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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
November 27, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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November 27, 1997

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Food, Health and Fitness Child abuse and neglect by Molly Williams Pahrump Valley Home Care Child abuse is the "intentional non-accidental physical, emo- tional, or sexual abuse of a child by a parent or other care giver entrusted with the care of the child" (Freiberg 1987, p. 255). Abuse includes: (1.) Battering-physical injury (2.) Drug abuse- intentional administration of harmful drugs, especially during preg- nancy (3.) Sexual abuse-sexual assault or molestation by a family member or non-family member (4.) Emotional abuse such as scapegoating, belittling, humiliating or lack of parenting. Neglect is the omission of certain appropriate behaviors with such omission having detrimental physical or psychological effects on the development of the child. Neglect includes child abandonment and lack of providing the child with the basic needs of survival such as food, clothing, shelter, stimulation, medical care, love, supervision, education, attention, emotional nurturing and safety. Most child abuse begins in infancy. More than one million cases of child abuse or neglect are reported each year. It is estimated that more than 2,000 children die each year from abuse or neglect. When physical abuse results in permanent injury or death occurs the term "battered child syndrome" is used. Fatal battering most often occurs in children under the age of five years. Sexual abuse accounts for about 20 percent of all reported child abuse, with 25 percent of sexual abuse being done to preschoolers. The incidence of reported cases of child abuse has increased dramatically and is a cause of national concern. Child abuse or neglect occurs in all ethnic groups and in all levels of society. It crosses all social and economic boundaries. Certain factors increase the potential for abusive behavior. Parents or caregivevs under stress from unemployment, depres- sion, poor social and marital relationships, substance abuse or health problems may have a tendency to abuse. Parents who themselves were abused may abuse. Children who cry frequently, have sleep difficulties, wet the bed, or who are hyperactive or aggressive, who have difficult temperaments, who have physical, emotional or cognitive disabili- ties are at risk for abuse by their caregivers. Lack of knowledge about parenting and normal behavior of children is another factor which leads to abuse. Incidents of child abuse may develop as a result of disciplinary action taken by the abuser who responds in uncontrolled anger to real or perceived misconduct of the child. The parents or caregivers may confuse punishment with discipline. "Good parenting" may be equated with physical contact to eradicate undesirable child behav- ior. The abuser may be a stern, authoritarian disciplinarian. Incidents of child abuse may develop out of a quarrel between the caregivers. The abuser may be under a great deal of stress because of life circumstances (debt, poverty, illness) and may thus resort to child abuse. The abuser may be intoxicated with alcohol and or drugs at the time of abuse; only 10 percent of abusers have a history of mental illness. Child abuse frequently occurs while the parents are away from the home and the child is left in the care of a baby-sitter or other CLrgl vet. The profile of the abusing caregivers includes but is not limited to the following: * Low self-esteem, a sense of incompetency, a feeling of unimportance. * Unrealistic attitudes and expectations of the child, little regard for the child's own needs and age-appropriate abilities, a lack of knowledge relating to patenting skills. *Fear of rejection. An abuser has a deep need to feel wanted and loved but experiences a feeling of rejection wben love is not obvious. A crying child may elicit i feeling of rejection in the - abuser. "* The abuser is unhappy related to unsatisfactory relationships and may look to the child for satisfaction of his/her own emotional needs. * Child abusers are often the children of abuse. * Abusers often have low self-esteem, have difficulty control- ling aggressive impulses, and often live in social isolation. Behaviors common in abusing caregivers: * Anxiously volonteers information or withholds information. * Shows inappropriate reaction or concern to severity of injury. * Becomes irritable about questions being asked. * Seldom touches or speaks to the child or may be overly soficitous. * Delays seeking medical help and or refuses to sign permit for diagnostic studies. Frequently changes hospitals or physicians. * Will usually show no involvement in care oftha hospitalized child. Be aware that not all abusing caregivers exhibit these behaviors. The abused child is usually under three years ofage. School-age children and adolescents are also subject to abuse. The average age of sexual abuse is nine. General health of the child may indicate abuse or neglect such as malnutrition, poor hygiene or diaper rash. The abused child may have fractures scattered over many different parts of the body. There is usually evidence that injuries occurred at different times such as healed and new fractures, resolving and fresh bruises. The abused child shows no new fractures or bruises during the child's hospitalizations. The abused child may show a wide range of reactions. The child may be anxious, tense or nervous. For abuse that occurs in school or 4ay cam, the childamy exhibit fear oftbe teacher, have