PediaCast 163 * Snap Crackle Pop

Listen as Dr. Mike explores the connection between Gerber Good Start and Eczema, news about energy and sports drinks, health benefits and problems associated with video games, text message medicine reminders, snap, crackle, and pop, and the decade's top ten health advancements according to the CDC.  Don't forget to contact Dr. Mike with your questions and concerns so he can discuss them on an upcoming PediaCast!


  • Gerber Good Start and Eczema
  • Energy and sports drinks under more fire
  • Health Benefits of Video Games
  • A New Health Problem Related to Video Games
  • Text Messaging Medicine Reminders
  • The Impending Death of Snap, Crackle, and Pop
  • Decade's Top Ten Health Advancements (from the CDC)


Announcer 1: This is PediaCast.


Announcer 2: Welcome to PediaCast, a pediatric podcast for parents. And now, direct from the campus of Nationwide Children's, here is your host, Dr. Mike!

Dr. Mike Patrick: Hello, everyone! And welcome to PediaCast it is episode 163 for June 14th, 2011. Snap, Crackle, Pop. 


That wasn't random, that's actually the name of this episode, Snap, Crackle, and Pop. And you'll find out why in just a couple of minutes. I want to mention before we get started that we're doing something a little bit different for the summer and I want your feedback. You guys did a great job with the feedback on our new segment. 

Basically we had switched over from sort of more copy and reading news to a more of a conversational tone which is a little bit different from your traditional news sources. And the overwhelming response from you guys is, "Hey we like the conversational tone better." So we're going to stick with it. And now I'm asking for your feedback again. 

We're going to do and I actually tried this, I think it was during year two of PediaCast. And really the reason that we got away from it was mostly because I just didn't have time to carry on in that fashion. And it was easier for me just to put a big, long show together -I forgot the information. 


Because it was important to include several elements of PediaCast. And it was just easier to put all those things together and make one, big, long show. So what we're going to do for this summer is we're going to basically do a one segment shows and have them more frequently. So in other words we'll have a news show, listener show, our interviews will be individual shows.

So each show is going to be around 20-30 minutes, 30 minutes max, we're hitting for 20 minutes you know, since I'm chatty it will go a little bit over that. But really looking for no more than 30 minutes. and over the course of a couple of weeks, we're still going to cover news, interviews, listener questions, research topics all of that, but we're trying to get two or three shows out a week instead of one show every two week. So it's the same amount of content just sort of broken up into smaller episodes. 

And I think this is going to work out well because a lot of people I know who listen to PediaCast are doing other things while you're listening whether it's your commute, or whether it's exercising, or whatever it is, you know, you're doing something little bit different than just listening to the show. 


And typically you know, those things that you're doing are not lasting an hour or two, an hour and fifteen minutes. It's really more like a 20 or 30 minute thing. So hopefully this is going to work out well. And give it a few episodes, see what you think, and then give me some feedback, I'd really appreciate it. 

The other thing that we're going to do except for this show is to get to the content a little bit more quickly and we'll still have the chitchat stuff, but we're going to put/move that to the end of the show. So that those of you who are really are after the content you can dig right in and get to the information. And those of you who would like to hear what's going on in my life, will wait until the end on that. 

So these are some changes and not necessarily permanent changes if the feedback from you guys is, 'No we like the longer shows', then in the fall we'll switch back to that. So we'll just see how things go and I would really like your input. All right. So what are we going to talk about today? We're actually doing a news show. We're going to talk about Gerber good start and its relationship with eczema. 


Energy and sport drinks are under more fire. The health benefits of video games and a new health problem related to video games. Also text messaging, medicine reminders, and then the impending death of kid's food characters. So Toucan Sam, Cap'n Crunch they may be no more and we're going to talk about that. Also the decade's top 10 health advancements as reported from the CDC at the end of the show. 

Don't forget if there's a topic that you would like us to talk about it's easy to get a hold of us here at PediaCast. Just go to you can click the contact link, you can also email or call the voice line at 347-404-KIDS, that's 347-404-5437.

I also want to remind you that the information presented in PediaCast is for general educational purposes only. We do not diagnose medical conditions or formulate treatment plans for specific individuals. And if you have a concern about your child's health, call your doctor and arrange a face to face interview and hands on physical examination. 


