Health Briefs

Monday June 24, 2013

Guiding kids through trauma

From severe bullying and sexual abuse to abandonment and natural disasters, instances of trauma do not discriminate by age. Children especially, though, may have trouble understanding what has happened and why, and it can be difficult for them to make sense of their feelings after a traumatic event.

With "Healing Days," by Susan Farber Straus, the American Psychological Association has published an illustrated storybook that aims to help guide young victims through their emotional or physical trauma.

The book tells the tale of a child who has had an unspecified "bad thing" happen. Through the story, author and psychologist Susan Farber Straus emphasizes that the victim is not to blame and introduces concepts that can help children understand that there is hope for a happy future.

"Healing Days" is appropriate for children 5 to 9 years old and is designed to be read with a parent, therapist or other trusted adult. The book provides notes for adults on methods -- such as a creating a calming bedtime routine and working together to write a safety plan -- to help children feel safe and confident, key components of recovery after trauma.

D.C. is nation's fittest city

Farmers markets, public transportation and lots of space to play outside have put Washington near the top of a list of fittest U.S. cities.

The D.C. metro area is the second-fittest American city -- edged out only by Minneapolis for the second year in a row, according to the latest American Fitness Index, an annual review of health markers in the 50 largest cities in the United States.

The Washington region earned accolades for such things as low smoking rates, a high percentage of people with health insurance and a high level of state requirements for school phys ed classes, according to the report by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Washingtonians also received props for a multitude of factors relating to activity: Many of us bike, walk or take public transportation to work, and we spend more public money on parks and recreation than any of the other cities in the survey.

The high marks don't mean there isn't room for improvement, though. According to the report, the D.C. area has higher-than-preferred levels of asthma and a less-than-ideal number of golf courses per capita.


Washington Post


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