Hostess, 5-Hour Energy, Tamera Mowry and more: Our parenting news roundup

Hostess, maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, is shuttering operations, actress Tamera Mowry has her baby, 5-Hour Energy comes under scrutiny after 13 deaths, and the United Nations calls access to contraception a 'human right' (and a bargain!).

Hostess Brands Inc., announced plans to shutter operations, putting 18,500 people out of work, the days of Hostess snacks at recess are numbered, Nov. 14, 2012.

It’s Friday, and time for our weekly parenting news roundup. Today, we’re helping those of you who might have been distracted from other news by l'affair Petreaus. (And how could you not be intrigued by the strange scandal that has brought down CIA director David Petraeus, embroiled Gen. John R. Allen, and also includes twin sisters, a biographer, custody battles, and a shirtless FBI agent? Moreover, how do you explain that one to the kids?)

So, here’s some of what you missed while you were contemplating 20,000 pages of e-mails and the General-as-Gentleman code of honor:

No more Twinkies?!

We got the shocking news today that Hostess Brands, the maker of childhood memories (I mean, pastries), is shutting down operations. Sure, the company had gone through labor fights and Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. But they also had Ho Hos. And Ding Dongs. How will tomorrow’s children be able to group themselves, if not into factions of powdered versus chocolate Donettes? News reports say the company will sell its assets to the highest bidder. So we will just have to wait to see if there will be any new life for the Golden Sponge Cake With Creamy Filling.

Dangerous buzz

Talking about not-exactly-health food, more concerns emerged this week about caffeinated energy drinks – those jolts in a can that are popular among teenagers.

The New York Times reported that the US Food and Drug Administration had received reports of 13 deaths possibly related to the energy drink 5-Hour Energy, along with dozens of other reports about health problems allegedly related to the beverage. This comes on top of a lawsuit filed last month against another energy drink – Monster Energy – by the family of a 14-year-old who died after consuming two of the beverages in a 24-hour period. The FDA said that it had received a number of reports about possible deaths related to Monster Energy.

The energy drink manufacturers say their beverages are safe, but concerns about them seem to be growing: This week a group of doctors in Nova Scotia recommended that caffeinated energy beverages not be sold to children under the age of 19; a number of US policymakers also seem to be jumping on the anti-energy drink bandwagon. 

The right to birth control

The United Nations for the first time described women’s access to birth control as a universal human right. Although the statement came, in classic UN fashion, in an annual report, advocates were quick to recognize the importance of the message. Global leaders, it was clear, believe that legal, cultural, and financial barriers to contraception are human rights violations.

Or otherwise put: Sandra Fluke, 1. Rush Limbaugh, 0.

The UN Population Fund’s annual report also detailed the financial benefits of contraception access, saying that increased funding for family planning by $4.1 billion could save $11.3 billion a year in health costs for moms and babies in poor countries.

Preterm baby news 

The US last year had the lowest rate of preterm births in the past decade, the March of Dimes reported earlier this week, with 11.7 percent of babies born prematurely. That’s down from a 12.8 percent peak in 2006, but is still higher than the 6 percent in Japan and Sweden, or the fewer than 8 percent in Canada and Britain. Meanwhile, a report by specialists from a collection of children’s and medical groups, including Save the Children and the World Health Organization, said this week there is still too little known about how to reduce preterm births across the globe, where some 15 million babies are born before the 38th week of pregnancy.

And the celebs have it…

And finally, “Sister, Sister” actress Tamera Mowry-Housley welcomed a baby boy on Nov. 12. Important business, we realize.

We had written about how Ms. Mowry’s comments about late pregnancy struck us as refreshingly down to earth, i.e. she felt big, uncomfortable, and was ready for this baby to get here now.

Picking up on the new trend of two middle names, (OK, I don’t know if it’s a trend, it just happened in our house), Mowry and Fox News correspondent husband Adam Housely named their son Aden John Tanner Housley.

Happy Friday!

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