Also your use of this audio program is subject to the PediaCast terms of use agreement which you can find over at All right. So let's get right into the news, we commonly hear news stories about products about making false claims about health benefits. So it would seem refreshing when a company goes the extra mile to meet the FDA's criteria for a qualified health claim. 

The company in question is Gerber, and the product is their line of milk based infant formula called 'Good Start'. So what's the claim? Well, Gerber says Good Start reduces a baby's risk of developing a topic dermatitis, the dry skin condition also known as eczema during the first year of life.

And many babies the skin condition is thought to be the result of baby's immune system reacting to milk proteins. Good Start is comprised of 100% Whey-Protein, it is partially hydrolyzed which just means that some of the protein is already broken down, sort of predigested if you will. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology all agreed that certain hydrolyzed protein infant formulas can reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis particularly in infants with a family history of allergy.

So the FDA approved disclaimer on the label will read, "For healthy infants who are not exclusively breastfed and who have a family history of allergy, feeding a 100% Whey-Protein Partially Hydrolyzed infant formula from birth up to 4 months instead of a formula containing intact cow’s milk proteins may reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis throughout the 1st year of life."

And that's the end of the quote. Before you blindly accept this claim, the FDA also points out, "The relationship between 100% Whey-Protein Partially Hydrolyzed infant formulas and the reduced risk of atopic dermatitis is uncertain, because there is little scientific evidence for the relationship."


Huh? I mean, really? So we aren't if formulas like Good Start reduce the risk of eczema because there is little scientific evidence to make that claim, yet will let Gerber make the statement because three professional organizations believe it even though there's little scientific evidence. You got to love the government, I mean way to stick up for evidence-based medicine. 

And I'm a little disappointed too with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. I mean, if they're all going to agree that certain hydrolyzed protein infant formulas can reduce the risk of eczema you think they would base that -their feelings on that on some scientific evidence, but apparently they're not. 

So you can bet that other manufacturers will soon be scrambling to get the statement on their labels as well for what that statement is worth. All right. doctors warn parents are making children fat and ruining their teeth by allowing kids to consume energy drinks instead of water. 


A recent study out of Comer Children's Hospital part of the University of Chicago Health System and published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children get more calories from energy drinks than they burn off during exercise resulting in weight gain even though kids are active and contributing to the childhood obesity problem. 

Energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, and Rock Star are also loaded with sugar which promotes tooth decay and contains high levels of caffeine which according to the authors has been linked to seizures, diabetes, heart problems, behavioral disorders, and early death. So let's take out the caffeine and talk about sport drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, and All Sport, what about those? Well the researchers say that those two provide too much sugar and calories. 

Dr. Holly Benjamin principal researcher on the project says, "For most children engaging in routine physical activity, plain water is best. Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need, and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay. It’s better for children to drink water during and after exercise and have the recommended intake of juice and low fat milk with meals. Sports drinks are not also recommended as mealtime beverages." 


The report was also critical of advertising campaigns aimed at children and teens, campaigns which imply this products improved athletic performance. Researchers called this marketing ploys inappropriate. Sport drinks contain up to 70 calories per serving and energy drinks pack even more with some providing a whopping 270 calories per can, that's simply too much. 

The research team says there is little need for carbohydrate containing beverages other than the recommended daily intake of fruit juice and low fat milk. Routine ingestion of carbohydrate containing sports drinks by children and adolescents should be avoided or restricted. Intake can lead to excessive caloric consumption and an increased risk of overweight and obesity as well as dental erosion. 

So there you have it folks, plain water is just fine. We have good news for video game players, researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand has spent two years looking at the possible health benefits of video games which incorporate the sustained use of active elements. 


You know the games that I'm talking about, dance, dance revolution, Just dance, Michael Jackson the experience. And basically these are games that make you move and keep you moving. More than 300, 10 to 14 year olds participated in the project which showed regular use of these video games had a positive impact in the reduction of body mass index compared to a control group of non-active video game playing children. 

Principal investigator Dr. Ralph Madison said, "The study findings show that this technology has the potential to be a useful addition to a raft of health interventions. They could have significant implications for how health professionals combat the obesity epidemic or develop rehabilitation programs. Also because of the appeal of traditional video games at an individual level, parents may have more success encouraging the substitution of sedentary video games with more active ones rather that trying to stop children and young people from gaming all together." 