nightmares, decrease school attendance or develop psychosomatic illnesses. Once abuse or neglect is suspected public law 94-247 (child abuse and neglect act-1973) requires that professionals report sus- pected abuse. In the tradition of caring, stay alert, be aware and take care. Pahrump Valley Gazette, Thursday, November 27, 1997 13 I i i i Simple fruit desserts Surprise your family tonight with a simple new dessert cre- ated by Whirlpool Corpora- tion home economists using the convenience of a micro- wave oven. All it takes to make Peaches 'N Dumplings is a can of sliced peaches and some staple baking ingredients. This recipe, sweet glazed peaches topped with tender fluffy dumplings, requires less than 15 minutes total microwave cooking time. It is easy to pre- pare and deliciously served with ice cream or whipped cream. PEACHES 'N DUMPLINGS ( six servings) 2 cups sliced peaches (29-ounces can, drained) 1/4 cup sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons margarine, softened 1/3 cup milk I/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 1 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar mixture 1. Combine peaches and the 1/4 cup sugar in 1 1/2- quart round glass casserole. Microwave at HIGH (100%) for five minutes. Stir. 2. While peaches are heating, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar. Cut in mar- garine until crumbly. Add milk and vanilla, mixing well. 3. Drop dough, using a rounded tablespoonful for each dumpling, onto hot peaches. Cover loosely and microwave at HIGH for two minutes. Rotate dish and microwave at MEDIUM (50%) for seven minutes or until dumplings are no longer doughy. Sprinkle with cinna- mon-sugar. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Nutrition Information (per serving - calculated using 2% milk): 175 calories, 3g. protein, 4g fat, ling cholesterol, 33g carbohydrates, 160rag sodium. Endocrine disruptors: A false alarm? In response to one of the biggest health scares of the 1990s, last year federal legislators passed amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Food Quality Protection Act. The scare: Increased reports worldwide of altered endo- crine function, such as lowered sperm counts and reproduc- tive abnormalities caused by chemicals, termed "endocrine disruptors." One study that initiated the greatest concern was from Tulane University in 1996 that suggested a 1,600-fold in- crease in risk of endocrine disruption when relatively small amounts of chemicals were combined. But, as has become true with other alarming reports, this scare may not be real after all. In the July 25, 1997 issue of"Science" magazine, Dr. John A. McLachlan, one of the authors of the Tulane study, formally withdrew his original paper, stating "any conclu- sions drawn from this paper must be suspended until such time, if ever, the data can be substantiated." In fact, other scientists around the globe have not been able to dupli.cate the Tulane study. Dr. Stephen Safe, professor of toxicology at Texas A&M University commented: "It is clear that the best science now points to the conclusion that the endocrine effects of environ- mental chemicals are less harmful than had been suggested." The scientific investigation continues. The EPA's Endo- crine Disrupter screening and Testing Advisory Committee will still develop and implement a screening program for EPA to submit to Congress by August 1999, and the National Academy of Sciences' study is scheduled to be released the end of this year. According to Assistant EPA Administrator, Lynn Goldman, "The retraction does not eliminate the scien- tific basis for regulatory concern over endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Scientific and regulatory realities are not that simple." It appears that the endocrine disruptors scare may have just been the latest example of placing too much emphasis on one study. Caffeine in moderation OK during pregnancy The latest study among many of caffeine and health indicates beverages containing caffeine can be a safe choice for pregnant women. In the September 1997 issue of"Epide- miology," Laura Fenster, Ph.D., and colleagues examine the relationship between moderate and heavy caffeine consump- tion (up to 300 mg and over 300 mg) and spontaneous abortion in 5,342 women interviewed in the first trimester of pregnancy. The research, which looked at the effects of consuming both caffeinated beverages and decaffeinated coffee, considered confounding factors such as alcohol, smoking and nausea. Dr. Fenster and her colleagues specifically considered nausea as a confounding factor in measuring the association between caffeine and spontaneous abortion. Previous re- search indicated nausea as a factor for decreased caffeine consumption during pregnancy, because women who are nauseated are less likely to consume foods and beverages which they usually enjoy. The current study did not closely monitor nausea as a confounding factor, but it was recognized that nausea may play an important role. With or without the presence of nausea, Dr. Fenster concluded that, "neither total estimated nor individual caffeinated beverage consumption during the first trimester was associated with an appreciable risk for spontaneous abortion." An unexpected association between the con- sumption of three or more cups of decaffeinated coffee and spontaneous abortion was not completely explained by char- acteristics of some decaffeinated coffee drinkers, such as age, alcohol and cigarette usage and race. The authors could not find a biological reason for the finding. Dr. Fenster concluded that the aberrant association was most likely due to bias in the research data.