Weekly Health Watch with items on developmental phases of kids, an increase in worldwide blood donations, how to end your summer on a strong foot and more.

Here are three common developmental phases of children age 4 to 6, along with suggestions on how parents can support their child during this time.


Nighttime wetness


It's common for children to continue experiencing nighttime accidents for a few years after they've been successfully potty trained. Approximately 7 million kids age 4 and up experience bedwetting. Most kids will outgrow bedwetting as their bodies mature and bladders grow with the rest of their bodies. Parents should limit liquids at night and stick to a bedtime schedule. If parents are worried, they should consult their pediatrician.


Thumb-sucking


Sucking is instinctive for infants. It's a way to get nourishment and is comforting for babies and young children. Babies and toddlers often suck their thumbs, but most children outgrow the habit on their own around age 4 or 5, when they begin school.


If you're still worried, ask your pediatrician and he or she can help you decide if action is needed. Treatment may include talking to your child about the side effects of thumb-sucking, including teeth movement and germs, starting a rewards system or providing a visual reminder like a bracelet or watch.


Speech development


Children's speech skills begin developing in infancy, long before they can actually talk. By the time they are 2 years old, most children can use two- or three-word phrases, name virtually everything around them and be understood by family members. At age 5, most children can easily be understood by strangers and can communicate complex concepts. As always, discuss serious concerns with a pediatrician.


-- ARA


New Research: Blood donations increase


In 70 countries, voluntary unpaid blood donations rose by more than 10 percent between 2007 and 2008. India reported the greatest increase, from 3.6 million to 4.6 million. Other countries reporting substantial increases over the same period include Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Japan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, United States of America and Viet Nam.


-- World Health Organization


Did You Know?


Purified water is tap or ground water that has been treated by distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis. – EatRight.org


Health Tip: End the summer with strong goals


Here are three easy goals that will keep your health and fitness on track as we close out the summer months.


- Eat five fruits and veggies every day. With the abundance of fresh produce available during the summer, there's a variety to choose from.


- Take an evening walk, jog or bike ride since there are more daylight hours during the summer months.


- Strength train two days a week to complement your summer cardio routine. Even if it's a circuit of 25 push-ups and 25 crunches every day, keep your muscles engaged.


-- Life Fitness


Number to Know


500 million: Today, more than 500 million persons worldwide are living with viral hepatitis and do not have adequate access to care—increasing their risk for premature death from liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Each year, more than 1 million people die from viral hepatitis and millions of new infections add to this global burden of disease and death.


-- CDC.gov


Children’s Health: Street crossing and ADHD kids


Children with developmental disabilities, especially with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, become distracted easily and may be more likely to be hit by a car while walking. Researchers determined that children with ADHD appear to follow appropriate curbside behavior (wait before crossing, look left and right), but ultimately do not process the information necessary to safely cross the street compared with normally developing children. Children with ADHD chose smaller gaps in traffic to cross within and had considerably less time to reach the end of the crosswalk before the next car approached, resulting in a more dangerous crossing environment. Study authors suggest that pediatricians can help prevent these pedestrian injuries by screening for ADHD symptoms and monitoring at-risk patients to reduce injury risk.


-- American Academy of Pediatrics


Senior Health: Most women need more calcium


Calcium is a crucial nutrient that helps build and maintain bones, muscles and teeth. It also keeps us moving by helping to maintain muscle health and strength. But taking a calcium supplement alone isn't enough. The National Institutes of Health reports that vitamin D intake is also important because it improves calcium absorption.


But many women are falling short of meeting their recommended daily calcium allowance of between 1,000 milligrams and 1,200 milligrams. Ladies may be surprised to learn that an 8-ounce glass of skim milk only makes up 30 percent of the calcium they need each day. If you are not getting enough calcium or enough exercise, your body is more likely to steal the calcium it needs from your bones.


-- ARA


GateHouse News Service