November 2010 Archives

Party Food

Has food become the new battleground in our nation's partisan politics? Read more here:

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New Report About Prevalence of Eating Disorders

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a report today in its leading journal, Pediatrics, indicating that eating disorders have become more common, especially among men and even young children. Men now comprise about 10% of those diagnosed with an eating disorder, and the number of children under 12 hospitalized for an eating disorder more than doubled between 1999 and 2006.

Read the full report here: Pediatrics

Let's ask Dr. Crow on Wednesday for his take on these trends.

Exercise: For Type 2 Diabetes, 2 Types of Training

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/health/research/30exercise.html?_r=1&ref=health

This article was really short and sweet, but it has good points for diabetics as well as non-diabetics.The theory was that with 100 minutes of high intensity aerobics and 1-2 days of resistance training for 15-20 minutes a day, one will be able to control their diabetes and lower their blood sugar. Basically, there were tests performed with different groups of adults with an average age of 55. Test groups consisted of some doing aerobics, some doing resistance, some doing the combo, and some not doing any exercise at all. The results showed that the combination was the key. Participants went from 7.7 to 7.3 percent blood sugar. Diabetes is growing to be such a large problem these days, for all ages. Even young children can form diabetes now as well, mostly due to poor eating and exercising habits. I believe that everyone should take this advice in general for their well being. This will help stop the overflow of people in the "obese" section of our society. If they can exercise well as well as eat a healthy diet, it can change everything.

Anorexia- Elle's Story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLYbSghCtXg&feature=related

This is a video that was made by a girl who's sister passed away from anorexia. It is really heartbreaking to watch, but I feel like it gives a great picture of what it is like to try to understand someone's eating disorder.

Eating disorders are not something that only affects the person with the eating disorder. Rather, they are something that have a profound impact on family and friends that are trying to support the person with an eating disorder. If you watch the video, you will see that Elle seemed like she had a pretty good life. She was happy; she had close friends and family who cared about her. Yet, she still fell victim to anorexia. Our culture puts so much pressure on people, especially women, to be thin. Even though many women are at a healthy weight, they are influenced by images in television, movies, and magazines, telling them that they are fat and that being fat is the worst thing that could happen to you. After watching Disfigured, I am sure many people in our class felt like they could better understand the mentality behind an eating disorder. Still, sadly for many women, they don't feel like there will ever be a point where they are happy with their bodies.

Cutting teen salt could save future health costs

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Everything consumed by teenagers in current diets is jam-packed with sodium. It's understandable that our large french fry from McDonalds is salty beyond nutritional need, but everything we put into our bodies, even our Coca Cola with 75 mg of sodium, contains salt. Hypertension is a disorder that is often associated with obesity, and if teens were to reduce the amount of salt they consume by three grams a day, there would be a 68% decrease in the number of teenagers with hypertension. Three grams a day? Why hasn't this been put into effect. If each common fast food restaurant, soda producer and snack brand were to lower their sodium slightly, this could be put into effect. Simple as that. This easy decrease would also lower the number of U.S. adults with this heart condition, a great thing for the health of our country. By changing the way people expect food to taste-very salty, Because hypertension and high blood pressure are the contributing factors to both heart attacks and strokes, this sodium decrease in teens would help them in their adult life.

By paying attention to the nutritional information to choose low-sodium dietary options, you are making a smart choice for your heart. Teens who eat a small half a teaspoon less there would be a 43 percent decrease in over 2.7 million adults between ages 35 and 50 who suffer from hypertension.

Eat less salt in your diet and save your heart? I think we can manage that.

Kidney procedure reduces high blood pressure, study finds

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/la-he-kidney-blood-pressure-20101118,0,1168279.story

In an article that will be published in the Chicago Tribune on November 18th, a new surgical procedure will be announced that destroys certain nerves in the kidney that can helo patients whose high blood pressure has not responded to conventional medications. The study was conducted on 52 patients whose blood pressure averaged 178/96, despite the fact that they were taking five hypertension medications. On average, their blood pressure dropped by 32/12, while a control group of 54 patients receiving only drugs showed no change. An estimated 15% of those with high blood pressre are unable to control it, despite taking three of more medications. It is those people at whom the new treatment is aimed. The researchers found that only 5 of the 52 patients in the study did not respond to the kidney treatment. Previous participants as long as two and a half years ago are still being monitored, and their blood pressure has not gone back up. The future envisions trials on patients with less severe hypertension in which the treatment would result in a cure, not just improvement.

