Blog Posts by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff

  • Should a 9-year-old be on Weight Watchers?

    (ThinkStock Photos)(ThinkStock Photos)Actress Ginnifer Goodwin just admitted she's been on the Points plan for 23 years. That means the 32-year-old "Big Love" star started calculating her meals as a 9-year-old tween. Should kids be counting calories before they reach their double digits? Not according to Weight Watchers. In 2003, the company announced a policy officially banning kids under 10 from joining the program. Kids between 10 and 16 however can join with a doctor's referral and guardian signature. The policy was a response to the growing obesity crisis in young people. But it also pointed to the fact that some kids are too young to be measuring their food intake to the number.
    "Chronic dieting is associated with the onset of adolescent eating disorders," according to the 2008 textbook, Abnormal Child Psychology. Kids obsessed with food, and under strict mandates from their folks, are at a higher risk for anorexia and bulimia, which can commonly develop around age 11. Experts warn parents that too many restrictions

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  • Teen pregnancies on the decline. Could TV be responsible?

    Kailyn and her newborn, subjects of a recent episode of Kailyn and her newborn, subjects of a recent episode of While there may be more teen moms on television, there are fewer than ever in reality. This week, the National Center for Health Statistics announced a record low in birth rates for U.S. girls aged 15 to 19. The survey, based on 2009 figures, is even six percent lower than the 2008 record low.

    Some speculate the recession played a factor in the date, since the overall birth rate has decreased as Americans tighten their belts. But another theory is that sex education's impact has grown. Abstinence and birth control awareness programs may be partly responsible. But could the media also be having an effect?

    In 2008, during her mom's vice presidential campaign, Bristol Palin's pregnancy took center stage. Politics aside, no one could argue that the high schooler's situation was brutal. Every step of her journey from her child's birth to her custody battles, were chronicled at times without any sugar coating. Teenagers who followed her story saw that a high school boyfriend, however

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  • What are your true colors? The palette that brings out your natural beauty

    Just because you love a color, that doesn't mean it loves you back. The fact is some hues complement your features better than others. A refined makeup palette can enliven your eye color, refine bone structure and reinvent your all-around beauty. Pair your made-up face with a complementary dress and

  • Expiration 1/1/2011: food, folks and fads that have passed their prime

    (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

    Some trends expire almost as quickly as a carton of milk. Others are like Twinkies. They may not spoil, but at some point you just have to throw them out. As the decade comes to a close, it's a good time to look at the fashions, foods, celebrities and sayings that are rotting in our pop culture fridge. Some came onto the scene recently, while others have been hobbling along under-the-radar for far too long. Either way, come January-it's out with the old. No really, this time we mean it.

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  • Teens say: "my life is ruined." Studies say: they may have a point.

    There's a reason everything seems like a really big deal to teenagers: they are. A rash of recent studies on teenage brain development suggests that minor traumas for adolescents can have major impact on their adult development, possibly even re-wiring their genetic code. Newsweek's Russ Juskalian rounded up recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, that point to hazards of the young mind.

    Part of the problem is that their front lobe, which controls impulse and judgement, are still developing. As a result, teens are more likely to have impaired judgement when it comes to binge-drinking, drugs, and even sensitivity to bullying. The new research suggests all those factors can have lasting effects. Stress caused by bullying, suggests one Florida State University researcher, could tip the balance towards psychological disorders like depression and other psychopathology.

    Juskalian adds: "Other research supports the hypothesis that these kinds of prolonged impacts of environmental exposure-not

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  • Do you live near a sex offender? New email alerts will tell you

    It's not the kind of subject line you want to see in your inbox, but it may be crucial information for your family. A dozen states across the country are now alerting residents via email when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. Already several states sponsor search engines that allow residents to pull up names, addresses and photos of level 2 and 3 sex offenders (at higher risk of violence or repeat crimes). But the new email alert system notifies residents when a new offender moves into their designated home, school or day care area.

