Search Results for: nutrition
Study: Most Intend to Comply With Mandatory Hurricane Evacuation
Most residents of areas most likely to be hit by hurricanes—no matter their income level—intend to comply with mandatory evacuation orders, according to a new study in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health did find variations with other demographic differences, such as age, ethnicity and education level. The findings indicate that disaster preparedness should focus more on how to best evacuate the most vulnerable residents, which could include targeted messaging and education. Read more on preparedness.
Breath Test May Identify People Prone to Obesity
A breath test that measures bacterial overgrowth in the stomach could be used to determine whether a person will become overweight, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Researchers found that higher levels of methane and hydrogen from the bacteria Methanobrevibacter smithii were associated with higher BMIs and more body fat. Overgrowth of “bad” bacteria can also lead to bloating, constipation and diarrhea. While noting that obesity is “not a one-size-fits-all disease," study author Ruchi Mathur, MD, director of the outpatient diabetes treatment center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said this could help identify people who would respond best to particular weight loss methods. Read more on obesity.
Study Finds Most Major Restaurants Post Accurate Nutrition Info
A new study from Consumer Reports found that most major chain restaurants post accurate nutritional information about their food. Shoppers purchased and tested 17 menu items from restaurants and fast-food chains, comparing the results for each item to the same items purchased at other restaurants in the chain. They determined that only two items had higher fat or calorie content than advertised: Olive Garden’s Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken and Outback Steakhouse’s Chicken on the Barbie. “We found that you can usually trust the figures you see,” said editor Leslie Ware. “On average, most of them were telling the truth.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is slated to release new regulations regarding nutrition labeling later this year. Read more on nutrition.
CDC: U.S. Kids Consume Nearly as Much Salt as U.S. Adults
The average U.S. kid consumes about as much salt in a day as the average U.S. adult—which is to say far too much, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the average youth age 8 to 18 has a daily sodium intake of approximately 3,387 mg; the recommended daily limit is 2,300 mg. Processed foods are one of the biggest culprits. Excessive sodium is linked to a myriad of health issues. "We found that higher sodium intake was associated with higher blood pressure," said Janelle Gunn, a public health analyst with the CDC. "We found among overweight and obese participants (in the study), that for every 1,000 mg of sodium they consumed, their blood pressure response was seven times greater (compared to healthy-weight children)." Read more on nutrition.
Norovirus Top Cause of Pediatric Medical Care for Acute Gastroenteritis
Norovirus will cause about 1 in every 14 children to seek emergency care treatment and 1 in 6 to need outpatient care before the age of 5, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers determined the highly infectious norovirus is now the number one cause of the need for medical care for acute gastroenteritis in that age group. From 2009 to 2010 there were about 1 million pediatric medical care visits linked to norovirus. “Infants and young children are very susceptible to norovirus infections, which often result in a high risk of getting dehydrated from the sudden onset of intense vomiting and severe diarrhea,” said Daniel Payne, MD, an epidemiologist in the Division of Viral Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more on infectious disease.
Study: Online Venting Will Probably Just Make You Angrier
That little bit of relaxation you feel right after responding to an infuriating comment on the internet may just be a brief respite on the path to long-term frustration, according to a new study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Lead author Ryan Martin, an associate professor of human development and psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said the anonymity and social distance of many online sites makes responding quickly and in anger too easy. While there are many good reasons to be angry, he said the healthier approach is to get involved with an issue that frustrates you and try to change things, rather than railing at a stranger on Facebook, Twitter or a blog site. "Most of these sites encourage venting as a way of dealing with anger," Martin said. "They think of venting as a healthy adaptive approach, and it's not." Read more on mental health.
CDC: Daily Caloric Intake Down, But Obesity Rates Still Rising
Obesity rates continue to climb despite the fact that U.S. adults are consuming fewer and fewer calories, according to a survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Average daily caloric intake dropped by 74 from 2003 to 2010, after rising 314 calories from 1971 to 2003. About 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese. "It's hard to reconcile what these data show, and what is happening with the prevalence of obesity," said co-author William Dietz, MD, former CDC director of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. Read more on obesity.
