Researchers at the World Health Organization (WHO) released the first global country-by-country report on teens’ physical activity in November. After surveying 1.6 million teens from 146 countries over 15 years, they found that 81 percent of teens did not meet the WHO recommendations of one hour of moderate to vigorous activity a day.
The WHO’s World Health Assembly no longer believes it will reach its goal of reducing teen inactivity by 15 percent globally by 2030. The researchers and public health experts are striving to inform teens about the importance of exercise for both mental and physical health. Research shows physical activity is linked to relieving symptoms of depression; lowering risk of cancer, disease, diabetes, and obesity; and living longer.
November is National Native American Heritage Month in the United States. During the month, the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Museum, and more join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans.
The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs kicked-off ceremonies with keynote speaker Nick Hanson. Hanson is Inupiaq and from Unalakleet, Alaska. He appeared numerous times on the popular television show American Ninja Warrior, where he earned the nickname “Eskimo Ninja.” Through this platform, Hanson has become a motivational speaker, coach, and mentor, and is especially passionate about engaging today’s youth. With higher suicide rates among Native Americans and Alaska Native people, he has also made it his mission to raise awareness about suicide prevention. “I think that we really struggle a lot with identity,” Hanson said. “Being Alaska Native, I know exactly what it means to try to figure out who I am.” Hanson says rooting himself in his Alaska Native culture has helped set him on the right path.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is focusing on vitamin E acetate as a “potential toxin of concern” in the recent outbreak of vaping-related injuries and illnesses in the United States. Vitamin E acetate, also known as vitamin E oil, is a common nutritional supplement that is found in many common products. It is safe when applied to your skin, but when it is heated and inhaled it turns into a thick, greasy substance that can coat your lungs. Health officials tested samples of fluid from the lungs of 29 patients with vaping illnesses and found vitamin E acetate in all 29 samples. However, officials say there may be additional ingredients or toxins that are making people sick. Nearly all of the 29 patients also said they had vaped products that contained THC (the ingredient in marijuana that gets people high).
Eighth grader Kara Fan, a 14-year-old from California, is America’s new top young scientist. She won the top prize of $25,000 over nine other finalists in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge—a national competition held annually in St. Paul, Minnesota. The competition encourages middle schoolers to come up with projects to tackle global problems.
For two days, students worked one-on-one with world-renowned scientists. The 10 finalists then presented their projects to 3M and Discovery Education executives. Fan received the top prize for her invention of a nano particle liquid bandage to replace antibiotics. After learning she had won, Fan stated, “My project is important because it reduces the overuse of antibiotics.” The more exposure bacteria have had to antibiotics, the more their resistance has grown. This leads to superbugs, which make people very sick and are resistant to all but the most powerful antibiotics.
EVALI, which stands for electronic cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury, is the official name for the lung condition impacting vapers according to a guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The guidance document is intended to help doctors evaluate someone that may have EVALI and provide details on how to manage their condition.
As of mid-October, officials identified 1,299 probable and confirmed cases of EVALI across 49 states. The CDC also reported that 573 patients from these cases had used vaping products containing nicotine and/or THC products within 90 days of forming symptoms. The stats have also been further broken down to the age of patients. At least 80 percent of EVALI patients are under the age of 35. Of these patients, 15 percent are minors and 21 percent are 18 to 20 years old.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has estimated that one in every five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness. Athletes, both amateurs and professionals, aren’t excluded. In fact, athletes are more susceptible to facing major challenges—they’re required to have a strong identity, have a grueling schedule, and many sports environments are toxic including bullying, abuse, and intimidation.
Professional baseball player Danny Duffy is a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals and a 2015 World Series Champion. Duffy is also clinically diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Duffy has suffered from panic attacks since he was a teenager and dealing with the pressure, bullying, and intensity of being a pro-athlete only intensified some of his condition. His most recent panic attack happened this summer, right before a game. With the Royals organization supporting him, he now follows a plan based on therapy and coping activities, which has helped. He says, “I want people to know that I was lost, too. I want them to know that there’s a healthy way out. Sometimes you just gotta search hard enough and grind through it.”
The September issue of Entrepreneur magazine features 16 young people who have turned skills and interests into successful businesses. Some wanted to solve problems in their communities, while others were interested in monetizing hobbies or earning money for college. The businesses cover a wide range of products including cookies, robotics kits, landscaping, silly socks, and more.
Sanil Chawla discovered how hard it was to start a business under the age of 18, so he developed software to automate the process for teens to get started. Hack+ was started in 2017 as a nonprofit that provides free fiscal sponsorship to student-founded charitable organizations. His software and team have helped over 900 students launch their organizations. Chawla says, “If we can manage all the legal and financial stuff for these young founders to focus on their mission, their goals, it will open the door to so much impact.”
For the upcoming school year 1,200 districts have partnered with the student “safety solutions” company Gaggle to provide safety management for students online. Gaggle is a program that can alert the school when a student is struggling with self-harm, cyberbullying, substance abuse, unhealthy relationships, and other credible threats. Gaggle reports show that during the last school year its program helped school districts save 722 students from carrying out an act of suicide.
The company’s vision is to create products that will help schools create safe learning environments. Today, Gaggle’s safety management programs use a mathematical logarithm to identify high risk phrases and words when students are logged into their district’s server and are using the school’s communication and collaboration tools. Even the name “Gaggle” is a part of this vision. Company founder Jeff Patterson said, “Our goal was to give teachers an easy way to watch over their gaggle of students.”