WHO unveils new guidelines on physical activity for children


Children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age were developed by a WHO panel of experts.

They assessed the effects on young children of inadequate sleep, and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.





In This Issue

Obesity and emotional problems appear to develop together from age 7

Obesity and emotional problems, such as feelings of low mood and anxiety, tend to develop hand-in-hand from as young as age 7 years, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK.



Early-life stressors may impact kids' future mental health

Children under the age of three may be especially vulnerable to DNA methylation changes related to early adversity — changes that could have long-term consequences for their mental health, according to a new study.

The findings of this report, "Sensitive Periods for the Effect of Childhood Adversity on DNA Methylation: Results From a Prospective, Longitudinal Study," are currently available online and will appear in the May 15 print issue of Biological Psychiatry.


The wonderful gift of boredom in children

Never in the history of mankind have we been so bombarded by technology in the form of cellphones, tablets and computers.

"We are a species with highly addictive personalities and we seem quite oblivious to the effects that this is having on our ability to learn and retain new information, concentrate on tasks, engage in creative, imaginative play and enjoy healthy human relationships,” says Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres.



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In the age of super heroes, where are the fathers?

The Avengers Endgame movie that was recently released brought in over a billion dollars the first week. A few of the male Super Heroes had children. This was a sharp contrast to Avengers, The Age of Ultron, where Hawkeye was the only Avenger who was a father. But he left his pregnant wife and two children at home so he could join the team and “save the world.” In Endgame Ironman, Antman, and Black Panther joined Hawkeye as fathers, but they left the caregiving of their children to the mothers while they, yet again, “saved the world.”


Celebrating youth theatre



Schools throughout Port Elizabeth have been creating professional standard productions for over a decade. Adding to the audience experience, Magnetic Storm has offered mentoring coupled with the hire of equipment for the technical crew to create a sound a lighting experience one would expect in established theatres.

Should you share pictures of your children online?


Gwyneth Paltrow – who has 5.3m Instagram followers – reportedly ran into a spot of trouble with her daughter, Apple Martin, recently when the 14-year-old called out her mother for posting a picture of her on social media.

Whoever you sympathise with, the incident has sparked a broader discussion about how much parents should share about their children online.

We are often wrongly told that young people don’t care about privacy. Even useful advice assumes they are oversharing or don’t understand. But, as I have written previously, parents perhaps have less to worry about than they might think – young people do tend to treat privacy responsibly.

In fact, it is often parents, rather than their children, who need to think more carefully about their online activities.



The critical link between extra mural activities and effective learning


“Just imagine what we would achieve if we allowed multifaceted opportunities of learning to shape and mold our children into the magnificent, unique beings they were born to be,” says Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres.


Our children are our greatest teachers


Lets face it, from the moment that the news arrives that a ‘little bundle of joy’ is on its way, parents, or prospective parents in this case, is bombarded with an overwhelming barrage of advice from every angle imaginable strangely even from people who do not have children.

Anti-vax madness

Despite having been well and truly discredited, a 1998 study by British researcher, Andrew Wakefield linking the onset of autism in 12 children for the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella has fueled a massive anti-vaccine movement across the world.