Abstract: There has been a dramatic increase in the number of childhood cancer survivors living to an old age due to improved cancer treatments. However, these survivors are at risk of numerous late effects as a result of their cancer therapy. Engaging in protective health behaviors and limiting health damaging behaviors are vitally important for these survivors given their increased risks. We reviewed the literature on childhood cancer survivors’ health behaviors by searching for published data and conference proceedings. We examine the prevalence of a variety of health behaviors among childhood cancer survivors, identify significant risk factors, and describe health behavior interventions for survivors.
Abstract: While “outside of society” for much of the last sixty years, adolescents have attracted attention in recent times because of perceptions of their anti-social and, in some cases, violent behaviour. Teenagers face many challenges on their journey to adulthood; growth spurts, hormone developments and changes in the structure of the brain. These biological challenges have been affected since around 1990 by the impact of technology and the subsequent cultural changes. Activities, like the technology-driven, socially-networked pastime, Neknomination, amongst others, meet basic drives that gym-based activities do not. Adults are increasingly concerned about unhealthy patterns of behaviour that suggest that this coming generation of adults will not live as long as their parents, causing misery and putting additional economic pressures on families and society if the expected standards of living and health are to be maintained. The pressures facing teenagers are many, but a concerted effort by adults to change their attitudes towards children and young people to help rather than instruct may assist with meeting their needs and those of society.
Abstract: A key to improving the quality of life in remote communities is the empowerment of children who are at health and educational risk. Between 2002 and 2009, at a remote Aboriginal school, students and community members participated in an innovative, play-based health and well-being program aimed at helping children to become self-determining and responsible for their own health and well-being. Holistic in its approach, and broad in its scope, the multi-faceted program encompassed the fundamentals of personal hygiene; understanding of body systems; the importance of nutrition, hydration, sleep and exercise; brain care; the biology of emotions, with particular emphasis on anger management and the critical interplay between emotions and behavior; the impact of substances of abuse on the brain; as well as the Hospital Familiarization Program (HFP) which prepares children for planned and unplanned hospitalization. Program outcomes included improved school attendance and student engagement; increased community awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle; improved self-concept, self-esteem and self-confidence; as well as increased respect and caring for self and others. A reduction in children’s fear and anxiety when facing hospitalization and visits to the doctor was also evident. Each year, 12,500 children throughout Western Australia enjoy the benefits of the HFP.
Abstract: Play is the universal language of childhood and the time and opportunity to play is every child’s right. The role of play as a vehicle for communication, a tool for distraction and its value in the holistic development of a normal child is without dispute. The role and value of play increase proportionately when a child is made more vulnerable through illness or disability. Despite this, providing time and opportunities to play can be overlooked or considered to be of little importance or relevance when the focus of the adult carers is the amelioration of clinical symptoms of the illness and on lessening the psychological impact the illness may have on the child. This paper outlines the role and the value of play as an integral component in the provision of palliative care for children with chronic, life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. It will show how providing appropriate equipment, sufficient time and relevant play opportunities not only improves the very sick child’s psychological wellbeing, but also allows the child to cast aside the confines and restrictions imposed upon them by their illness and for a few golden moments to be nothing more than a child at play.
Abstract: There is accumulating scientific evidence of the potential of play and playfulness to enhance human capacity to respond to adversity and cope with the stresses of everyday life. In play we build a repertoire of adaptive, flexible responses to unexpected events, in an environment separated from the real consequences of those events. Playfulness helps us maintain social and emotional equilibrium in times of rapid change and stress. Through play, we experience flow—A feeling of being taken to another place, out of time, where we have controlled of the world. This paper argues that spontaneous free play, controlled and directed by children and understood from the child’s perspective, contributes to children’s subjective experience of well-being, building a foundation for life-long social and emotional health. The paradoxical nature of young children’s spontaneous free play is explored. Adaptability, control, flexibility, resilience and balance result from the experience of uncertainty, unpredictability, novelty and non-productivity. These essential dimensions of young children’s spontaneous free play typically produce play which is experienced by adults as chaotic, nonsensical and disruptive. The article concludes with a preliminary discussion of the challenges and possibilities of providing for spontaneous free play indoors, in early childhood care and education programs.
Abstract: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder increasing in prevalence. Although there is limited evidence to support treating ADHD with mineral/vitamin supplements, research does exist showing that patients with ADHD may have reduced levels of vitamin D, zinc, ferritin, and magnesium. These nutrients have important roles in neurologic function, including involvement in neurotransmitter synthesis. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of each of these nutrients in the brain, the possible altered levels of these nutrients in patients with ADHD, possible reasons for a differential level in children with ADHD, and safety and effect of supplementation. With this knowledge, clinicians may choose in certain patients at high risk of deficiency, to screen for possible deficiencies of magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, and iron by checking RBC-magnesium, 25-OH vitamin D, serum/plasma zinc, and ferritin. Although children with ADHD may be more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and iron, it cannot be stated that these lower levels caused ADHD. However, supplementing areas of deficiency may be a safe and justified intervention.