obesity

The famed sue-and-settle group Center for Science in the Public Interest, founded by a former employee of Ralph Nader, are in the news again. This time they are using their "health justice" little sister Praxis Project as the lead and are going after both Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association, claiming they knew all along that soda was harmful and covered it up. You know, like Big Tobacco in the 1950s and '60s.

Bloomberg News sums it up thusly:

  • Federal court complaint alleges Coke downplayed sugar effects
  • Sugary drinks ‘are scientifically linked to obesity, diabetes’

The Praxis Project claims...

Cancer deaths are falling in the United States, and that's great to see. On the other hand, fatalities caused by heart disease are on the rise and there's a significant increase in deaths attributed to Alzheimer's disease. 

These are some of the top developments from 2015 included in the latest national report on life expectancy, recently released by National Center for Health Statistics, a department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

But the most significant and sobering news generated from the analysis shows that for the first time in 22 years, life expectancy for the average American has dropped. Last year it was 78.8 years, down from 78.9 years in 2014. Broken down by gender, men could expect to live 76.3 years (down from 76.5), while for women "life...

Here we are at holiday time again — and along with getting together with family and friends, we can anticipate many opportunities for holiday parties and holiday eating and drinking. And of course the opportunity, come January first, for more resolutions about losing that holiday pudginess. So perhaps it's an appropriate time to think a little about obesity and what to do about preventing and/or treating it.

Obesity isn't a one-size-fits-all affliction, as we said over 20 years ago. Although the hope has been that as we learn more about the genetic underpinnings of the condition — which genes make it more likely to add fat — we'd come up with a unique means of dealing with the excess adiposity. Instead...

All you have to do currently to encounter an influx of negativity and persistent “what ifs” or anxiety is turn to social media or any news outlet.  This pervasive, chronic theme—no matter where you fall on the political spectrum—has been ever present the last 18 or so months throughout the campaign season.  

Now that election day has come and gone it appears we keep attaining new thresholds of vitriol.  

Life is replete with ups and downs.  Negative emotions are a part of the deal.  They often make positive experiences more joyful due to the perspective they promote.  Some stress can be a salvation to enable us to flee danger, hence, why we have the innate, instinctual biological response of hormone release during those critical moments or brief periods of time.  

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For years now, activists such as CSPI  have been agitating for a tax on sodas and other sugary soft drinks. They have been making headway under the rubric of aiming to improve public health. Thus far, sweetened soft drink taxes have been approved by voters in Berkeley CA, Philadelphia PA, Boulder CO, San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, CA. Can others be far behind?

Supposedly, these taxes are enacted to reduce consumption of such beverages, but by the way, they will obviously also increase government revenue. And will those funds really be used for public health initiatives, or more to fix potholes and fulfill other governmental responsibilities? More to the point, will these taxes really benefit public health —  by supporting measures to educate consumers, for example? Will we...

The prevalence of dementia in the United States significantly declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012.  A new study by JAMA Internal Medicine attributes this, in part, to an increase in educational attainment. 

Dementia has multiple causes and types.  It reflects damage to the nerve cells of the brain which can appear in varying locales.  Symptoms of memory loss and cognitive changes manifest differently depending on the individual, medical history and etiology.  

Alzheimer’s is the most common culprit in those 65 and older.  Right behind is vascular damage of the vessels that...

It's probably the biggest issue in the nutrition world — no, not the Fat vs. Carbs dispute — but how to motivate people to make healthy food choices. You know that old saying — "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"? Well, that certainly seems to apply to many people when it comes to choosing what foods to buy. Rather than opting for relatively low calorie items that are nutrient rich (read fruits and vegetables), as most nutrition experts recommend, many of us go for the sweet- and fat-laden instead. With obesity rampant among us, what would be an effective means of encouraging other options? A group of scientists from the University of Minnesota, New York University and the University of California, Davis devised a trial to test whether incentives,...

When trying to identify why many children gain weight at an early age, the conversation always seems to include the idea that schools, with their scheduling constraints and ever-tightening budgets, find it increasingly difficult to fund or create periods of physical activity, like gym classes or field trips. And even if they are allocated periods outside of the classroom, technology is eating up more and more of their free time.

And then there are the school cafeterias. They tend to be a favorite target of critics, who contend that lunches being served are neither nutritious or appealing enough. And with all that, we collectively shrug.

But a new, large study of young children indicates that schools...

The good news is that Americans have realized what public health experts have been sayng for years — obesity is a huge problem leading to a myriad of negative health outcomes. The not-so-great news is that many aren't realistic about their own body weight. according to a recent survey by NORC (pronounced N-O-R-C), at the University of Chicago, in collaboration with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The survey included about 1,500 adults over the age of 18. They were queried in person, by phone, and on the internet, and the sample was weighted to represent the national distribution of ethnic groups, ages and genders. Participants gave their weight and height, and investigators...

Supermarket Selections

When it comes to matters involving food -- shopping for, eating and disposing of it, just to name a few -- it's surprising how lack of awareness factors into each area. And once again this appears to be a recurring theme given the tepid news coverage of World Food Day last Sunday, coupled with a recent survey of Americans about food consumption and overall food waste.

World Food Day, established in 1979, is a global initiative described by the organization as "a day of action against hunger. On October 16, people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime."

A eminently laudable goal, it's hard not to get behind the effort to address worldwide hunger concerns, as well as those here in the United States. But a news search...