“Queens Children” is the community outreach project for the National Children’s Study Queens Vanguard Center.


Protect yourself from the sun — safely!

With the unofficial start of summer just around the corner, many of us are looking forward to longer days, family outings and cookouts.   We encourage you to enjoy the great outdoors.   However, when engaging in these activities and celebrations, remember to protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful rays! 

To guide you as you opt for safer alternatives to toxic sunscreen products, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just released a guide for 2012 Summer Season.   Follow this link to explore EWGs 2012 guide.   http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/

Remember to wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen correctly.

Have a Happy and Healthy Summer!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas out there!  We are re-blogging this great card from the White House, and reminding all of you that on Sunday, May 13, 2012 (Mother’s Day), National Women’s Health week began.  

This year’s theme is:  ”It’s your time.”  And, it is!  It’s your time to get active, eat healthy, and ever importantly, visit your doctor for a preventive screening or check-up.  Not sure what you’re supposed to get checked out at the doctors?  Sometimes it might seem confusing — what tests do I need and when??

Thankfully, this great interactive screening chart for women maps all of the testing guidelines out for you by health topic (and age!): bone health; breast health; colorectal health; diabetes; heart health; reproductive health; and sexual health.

Still need motivation for the ‘get active’ bit?!  Just check out Michelle Obama’s Workout Playlist and download some tunes of your own.  The weather has been beautiful (minus today’s showers) and who doesn’t love bringing a little bit of rhythm into their sunny days?  Blast some tunes and dance in the park with friends!  


Mother’s Day Card from the White House.


The numbers are staggering: One-third of Americans are obese; another third are overweight. Some 26 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes. An additional 79 million more are pre-diabetic. Thanks to these figures, the children of today have a good chance of becoming the first generation of Americans to die at younger ages than their parents.

(via pubhealth)

U.S. does not fare well in terms of premature births

This week, the World Health Organization released the first report to compare rates of premature births between countries and, unfortunately, the United States did not rank so well.

Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth  was produced through a collaboration between the W.H.O., Save the Children, the March of Dimes, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. The report looks at the premature birth rates of 184 countries.

As reported in this New York Times article:

Although American hospitals excel at saving premature infants, the United States is similar to developing countries in the percentage of mothers who give birth before their children are due, the study’s chief author noted. It does worse than any Western European country and considerably worse than Japan or the Scandinavian countries.

The article mentions many factors that contribute to the United States’ poor ranking, including: teen pregnancy rates and birth rates among women over 35; risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure; and lack of early prenatal care.

So, how many babies are born prematurely in the U.S.? About one out of every nine births in the U.S. is preterm. That’s 12 percent of all births in the U.S. – the same percent as Kenya, Turkey, Thailand, East Timor, and Honduras. For comparison, premature births in the majority of European countries, Canada, and Australia are between 7 and 9 percent.

For more information on how the U.S. compares to other countries, check out the article in the NYT.

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to go out to PS 101Q’s Earth Day festival in Forest Hills and the Queens Botanical Garden’s Arbor Fest in Flushing.  We had ourselves a blast vegetable stamping with the kids and enjoying the beautiful spring weather!  Did you get a chance to make it to either event?  Did you have fun?  Hopefully you were able to pick up some of our cool National Children’s Study materials and giveaways!

15 of the World’s Beautiful & Imaginative Parks

Boadilla del Monte, Spain. Designed by Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly. [Photos via]

Boadilla del Monte, Spain. Designed by Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly. [Photos via via

Spring time awakens the youth in all of us!  The weather in Queens is a little bit gloomy today, so we were excited to see Flavorwire’s article on these fantastic parks!  Don’t you wish you could just hop on a plane and head to the Water Playground in Tychy, Poland?  Ahhh … rainy day daydreams!

At least New York City got a shot out!  We don’t know where this playground by Tom Otterness is in New York, but we have definitely seen those little sculptures around some subway stations! 

NYC GOV: Do you know a great dad who resides in the five boroughs of New York... 

We know there are a ton of great fathers in Queens!  Do you know any dads who are great role models?  If so, nominate them for NYC’s Dads Matter!


Do you know a great dad who resides in the five boroughs of New York City? Do you know a dad who has overcome the odds to play a positive and powerful role in the life of his child and his community? Do you know a dad who proves the point that NYC Dads Matter?

If so, please nominate him…

Join us this weekend at Queens Botanical Garden’s Arbor Fest!  We’ll be giving away a lot of fun freebies, doing a fun kid’s activity, and offering our pesticides workshop!  We hope to see you there. :)

Ten toxic chemicals found in products that we use every day are suspected to cause autism and learning disabilities

In an editorial published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives  this week, the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center outlined ten chemicals, all found in consumer products, which may contribute to autism and learning disabilities.  These ten chemicals are:

  1. Lead
  2. Methylmercury
  3. PCBs
  4. Organophosphate pesticides
  5. Organochlorine pesticides
  6. Endocrine disruptors
  7. Automotive exhaust
  8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  9. Brominated flame retardants
  10. Perfluorinated compounds

The editorial, written by Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, and Dr. Luca Lambertini, goes on to stress the importance of continued research into possible environmental causes of autism among children in the U.S. 

According to Dr. Landrigan, “A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern. Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable.”

Read more here.


Sidewalk, Bangladesh Hindu Mandir, Corona

Last Chance!

Last chance for you to show off your love of Queens through photography!  Email margaret.vaughn@mssm.edu for details today! And get snapping those photographs.  Instagrams welcomed. :)

Could more, better quality sleep ease kids’ behavior problems?

It appears that symptoms of sleep deprivation are not too far off from those of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics followed 11,000 British children for six years.  Researchers found that “children whose sleep was affected by breathing problems like snoring, mouth breathing or apnea were 40 percent to 100 percent more likely than normal breathers to develop behavioral problems resembling A.D.H.D.

Signs that suggest sleep deprivation among children differ from those among adults.  According to sleep experts, even when children lose just a half hour of sleep per night, regardless of the reason, they can exhibit behaviors associated with A.D.H.D.   Children who are not getting enough sleep may have difficulties sitting still, focusing, or getting along with others. 

Because these symptoms are often associated with A.D.H.D., researchers and doctors now question whether some children are being misdiagnosed.  An added concern is the fact that drugs often used to treat A.D.H.D., like Ritalin, Adderall, or Concerta, can actually worsen sleeplessness.

Lack of sleep can be hard to recognize in children, and “pediatricians may not even know to make a referral, because they often depend on parents to bring up their children’s sleep problems during checkups.”

Read the full New York Times article here.

We will forever love the view of NYC from Queens.  Find out about our Queens Community Photo Essay on our tumblr site!

Queens Photography!

What an exciting day!  We’ve started to receive submissions for our Queens Community Photo Essay — and we’re loving all of the Queens photographs!  Your communities are so beautiful. There are so many people right here in our neighborhoods who are working hard to try and make our lives healthier.  

Do you live in Queens?  Care about children’s health and your community?!  Join our ‘Community Photo Essay!’  Email Margaret Vaughn - margaret.vaughn@mssm.edu - or Devin Madden (devin.madden@mssm.edu) and get photographing! :)

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