Dungeons & Dragons may help at-risk kids level up social skills

Dungeons & Dragons may help at-risk kids level up social skillsA community program using Dungeons & Dragons to foster social growth among at-risk youth has caught the attention of University of Alberta researchers, who plan to evaluate its apparent success. The Level-Up Gaming League was created by local management consultant Bryan Sali, who noticed a lack of social skills among homeless youth while working about seven years…

Living close to green space benefits gut bacteria of infants: study

First study of its kind shows formula-fed babies’ gut microbiomes more like those of breastfed babies when they live near natural environments

Living close to green space benefits gut bacteria of infants: studyLiving close to natural green space can mitigate some of the changes in infant gut bacteria associated with formula feeding, according to new research published in the journal Environment International. “Not every infant can be breastfed,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, pediatrics professor at the University of Alberta. “This is one of the first pieces of evidence for a nature-related…

Asthma, allergies more common in ‘night owl’ teens: study

Disruptions to melatonin may be the link, researchers suggest

Asthma, allergies more common in ‘night owl’ teens: studyTeenagers who prefer to stay up late at night and sleep in late the next day are more likely to develop asthma and allergies than their “early bird” counterparts, according to new research. “Compared to the morning type, those who go to bed late have approximately three times higher risk of developing asthma,” said principal…

Canadian kids not making the grade for physical activity

ParticipACTION report shows children aren’t moving enough; families need help supporting healthy behaviour

Canadian kids not making the grade for physical activityCanadian children and youth were given a failing grade for overall 24-hour movement and the slimmest of passes for overall physical activity by the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity. The 2020 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth was informed by research and expertise from movement researchers across Canada,…

Risk of ADHD lower in children who follow healthy lifestyle

Researchers identify a cumulative ‘dosage’ effect of optimal diet, physical activity, screen time and sleep

Risk of ADHD lower in children who follow healthy lifestyleThe risk of a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be significantly lowered by following healthy lifestyle recommendations, according to new research from the University of Alberta and Dalhousie University. Children who met seven to nine of the recommendations had a 58 per cent lower risk of being diagnosed with ADHD than children who…

Isolation raises risk of depression in new moms: study

Researchers find that staying active has physical and mental health benefits for mothers and children

Isolation raises risk of depression in new moms: studyNew moms and moms-to-be have an increased likelihood of maternal depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary research from one of two University of Alberta studies. The studies looked at the toll isolation measures are having on physical activity levels at the earliest stages of life. Margie Davenport, a pregnancy and exercise…

How to save your summer vacation from COVID-19

Thinking differently about leisure time can help you get a family getaway despite the pandemic, say experts

How to save your summer vacation from COVID-19How do we keep COVID-19 from ruining our precious vacation time, with international borders closed to travellers, festivals cancelled, parks, camping and cottage visits limited, and even small events like garage sales forbidden? There are ways to salvage summer plans – but it means thinking differently about our leisure time, say University of Alberta experts.…

Isolation will bring epidemic of domestic violence, suicide

Did anyone think about how many people will die as a result of the unnatural conditions forced upon us?

Isolation will bring epidemic of domestic violence, suicideThere are always unintended consequences to government actions, especially those hastily adopted. So Canada’s COVID-19 policies could result in an epidemic of deaths and injuries due to domestic violence and suicide attempts. During the 24 years that I practised family law, I observed a large influx of separation and divorce cases every January and September.…

Alberta throws a stick of dynamite into education system

Being tested and labelled at an early age can have a devastating effect on a child’s self-esteem and intellectual potential

Alberta throws a stick of dynamite into education systemIf Steve Bannon isn’t on the Alberta government’s payroll, he certainly is its muse. Bannon is the notorious former strategic adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump. His views on the benefits of disruption might well inform Premier Jason Kenney’s government tactics of mass disruption in many sectors. These include the most vital areas of health…

It’s time we taught our youth resilience

It’s time we taught our youth resilienceThe old order has passed – the one where parents and grandparents could teach their offspring everything they needed to know. Now, there’s no need to teach the kids even the basic three Rs of reading, ’riting and ’rithmatic. Most have learned to read (if not spell) by themselves as they start texting each other…

Municipalities must take the lead in getting the lead out

The astonishing levels of lead in Canada’s drinking water requires action. That means taking simple measures at the local level, aided by federal incentives

Municipalities must take the lead in getting the lead outBy Paz Gómez Research Associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy Canadians have been exposed to a silent health hazard for more than 40 years: high levels of lead in tap water. Although a clear case of municipal mismanagement, Toronto shows the issue can be handled at the local level with minimal federal oversight – given…

Canada needs a comprehensive child and youth mental health strategy

Mental illnesses can often be prevented from developing, or becoming more severe and difficult to treat, by offering help to young people

Canada needs a comprehensive child and youth mental health strategyBy Mariette Chartier and Marni Brownell University of Manitoba Mental illness is the most common illness found in Canada's children and teens. We all know a young person who struggles with depression, anxiety, an addiction or a behavioural disorder. Mental illness causes high levels of distress in children and can significantly interfere with their lives. But mental illnesses can…

Crossing the line from eco-activism to emotional eco-terrorism

No other country has so deliberately turned itself into a climate-change martyr. Yet our sacrifices will have no perceptible impact

Crossing the line from eco-activism to emotional eco-terrorismIt’s been almost three decades since delegates from 172 countries, meeting at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, adopted the Climate Change Convention. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show that since then the Earth’s temperature has risen an average of 0.03°C per year. At that rate, the planet will warm 2.4°…

Mentorship programs for troubled youth foster respect for others

Canadian governments should be investing in youth mentorship programs to help build an inclusive, supportive and more progressive society

Mentorship programs for troubled youth foster respect for othersBy Suzanne Tough and Nicole Letourneau University of Calgary The youth of any society constitute the promise of the future – and many of our youth are in trouble. They’re growing up in a divided society. Ethnic, gender and political tensions are at seemingly combustible levels – not just south of the border but in Canada,…

Grocery stores bulking up on ultra-processed foods

Far too many products in Canada’s stores give us lots of calories but little nutrition. And we have dangerously abandoned cooking and meal-time routines

Grocery stores bulking up on ultra-processed foodsIn the 1960s, the biggest supermarkets only carried 10,000 items or fewer. Big supermarkets today offer almost 40,000 products. To be sure, among those extra items are more kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and non-food items. But not 30,000. The vast majority of the additional food items are a huge range of ready-to-eat products from…
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