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The faddish bracelet is a thin strip of metal about 9 inches long that is covered by colorful woven fabric or paper. The toy wraps into a bracelet when the wrist is struck with the metal strip.

The commission said it issued its warning in response to reports that the toy had caused hand and wrist injuries to children. Concerns about the toy's safety have prompted schools in several states to ban them from classrooms.

In its warning, the commission said it was concerned that over time, the fabric or metal covering the bracelet may tear or come apart, exposing the wearer to a sharp metal edge. The commission recommended that parents warn their children about hazards posed by the bracelets, and throw away any bracelet that shows tears or exposed metal.

Children in Gillette, Wyo., who break a new local law that bans minors from using tobacco could find themselves cleaning the city's dog pound or picking up litter.

Under the law, which took effect at the start of the school year, all first-time offenders must do five hours of community service and attend a three-hour class on the dangers of tobacco. Second-time offenders must do 10 hours of work, and can be fined $25.

Those caught smoking or chewing tobacco on school grounds also are subject to being placed in a special, separate class for up to four days.

Since late August, Lieut. Laurie Kadrich of the Gillette police said, more than 50 adolescents have been cited for illegal tobacco possession. "Most kids are just not using it now," she said.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed a formula to help high-school wrestlers estimate their safe minimum wrestling weights.

Such a formula is necessary, they say, since about 25 percent of the 270,000 high-school wrestlers nationwide engage in pre-season crash diets in order to qualify for a lower weight class in the hopes of improving their competitive chances. Extreme diets, the researchers say, can have negative physical and psychological side effects, and can limit normal adolescent growth.

The formula, which was developed by members of the university's department of health, physical education, and recreation, is based on data collected from more than 700 high-school wrestlers. Wrestlers in Wisconsin schools will be required to adhere to the weight formula next year.

Creating a national health-insurance program may be the only way to ensure that poor, non-white children have access to medical care, a new study concludes.

The study, which appears in this month's issue of Pediatrics, found that poor, non-white children have consistently less access to medical care than white, affluent children, regardless of their health-insurance status.

Merely expanding the federal Medicaid program will not solve the access problem, the authors conclude, since the program does not give private medical providers enough economic incentives to accept Medicaid patients.

The study was completed by researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Michigan, and the rand Corporation.

For the first time, researchers have been able to show that the effects of some weight-loss regimens for obese children can persist through young adulthood.

A study, which appears in the Nov. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that obese children who were supported by their parents when they began a special diet between the ages of 6 and 12 were able to maintain some of the losses for 10 years.

Each of the 55 children included in the study by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh had at least one overweight parent. All the parents and children were put on the same diet and exercise routine, and were expected to attend eight weekly meetings. Some of the children were given additional reinforcement individually, while others were given extra help along with their parents.

While all the parents had regained their weight after 10 years, the study found, the children who were given the extra help along with their parents were less likely to gain weight than the other obese children. Children in the latter group, however, were an average of 35 percent overweight at the 10-year mark.

Censorship is a major concern for health educators in North Carolina, a study by People for the American Way has found.

A survey of 111 health educators in the state found that half had been challenged by a parent or told by a school administrator that a certain topic was not appropriate for discussion in class.

Nearly 3 in 10 said they avoid teaching certain topics or advise fellow teachers against discussing certain issues, the survey found. Birth control was the most controversial topic, the survey found.--ef

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