Top kids’ health issues to watch in 2012

Nemours, an  internationally recognized children’s health system that owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, along with major pediatric specialty clinics, manages the KidsHealth.org  website.

Physicians and editors at KidsHealth.org sifted through health issues affecting children and families to choose a few important trends to keep tabs on in 2012.

Here are a few areas that made the list:

The Risks of Postponing or Avoiding Vaccinations 

When it comes to immunizing children, increasing numbers of parents aren’t just consulting their pediatricians for advice — they’re also paying heed to rumors and advice spread online.

Even when the science or sources behind anti-immunization stances are proved unreliable or even completely discredited, it can be difficult for some parents to accept that vaccines are safe.

As a result, health officials are seeing alarming rises in preventable diseases, mostly among people who are not immunized.

Helping Teens Take Charge of Their Health Care

Preparing kids for independence and adulthood brings many challenges for parents. Among them is helping teens start managing their own health care.

But it’s important to guide teens toward taking on this responsibility. After all, parents won’t always be around to manage their children’s health care — and in most cases, once their kids become adults, legally they won’t be allowed to.

The Rise of Eating Issues and Disorders

Seeing the rail-thin models who strut down catwalks at fashion shows, you might think that eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia mostly affect women whose livelihoods are based on being thin.

But more and more, these problems are affecting people from all walks of life — and, unfortunately, many of them are kids. Of the almost 24 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder, 95% are between 12 and 25 years old — and many of them are male.

Prenatal Surgery: Helping Babies Before Birth

Operating on a baby before birth may seem like science fiction, but prenatal surgery is becoming more and more common in special pediatric programs throughout the United States.

Since prenatal surgery was first pioneered in the 1980s, it’s become an important way to correct certain birth defects that could be severe (and in some cases fatal).

Choose mobile apps wisely

Many parents no longer just call their pediatrician for help and advice. Many also look for health information online. And, more and more, their sleuthing is done via smartphones and tablets, which has given rise to health-specific apps.

Read more on each topic

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