Posts filed under ‘Children’

GRHF Announces Obesity Ad Campaign

The Greater Rochester Health Foundation has announced a new TV advertising campaign that targets the parents of overweight children.  The ads are part of a $50 million campaign against childhood obesity that the Foundation announced last year.

You can see the ads and read about the campaign at the Foundation’s “Be a Healthy Hero” website and read a D&C article about the yesterday’s announcement here – full text of the article after the jump.



October 15, 2008 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

Foodlink: Healthy Meals Still Available

Foodlink is attempting to raise awareness — and participation — in its summer meals program.  The program currently provides free healthy breakfasts and lunches to 8,000 local children at some 30 sites across the city, but an estimated 25,000 children are eligible for the meals, which are subsidized by the US Department of Agriculture.

You can read a D&C story about a joint new conference held by Foodlink and the Rochester Rhinos here (full text after the jump).  And you can find out more information about the program on the Foodlink website here.


July 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

In the News: Cancer Rates and Education and Obesity and Diabetes

Two new studies of interest out today.  The first links cancer rates and socioeconomic status, particularly education.  Researchers associate the drop in cancer rates among well educated (people with at least 16 years of education) to better prevention/screening and declines in smoking.  You can read a Reuters story on the study here.

The childhood obestiy epidemic could have a lasting legacy of a growing number of adults with diabetes.   You can read a HealthDay story on the Michigan study here.

July 8, 2008 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Study: Diet During Pregnancy and Obesity in Children Linked

A British study in rats has revealed that eating an unhealthy diet during pregnancy raises the lifetime risk of obesity and elevated cholesterol and blood sugar levels in offspring.

URMC childhood obesity expert Stephen Cook, M.D. commented on the study, which appears in the Journal of Physiology, in a WebMD story:

“A lot of information suggests that in-utero exposures can lead to long-lasting effects in children.  Women who smoke during pregnancy have children who are heavier, so maternal patterns can affect a child’s weight. Whether the cause is altered metabolism or something else, it is a very real concern.”

You can read the entire WebMD story here.

July 2, 2008 at 10:39 am Leave a comment

2008 Summer in the City Series Schedule

The Summer in the City Series, a joint program of the Center for Community Health and the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, has released its schedule for 2008.  The series consists of lunch-hour discussion on a variety of public health topics.

Unless noted, the discussions are from 12:00 to 1:00 PM and are held in Room K-307 in the Medical Center and include a light lunch.  The schedule is as follows:

July 8: Health-e-Access: Using Technology to Increase Care for Children

Ken McConnochie, M.D., MPH, director, Health-e-Access Telemedicine Network and professor of Pediatrics (Please note that this session only is scheduled 12:15 to 1:15 pm)

July 15:  Nourishing our Neighborhoods

Chris Hartman, co-manager, South Wedge Farmers’ Market

Eleanor Coleman, Southwest Area Neighborhood Association

Katrina Korfmacher, Ph.D., community outreach coordinator; research assistant professor, Environmental Health Sciences Center

July 22: Creating Urban Villages in the Rochester Children’s Zone (RCZ)

Ellen Lewis, interim team leader, RCZ

Rev. Glenn Alexander, pastor, Holy City International Church of God in Christ; board member, RCZ; Sector 10 Co-Chair, North East Neighborhood Alliance

July 29: Teen Smart Driving: What Parents Should Know

Anne Brayer, M.D., associate professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics

Lynn Babcock-Cimpello, M.D., associate professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, co-directors, Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Rochester

For more information: or 276-3056

July 1, 2008 at 1:39 pm 1 comment

Seminar on Mental Health Program for At-Risk Children

The Summer in the City Series launches its 2008 season with presentation and discussion entitled “Fostering Recovery: Mental Health, Child Welfare and Recovery Working Together for Families.”

The topic is a new joint program involving the University’s Department of Psychiatry, the Mount Hope Family Center, the Monroe County Department of Human Services, and the Monroe County Family Court that provides children and parents in welfare and foster care programs with the mental health care they need to thrive and stay together as a family.   The program is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health.

