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Video Games Get AHA Seal of Approval to Combat Obesity

ObesityMay 21 10

Video games that promote physical activity can help reduce rates of obesity and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, which will give its seal of approval to millions of Wii games.

The American Heart Association and video game manufacturer Nintendo last week announced a new alliance in which the AHA will give its seal of approval to numerous Wii games that promote physical activity.

Although experts recommend traditional fitness activities, such as jogging, dancing or swimming, to boost heart health and keep off the extra pounds, children and adults in America are increasingly sedentary and obesity rates continue to rise. The Association hopes that by giving the thumbs up to Wii games that require players to get moving, couch potatoes will take the first step toward becoming more physically active, reducing the rate of heart disease.

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County slims down as obesity numbers drop below national average

Obesity • • Public HealthMay 21 10

THE county’s weight problem is widely documented, but people in Lincolnshire now appear to be slimming down.

Latest statistics released by the Department of Health state that, at the end of the 2009-10 financial year, 33.9 per cent of Lincolnshire people were registered with their GP as being obese, compared with an English average of 34.6 per cent.

Although this means a third of people aged 16 and over in Lincolnshire have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more and therefore are clinically obese, it also demonstrates that we are making steps in the right direction.

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Do Farm Subsidies Cause Obesity?

ObesityMay 21 10

Picking up the story, recall that I was invited to testify before the House Agriculture Committee on May 13, to share my views on new farm legislation for 2012. I was expecting a frosty reception, since I have expressed some disparaging views of farm subsidies, and also of the House and Senate agriculture committees, in my newest book. Yet the hearing took a surprising turn. The Committee wasn’t that interested in my views on farm subsidies (they have well established views of their own). Instead they wanted to talk about obesity.

In both my written testimony and in my oral statement I bravely repeated my view that farm bills were too wasteful of taxpayer money, thanks in part to the “logroll” tactics used by the House Agriculture committee. When I was asked by a senior member what I thought the chances were that this tactic could work again in 2012, I said “100 percent.” He said he “took it as a personal compliment” that I had noticed and remarked on the success of this strategy.

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New report from Childhood Obesity Task Force has something for everyone

Children's Health • • ObesityMay 21 10

Michelle Obama’s Presidential Task Force on Childhood Obesity released its findings yesterday. It’s encyclopedic in scope and has something for everyone—from school lunch, to sugar taxes, to veggie subsidies, to dietary guidelines, to obesogenic chemicals. Even farm-to-school programs get a prominent shout-out. The Letsmove.gov blog breaks the 70 recommendations down into these categories:

1. Getting children a healthy start on life, with good prenatal care for their parents; support for breastfeeding; limits on “screen time”; and quality child care settings with nutritious food and ample opportunity for young children to be physically active.

2. Empowering parents and caregivers with simpler, more actionable messages about nutritional choices based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans; improved labels on food and menus that provide clear information to help make healthy choices for children; reduced marketing of unhealthy products to children; and improved health care services, including BMI measurement for all children.

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Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk Linked To Processed Meat

Diabetes • • HeartMay 21 10

You might want to think twice before grilling up those breakfast sausages as a new study has linked processed meat consumption to heart disease and diabetes.

Some of our favorite foods may not be doing us any good, as according to researchers, eating processed meat can up our risk of heart disease by 42 percent, and our risk of diabetes by 19 percent.

Processed meats include; bacon, hotdogs, lunch meat to name a few, all of which are considered popular food items when it comes to the diet of Americans.

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Drug-resistant TB risk demands push for new drugs

InfectionsMay 20 10

Multi-drug resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) could become dominant forms of the disease in the next few decades, adding heavy financial and medical burdens to already struggling health systems, doctors said on Wednesday.

In a series of studies into TB, scientists said “superbug” strains of the disease were already gaining ground in some countries and called for greater investment into research and development of new drugs and possible vaccines.

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, known as MDR-TB, has much lower cure rates, higher death rates, and costs far more to treat than normal TB, they warned.

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Family takes a swing at diabetes

DiabetesMay 20 10

All three of Val and Diane Henson’s daughters were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as young children.

As devastating as that news was, it was one nightmarish incident about 14 years ago that spurred the Lake Forest family to become champions for a cure.

Clare, the youngest, was 4 years old when her blood sugar dropped so suddenly in her sleep that she nearly stopped breathing.

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Heart group backs video games in obesity campaign

ObesityMay 20 10

Nintendo is partnering with the American Heart Association to promote its popular Wii gaming console.

The unlikely partnership Monday comes amid growing concern about obesity among kids who spend much of their time with television and video games.

But the AHA says it is giving the Wii its iconic heart branding because it will encourage sedentary Americans to take the first step toward fitness. The Wii comes with a controller that encourages people to physically move as they play.

