletter/FebMar2007.pdf

["Here Come the 3-Year-Olds! The latest issue of Preschool Matters features a look at states that are taking the lead on public pre-k for 3-year-olds. The Erikson Institute's Barbara Bowman, NIEER Co-Director Ellen Frede, and NIEER Research Associates Amanda Colon and Alexandra Figueras discuss mixed-age classrooms and why one size doesn't fit all when it comes to preschool education. Also in Preschool Matters: - 2006 State Preschool Yearbook Shows New Highs, a New Low - Newsmaker Graciela Italiano-Thomas and Washington's Thrive by Five Partnership - Two High-Level Reports Call for Universal Access to Preschool Education - International Study Finds Pre-K Practices That Make a Difference." NIEER Online Newsletter (March 30, 2007).]

[Request #S704028]

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Doing the Critical Things First: An Aligned Approach to Prek and Early Elementary Math. By Sharon Griffin. IN: Harvard Education Letter, vol. 23, no. 2 (March/April 2007) 4 p. *

Full Text at: www.fcd-us.org/usr_doc/Math_Alignment.pdf

["Sharon Griffin is an associate professor of education and psychology at Clark University and author of the Number Worlds curriculum for teaching number sense in the preK and elementary years. In this interview with the Harvard Education Letter, Griffin discusses what cognitive science can teach us about aligning preK and early elementary curriculum and teaching methods with the natural development of children’s mathematical thinking."]

[Request #S704029]

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IMPROVED FAMILY FUNCTIONING

Strengthening Grandfamilies through Respite Care. By the Family Strengthening Policy Center. Policy Brief No. 20. (National Human Services Assembly, Washington, DC) January 2007. 20 p. *

Full Text at: www.nassembly.org/fspc/documents/Brief20.pdf

["Respite care can provide grandparents and other relative caregivers with the time they need to take care of themselves so they can provide a nurturing family and home for the children they are raising. Caregivers in these 'grandfamilies' often need regular or emergency care for their children while they attend to medical, business, or other family matters. A recent policy brief from the Family Strengthening Policy Center examines the benefits of respite care programs for grandfamilies. The brief sheds light on the economic and emotional issues affecting these households and recommends various types of respite care to accommodate family circumstances.... The brief includes a list of policy recommendations to improve the availability and accessibility of respite care systems and identifies family-driven practices based on measurable outcomes. Successful respite care programs are also profiled." Children's Bureau Express (April 2007).]

[Request #S704030]

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Is Kinship Care Good for Kids? By Tiffany Conway and Rutledge Q. Hutson. (Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, DC) March 2, 2007. 3 p. *

Full Text at: www.clasp.org/publications/is_kinship_care_good.pdf

["More than 2.5 million children are being raised by grandparents and other relatives because their parents are unable - for a variety of reasons - to care for them. These relative caregivers are willing to care for the children - but they may require financial help in order to meet the children’s needs. A number of states have utilized subsidized guardianship programs as a way of supporting such families, often called 'kinship families.' Such placements help the child to, among other things, maintain family - and oftentimes community - connections.... Still, some wonder whether kinship care is a good thing - and how we know this. This fact sheet addresses these often unasked but crucial questions."]

[Request #S704031]

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Child Care Counts: Supporting Work Participation and Family Self-Sufficiency. By Timothy L. Fitzharris. (Child Development Policy Institute, Sacramento, California) March 2007. 94 p. *

[Last year, when the 109th Congress reauthorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, they modified the performance standards required of the states, limited their flexibility, and demanded more accountability. California, perhaps more than any other state, was negatively impacted by these changes and as a result could suffer significant federal penalties for being out of compliance.... The purpose of this report is to suggest ways in which the child care community and the child care system can help the State and the counties meet new federal work and data reporting requirements. We underscore the vital roles of child care in strengthening families, supporting work participation and self-sufficiency, and assisting children to learn."]

Full Report:
https://www.cdpi.net/cs/cdpi/download/rs/32/CHILD%20CARE%20COUNTS%20FULL%20DOCUMENT%202.26.07%20FOR%20PDF.pdf?x-r=pcfile_d

[Request #S704032]

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Early Head Start and Teen Parent Families: Partnerships for Success. By the Center for Law and Social Policy. (The Center, Washington, DC) [2007.] 23 p. *

Full Text at: www.clasp.org/publications/ehs_teens.pdf

["This issue brief focuses on the special needs of teenage parents and their children ('teen parent families') and on how the unique set of services available through Early Head Start (EHS) programs can support them. Teen parent families face multiple risks, risks that may be substantially different from those faced by families with older parents and that may be further complicated by issues involving disability, abuse, or neglect. These issues are interrelated and must be integrated and addressed as programs design services to meet the needs of this population. Specifically, the brief examines the benefits of EHS participation for teen parents involved with the child protective services system and for those with disabilities."]

