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spina bifida

Best foot forward

by Andrea Mooney on October 3, 2011

The Packards

The Packards gather around the boulder in their backyard to pose for the picture. Katie passes her bright pink crutches to her mother, and although she needs them to get many places in her life—from school to hip-hop dance class, she’s able to lean against this rock without them.

The photos go well, of course, because the Packard family—mom Cara, dad Brian, brothers Dan and Kevin and sister Laura—is so tightly knit. They’ve come together in ways small and large to help Katie navigate life with spina bifida, a complex birth defect that affects the development of a child’s spinal cord, spine and brain.

But once the photo shoot is over, the rest of the family scatters across the backyard while Katie is still leaning.

“Mom,” she calls, “can you hand me my crutches?”

There she is, a 12-year-old girl, balanced precariously on the edge of the rock, stuck between childhood and adolescence, independence and dependence—between the desire for a regular life and the reality that there are simply things her body can’t do. Full story »

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Children’s in the news

by Tripp Underwood on February 12, 2011

Susanah Huh, MD, MPH

Children’s Susanna Huh, MD, MPH, speaks with ABC News about a new study she co-authored that published in Pediatrics that found infants raised on formula who are fed solid foods before they are 4 months old have a six times higher risk of becoming obese by age 3 than those starting later. The study found no association between the timing of solid-food introduction and obesity in breast-fed infants. Star Telegram, The Washington Post’s “The CheckUp” BlogNPRCBSNews.com and The Los Angeles Times also reported on Huh’s findings.

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Restaurant Nutrition Draws Focus of First Lady

The New York Times reports that a team of advisors for First Lady Michelle Obama has been holding private talks over the past year with the National Restaurant Association in a bid to get restaurants to adopt her goals of smaller portions and children’s meals that include healthy offerings like carrots, apple slices and milk instead of French fries and soda. Children’s David Ludwig, MD, PhD, speaks about the importance of being vigilant when forming partnerships with the food industry and whether the food industry can play a responsible role in the obesity epidemic.

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