By Alana Pockros
The U.S.’s high obesity rate and its relationship to other chronic diseases is not new information to most public health scientists and physicians, but a new analysis suggests that prevention strategies exist that could counter this trend if they were pursued as a public health priority.
A rearch letter published Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine reported updated results from an earlier study highlighting the burden of chronic conditions associated with body mass index. The new findings use the most recent data available on obesity – from 2007 to 2012 – from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, or NHANES.
In the US, early 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women are overweight, nearly 35 percent of men and 37 percent of women are obese.
Before the release of this study, the most recent examination of nation’s obesity and chronic disease burden was based on information from nearly 20 years ago, when researchers concluded that the prevalence of obesity-related health problems “emphasizes the need for concerted efforts to prevent and treat obesity” rather than just the other health conditions.
In the new analysis, the researchers found that nearly 40 percent of men and 30 percent of women were overweight, while nearly 35 percent of men and 37 percent of women were considered obese.
Comparing this data with statistics from the earlier study, the researchers concluded that overweight and obesity rates in the U.S. have increased over the past two decades.
The greatest increase in the proportion of individuals with BMI’s greater than 40, the highest obesity class, was among black women. Continue reading
By Tara Bostock
Public Health – Seattle and King County
It turns out that encouraging students to make healthier choices in the lunchroom can be accomplished affordably and without a major overhaul of the cafeteria.
Research shows that small changes like making the salad bar the highlight of the lunchroom, displaying fruit in attractive baskets, or placing healthy foods by the cash register can influence what students select to eat.
In Washington State, the Kent School District is leading the way by changing their cafeterias to
How the Kent School District is bringing behavioral economics principles to their lunchrooms.
The goal: to increase the number of students choosing healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, white milk, or healthy entrées. And the District saw positive changes.
How does behavioral economics work in the lunchroom?
By Phil Galewitz
When Bruce Hodgins went to the doctor for a checkup in Sioux City, Iowa, he was asked to complete a lengthy survey to gauge his health risks.
In return for filling it out, he saved a $10 monthly premium for his Medicaid coverage.
In Las Cruces, N.M., Isabel Juarez had her eyes tested, her teeth cleaned and recorded how many steps she walked with a pedometer.
In exchange, she received a $100 gift card from Medicaid to help her buy health care products including mouthwash, vitamins, soap and toothpaste.
Taking a cue from workplace wellness programs, Iowa and New Mexico are among more than a dozen states offering incentives to Medicaid beneficiaries to get them to make healthier decisions — and potentially save money for the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.
The stakes are huge because Medicaid enrollees are more likely to engage in unhealthy practices, such as smoking, and are less likely to get preventive care, studies show. Continue reading
A new study presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies conference in San Diego, California, suggests that placement of “Green Smiley Faced” emoticons at healthy foods and awarding small prizes to children purchasing nutritious foods could be an alternative way to avoid poor food selection in school canteens, an identified cause of childhood obesity.
Black Americans who switched to a high-fiber African diet for just two weeks saw a dramatic drop in risk factors for colon cancer, a study published on Tuesday found.
A group of Africans who went the other way and started eating American food rich in animal proteins and fats saw their risks rise over the same short period, according to the paper in the journal Nature Communications.
You may be consuming more salt than you need — and the salt shaker is probably not to blame.
When researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sought to shake out how much sodium — a major component of table salt — was in various food items nationwide, they found that the biggest high sodium offenders were pizzas, pastas and meats, nearly 75 percent of which exceeded national sodium thresholds. Additionally, more than half of cold cuts, soups and sandwiches contained more than a healthy amount of sodium.
Raw milk causes more than half of all milk-related foodborne illnesses in the United States, even though only about 3.5 percent of Americans drink raw milk, according to a new report.
The researchers warned that people are nearly 100 times more likely to get a foodborne illness from raw (unpasteurized) milk than from pasteurized milk.
Between 2003 and 2010, the number of U.S. kids eating fast food on any given day went down, and the calories from some types of fast foods have declined as well, according to a new study.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, in 2003, almost 39 percent of U.S. kids ate fast food on a given day, which dropped to less than 33 percent by the 2009-2010 survey.
In response to concerns, the agency in 2012 took samples of raw milk from the farms and tested them for 31 drugs, almost all of them antibiotics.
Results released by the agency Thursday show that less than 1 percent of the total samples showed illegal drug residue.
Photo by Maciej Lewandowski
Adults who adhere to a Mediterranean style diet—one that stresses eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, olive oil and moderate consumption of red wine—were 47% less likely to develop heart disease than peers, according to a Greek study.
The diet is more a suggested eating pattern than a strict prescription for food intake. It calls for avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates, and red meat.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Sanja Gjenero
“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of (added) sugars to less than 10 percent of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay,” Francesco Branca, director of WHO’s nutrition department, said in a statement.
For people who are obese and sedentary, any exercise can help trim abdominal fat, but it may take a bit more effort to get other health benefits, a new study suggests. The findings were published in the March 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The reality is that there’s a growing body of research that supports the idea that coffee, in reasonable amounts, may not be as bad for you as people once thought. Brewed coffee, for instance, has been found to contain a tremendous amount of good-for-you antioxidants. In fact, the nation’s top nutrition panel earlier this year weighed in on coffee for the first time in its history, saying that “strong evidence” shows it is “not associated with increased long-term health risks among healthy individuals.”
The key words here are “healthy individuals.” Due to its high caffeine content, brewed coffee may always be a source of insomnia, irritability, acid reflux and other negative side effects for others, especially those with underlying conditions, such as anxiety disorder or heart disease. More importantly, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to make the leap between coffee not being bad for you and coffee being the cause of better health. [Photo by Jean Scheijen]