[Request #S704033]

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IMPROVED HEALTH

Community Health: Continuing to Work the Puzzle: Orange County Health Needs Assessment. (Orange County Health Needs Assessment, Santa Ana, California) 2005. 1224 p. *

Full Text at: www.ochna.org/publications/documents/OCHNA2005DataReport_000.pdf

["OCHNA produces survey reports based on the collaborative county-wide health assessment that is performed every three years. The report provides significant survey findings and an in-depth analysis of emerging health issues for Orange County. Within each survey report is an Executive Summary with highlights from the survey and the implications of important findings as well as targeted areas of concern." Some of the topics included in the report are: birth indicators, prenatal care, breastfeeding and bottle use, and children's access to health care, prescription, dental, vision and mental health coverage in Orange county. "Due to the large size of this file, we recommend that you right-click and save the file to your computer for optimal viewing."]

[Request #S704034]

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"The Effect of New Insurance Coverage on the Health Status of Low-Income Children in Santa Clara County." By Embry M. Howell and Christopher Trenholm. IN: HSR: Health Services Research, vol. 42, no. 2 (April 2007) pp. 867-889. *

Full Text at: www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2006.00625.x

["The Santa Clara County Children’s Health Initiative seeks to provide coverage through the Healthy Kids initiative to all children in the county whose family incomes are below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. This paper provides new evidence on the effects of insurance coverage on children’s health by looking at how Healthy Kids affects the health of the low-income, undocumented children it serves. The authors found that children in the study group continuously insured for one year were significantly less likely to be in fair/poor health and to have functional impairments than the comparison group of newly insured children. The study group also had fewer missed school days, but the difference was significant only among children who did not enroll for a medical reason. The authors conclude that Healthy Kids had a favorable impact on children’s health." News from Mathematica (April 5, 2007).]

[Request #S704035]

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Food for Thought: Television Food Advertising to Children in the United States, A Kaiser Family Foundation Report. By Walter Gantz, Indiana University, and others. (The Foundation, Menlo Park, California) March 2007. *

["Youngsters 2 to 7 years old see a dozen food ads a day, researchers said Wednesday, and nearly half of the commercials aimed at children 17 and younger are selling candy, snacks, soda or fast food. The review of more than 8,800 ads by Indiana University and the Kaiser Family Foundation couldn't find a single commercial for fresh fruit or vegetables.... The new study was intended to satisfy policymakers who wanted to know 'how much food advertising children see on TV, for what types of food, and what types of appeals are used to market those foods to them,' said Kaiser's Vicky Rideout, a co-author of the study. 'Childhood obesity isn't just the latest hot topic,' Rideout said. 'It's a very serious problem that's having a devastating effect on the lives of millions of children and families in this country, and that could impact our country's healthcare system for many years to come.'" Los Angeles Times (March 29, 2007).]

Executive Summary: 6 p.
http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/7618ES.pdf

Full Report: 59 p.
http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/7618.pdf

[Request #S704036]

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"Twenty-Year Trends in Fatal Injuries to Very Young Children: The Persistence of Racial Disparities." By Joyce C. Pressley and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 119, no. 4 (April 2007) pp. e875-e884. *

Full Text at: pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/119/4/e875

["All-cause injury rates declined during the study period, but current mortality ratios for all-cause injury remained higher in black and American Indian/Alaskan Native children and lower in Asian/Pacific Islander children compared with white children. Trend analyses within racial groups demonstrate significant improvements in all groups for unintentional but not intentional injury. Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native children had higher injury risk as a result of residential fire, suffocation, poisoning, falls, motor vehicle traffic, and firearms. Disparities narrowed for residential fire, pedestrian, and poisoning and widened for motor vehicle occupant, unspecified motor vehicle, and suffocation for black and American Indian/Alaskan Native children."]

[Request #S704037]

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"Quality and Safety of Hospital Care for Children from Spanish-Speaking Families with Limited English Proficiency." By Christina Bethell and others. IN: Journal for Healthcare Quality, vol. 28, no. 3 (May/June 2006) pp. W3-2 - W3-16. *

Full Text at: www.nahq.org/journal/online/pdf/mayjune2006.pdf

["The issue of improvement in communication among patients and healthcare professionals is a priority on today’s national healthcare quality agenda. This article discusses a study aimed at reducing communication-related, negative hospital quality and safety events for children from Spanish-speaking, limited English proficient (LEP) families."]

[Request #S704038]

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"Declines in Sex Ratio at Birth and Fetal Deaths in Japan and U.S. Whites, but not in African Americans." By Devra Lee Davis and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, EHP-in-Press (online April 9, 2007) 33 p. *

Full Text at: www.ehponline.org/members/2007/9540/9540.pdf

["A new study has renewed the debate among public health experts over figures that seem to show a gradual but persistent decrease in the ratio between the birth of baby boys and baby girls. The authors of the study... point out that the proportion of baby boys being born has fallen each year in the United States and Japan since the 1970s, according to public health records in both countries. They say this downward trend may point to the impact of environmental pollutants on male fertility and fetal development - 'a serious matter,' the authors note in the study.... Though more boys than girls are born every year, the gap is narrowing, a trend some health experts attribute to environmental pollutants." ABC News (April 9, 2007).]