Agencies Outline Responsibilities for Restoring Public Transportation after a Disaster
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that outlines the roles and responsibilities of both agencies in providing federal assistance to repair and restore public transportation systems in areas the president has declared a major disaster or emergency. “After disasters hit, our federal, state and local partners must be able to move quickly and make the necessary repairs to our nation’s transit systems, roads, rails and bridges,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. FEMA will continue to have primary federal responsibility for emergency preparedness, response and recovery in major disasters and emergencies. The new emergency relief authority provides FTA with primary responsibility for reimbursing emergency response and recovery costs after an emergency or disaster that affects public transportation systems and for helping to mitigate the impact of future disasters. Read more on transportation.
Exercise Can Improve Self-Control in Kids, Young Adults
Short bursts of exercise—such as a half hour of running—can help youth and young adults improve their self control, according to a new study in the journal British Journal of Sports Medicine. "Tests conducted immediately after short bouts of exercise showed a clear improvement among higher-order functions like self-control, a cognitive [brain] function that is really important for daily activities in terms of both social life and academic performance," said lead author Lot Verburgh, a doctoral candidate in the department of clinical neuropsychology at VU University in Amsterdam. The results could help in the treatment of disorders associated with impaired inhibition, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. Read more on exercise. If exercise can also be linked to long-term improvement in higher-order mental processes, exercise may soon be not only a treatment option for heart disease patients and individuals looking to control their weight, but also for ADHD and Alzheimer's patients," said Ali Weinstein, an assistant professor and deputy director of the Center for Study of Chronic Illness and Disability at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Read more on mental health.
Time to vote! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the start of public voting for the People’s Choice Award in the HHSinnovates Program, which rewards outstanding projects led by HHS employees to solve critical health issues.
The public is invited to cast their votes for finalists who submitted ideas that have proven to be scalable, replicable and uniquely innovative. The finalist with the highest number of votes will win the “People’s Choice” award, which will be announced March 19 in Washington, D.C.
Vote for your favorite finalist here. The top contenders include:
- Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s
- The Body Weight Simulator
- Portal System: Linking Health Care Clinics
- Counterfeit Detector Device
- The Weight of the Nation Campaign
Read the full post for a detailed description of each.
AAP: Out-of-school Suspensions, Expulsions Harmful to Kids
Out-of-school suspensions and expulsions are generally counterproductive and can have profound long-term negative effects, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Data shows the youth are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system and will earn $400,000 less over a lifetime than a high school graduate. Such discipline also does not address potential underlying issues, such as drug abuse, racial tension, violence and bullying, according to AAP. AAP recommends early intervention programs to recognize and address behavioral and other problems. Recommendations also include a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program to teach proper behavior at both the individual and school-wide levels. Read more on violence.
Study: 1 in 4 Admit to Bizarre Late-night Snacking
Approximately one in four students admit to creating and eating late-night crazy food concoctions, according to a new report in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Researchers defined the relevant snacks as “strange food mixtures that you would be too embarrassed or ashamed to share with others” (e.g. sugar-covered scrambled eggs or mayo-smothered vegetables). While there is no inherent health danger in such mixing, health professionals recommend that people try to make healthy choices when selecting late-night snacks. About one-third of U.S. adults and nearly one in five youth ages 2-19 are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more on nutrition.
Study: Mediterranean Diet Good for Heart Health
A Mediterranean diet—rich in olive oil, nuts, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and even red wine—is more effective than a low-fat diet at helping at helping people at high risk for cardiovascular disease to ward off health problems, according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found a 30 percent greater reduction in relative risk of a heart attack, stroke or death, according to lead author Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, MD, MPH, PhD, chairman of preventive medicine and public health at the Universidad de Navarra in Spain. He said the findings are likely to due to the good-quality fats and wide array of nutrients. The findings give further support to the effectiveness of a Mediterranean diet at preventing heart disease. Read more on heart health.