You can read a news release about the launching of the program here.

The series, which is sponsored by the Center for Community Health, will take place on Tuesday, June 3 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM in K-307 in the Medical Center.  Speakers include: Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the project, and Cynthia Lewis, LMSW, ACSW, director of Child and Family Services with the Monroe County Department of Human Services.

A light lunch will be served.  For more information, contact or 276-3056.

May 22, 2008 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

Exposing an Invisible and Silent Monster Devouring Our Children (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of three posts on the historic community response to lead poisoning in Rochester New York. You can read the first post here.

After becoming Principal of an urban, high-needs elementary school in Rochester, I set out to “level the playing field” for my school’s children and community. After raising nearly seven million dollars, replacing almost the entire school teaching staff, and creating numerous school/community partnerships, I noticed that I still had a core of children with critically serious learning and behavioral deficits. Puzzled by this, I was the first principal known to review my school children’s public health records, and what I found horrified me. What follows is the second of a three-part story of the epic battle with what I call “the invisible and silent monster that devours our children”. — Ralph Spezio

“Lifting the Rock and Exposing the Monster”

At this point, I received permission to view the Monroe County Health records of the children that attended my school, and what I found as I studied each folder stunned and horrified me. There emerged a common denominator for all of the children who were having severe difficulties with learning and/or behavior:

  • Of the 3, 4, and 5 year old children who lived in the neighborhood and were coming to school for the first time, 41% of them had medical histories of blood-lead levels that were over 10 mg/dl (micrograms per deciliter). The Center for Disease Control states that this blood-lead level and levels that are even lower can cause permanent brain damage and loss of IQ.
  • It is important to note that many of the children in this cohort were not included in this 41% (even though they had many of the same symptoms) because they had no medical histories of a blood lead screening as required by NYS law.
  • It is also important to note that, when I looked in their medical records, 100% of my special education children also had histories of high blood-lead levels.

I called childhood lead poisoning the “invisible and silent monster that was devouring our children right before our very eyes”. It reduces their IQ, and in doing so, it steals their future. The houses surrounding my urban elementary school were mostly rented out and owned by landlords that did not live within that community. Most were built at the end of the 1800’s and were in serious disrepair. These houses, the houses where children ate, slept, played, and lived were toxic. Nearly one-half of my children, coming to school from these houses, had medical blood-lead readings that were alarmingly high, causing physical problems, brain damage, and permanent loss of IQ.

The Rochester community was completely outraged, especially when they were educated regarding the devastation that lead poisoning can do to a developing child. Children can be severely lead poisoned, not only from deteriorated housing, but also from a remodeling job that does not employ lead-safe work practices. Urban, suburban, and rural communities are all affected by this silent monster.

The neuropsychological problems associated with lead poisoning are insidious and severe. This potent neurotoxic element creates serious cognitive and behavioral problems for children. These problems include:

  • Delayed language or motor milestone in infants and toddlers
  • Poor speech articulation
  • Poor language understanding or usage
  • Problems maintaining attention in school or home
  • High activity level (hyperactivity)
  • Problems with learning and remembering new information
  • Rigid, inflexible problem-solving abilities
  • Delayed general intellectual abilities
  • Learning problems in school (reading, language, math, and writing)
  • Problems controlling behavior (e.g., aggressive, impulsive)
  • Problems with fine or gross motor coordination

The physical symptoms include headaches, irritability, abdominal pain, vomiting, anemia, blood pressure problems, kidney disease, skeletal problems and a list too numerous to continue. There is no safe level or threshold for lead in a developing child’s body.

Nearly one half of our children at School No.17 were coming to school for the first time from the surrounding homes with permanent damage from lead poisoning. The lead poisoning monster knows how to hide and disguise itself so that it remains invisible. An invisible enemy can take bites and chucks out of a population at will. The only way to fight an invisible enemy is to put a face on that enemy, and we put a face on the monster of lead poisoning through education and policy change. That is what the Rochester/Monroe County community has done and continues to do.

Next: “Child Advocacy and a Community’s Heroic Response”

May 7, 2008 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

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