American Academy of Pediatrics, Oct. 20 to 24

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics was held this year from Oct. 20 to 24 in Washington, D.C., and attracted participants from around the world, including primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, and other health care professionals. The conference featured scientific sessions that focused on the latest advances in the care of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

In one study, Amanda Burnside, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues found that a significant percentage of youth indicate suicide risk during routine universal suicide screening in the emergency department.

The authors implemented a universal suicide screening program, which involved asking all youth about suicide risk, regardless of presenting concern, in the emergency department at a children”s hospital. The researchers found that in 23 percent of encounters, youth screened positive for suicide risk. For encounters by transgender and gender-diverse youth, specifically, suicide risk was identified in nearly 80 percent of encounters during the 3.5-year study period. Compared with cisgender youth, transgender youth were greater than five times more likely to screen positive for suicide risk.

“It is important to work to ensure that all youth are routinely screened for suicide risk across health care settings,” Burnside said. “We need to develop robust systems to connect youth who screen positive with mental health services, particularly transgender and gender-diverse youth.”

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In another study, Cassidy M. Foley Davelaar, D.O., of Nemours Children”s Health and the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, and colleagues found that more than 50 percent of participants who drop out of a sport because they feel they do not “look right” for the sport say they compared their ability to play sports to images seen in television, movies, and social media.

The authors surveyed 70 current or past athletes, ages 8 to 18 years, in local athletic organizations or from sports medicine clinics. The researchers found that the top reasons for quitting sports were still lack of interest, sport specialization, and injury, followed by coaching, competitiveness, and body image. Girls dropped out of sports at a higher rate than their male counterparts, and girls did not fare as well as boys with regards to body image. In addition, girls consistently ranked themselves at a less-than-ideal body type for their sport. Female respondents were less confident in their appearance while playing sports, and in general, they felt that they had more unattractive features, making them nervous while playing sports. Additionally, they compared themselves more to social media images.

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