Children who are breast-fed as infants have a lower risk of developing childhood leukemia, a new study suggests.

Leukemia is one of the leading killers of children and adolescents. Scientists have long suspected that breast-feeding might have a protective effect against the blood cancer because breast milk contains many antibodies and immune-strengthening compounds.

In the new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, scientists found that children who were breast-fed for at least six months had a 19 percent lower risk of the disease compared with those who were not breast-fed at all or were breast-fed for shorter periods of time.

The research showed only an association, not a cause and effect, and more research is needed to confirm the link and explain the biological mechanisms involved.

The study was based on data from 18 studies that involved about 28,000 children, including roughly 10,000 who went on to develop leukemia.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breast-feed their children for at least six months, saying it lowers the risk of infections, allergies and sudden infant death syndrome, among other things.

How much is your child really dancing in dance class?

New research shows that over all, the level of physical activity in children’s and teenagers’ dance classes is surprisingly low.

On average, students spend only about a third of their class time in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The research, published online in the journal Pediatrics, collected data from 264 girls who danced at 17 private studios and four community centers in San Diego. The researchers equipped the dancers with accelerometers to measure their movement during a combined 66 classes.

The overall findings showed that moderate and vigorous movement accounted for only 36 percent of class time. However, the amount of active time varied according to the type of dance. Not surprisingly, hip-hop dance classes offered on average the most activity, ballet and Latin flamenco the least. For teenagers, there was no difference in activity across dance types. Children were more active than adolescents in all types except ballet.

— Officials in Daytona Beach will pass out yellow, waterproof wristbands to beachgoers this summer in an effort to reduce the number of lost children.

It’s the second year for the program in Volusia County, where the Beach Safety Division hands out the bracelets between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Parents or guardians are asked to scribble their phone number on the wristbands.

If a child is found alone, officers will call the number on the bracelet to reconnect families.

“When we get a missing kid, especially a very young one, it’s not always easy to get information from them such as their parent’s name, where they were, what their parent is wearing,” Sasha Medina, a Beach Safety officer, said. “It’s just an easier way for us to reconnect them with their party.”

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports beach safety officers have about 20,000 wristbands. At least six hotels also will be passing them out to guests.

Mark Swanson, director for the Volusia County Beach Safety Division, said he believes the implementation of the bracelet program contributed to a drop in lost children. During last year’s summer season, officers counted 114 missing children on the beach, down from 134 the previous year.

Wire reports