Although this study does not directly translate to individuals with obesity, we have learned in class that high blood pressure is a common result of being overweight. We have learned that overweight patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery dramatically reduces or eliminates the individuals Type I Diabetes. Now with this new study, it might be possible that overweight individuals could be rid of their high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risks too. Could a world be coming where being obese can actually be healthy? Could all of the common disease associated with it be alleviated? Furthermore, this study states that this procedure is designed for those who have had ongoing problems with hypertension. In order to qualify for this surgery I wonder if there are certain guidelines that a patient would have to meet--as in do they have to have inhereted it or can it be a result of obesity? I also wonder if this procedure is designed for those who are not overweight or suffer from it because they are overweight. That is I wonder what the qualifications for this particular surgery are.

Twinkie Diet Helps Professor Lose 27 Ibs

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http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html

Typically when people say they're "dieting", people assume they're eating healthy foods and working out. Is this always the best case? Studies have shown that when people stress the importance of healthy low-cal foods, we tend to over eat because we think we can. This professor however, tried the reverse. He tested out his theory that strictly calorie counting will lead to weight loss, not necessarily whether they're "good" calories or not. For 10 weeks, he ate a twinkie every three hours instead of eating three regular meals. Once a day, he also still ate vegetables, like a can of green beans. Despite eating a horrible diet, his blood pressure, weight, and body fat all dropped greatly. I find this crazy because I really thought it would be better to eat more healthy foods. In class, we've been talking about food deserts and how poorer people have limited access to healthy food. Yet, they are one of the groups of people that are struggling with health issues like obesity and diabetes. How can these be connected? I'm sure they aren't exactly as concerned with calorie counting as much as saving money and eating enough.

Commercials Against High Fructose Corn Syrup Tax

http://www.nofoodtaxes.com/ads/

These commercials are really cheesy. The mom who finds it necessary to buy soda is very unrealistic. I could never imagine my mom finding it a necessity to buy soda for our family. If a family has a very tight budget they should be cutting out unnecessary items. Soda is definitely not a necessity. I think that taxing high fructose corn syrup (one of the main ingredients in soda) is a good idea. If you think of all the different food that have high fructose corn syrup, they are not healthy. This would help to encourage the purchase of healthier foods, but if someone really wants food with high fructose corn syrup the tax will end up only being a few pennies per product.

Corner Markets Going Fresh

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http://www.mndaily.com/2010/11/03/corner-stores-promote-fresh-food

Throughout the class we have talked a lot about food deserts and the problems with healthy foods being more expensive. While I was looking though articles on the Minnesota Daily's website, this one caught my eye. This article discusses the new project in Minneapolis to move more healthy foods into convenient stores. These stores are often in low income areas and are they only places that some people can get to buy their weekly groceries. This project will promote healthy eating on a larger scale. Another goal of this project is to attempt to change the eating habits of children. Many children look for chips and soda when they go into a convenient store but the hope is that they may now look for more healthy options.

I think this topic is especially interesting since we just saw Food Inc. In the documentary it was a big issue that many people couldn't find healthy food at a low cost. Another hope for this project is that it will make healthy foods a more realistic option because of the lower cost. This change will allow people in lower income areas to have the same opportunities to eat healthy.

It is important to place focus on eating healthy and making healthy changes in all aspects of our world. Education and promotion of these habits will lead to a healthier lifestyle for future generations.

While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/us/07fat.html?_r=1

While browsing through the New York times website, I came across the above article that talks about the government program known as Dairy Management, which is a program within the Department of Agriculture. The article specifically addresses the recent deals that the Dairy Management program has made to promote cheese consumption with companies such as Dominoes and Taco Bell. These deals consist of money being given to these companies in exchange for their commitment to use more cheese and therefore boost dairy sales. The article also brings up the fact that the U.S. Agriculture Department has programs aimed at combating obesity and that subsidizing large amounts of cheese, which has been shown to be one of the leading sources of saturated fat for the American population, seems a contradictory aim. In my mind, this contradiction of goals brings up two main problems with out government system: a bureaucracy which is so packed full of specialized agencies that they trip over themselves and a government which is conflicted between the interests of corporations and the interests of the actual people. I see the necessity for specialized agencies because of the complexity of modern America. However I feel there should be more regulation of these agencies to ensure they are working with each other in order to achieve a higher efficiency in dealing with problems affecting the American public, such as obesity. As we've seen in Food Inc. and read about in The Omnivores Dilemma, the corporate food industry has a huge influence on government policy and this fact is distinctly seen in the Dairy Program's deals with both the fast food companies and the dairy "farmers" themselves. I've put farmers in quotations because after seeing the industrialized agriculture world as is shown in Food Inc., I have my doubts as to whether subsidizing cheese in fact aids individual farmers and rural communities, as the Dairy Program reasoned, or if it in fact helps the large corporations in control of most of the dairy market. One more interesting note brought up in the article is the fact that even after cheese was proven to not necessarily be healthy, the Dairy Program continued to advertise that it was in fact healthy by using outdated research. The use of such underhanded tactics to make money by a program within the government shows that government programs often deserved to be treated with as much suspicion as corporate America.