    It's a technological breakthrough that's particularly relevant on the heals on a new study stating more sex offenders are infiltrating schools. The study by the General Accountability Office found that almost 75 percent of school abuse cases involve an employee with a prior history of sex offenses. The researchers point fingers at school officials covering up for fellow colleagues and poorly executed background checks.

    That puts more of an

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  • The great debate: female characters, sex and the Parents TV Council

     Cory Monteith and Lea Michele of 'Glee' (Photo: Fox) Cory Monteith and Lea Michele of 'Glee' (Photo: Fox) Teen girls are having more sex on TV. That means teen boys are too, but the Parents Television Council isn't worried about them. Their latest research found that underage female characters have more sexually driven plot-lines than adult female characters. Focusing on the top 25 shows on broadcast TV for viewers age 12-17, their research indicates that hit shows like "Vampire Diaries" and "Glee" are big on teen sex. "Out of all the sexualized scenes depicting underage or young adult female characters, 86 percent of those female characters were presented as only being of high school age," according to a statement made by study researchers. In other words teen girls are acting (literally) like sluts! Teen boys, however, will be boys, since the study doesn't measure their activity.

    Every year, the Parents Television Council stirs up publicity with an outraged, imbalanced survey that points fingers at popular television shows on major networks. Despite seemingly feminist agendas, their

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  • The woman behind the infamous Kwanzaa Cake (it's not Sandra Lee)

    Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa cake already had too much on it. Dinner table candles? Pumpkin seeds? Corn nuts? But a secret ingredient was revealed today that brought new meaning to the worst cake in the world: the recipe writer. Denise Vivaldo came clean on a HuffPo blogpost that she conceived of the Kwanza cake for Sandra Lee.

    "I guess I imagined something more refined. And I know the Corn Nuts were disgusting, but [Lee] didn't. As a matter of fact, the more tasteless the recipes got the more she liked them, the faster she approved them, and I could get home and drink some medium-priced wine after our meetings. She's not a good role model for abstinence. "

    Vivaldo detailed her job as a kind of ghost food writer. She's paid to write recipes for Lee and several other celebrity chefs with no time, or in her words, "talent" to take on the task themselves. But it's unlikely Lee will be hiring her again. Vivaldi's post skewers the first lady of the Food Network, blaming her "incredibly

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  • Is your hair a fire hazard? (sponsored by today's top viral video)

    A model at a recent Diddy-sponsored event was just soaking in a bath surrounded by candles and about 300 other people (wtf?) when all of a sudden she smelled something burning. The back of her hair had kissed a candle flame and immediately caught fire. Lucky for her she was in a pool of water and put out the fire without too much damage. Unlucky for her, the whole thing was caught on tape and is making the rounds across the internet.(warning: it's not totally safe for work)

    While it's hard to relate to her particular public bathing scenario, the flammable hair situation is one I know intimately. The mixture of styling products, frizz and a match has not once, but twice, turned my hair into a momentary inferno. And the tale of another friend, whose curly locks got caught in the crossfire of her Bat Mitzvah candles has haunted me for years. (She was fine, but she did have to cut all her hair off which is not so fun at 13). And we all know about Michael Jackson's brush with flame while

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  • As seen on TV: Can these wacky anti-aging products possibly work?

    Instant facelifts! Slimmer necklines! If you're up late, and in the market for the fountain of youth, infomercials about anti-aging 'miracles' can be downright hypnotizing. While the words 'paid spokesperson' should snap you out of the spell, those before and after photos are pretty convincing. They're cheaper than Botox, yes, but do as-seen-on-TV products work as well? Here's a look at some of small-screen anti-aging stars and their off-screen reputations.

    Product: Neckline Slimmer
    : $20
    : waddle
    How it works: It's basically a pogo stick for your neck muscles, the jaw workout comes with three different taut springs and an "accelerator" cream.
    The good: ConsumerSearch writer Sage McHugh points to at least one happy customer, who used the product for 30 days and noticed a definite difference.
    The bad: A running list of online complaints about results, hidden charges and the occasional jaw pain hover around the product. And according to Consumer Reports' ShopSmart research,

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