Researchers hope their findings will pave the way for the development of new game titles that promote sustained physical activity. Now to be fair, not all video games are good for your health. Researchers at New York University looked at 257 students between the ages of nine and fifteen in two St. Louis Schools. 

Why are researchers from New York studying kids in St. Louis? Not sure about that. They wanted to see if there was a relationship between the use of video game consul systems, handheld video games, and mobile devices, and the development of wrist and finger pain. Students were asked what deices they use, how they use them, and the frequency and severity of any finger or wrist problems they may have experienced. 

Researchers found that Game Boy and XBOX users were most affected, while iPhone users had the fewest problems. Other mobile phones and gaming systems ranked somewhere in between. 


Each hour of use increase the odds of developing finger or wrist pain two fold, and in mobile phone users sending text messages, the number of text messages sent, the use of text abbreviations, and the use of many keyboard on the device. All of these things resulted in more significant problems. 

Dr. Yusuf Yazici a professor of rheumatology at New York University Hospital said, "Our study has shown the negative impact that playing computer games and using mobile phones can have on the joints of young children, raising concerns about the health impact of modern technology later in life. We hope further research in this are will shed light on what could be a serious health concern for today's gaming children as they get older." Now speaking of text messages, they may result in a joint pain, but the silver lining is that may also prevent other problems. 

Investigators at the National Jewish Health hope text messages will help young asthma patients take their daily maintenance medications more routinely and reliably. The researchers are embarking on a program that will send a series of automated text messages to patients which will serve as reminders to take their medication and to provide educational messages about their disease. 


At the end of the study period, doctors will compare the text receiving group with a non-texting cohort of young asthmatics ad see if the text made a difference with regard to medication, compliance, and disease severity. Dr. Daniel Searing an investigator on the project says, "We know that the combination of hectic schedules and less parental supervision can lead many teens to lack consistency in taking their daily asthma medications. 

We also know that most teens text frequently. We want to see if providing them with asthma information and reminders helps their medication adherence." He goes on to say, "Other studies have indicated texting has now become the preferred method by which teens communicate with each other. 

Our goal in this study is to see if teens are receptive to this type of communication from a health care provider and to see if they’re taking their medications more frequently. For doctors knowing that patients are taking their medication as prescribed is very important. The more confidence we have that a teen is taking their meds the more accurately we can determine its effectiveness."


So we'll keep an eye on that study here at PediaCast and we'll report back the results when they become available. The food and advertising industries aren't happy with the proposal from the Obama Administration which calls for a voluntary limit on marketing schemes aimed pushing sugary cereals, salty snacks, and other unhealthy foods on American kids.

Food makers lined up in droves to tell Congress the proposed guidelines would not stop the childhood obesity problem,but would hurt their business and abridge their right to free speech? Really? Is paid advertising a protected form of free speech? I'm not so sure about that. In fact if I'm not mistaken free speech and advertising went the way of joking among the couple decades ago.

But what do I know. The new guidelines were written by an inter agency team from the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Disease, Control, and Prevention, and The Agriculture Department. 


Scott Faber, a Vice President of the Grocery Manufacturers Association lashed out at the proposed rules saying, "I can't imagine any mom in America who thinks stripping tigers and toucan of cereal boxes will do anything to reduce obesity." But Dr. Daniel Levy representing the American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees. 

He says, "It’s clear that food marketing to children is a big factor. Children and teens are being hit by food ads wherever they turn including the use of promotional messages about food deal showing up on their cell phone as they pass fast food restaurants. The new guidelines are far-reaching and cover a wide array of marketing venues including television, radio, print, Internet, social media, movie theater ads, athletic teams sponsorship, and even product placement in movie and video games. 

The common theme of argument among the food makers was that the industry is already regulating itself. But the opponent say the current self imposed regulations lack uniform standards and allows each company to set its own guidelines. The criteria don't call for a ban on marketing to children, but they do establish limits o the maximum amount of added sugars, saturated fats, sodium and trans fat. 


And foods marketed to children must include healthy ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, and whole grains. Many foods aimed at children today would not qualify as marketable because they exceed limits. For example the guidelines say a marketable food may not contain more than 8 grams of sugar in a single serving. 