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Stars magazine puts out multiple issues a year on who has the best and worst bodies. While many people find this to be entertaining, many people (especially teenage girls) take these images and compare them to their own bodies. What they do not realize the diets, surgeries, pills, and intense weight programs these celebrities are on, and not only that, but that it is not good for their bodies either. Since the magazine states they have a great body, the reader then desires for this same body. However, it is not only Stars magazine putting out these types of issues. ESPN just put out "The Body Issue" showing off all your favorite sports without clothing, and the on the cover of last months Seventeen magazine it states "Clothes That Make YOUR BODY Look Great!", "Look Pretty Now!", and "653 Fashion and Beauty Secerts!" What kind of message are we sending to teenagers when we encourage them to look better than they are? How much of teen eating disorders should we blame on the press? Why are magazines not trying to help self-esteem instead of destory it?

The Corn Refiners Association

Being a productive college student, making sure I was "Keeping Up With the Kardashans" on a normal thursday night, I came across a very interesting commercial in regards to high-fructose corn syrup. Being much more educated about this sugar additive derived from corn than the general public, I thought it was very intriguing and thought provoking that The Corn Refiners Association would produce such a thing.
After seeing a quick glance of a woman talking about how pouring her kids a cup of fruit juice containing an ingredient, "no different than fruit juice" was in fact okay for their health, I wanted to see if there were more commercials of this nature.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEbRxTOyGf0

This add makes sure that consumers "get the facts" about high fructose corn syrup, leaving the impression that there must be a bit of misinformation somewhere about this ingredient. When asked why this syrup is so bad for a person's health, again and again these commercials have people with no actual information to say about it. In efforts of getting back the support of those who used to purchase things with this ingredient, and were turned against it by the media, the Corn Refiners Associations, whom was obviously impacted by the efforts away from HFCS, points where made to emphasize the misinformation people have.
Three points that the ads keep presenting about HFCS are:

1.) It's made from corn.
2.) Has the same calories as sugar.
3.) Is fine in moderations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVsgXPt564Q&NR=1

These points leave me to wonder if they are really valid things to say or not. At the end of every commercial they suggest people should visit sweetsurprise.com, thus sparking my interests to do so. Quotes on this site emphasize that sugar and HFCS are virtually the same in the bloodstream and are metabolized identically.

Though all points made in both the ads and the website are obviously in favor of HFCS, I just find the efforts to change the conceptions people have on this item very interesting. It makes you wonder if HFCS is reallyas bad as people think it is and if it is in fact one of the great contributors to the obesity issue in our country.

Cafeteria Trays=Freshman 15?

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/nyregion/29tray.html

When I came to the University at the beginning of September I noticed a lot of differences between my high school's cafeteria and the residential dining hall. There were a lot more options at the dining hall and you could go back and get food as many times as you wanted.

From a health and portion perspective neither of these things are necessarily good. With so many options, it's hard to decide and you often want to try more than you are really hungry for. Since you can go up multiple times and get food, you may eat more than you think you are.

One other big change from high school cafeterias is that the dining halls do not have trays. This is not by accident. Not only is it less dishes to wash, but the absence of trays is supposed to combat the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph. Without trays you can't have multiple plates; you can carry one plate and your drink. This is supposed to encourage diners to decide on one dish. This article points out people will be less likely to go up for seconds because they have to make a conscious decision to go get more food.

I don't know if I agree with all of their reasoning. Sanford dining hall is tray-less and people seem to have no problem juggling multiple plates or setting their plate down and getting more. I think it's a hassle to not have trays because if you are trying to carry your plate, silverware, and drink and then you decide you would like to grab a bowl of soup you either make multiple trips to your table or balance really well.

"Catching Obesity"

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http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-3362v1
http://www.NaturalNews.com/029815_obesity_contagious.html
A study published by the Pediatrics journal suggests that it is possible to catch obesity, as if it's a virus. The adenovirus 36 is the said "culprit" of childhood obesity. The website NaturalNews.com then recapped this study ridiculing it.

The study's purpose was to examine the correlation between antibodies (AD36,) found in kids and the obesity of those children. It was found that 15% of children had these antibodies, and the majority of these children were obese (78%.) Researchers responsible for this study believe that if they can find a relationship that is cause-and-effect for these factors, then they can find a way to neutralize the antibody and reduce growing obesity in kids, so it's not so easily "caught." NaturalNews disagreed with the study and said the growing rate of obesity in children is clearly being caused by poor diet and lack of exercise.

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