Children's Health (Pediatrics)

  • Medical Author:
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Children's mental illness

Suicide is now the second leading cause of death during the teen years. Major depression and bipolar disease may underlie suicide attempts and suicide.

It was once thought that children were not subject to these mental illnesses because children had not yet developed the ability to feel hopeless and helpless about the future. That is clearly untrue. It is now widely acknowledged that children are susceptible not only to major depression and bipolar disease but also to anxiety disorders, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Recent studies have highlighted the acute and long-term effects of bullying on children, noting higher rates of depressive symptoms and suicide in children who have been bullied. Here again the treatment must be appropriate for use in the pediatric age range.

Family health and children

Family health looks at children's health and well-being in the context of their family unit. The health of the family as a whole plays a major role in determining the health of each child within that family. This applies not only to children's physical health but to their emotional health, as well.

Our society professes the ideal that every child should grow up in a household under the care of a pair of loving adults who possess appropriate parenting skills. The reality today is that divorce, single parenting, and step-parenting are common. Adoption and foster-parenting are also not uncommon. The historically traditional biological mother/father household is not the only type of household in which children are growing up today.

The provision of adequate child care and supervision -- and the prevention of child abuse and neglect -- need to be openly addressed. One of the most tragic situations is the physical injury, emotional damage, or even death that occurs because a caregiver has shaken, burned, hit, or sexually assaulted a child.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2016

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