IOM Report Finds U.S. Global AIDS Efforts Successful, Stresses the Need to Help Countries Manage their Own Programs
A new report from the Institute of Medicine finds that the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved and improved millions of lives around the world. The report says the program also shows that HIV/AIDS services can be effectively delivered on a large scale even in countries with high rates of disease and resource challenges. The report also stresses the need for the program to increase its efforts to help partner countries develop the capacity to manage their own programs, sustain the gains that have been made in controlling the HIV epidemic and improve their citizens' access to services. PEPFAR was established in 2003 through legislation that authorized $15 billion for HIV/AIDS and other related global health issues over five years. In 2008, the legislation was reauthorized, providing up to $39 billion through 2013 for PEPFAR bilateral HIV/AIDS programs as well as U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. PEPFAR has supported HIV/AIDS programs in over 100 countries. As part of the reauthorization, Congress requested that IOM evaluate the program. That evaluation included visits to thirteen countries by the IOM's international committee of experts. Read more on HIV/AIDS.
Flu Vaccine 56 Percent Effective Overall, 27 Percent for Seniors
This season’s flu vaccine has been only 56 percent effective as of February and largely ineffective at protecting the elderly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was only 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older; 71 percent of Americans in that age group have been vaccinated. “The older you get, the less potent is your immune response,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Reuters. “This is just a fact of physiological life in the immune system.” He said better data on seniors is needed and there are ways to improve the vaccine going forward. Read more on influenza.
‘Smarter Lunchroom’ Setups Increase Kids’ Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables
Improving the location and attractiveness of fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias can help kids make healthier food choices, according to a new report in the Journal of Pediatrics. Researchers at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, in Ithaca, N.Y. also found that simply asking kids if they want to try one of the healthier choices can increase the odds. The inexpensive “smarter lunchroom” setup "not only preserves choice, but has the potential to lead children to develop lifelong habits of selecting and consuming healthier foods even when confronted with less healthy options," said study author Andrew Hanks. They found that post-makeover kids were 13 percent more likely to choose fruits and 23 percent more likely to choose vegetables. Read more on nutrition.
Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage Could Lead to Physician Shortage
A new study in Health Affairs finds that expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act could increase demand, on average, for primary care physicians more than 5 percent above the current number of available doctors. It also found that seven million people live in areas where the demand will exceed the supply of primary care providers by more than 10 percent. The researchers say the study emphasizes the need to promote policies that encourage more primary care providers to practice in areas where shortages will be very high. Read more on health disparities.
Institute of Medicine Launches ‘Roundtable on Population Health Improvement
The Institute of Medicine has launched a Roundtable on Population Health Improvement to provide opportunities for experts on education, urban planning, medicine, public health, social sciences and other fields to make recommendations on improving the nation’s health. "The evidence is now clear that broader social and environmental factors play major roles in a person's likelihood to have a low birth weight baby—a risk for many serious health problems— or die of a heart attack or complications from diabetes," said roundtable co-chair David Kindig, Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "That's why it's essential to engage all these sectors—education, housing, transportation, community organizations, and business among others— in efforts to improve health outcomes." The issues the roundtable will address include expanding reimbursement to include more nonclinical, population-based interventions; reorienting the relationship between clinical medicine and public health in ways that will benefit population health outcomes; and engaging professionals from nonhealth fields in health improvement efforts. Read more on community health.
CDC: 11% of Daily Calories for Adults Comes from Fast Food
From 2007 to 2010 approximately 11 percent of the calories in American adults' daily diets came from fast food, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While high, the rate was down from 2003 to 2006, when about 13 percent of daily calories came from restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Pizza Hut. "The good news from this study is that as we get older, perhaps we do get wiser and eat less fast food," said Samantha Heller, a clinical nutritionist at the NYU Center for Musculoskeletal Care in New York City. "However, a take-home message is that the study suggests that the more fast food you eat, the fatter you get." Read more on nutrition.
