Most Americans recognize the difference between “empty-stomach” hunger and urges caused by the smell of popcorn at the movies or the sight of candy in the checkout line. Nonetheless, it’s hard to resist. America is a food swamp, says Deborah A. Cohen, where cheap, convenient food is everywhere, and marketing exploits human tendencies.
A Consumer Update from the FDA
In August of last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule that defined what characteristics a food has to have to bear a label that proclaims it “gluten-free.”
The rule also holds foods labeled “without gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “no gluten” to the same standard.
Manufacturers had one year to bring their labels into compliance. As of August 5, 2014, any food product bearing a gluten-free claim labeled on or after this date must meet the rule’s requirements.
Without a standardized definition of “gluten-free,” these consumers could never really be sure.
Andrea Levario, executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, notes that there is no cure for celiac disease and the only way to manage the disease is dietary—not eating gluten.
Without a standardized definition of “gluten-free,” these consumers could never really be sure if their body would tolerate a food with that label, she adds. Continue reading
By Christine Vestal, Stateline
SEATTLE – When King County, Washington, launched its employee wellness program seven years ago, its motive was clear. “We were being eaten alive by runaway medical costs,” says the county’s top executive Dow Constantine.
By all accounts, the previous administration was desperate to bring down double-digit health care cost growth that threatened to destroy the entire budget.
That partially explains why King County, which spends nearly $200 million per year to insure 14,000 workers and their families, who mostly live and work here in the county seat, was willing to risk millions more on a wellness program that would prove to break the traditional mold.
Why has King County’s employee wellness program far surpassed all others in employee participation, health improvement and health care savings?
But it doesn’t explain why this employee wellness program, which received an innovation award this year from Harvard University, has far surpassed all others in employee participation, health improvement and health care savings. Continue reading
From the National Cancer Institute
Adults with extreme obesity have increased risks of dying at a younger age from cancer and many other causes including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney and liver diseases, according to a new study.
The study, led by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that people with class III (or extreme) obesity had a dramatic reduction in life expectancy compared with people of normal weight. The findings appeared July 8, 2014, in PLOS Medicine.
Six percent of US adults are now classified as extremely obese
By Jake Grovum
Thousands more students could be eating school lunch completely free starting next fall, thanks to a four-year-old federal program that is finally expanding to all 50 states.
The expansion comes through the so-called Community Eligibility Provision, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 as part of a broader school nutrition measure.
It opened the door for districts with free or reduced-price lunches to offer the meals to every student at the school, at no cost to them — no application necessary and regardless of household income. Continue reading
More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One in four people with diabetes doesn’t know he or she has it.
Another 86 million adults – more than one in three U.S. adults – have prediabetes, where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Continue reading
FDA Consumer Update
If you’re pregnant, you’ve no doubt been given a list of foods to avoid—undercooked meat, soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, and alcohol, to name a few.
The good news is that there is a food you should have more of while pregnant and while breastfeeding: fish and shellfish.
The latest science shows that eating fish low in mercury during pregnancy and in early childhood can help with growth and neurodevelopment. It can also be good for your health. Continue reading
By Stephanie Stephens
Health Behavior News Service
May 27, 2014
Families with young children are purchasing fewer high calorie drinks and processed foods, which may be a factor in declining rates of childhood obesity, finds a new report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Continue reading
Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coliO121 Infections Linked to Raw Clover Sprouts
Advice to Consumers – from the CDC
- The Washington State Department of Health and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are advising people not to eat raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts.
- People who have these sprouts at home should not eat them and should throw them out, even if some of the product has been eaten and no one has become ill.
- Contact your health care provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw clover sprouts.
- People usually get sick from STEC 2-8 days (average of 3-4 days) after swallowing the organism (germ).
- Most people infected with STEC develop diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramps.
- Most people recover within a week.
- People of any age can become infected. Very young children and the elderly are more likely than others to develop severe illness and complications such as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.
- Always practice food safety for sprouts.
- Sprouts are a known source of foodborne illness.
- Children, older adults, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).
- Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking thoroughly kills the harmful bacteria.
- Persons who think they might have become ill from eating potentially contaminated raw clover sprouts should consult their health care providers.
Clover sprouts eaten raw are likely source of E. coli illness outbreak
Washington state health officials are warning consumers not to eat raw clover sprouts from an Idaho producer that have been linked to an outbreak of E. coli infections in the Northwest.
The sprouts have been linked to seven confirmed and three probable cases of E. coli O121 illnesses in Washington and Idaho.
Five of those patients were hospitalized; there have been no deaths.
For more details about the outbreak: Continue reading
An FDA Consumer Update
Whether it’s to cut down on the number of calories they consume or any of a variety of other reasons, some people use sugar substitutes – also called high-intensity sweeteners – to sweeten and add flavor to their foods.
They can be used alone to sweeten foods and beverages such as iced tea or coffee, or as an ingredient in other products. There are a number of sugar substitutes on the market from which to choose. Continue reading
By Katherine Kahn
Health Behavior News Service
A new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion finds that, on average, a morbidly obese employee costs an employer over $4,000 more per year in health care and related costs than an employee who is of normal weight.
The study also revealed that obese individuals who had comorbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol incurred more costs than obese workers without these conditions, says Karen Van Nuys, Ph.D., lead coauthor and economist at Precision Health Economics in Los Angeles.
“For example, someone who is overweight or obese and also has diabetes is more likely to file a short-term disability claim compared to someone who doesn’t have diabetes but is overweight or obese.” Continue reading
From the Office of Research on Women’s Health
Obesity is about more than just your looks. Today, two out of three adults in the United States are considered overweight or obese.
A new study has again found a higher rate of a rare neurological birth defect, anencephaly, in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties, Washington state health officials said Tuesday.
The study identified seven cases of the birth defect in these three counties in 2013, which translates into a rate of 8.7 per 10,000 births. That rate is similar to the rate seen in 2010-2012 and remains well above the national rate of 2.1 per 10,000 births, health officials said. Continue reading