Parents Now Pushing Unneeded Surgeries on Obese Kids

We're guessing that Dr. Ben Spock wouldn't suggest this...

The New York Times reports that parents of obese kids are increasingly treating gallbladder ailments by having their children undergo invasive operations to remove the organ.

Here's the thing: Most of the time, the kids don't need surgery -- their problems could be corrected with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

Obesity now causes most gallbladder disease in minors -- and some four times as many are being removed as in 1990.

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Park Problems: Another Audit Warns of Dangers to Kids (UPDATE)

About a month after the Voice reported that the Parks Department was slow to fix dodgy conditions in some playgrounds, yet another Comptroller John Liu report puts to question the handling of money and health regulations.

The specific site is Brooklyn's Paerdegat Athletic Club, now run by Fitmar Managment.

Some three years ago, the Comptroller's office found that the club was rife with problems -- but the most recent analysis suggests that little has been done to fix these financial and sanitary flubs.

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John Liu: Rats, Broken Equipment, Still a Problem at Some NYC Playgrounds

Looks like some City playgrounds aren't all that child-safe.

An audit released by City Comptroller John Liu's office claims that the Parks Department was slow to fix dangerous conditions in some playgrounds -- and might have missed regular inspections.

Liu, who's still dealing with the fallout from the arrest of his campaign treasurer, said that the agency would sometimes neglect to fix nasty problems -- such as rusted and broken equipment -- even after they were "flagged for repair."

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Bushwick Hipsters Apparently Too Post-Ironic to Care About Area Crime

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One of the more unexamined elements of the shooting of police officer Kevin Brennan is that it happened in Bushwick, which has recently replaced Williamsburg as the cheap hipster neighborhood of choice.

The influx of young, white college students, who frequent newer coffee shops in Bushwick and famed restaurants like Roberta's, lies in stark contrast to the man accused of the shooting, a convicted felon named Luis "Baby" Ortiz.

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Studies Look At What The Internet Can Do To And For Kids

There was a period in history when we assume being a teenage girl or a girl on the verge of teenagedom must have meant listening to a Joni Mitchell record while writing in a diary. Now, there's Taylor Swift, blogs, Facebook, texting and the like. It's all so confusing. So two recent studies have tackled how the Internet affects young people. Let's take a look.

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Street Kids: Groups Want to Make NYC Roads Child Safe

Remember, back in the day, when you used to go outside and scamper around the streets of New York with all the other rosy-cheeked neighborhood kids, playing stickball and tag and hopscotch as the summer sun sank gently into the horizon?

No? Well, not to worry, Runnin' Scared doesn't either -- and we can't really imagine New York being the kind of place where youngins would want to play outside, considering that NYC traffic puts speed over pedestrian safety. (It's even worse if you're a child from a lower-income household: Studies show that vehicle crashes disproportionately affect youth from poor areas.)

But a coalition of New Yorkers wants to change this.

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Brooklyn Junior High Has the Most Sexting Suspensions in the City

The unfortunately named (given what we're about to say next) "Edward B. Shallow" Junior High in Bensonhurst has the dubious honor of being the New York City school with the most suspensions issued for sexting in 2010. This is more suspensions for sexting than any other city school in the last year, according to the New York Post -- and, in fact, of the 500 city schools that suspended kids for sexting, only 12 other schools had 10 or more suspensions. Does this mean that the students at Edward B. Shallow sext more than other kids?

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'Go the Fuck to Sleep' Declawed: Children's Version is Called 'Seriously, Just Go to Sleep'

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A book landed on our desk today, which happens with some frequency, but this book caught our eye more than most. It looked just like surprise bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, the modern parent's tame rebellion of choice, but it was titled Seriously, Just Go to Sleep.

According to the accompanying press release, the idea to make Go the Fuck to Sleep G-rated came about when its author, Adam Mansbach, read a "highly censored rendition" to his three-year-old daughter, who "recognized herself as the culprit and was delighted."

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Forced Exercise Helps Teens Quit Smoking, Study Says

Taylor Momsen, teen smoker.
There is a new quitting-smoking study coming out in October, and this one focuses on teenagers at the beginning of their illustrious smoking careers. The study shows that a smoking cessation program in combination with exercise is the most successful way to get teenagers to stop smoking entirely, compared with a "brief intervention" (a 15-minute stop-smoking lecture that could only have elicited eye-rolls) and an old-fashioned smoking cessation program. The researchers think they've pinpointed the reason: More »

Breaking: Teenagers Drink, Smoke Weed, Lie About It

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A new study has found that only 10 percent of parents believe that their teenagers drink, and only five percent think that their kids smoke weed. For comparison's sake, consider the fact that 52 percent of teenagers say they drink and 28 percent say they smoke weed.

In other words, science has found that teenagers lie to their parents. Revelatory enough in and of itself, but the New York Times ups the ante and asks real live teens about their drinking and drugging behavior in a blog post: "If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know?"

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