Better Nutrition Advice Comes From Doctors Who Cook
At the “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives – Caring for our Patients and Ourselves” conference presented by Harvard University and the Culinary Institute of America, health care professionals have been learning about both nutritional science and how to cook. The program was influenced by the idea that healthcare professionals practicing healthful behaviors—such as healthy eating, exercising, or wearing a seat belt—may be more likely to pass these same behaviors onto their patients.
A 2010 survey of 219 conference participants before the conference and 192 participants three months after found:
- 58 percent of healthcare professionals cooked their meals before the conference; 64% afterwards with reports of eating more whole grains, nuts and vegetables
- 46 percent said they could successfully advise an overweight patient on nutrition and lifestyle before the conference; 81% said they could afterwards
The researchers believe they “need enhanced educational efforts aimed at translating decades of nutrition science into practical strategies whereby healthy, affordable, easily prepared and delicious foods become the predominant elements of a person’s dietary lifestyle.” Read more on nutrition.
Caffeine During Pregnancy Linked to Smaller, Later Newborns
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages consumed during pregnancy might increase the odds for low birth weight or an extended pregnancy, according to a new study in BMC Medicine. The study looked at about 60,000 pregnancies tracked by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Researchers found that caffeine from all sources was tied to a higher risk for reduced birth weight and that every 100 mg of caffeine consumed per day extended pregnancy by five hours. Caffeine from coffee extended pregnancy by eight hours. The World Health Organization advises women to limit their caffeine consumption to 300 mg a day during pregnancy, while the United States recommends a 200 mg daily limit. Read more on maternal and infant health.
CDC: Reductions in Some Types of Health Care-Associated Infections
Progress in the fight against certain bloodstream and surgical-site infections continues in hospitals in the United States, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. The report looked at data submitted to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), CDC’s infection tracking system. CDC reported a 41 percent reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections since 2008 and a 17 percent reduction in surgical site infections since 2008. “The significant decrease in central line and surgical site infections means that thousands of patients avoid prolonged hospitalizations and the risk of dying in the hospital,” said Patrick Conway, chief medical officer of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The data indicates hospitals are making progress toward the goals established in 2008: 50 percent cut in central line-associated bloodstream infections and a 25 percent cut in surgical site infections in five years. Read more on injury prevention.
Folic Acid Supplements Early in Pregnancy May Reduce Risk of Autism by 40%
Prenatal folic acid supplements appear to reduce the risk for autistic spectrum disorders, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study included more than 85,000 babies born in Norway. Researchers noted prenatal eating habits of the mothers and followed up with families for three to ten years after birth to measure the development of autism spectrum disorders. A total of 270 cases were identified among the children in the study and a review by the researchers found that mothers who took folic acid supplements in early pregnancy had a 40 percent reduced risk of having children with autistic disorders. The researchers say that the timing of a mother’s intake of folic acid appears to be a critical factor. A child’s risk of autism was reduced only when the supplements were taken between 4 weeks before to 8 weeks after the start of pregnancy. Read more on maternal and infant health.
Prescription Drug Abuse Programs in Middle School Reduce Abuse Later in Life
A new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that middle school students from small towns and rural communities who were involved in community-based prevention programs were less likely to abuse prescription medications in late adolescence and young adulthood. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health. According to the NIH, prescription drug abuse is one of the most serious public health problems in the United States. In 2011, about 1.7 million people ages 12 to 25 abused a prescription drug for the first time, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health . “The intervention effects were comparable or even stronger for participants who had started misusing substances prior to the middle school interventions, suggesting that these programs also can be successful in higher-risk groups,” said Richard Spoth, PhD, of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State University and the lead author of the study. Those findings contrast with a recent study published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration that found that 12th grade dropouts have higher rates of cigarette, alcohol and illegal drug use. Read more on addiction.