That would disqualify 31 of the 100 most popular cereals including such staples as Capn' Crunch, Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charm, Count Chocula, and Boo Berry. The guidelines as written would apply to marketing efforts aimed to both children and teens. Food makers want federal regulators to loosen the criteria for teenagers since there is so much crossover between teen and adult programming. 

So like it or not, big changes are on the horizon and it sounds like the food characters we all grew up with will soon be out of the job. You know the ones I'm talking about, Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger, Lucky the leprechaun, Capn' Crunch, Snap, Crackle, and Pop, the Trix Rabbit, Buzz the Honey Nut Bee, Dig'em the Honey Smacks Frog, they changed their name. 


Sonny the Cuckoo for Coco Puff's bird, and Good old Count Chocula all gone. I don't know, I don't know. There's a part of me that doesn't like this. You know what I'm saying? Sure it's marketing, but it was crazy good marketing wasn't it and apparently it has caused us all to be fat. That's great! Really great. 

I just keep telling myself they weren't real, they were just pictures on cardboard boxes. Maybe I'll get over it someday. I don't know. What do you guys think about this? Is it the cartoon character's fault that kids are obese? And If that's the case then it is good marketing and it's inappropriate marketing. 


But on the other hand, what about the parents who are buying these stuff and giving it to their kids everyday? At what point do we put the culpability, the blame on moms and dads? I think that's really where it lies, and educating parents about good diet still in my book is the right way to go and basically telling the food manufacturers that you can't have cute cartoon characters, just doesn't make a lot of sense to me personally, but that's my personal opinion and others who are more learned in it than I apparently disagree. 

What do you think? Let us know here at PediaCast and we'll put some of those comments on the show for you. Because I would like to know what moms and dads think about this. I mean, really is it Toucan Sam, and Snap, Crackle, Pop's fault? Let me know. The CDC has announced the past decade's Top 10 Health Advancements – drum roll please. Here they are, the Top 10 Health Advancements of the past 10 years. 


Vaccine preventable diseases; a number of new vaccines are introduced during the first decade of the 21st Century. Two of the most significant were the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which has prevented in an estimated 211,000 serious Pneumococcal infections and 13,000 deaths. And the Rotavirus Vaccine which now presents an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 Rotavirus hospitalizations each year. 

Number two; Prevention and control of infectious disease. The first decade of the 21st century included a 30% reduction in reported tuberculosis cases in the United States, and 58% decline in Central Line Associated bloodstream infections. Improvements and lab techniques, and technology allowed for easier and more rapid identification of contaminated foods to help control the spread of food borne illness outbreaks. 

Number three; tobacco control. The number of states with comprehensive smoke free laws grew from zero in 2000 to 25 states in Washington DC in 2010. 


In 2009 a new federal cigarette tax took effect bringing the combine federal and average state excise tax for cigarettes to $2.21 per pack and increase of $.76 cents per pack since 2000. 

Number four; maternal and infant health. The past decade has included a 36% reduction in babies born with neural tube defects. This trend largely stems from folic acid fortification of cereal grain products in United States as well as a public health campaign encouraging women of childbearing age to make sure they get the recommended amounts of folic acid. 

Number five; Motor vehicle safety. From 2000 to 2009, the death rate related to motor vehicle travel dropped from 14.9 per 100,000 people to 11 per 100,000. The injury rate fell from 1,130 per 100,000 people to 722. The decade also included the decline of 49% in pedestrian deaths among children and a 58% decline in the number of bicyclist deaths.


Number six; Cardiovascular disease prevention, heart disease and stroke are still among the nation's leading killers, however deaths from both diseases declined over the past decade mainly due to a lower smoking rates as well as improvements in treatment, medications, and quality of care. Improvements also lead to reductions in major risk factors such as hypertension and high cholesterol. 

Number seven; Occupational Safety. The United States has seen a significant improvements in working conditions and the risk of workplace associated injuries during the past decade. Examples of these improvements include patient lifting guidance for U.S. healthcare employees that reduce back injuries among these workers by 35%. 

Number eight; Cancer prevention, improvements in screening techniques and strong cancer screening recommendations have led to improve screening rates and reduction in deaths of 2 to 3% per year from colorectal, breast, and cervical cancers. The creation of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer early detection program has reduced disparities by providing breast and cervical cancer screenings to uninsured women. 