[Request #S704039]

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Santa Clara County Children’s Health Initiative Improves Children’s Health. By Embry Howell, Urban Institute, and Christopher Trenholm, Mathematica. In Brief. No. 4. (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, New Jersey) March 2007. 4 p. *

Full Text at: www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/pdfs/CHIimproves.pdf

["This brief presents findings from a survey of families with children who are enrolled in the Healthy Kids program in Santa Clara County, California. Launched in January 2001 by the Santa Clara County Children’s Health Initiative (CHI), Healthy Kids provides health insurance coverage to children in the county with household incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($62,000 for a family of four) who are ineligible for the two major state insurance programs, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. The vast majority of Healthy Kids children have household incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level, low enough to qualify them for one of the state programs, but they are ineligible for these programs because of their immigration status. This brief describes the impact of Healthy Kids on children’s health status, including perceived health, functional limitations, and school days missed because of health problems."]

[Request #S704040]

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Why Have Child Maltreatment and Child Victimization Declined? By David Finkelhor and Lisa Jones. IN: Journal of Social Issues, vol. 62, no. 4 (2006) pp. 685-716. *

Full Text at: www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV137J.pdf

["Overall rates of child maltreatment and child victimization, with the exception of neglect, have declined since the early 1990s. A recent study examined this decline to determine whether the trends reflect a true decline in child maltreatment rather than statistical anomalies, explore why the rates of neglect are not consistent with other indicators, and suggest further areas of research for the development of public policy. This study found evidence that declining child maltreatment rates do reflect an actual trend. Data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System were analyzed and found to be consistent across all categories. In addition, these data parallel research findings on other child welfare indicators, which show decreases in the numbers of teen parents, teen suicide, runaways, and children living in poverty.... The study examined a variety of possible explanations for the decline in maltreatment...." Children's Bureau Express (April 2007).]

[Request #S704041]

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"Screening for Hearing Loss in Early Childhood Programs." By William D. Eiserman and others. IN: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 1 (1st Quarter 2007) pp. 105–117. *

["This study assessed the feasibility of doing hearing screening in Migrant, American Indian and Early Head Start programs using otoacoustic emissions (OAE) technology. Staff members were trained to screen 0–3-year-old children for hearing loss using handheld OAE equipment and a multi-step screening and referral protocol.... The results demonstrate that OAE screening of young children using this protocol is practical and effective. The implications for conducting periodic hearing screening throughout early childhood are discussed." NOTE: Early Childhood Research Quarterly... is available for loan.]

[Request #S704042]

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IMPROVED SYSTEMS OF CARE

Need for High-Quality Child Care Affects Military Readiness and Retention. By RAND National Defense Research Institute. Research Brief No. 9218-OSD. (RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California) 2007. 3 p. *

Full Text at: www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/2007/RAND_RB9218.pdf

["A new research brief from the RAND Corporation presents findings from focus groups and surveys on the need for high quality child care for military families. Recognizing that parents may be distracted from duty if they have inadequate child care options, the brief presents options for the Department of Defense to address their child care needs." The Baby Monitor (April 2, 2007).]

[Request #S704043]

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Quality Child Care - A Guide for Working Parents. By the California Federation of Teachers and Labor Project for Working Families. (First Class Teachers, Washington, DC) [2007] 7 p. *

Full Text at: www.firstclassteachers.org/resourcesmain/downloads/quality-child-care.pdf

["In a recent California Federation of Teachers survey, working parents ranked pre-school/child care as one of the most important issues they face, essential to their ability to work. This guide offers facts and community resources to help Californians find child care and help unions and businesses do a better job ensuring access to quality child care." CFK Weekly (April 4, 2007).]

[Request #S704044]

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STUDIES TO COME
[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]

IMPROVED HEALTH

"Autism Spectrum Disorders." IN: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, vol. 161, no. 4 (April 2007) pp. 318-422. Entire issue. TC *

[A few of the articles included in this autism theme issue are: "Prenatal and Perinatal Risk Factors for Autism;" "The Lifetime Distribution of the Incremental Societal Costs of Autism;" "A Prospective Study of Response to Name in Infants at Risk for Autism;" "Comparison of Indicators for a Primary Care Medical Home Between Children With Autism or Asthma and Other Special Health Care Needs: National Survey of Children's Health." NOTE: Archives of Pediatrics… will be available for loan.]

[Request #S704045]

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"Gestational Weight Gain and Child Adiposity at Age 3 Years." By Emily Oken and others. IN: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 196, no. 4 (April 2007) p. 322, e1-8. TC *

["Pregnant women who gain excessive or even appropriate weight, according to current guidelines, are four times more likely than women who gain inadequate weight to have a baby who becomes overweight in early childhood. These findings are from a new study at the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.... 'Our study shows that excessive weight gain during pregnancy was directly associated with having an overweight child,' says Oken. 'Just like adults, children who are overweight are at higher risk for a number of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.'" Science Daily (April 4, 2007.) NOTE: Gestational Weight Gain… will be available for loan.]

[Request #S704046]

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