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  • WCVB(BOSTON) -- Riding a bike for most kids is a rite of passage, but for kids with special needs attending the bike camp at Emerson Hospital, it’s like a dream come true.For 8-year-old Chloe, who has a form of cerebral palsy, it can be a bit overwhelming, she told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.“Scared because not used to ride without training wheels, you might fall ..." she said.For Chloe’s mom, Jenn Smagula, it’s exhilarating. “We live in a neighborhood, there's kids riding bikes all the time, and she hasn't been able to. I'm just so appreciative and thrilled,” she told WCVB.The camp at Emerson Hospital runs about a week. Kids with special needs are paired up with coaches and special bikes, working to progressively get them on two wheels.The camp is not just about learning to ride bikes; it also gives kids courage and determination to tackle many other things, Emerson Hospital spokesperson Mary Evans said.“This changes lives, every parent will tell you, once their child learns to do something that they've never been able to do and thought 'I just can't do that' and they're like, 'I can DO THAT,'” said Evans.For Molly, who has Down syndrome, learning to ride the bike, is an opportunity to do something together with her family.“We're gonna ride together," said Molly, together with her mother Brenda Cassella.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- A new study in Australia looked at how much junk food advertising kids were exposed to and the numbers were staggering.Food advertising can directly affect the types of foods that children actually eat, The World Health Organization has said.To establish just how much food advertising children may be exposed to, researchers in this study examined the advertising content of a single TV network in Australia for the year 2016. Researchers sorted through 30,000 hours of TV and over 800,000 advertisements, paying special attention to the times in which children were most likely to be watching: before school (7 to 9 am) and after school (4 to 10 pm).During these times, there were twice the amount of unhealthy foods advertisements, compared to the amount of healthy food advertisements. These unhealthy ads aired 1.7 times per hour. The most commonly advertised foods included snack foods like chips and popcorn, fried food and fast food. The least commonly advertised foods included vegetables, low sugar cereals and fruit.The study calculated that an average school-aged child watched approximately 827 unhealthy food advertisements, amounting to 4 hours, in a single year.The researchers made these calculations under the assumption that children watch 80 minutes of TV per day. But data from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the average American child consumes more than 120 minutes of screen time per day so that estimate could be low for kids in the U.S.Because of the long hours and the impact advertising can have on children, the authors of this study discuss the potential benefit of regulating unhealthy advertising on media children consume.“Australian health, nutrition and policy experts agree that reducing children’s exposure to junk food ads is an important part of tackling obesity and there is broad public support for stronger regulation of advertising to protect children,” Professor Lisa Smithers, the article’s lead author, said in a statement.Childhood obesity -- defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, meaning the child weighs far more than what is ideal for their height -- is an epidemic on both a national and international scale.In 2014, 17.4 percent of American children and teenagers were obese according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children are obese for the same reasons adults are obese, the agency says, meaning too much bad food and too little activity are the main culprits -- although certain medications, poor sleep and lack of community support also play a role.People who are obese as children are more likely to be obese as adults, the agency added. Obesity leads to a host of well-known medical issues including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, arthritis, liver disease, and gall bladder disease.To combat this rising problem, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. They also recommend limiting sweetened beverages like soda or juice drinks, in addition to limiting all forms of sedentary entertainment like TV and video games.When that entertainment includes advertisements for junk food, the study authors believe there may need to be limits set on how many can run, which could even include government policy."The first step in establishing whether to regulate is knowing what advertising children might be exposed to," she added. "Our work has done that more comprehensively than before."More research would be needed to determine how much impact, and at what frequency, advertisements might have on children's food choices or their parents'.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Courtesy Rebecca Hiles(NEW YORK) -- A woman who alleges that she was misdiagnosed by doctors because of her weight is sharing her story.Rebecca Hiles, 28, said she was told by doctors that her health problems were related to her weight. But it turns out that Hiles was suffering from cancer."It was very scary to sort of exists in a body that I thought was failing me and have medical professionals who didn't seem to take me seriously," Hiles said on "Good Morning America.Hiles credits the medical team for setting her health on the right path, which ultimately lead to the shocking cancer diagnosis.In 2012, doctors found a tumor in Hiles’ bronchial tube. Less than two weeks later, she had surgery to remove her entire left lung."It was the first time in my life that I remember having a doctor take me seriously," Hiles said. "The first moment that I saw my surgeon who said, 'You have carcinoid cancer' and the time that I had to surgery was two weeks."Carcinoid tumors are a type of slow-growing cancer that can develop in several places throughout a person's body, according to the Mayo Clinic.Six years after her surgery, Hiles said she's speaking out to enourage women to be their own health advocates."Had the diagnosis been made two years prior, had it been made when I was 20, maybe things would have been different," she said.ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said patients who feel they may be facing weight bias can take action."From the patient's side, it's really important to understand, we make a medical assessment first, visually -- what does a patient look like?" said Ashton, who is board-certified in obesity and medicine. "It is a fact being overweight or obese does carry certain risks of other things. It is also a fact that you can have more than one thing going on at the same time. So you can be overweight or obese, have a cough, have an infection and you can have lung cancer."Ashton said that training more doctors in obesity medicine would be useful."Making a diagnosis is a very involved, complex process," she said. "But [patients] also need to hold their healthcare provider accountable and if they are being made to feel, 'You're not hearing me,' express your feelings. That can totally turn the table and give the patient more power."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Homeroom Restaurant(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Chrissel Orcino had a "code red" at one of her tables.When Orcino, a server at the Oakland, California, restaurant Homeroom, went to pick up the check for her table of three -- two men and one woman -- something alarming happened.A man was eager to pay for the tab of the entire table, Orcino said and reached into her apron pocket with his credit card.“I could, like, feel his, like, hand move all the way down to the bottom of the pocket with his card,” Orcino, 28, recalled.Orcino was in total shock.“He could’ve just handed me his card or went up to the register and paid for the whole table,” she said. “It was pretty traumatic to have somebody touch me out of nowhere.”But instead of explaining to her manager the details of what happened, Orcino told him she had a code red, and he knew what to do.That’s because, at Homeroom, the staff has a system in place to categorize different types of customer behavior, like Orcino’s experience.The Management Alert Color System, known as MACS because they’re a mac and cheese restaurant, has three tiers: yellow, orange and red.“Yellow is just where someone gets a creepy vibe. Nothing has happened. An orange is where they’ve said something that’s a little bit borderline -- like it could be sexual harassment, it could not be. Like, ‘Hey I love your shirt.’ Right? It could sort of go either way,” Erin Wade, co-founder and chief executive of Homeroom, explained. “And a red is something that’s overtly sexual, like, ‘Hey, you look super sexy in that.’ Or where someone touches someone else.”A staff member doesn’t have to explain the experience to their manager. All they have to do is report the color, and there’s an automatic action that the manager must take.In the case of a code yellow, the server can choose if they want a manager to take over the table, and if they report an orange, the manager will automatically take it over. With a code red, the customer is asked to leave.New hires are introduced to MACS at their orientation and are empowered to bring up potentially problematic behavior and situations in or around the restaurant with their manager, whether it’s involving customers, vendors or a delivery driver.Watch "My Reality: A Hidden America," a special report by ABC News' Diane Sawyer for "20/20" airing on Friday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET“All they have to do is come up to me and say, ‘I have a code yellow at a table, and I just don’t feel comfortable serving them.’ And I don’t even have to ask them questions about what happened. I just say, ‘ Not a problem. I’m happy to step in and take over that table so you don’t have to deal with it,’” said Kale Irwin, a Homeroom manager.The anti-harassment system was started a few years ago when the staff felt they were having a hard time communicating to management when an experience with sexual harassment or other problematic behavior was occurring.Since the introduction of MACS, Wade says, Homeroom has had fewer code reds, because, “It seems to stem harassment at a really early level.”For Orcino, the system helped her in a moment she was too distressed to explain her own emotions, let alone what happened when that male customer reached into her apron.“In any other situation, if we didn’t have the system, then I would have to explain the whole thing and go through the whole process, and in a time when we’re really busy and I can’t even process my own emotions,” Orcino said. “This incident with this guest happened so fast, so abruptly, that I was completely in shock.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Paul Morigi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- “Someone told me daddy is gross. He isn’t gross. He is a hero,” said the oldest daughter of Michael Verardo, a wounded veteran who is missing a limb.Verardo lost his leg in 2010 serving as an infantryman in Afghanistan. Since then, he has undergone over 100 surgeries and years of physical and occupational therapy, according to a press release.After hearing their daughter’s words, the Verardo family realized the need for a children’s book that could explain the wounds sustained by many veterans.“There are many military families who struggle with explaining the complex injuries to their own children, and even more so with children who are not exposed to this life on a daily basis,” said Michael’s wife and caregiver, Sarah Verardo.She's now the author and publisher of "Hero At Home," a children’s book that aims to normalize interactions with injured veterans, especially those with amputations.“Our goal with this book is to be able to describe this in a way that allows these children to understand the sacrifices made by our nation’s wounded veterans and to see that they are truly heroes,” she said.The mother of three is also the executive director of the Independence Fund, an advocacy organization for severely wounded Veterans.One of the pillars of the Independence Fund is the mobility program, which provides all-terrain wheelchairs and adaptive bicycles to veterans “of all eras.”The cover of "Hero at Home" features an illustration of a veteran in one of those all-terrain wheelchairs. While the book may be for children, a spokesperson says that it's educational for people of all ages."Hero at Home" is currently available on Amazon. The proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the Independence Fund, according to a spokesperson.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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