Number nine; Childhood lead poisoning prevention. By 2010, 23 states had comprehensive lead poisoning prevention laws compared to just five states in 1990. The percentage of children ages one to five with elevated lead in the blood has declined from 88.2% in 1980 to under 1% in 2008. So big, big improvement there. 

And finally number 10; Improved public health preparedness and response much progress has taken place since September 11th, 2001in expanding the capacity of the public health system to respond to public health emergencies and disease outbreaks. 

Influenza vaccination among with other public health measures taken during the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 prevented an estimated five million to 10 million cases, 30,000 hospitalizations, and an estimated 1,500 deaths. 


So there you have it, the Top 10 Health Advances of the Past Decade, at least according to our government's Center for Disease Control, and Prevention. Ad maybe at the end of the next decade they'll add the cold blooded murder of all cereal box cartoon characters to their little list. All right. 

So that concludes our News Parents Can Use, and episode 163 of PediaCast. So again let me know what you think of the shorter format. Before the week ends we're also going to have a listener show coming out, and early next week we're going to have an interview show talking about hand, foot, mouth decrease with Dr. Katy Koranyi who is an Infectious Disease Specialist here at Nationwide Children's. 

We're excited to bring her into the studio. She's actually one of my mentors and a former teacher of mine. And so I'm really excited about this. And we'll share that with you next week. OK. Now as promised, we'll kind of move in the chitchat part of the show to the end. and I wanted to talk to you really quickly -my family -we've just closed on our house in Florida, so that's exciting news.


Those of you -there are many of you who are sort of following this -back at the beginning of 2011 from Florida back up to Ohio, so I could bring PediaCast here to the campus of Nationwide Children's, and in doing so of course we had to sell our house in Florida.

And as you know the housing market stinks, and in Florida it's particularly bad, but a little good news, we did close on our house in Florida, so we no longer property owners in the state of Florida. And we've kind of told ourselves, OK, once we do that, we're going to join the YMCA because our new house here in Ohio is in a neighborhood that is adjacent to a YMCA, I mean you could walk there, I mean, literally it's just a few blocks down. 

So we went for the first time over this past weekend, and I'll tell you what, we had a fabulous time. Played some basketball, used the treadmill, used the pool, and we're really hoping to stick with this because I think more that abolishing a cartoon character on cereal boxes, more3 than that I think making a committed effort to getting out there and exercising, and moving your body is the better way to go in terms of reducing weight and obesity problems. 


So the question is are we going to stick with it? And I'll let you know about that as time goes on. I'm hoping so, I mean, really like to get there frequently and really use the facility. It's the first time that we've been YMCA members. So I'm excited about it. All right. As usual we want to thank you the listener for taking time out of your day to make PediaCast a part of it. 

Don't forget if you have never written or review on iTunes, we really appreciate that because it helps other people take PediaCast seriously as a good source of information for moms and dads regarding a child health topics. Also if you write a blog, or you're on Facebook, or you tweet on Twitter, if you could mention PediaCast would appreciate it. We do have a Facebook page and Twitter feed as well. So you look forward it's there. 


Also and I've talked about this in recent weeks, if you could just tell your doctor next time you're in with your pediatrician or family physician and they're seeing your kids, just say, "Hey! There's this really cool evidence-based pediatric podcast out of Nationwide Children's and you really ought to tell your other patients about it because it's a great source of information." 

So just word of mouth through your physician would be extremely helpful to get the word out about PediaCast and of course telling your family and your friends. I want to remind you one last time that it's easy to get a hold of us, just go to and click on the contact link. I read every single item that comes through there. 

And in fact the change for the summer of shorter shows, more often is as a result of some of your feedback. There's been a few voices who've talked about that, but I really would like to hear more voices to see if we stick with this or go back to the longer shows. You can also get a hold of us at If you go that route, make sure to let us know where you're from. And you can also call the Skype line, 347-404-KIDS, 347-404-5437.


All right. That wraps up our show and until next time. This is Dr. Mike, saying stay safe, stay healthy and stay involved with your kids. So long everyone. [Music]

Announcer: This program is a production of Nationwide Children's. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on PediaCast.

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