Roundup: Infant Walker Injuries and Junk Food's Link to Cancer

Doctors Renew Call for Ban on Infant Walkers, Which are Causing Too Many Injuries

Infant walkers have been a concern among healthcare professionals for years, with the American Academy of Pedtiratcs (AAP) calling for a ban on the devices.

A new study has rekindled the call for a ban because there are still too many injuries attributed to infant walkers. The devices can lead to injuries from falling down stairs and gaining access to objects that otherwise may have been out of reach, according to the AAP. Their use also can delay motor development, according to the study, Infant Walker-Related Injuries in the United States, published in the journal, Pediatrics, this week.

Infant walker injuries have declined as standards have gotten tougher. In 1990, there were 20,650 injuries, compared to 3,201 in 2003, an 85 percent decline. In 1997,  walker frames were made wider than doorways to reduce injuries. Tougher safety standards became mandatory in 2010, but the AAP has pushed to ban the walkers due to the dangers that persist.

Still, researchers found that infant walkers spark more than 2,000 visits to emergency departments each year, and other studies have found warnings to parents to be ineffective.

The latest study found that falling down stairs was the most common injury, making up 74 percent of incidents, followed by falling out of the walker. About 91 percent of the injuries were to the head or neck, and about 4.5 pernet of the children were admitted to the hospital, according to the study.

“Despite the decline in injuries, infant walkers remain an important and preventable source of injury among young children, which supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ call for a ban on their manufacture and sale in the United States,” the study concluded.

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Eating Junk Food Regularly Linked to Higher Risk of Cancer

A new study finds that food high in salt, sugar and fat — what most people consider ‘junk food” — can increase cancer rates up to 11 per cent higher, compared to rates among people eat healthier diets. The research involved nearly half a million adults and used Britain’s ‘traffic light’ food scoring system – which enables consumers to decipher which foods are healthy.

Among the types of foods considered unhealthy by the study are cakes, biscuits, puddings, lasagne, tomato ketchup and red and processed meat. The new study, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, is intended to provide evidence of the value of the British Food Standards Agency system, which is responsible for protecting public health in relation to diet in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A total score tied to a lower-nutritional-quality diet was associated with a higher risk of cancer. Cancer rates among those with the highest junk food scores were 81.4 cases per 10,000 person years, compared to 69.5 cases per 10,000 person years among those with the lowest junk food scores. “Person years” refers to an estimate of time for all the participants in the study, allowing researchers to measure cancer risk no matter how long a person remained in the study.

People who ate the most junk food showed a higher risk of colorectal, respiratory tract (lips, mouth, tongue, nose, throat, vocal cords and part of the esophagus and windpipe), and stomach cancers, the study found.

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Study Suggests Use of Household Disinfectants May Contribute to Child Obesity

New research indicates that exposure by infants to certain household disinfectants may be linked to being overweight later in their lives. The study, published this week in the CMAJ, used data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, which launched in 2009.

Researchers followed participants from mid-pregnancy into childhood and adolescence. They examined fecal samples for infants at 3 to4 months of age and surveyed parentes about their household and use of disinfectant products.

Of the 757 infants profiled, 80 percent came from households that used disinfectant products on a weekly basis, usually involving multi-surface cleaners. They study found an increase of a gut bacteria called Lachnospiraceae in infant stool associated with homes that used these disinfectants — but they found no such link when detergents were used that did not containt the bacteria-killing ingredients found in disinfectants.

According to the findings, infants from households that used antimicrobial disinfectants weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of Lachnospiraceae and then, after age 3, they were also more likely to have a higher body mass index than children from homes where these disinfectants were not as frequently used.

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