New Study Shows Significant Health Benefits of Americans Reducing Their Sodium Intake
Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved over 10 years if Americans reduced their sodium consumption to the levels recommended in federal guidelines, which would prevent many heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco, Harvard Medical School and Simon Fraser University in Canada. The study was published in the journal Hypertension. The study resulted from a workshop conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which brought together scientists from the three universities. Each university group used different computer models to estimate the risk reduction of lowering sodium, but all found consistent, substantial benefits of reducing U.S. sodium consumption to a level close to the upper limit of the federal guideline of 2,300 mg/day. According to the study, the overall average sodium consumption in the United States has been estimated at 3,500 mg/day, well above the upper limit of the level recommended by federal agencies and the Institute of Medicine. American men consume twice the recommended level on average. Read more on nutrition.
New York Announces Companies Reducing their Sodium Content
Earlier this week, the city of New York announced that 21 companies met one or more of their voluntary commitments to reduce sodium content in pre-packaged or restaurant foods. Those reductions were the result of the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), the first-ever nationwide partnership to reduce sodium in the U.S. food supply. The NSRI is a nationwide partnership of more than 90 city and state health authorities and organizations coordinated by New York City since 2009. The NSRI’s goal is to cut excess salt in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over five years through voluntary corporate commitments. Support for the initiative has come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation and the National Association of County & City Health Officials. The project funding is administered by the Fund for Public Health in New York, a private non-profit organization that supports innovative initiatives of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Read more on prevention.
More Moms Are Breastfeeding
Across all groups, the percentage of mothers who start and continue breastfeeding is rising, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2000 to 2008, the number of mothers who started breastfeeding increased more than 4 percentage points from 70.3 percent to 74.6 percent. And the number of mothers still breastfeeding at six months jumped nearly 10 percentage points, from 35 percent to nearly 45 percent.
The CDC also reports that gaps in breastfeeding rates between African American and white mothers have narrowed from 24 percentage points in 2000 to 16 percentage points in 2008. To help increase breastfeeding rates among African American mothers The CDC is funding Best-Fed Beginnings, which provides support to 89 hospitals, many serving minority and low-income populations, to improve hospital practices that support breastfeeding mothers. CDC has also recently awarded funds to six state health departments—Indiana, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, California, and Washington—to develop community breastfeeding support systems in communities of color.
Read more on maternal and infant health.
Study: Nutrition Information for Fast Food Should Add Energy Expenditure Needed to Burn off the Calories
A study by researchers at the University Of North Carolina School of Public Health finds it would be useful to have nutritional labeling that describes real-time energy expenditure required to burn calories in fast foods. The study was published in the journal Appetite.
The researchers randomly assigned one of four types of menus to 800 study participants including 1) no nutritional information, 2) calorie information, 3) calorie information and minutes to walk to burn those calories, and 4) calorie information and miles to walk to burn those calories.
The researchers found a statistical difference in the number of calories ordered, based on menu type. An average of 1,020 calories were ordered from a menu with no nutritional information; an average of 927 calories from a menu with only calorie information; 916, from a menu with calorie information and statement of minutes one must walk to burn those calories; and 826, from a menu with calorie information and statement of number of miles to walk to burn the calories.
Read more on obesity.
New York City Reports Significant Increases in Prescription Opioid Overdoses
The rate of drug overdose from prescription opioids increased seven-fold in New York City over a 16-year period, especially among whites, according to a study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers say the study is one of the most comprehensive analyses of how the opioid epidemic has affected an urban area.
The Food and Drug Administration held a hearing last week to discuss ways to limit prescription opioid misuse and recently issued draft recommendations for reformulating opioid oral pills to make it harder for people to crush them for snorting or injecting.
Read more on substance abuse.