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New Strategy for Soda Tax Gives Diet Drinks a Break

DietingMay 20 10

Gov. David A. Paterson is considering a new strategy in his effort to pass a soda tax, hoping to win over reluctant lawmakers and the beverage industry by pairing the proposal with a state sales tax exemption on diet sodas and bottled water.

When put into full effect, the original penny-per-ounce tax on sugary sodas was supposed to garner $1 billion a year, an important sum for a state anxiously trying to close a multibillion-dollar shortfall. But since the Senate and Assembly have been firmly opposed to a soda tax, administration officials seem willing to settle for the $815 million a year they estimate the new proposal, with its exemption for diet drinks, would bring in.

The hope, Paterson administration officials said, is that combining the carrot of sales tax exemptions and the stick of sugary soda taxes may get the beverage companies to relax their opposition — and that Assembly members and senators might follow along. They also argue that the impact the new proposal could have on the epidemic of adult and childhood obesity and diabetes should be another incentive.

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For capitalists, obesity is a sign of marketing success

ObesityMay 20 10

Hold the skinny jeans, we’re in the middle of a massive obesity epidemic. Every night we have to stare at stock footage of Americans waddling around in their maxed-out sweat pants on the nightly news. It’s clear; we’re fat. Our kids are fat. Our pets are fat. According to some Wall Street insiders, the trader who accidentally entered the wrong number of share orders and nearly crashed the entire market — his fingers are fat.

If you combine overweight and obese, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association about 70 percent of us are fat. That’s nearly three out of four people in the US — a whopping majority.

But when we talk about this plague that will ensure this generation will die younger than their parents, we always wag our fingers at the “poor choices” fat people are making. It’s a way of blaming the victim, not addressing the issue and not offending business. It’s a well-worn creed spouted often and rarely thought about. And we’re still fat.

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Can Chinese Herbal Medicines Help Prevent Diabetes?

Chinese Medicine • • DiabetesMay 20 10

Researchers say more studies need to be conducted to determine whether taking Chinese herbal medicines can reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Herbal teas, pills and powders are used in many Asian countries to treat pre-diabetes as well as diabetes. They are thought to work in a number of different ways to help normalize blood sugar levels, including improving pancreatic function and increasing the availability of insulin—a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Cochrane researchers studied data on the effectiveness of 15 different herbal formulations gathered from 16 separate clinical trials. They said that combining herbal medicines with lifestyle changes is twice as effective as lifestyle changes alone at normalizing patients’ blood sugar levels.

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Placido Domingo says in good health after surgery

Public HealthMay 19 10

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, who underwent colon cancer surgery in March, said he was feeling well and in good health after giving a performance of traditional Spanish music in Doha, Qatar last week.

“I’m lucky that the voice is there, so as long as I’m felling well, I’ll use it. My health is good,” he told Reuters in a recent interview.

The singer, one of the opera world’s biggest names, performed “Antologia de la Zarzuela,” a selection of traditional Spanish music he grew up with, for an enthusiastic audience of nearly 4,000 in Qatar, accompanied by musicians from the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Processed Meat Linked to Heart, Diabetes Risks

Diabetes • • Dieting • • HeartMay 18 10

A new study shows eating processed red meat—such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and cold cuts—is linked to increased risks of heart disease and diabetes.

But the study, published in Circulation, shows no such link for unprocessed red meat.

Eating one serving a day of processed meat—or the equivalent of a single hot dog or two slices of salami—was associated with a 42% increased risk for heart disease and a 19% increased risk for diabetes in the study, conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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3-month-old baby can stand and walk

Children's HealthMay 18 10

A three-month-old-new born baby from Chongqing can sit alone, stand and walk with mere assistance, Xinhua news report today.

Doctors from the health department of Children’s Hospital of Chongqing Medical University said it’s rare that such a new-born baby could walk.

The little girl was born on January 31 this year, and within 101 days, she grew from 2.75 kilogram to 6 kilogram, 57 cm tall.

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High-Fat Ketogenic Diet Effectively Treats Persistent Childhood Seizures

Children's Health • • Dieting • • NeurologyMay 18 10

The high-fat ketogenic diet can dramatically reduce or completely eliminate debilitating seizures in most children with infantile spasms, whose seizures persist despite medication, according to a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study published online April 30 in the journal Epilepsia.

Infantile spasms, also called West syndrome, is a stubborn form of epilepsy that often does not get better with antiseizure drugs. Because poorly controlled infantile spasms may cause brain damage, the Hopkins team’s findings suggest the diet should be started at the earliest sign that medications aren’t working.

“Stopping or reducing the number of seizures can go a long way toward preserving neurological function, and the ketogenic diet should be our immediate next line of defense in children with persistent infantile spasms who don’t improve with medication,” says senior investigator Eric Kossoff, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and director of the ketogenic diet program at Hopkins Children’s.

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