children's health

School lunches are healthier than they were five years ago. But Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says schools need more flexibility in serving meals that kids will eat.

"If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted," Perdue said in a statement announcing a rule that is set to be published later this month.

The state starts rolling out new Medicaid managed care plans on Saturday and some are worried about the impacts to Florida’s most vulnerable children.

Researchers have traced a connection between some infections and mental illnesses like schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder. New research from Denmark bolsters that connection. The study, published Thursday in JAMA Psychiatry, shows that a wide variety of infections, even common ones like bronchitis, are linked to a higher risk of many mental illnesses in children and adolescents.

A couple of weeks ago, eight-year-old Liam Ramsay-Leavitt of Martinez, Calif., was swinging on the monkey bars at school. "And then I just fell on my side," he says. "I was kind of dizzy and I had an achy head."

It turns out that he had a concussion.

The doctor said he had to miss school for a week — there'd be no homework (he didn't mind that too much) but also no reading, no recess, no video games, no chess club, no activity. "I would just say it's really boring," Ramsay-Leavitt says. "And disappointing."

The number of children being stricken by a mysterious paralyzing condition continues to increase, federal officials say.

At least 252 cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so far this year from 27 states, including 90 that have been confirmed through Nov. 9, the CDC reported Tuesday.

Most of the cases have occurred among children between the ages of 2 and 8.

Marijuana, it seems, is not a performance-enhancing drug. That is, at least, not among young people, and not when the activity is learning.

Updated 3:55 p.m. ET

A rare condition causing weakness in the arms or legs — and sometimes paralysis — has been confirmed in 62 children so far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

One child has died of the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM.

Florida health officials say a child is the first to die during this year's flu season.

Miami Herald

In South Florida, high school football has seen a decline in participation amid growing health concerns. Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach recently shut down its program after the coach said they couldn’t get enough players to field a team.

Within three days of starting high school this year, my ninth-grader could not get into bed before 11 p.m. or wake up by 6 a.m. He complained he couldn't fall asleep but felt foggy during the school day and had to reread lessons a few times at night to finish his homework. And forget morning activities on the weekends — he was in bed.

We're not the only family struggling to get restful shut-eye.

It may be a new school year, yet I come to sing the praises of trampolines and bubble-blowing, pillow forts and peekaboo, Monopoly and Marco Polo.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

You wouldn't know it by looking at her but, according to her mother, Sandra Lobaina was a biter. 

“I bit her," said Lobaina, smiling, when asked to explain why her mother didn't breastfeed her. "After that, she stopped. Even though I was a few days old, and I didn’t have teeth. But she was in pain, wasn’t in the correct position. And there wasn’t anyone there to come in and help her.”

Now Lobaina works as a licensed midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to make sure other mothers have the support they need to breastfeed. 

Officials say two more cases of measles have been diagnosed in a Florida county where an unvaccinated child came down with the illness earlier this week.

An estimated 12.8 percent of adolescents in the U.S. experience at least one episode of major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. According to previous studies, many of those teens' mental health is linked to depression in their parents.

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