All posts by Social Good Moms Contributor

Can Fitbit Help Kids Gain Steps and Lose Weight?

Around 17 percent of American children from age 2 to 19 are classed as “obese”. That’s a level that has remained fairly steady over the last decade. And it’s growing.

Obesity is measured in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) – a measure that can be used to compare children in terms of their weight. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. For children and teens, BMI is so age- and gender-specific that it is referred to as BMI-for-age. BMI levels among children and teens need to be expressed relative to other children of the same age and gender. Every child is different and that makes it difficult to generalize on something like this.

heart-rate-monitoring-device-1903997_1280Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender.

To give an illustration, a 10-year-old boy of average height (56 inches) who weighs 102 pounds would have a BMI of 22.9 kg/m2. He would be considered obese because this calculation puts him in the 95th percentile for BMI-for-age. His BMI is greater than the BMI of 95% of 10-year-old boys in his “reference population”.

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Flooding from Hurricane Harvey causes a host of public health concerns

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As many people have had to wade through floodwaters, they need to be aware of the risk of infection and disease from contaminated waters.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Neil S. Grigg, Colorado State University

The historic rainfall dumped by Hurricane Harvey has already led to deaths by drownings and the destruction of many homes.

Houston’s drinking water system is being stressed by overflowing water reservoirs and dams, breached levees and possible problems at treatment plants and in the water distribution system. Failure of drinking water systems could lead to water shortages.

As a civil engineer who has studied how flooding affects water systems, I also see a number of public health concerns. Raw sewage, dead bodies in the water and release of dangerous chemicals into the floodwaters could lead to the spread of disease through contact with contaminated water and to infection through open wounds.

And because Houston has at least a dozen sites that have been designated environmentally hazardous, there is a risk of petrochemical contamination. Indeed, companies have reported that pollutants from refineries have already been released.

As if those are not bad enough, the “unprecedented” amount of water leads to the perfect breeding opportunities for mosquitoes, which are vectors of Zika and many other infectious diseases.

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Increasing Caesarean Sections in Africa Could Save More Mothers’ Lives

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Shutterstock

Salome Maswime, University of the Witwatersrand and Gwinyai Masukume, University of the Witwatersrand

Caesarean sections have been lifesaving procedures for hundreds of thousands of women across the world who experience complications during labour. The Conversation

Globally, it’s estimated that just under 20% of births take place via caesarean section – a percentage that’s gone up over the last three decades. This has raised concerns, particularly in high-income countries where generally too many caesarean sections are performed.

But in many African countries women who are medically required to have caesarean sections are not able to access them. This is due to several reasons, the most prominent being weak health systems and a lack of resources.

This needs to be fixed as women in sub-Saharan African suffer from the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world. Close to 550 women die for every 100 000 children that are born. This amounts to 200 000 maternal deaths a year – or two-thirds of all maternal deaths per year worldwide.

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Microloans Are Not Charity

Today’s guest post is from Seeds, a tech startup with a female founder working to build social good through microlending into every app that exists.

Most of us know what microloans are, right? They’re small loans — say $5 or $25 — given to people in need. These people can use the loans to buy livestock or supplies for their small businesses, and then pay back the loans with their proceeds.

What usually comes to everyone’s mind when they think about microloans is Kiva, the highly successful microlending nonprofit. (Fun fact: Bill Draper, one of Kiva’s investors, and Sam Birney, Kiva’s former Director of Engineering are investors in Seeds!) Kiva is awesome, but there’s actually a lot more to the world of microfinance than just what they do. We wanted to shed some light on this broader landscape today.

1. Microloans are not a type of nonprofit.

Because Kiva is a nonprofit, what seems to be a big misconception has propagated: that microlending is a category of nonprofit. In fact, it’s a type of lending and finance that happens to do a lot of social good. We think the “social good” part is what confuses people. People often don’t realize that social good doesn’t just come from nonprofits — it can also come from financial institutions, businesses and startups (like Seeds!)

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