101 Wellness Tips You’ve Never Heard BeforePosted June 11th, 2008 by Site Administrator in Health (3 Comments »)
You probably know that the four leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lower-respiratory diseases. These chronic degenerative conditions collectively account for almost two-thirds of all deaths and the large majority of health care dollars. Yet, it isn’t the condition that is the actual cause of death. Instead, wellness experts look at cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, poor eating habits and other detrimental habits and conditions as culprits.You probably know all the above information. And, you probably know that the treatments used to change those behaviors often include some strange remedies. But did you know that homeopathy may not cure anything other than anxiety? Did you realize that acupuncture may alter you life as well as your face when used as a natural facelift? And, although the FDA and the government may seem to move slowly on some wellness matters, did you realize that some grassroots movements may change how food is used and distributed throughout this country and across the globe?
The list below is numbered and the categories are alphabetized, but that does not mean that we value one tip over another.
If you follow the links in the tips listed below to learn more about acupuncture, you may begin to realize that this treatment has become a foundation for many individuals who seek wellness without drug therapies.
- Although scientists don’t fully understand how or why acupuncture works, some studies indicate that it may provide a number of medical benefits from reducing pain to helping with chemotherapy-induced nausea.
- A new study found significant reductions in both dry mouth and pain and shoulder dysfunction after neck dissection in patients receiving acupuncture.
- Acupuncture has expanded to include: sonopuncture, an acupuncture technique that uses sound waves to stimulate the acupuncture sites, or acupoints; Electroacupuncture, which uses tiny electrical charges, with or without needles, to stimulate the same acupoints that are used in traditional acupuncture, and; moxibustion, which describes a technique where acupuncuturists us burning herbs to stimulate acupoints.
- Acupuncture has been effectively used for the treatment of back pain, headache, migraine, and sports injuries. However, acupuncture provides more than pain relief. It is helpful in treating anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, abdominal, menstrual cramps, weight control, infertility and more.
- Studies have shown that acupuncture provides a hypo-aldosteronemic effect. This is a condition that affects most people who have high blood pressure. With acupuncture, polypeptides beta-endorphins that bring about pressure to the arteries are reduced.
- Natural face-lifts are increasingly more sought after and acupuncture, according to some sources, is a very simple, effective way to get results.
- It is advised that acupuncture patients avoid over-exercising, engaging in sexual activity, and drinking alcoholic beverages within six hours before or after treatments.
- Acupuncture is not without risks. There have been reports of burning sensations and minor bleeding during and after treatments. From common sense, some people may experience allergic reactions to needles that are made from substances other than surgical steel and risks of infection from unsterilized needles is a possibility. Also, it is contraindicated to needle the abdomen and lumbosacral areas of pregnant women, and some people have reported more serious reactions, such as dizziness, sweatiness, or nausea during or after a treatment.
- On the other hand, acupuncturists pay five percent less than traditional doctors for malpractice insurance because traditional medicine is riskier. For instance, medications, even when taken in proper dosages, cause an estimated 106,000 fatalities in hospitals in the U.S. each year, often from ‘abnormal’ physiological responses.
- Don’t tell veterinarians who are licensed in animal acupuncture that this treatment is a placebo. They may laugh at you. Animal acupuncture has helped to remove barriers against the idea that acupuncture is “quack” medicine, as acupuncture seems to work for animals.
Chelation therapy often is used as a detox treatment that eliminates heavy metals from the body. But, chelation has come into the limelight recently for its heart-healing possibilities (yet to be clinically tested) and other uses.
- Chelation therapy is a recognized treatment for heavy metal (such as lead) poisoning. EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid), injected into the blood, will bind the metals and allow them to be removed from the body in the urine.
- Diagnosis of heavy metal toxicity is serious and must be made by a physician based on clinical symptoms in conjunction with laboratory testing. Chelating agents are potentially toxic and should not be used unless absolutely indicated.
- Chelation therapy has resulted in only three deaths in three states (Texas, Pennsylvania, and Oregon) between 2003 and 2005. In all three cases, incidents of miscommunication and drug confusion may be to blame for the deaths. Two deaths involved children, and childhood deaths caused by cardiac arrest associated with chelation therapy have not been documented previously.
- It has been found that this therapy may benefit symptoms of atherosclerosis and arterial blockage. Perhaps, as some doctors indicate, EDTA acts to reduce excess levels of intracellular trace elements located in diseased tissues.
- Autistic children often are treated with chelation therapy, as there’s been a debate as to whether some forms of autism can be linked to mercury or other toxins in vaccines. Some doctors believe there is a link, while others do not, saying that there now is only mercury in flu vaccinations. While some doctors and parents are advocates of it, the Federal Drug Administration has not approved it.
Chiropractic practice has become respected to the point where many insurance companies recognize chiropractic treatments as legitimate solutions for many bodily ills. Yet, this practice still maintains a level of controversy, even among wellness fanatics.
- There are more than 60,000 active chiropractic licenses in the United States. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands officially recognize chiropractic as a health care profession.
- Chiropractic care can help alleviate the pain and symptoms of many neck, back, and other musculoskeletal problems, offering a successful alternative to traditional, risky open back and neck surgeries.
- Chiropractors believe that structural problems can cause dysfunction in the nervous system, leading to a host of aches, pains, and other conditions. Their objective is to realign the body in a way that restores and preserves health, and to accomplish this without drugs or surgery.
- With that said, research shows that mainstream treatments for lower back pain are equally effective.
- Be aware that some therapists, such as those who practice what is known as orthopractic manual therapy have banned all high velocity upper neck rotation when the head is held in a position of extension. It seems that this practice can result in an incidence of stroke within forty-eight hours after manipulation.
- To become a certified animal chiropractor, one must first become a licensed veterinarian or a licensed chiropractor. The course work for either license involves approximately 8 years of college and rigorous courses of study. Once the license of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or Doctor of Chiropractic has been granted, an individual is able to apply to attend the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, (AVCA), courses which will lead to certification as an animal chiropractor, C.A.C.
- Chiropractors must be licensed, which requires 2 to 4 years of undergraduate education, the completion of a 4-year chiropractic college course, and passing scores on national and State examinations.
- California has a 24-visit cap on on chiropractic treatments for workers’ compensation injuries, which was ruled constitutional by a states appeals court in the 2008 case of Jose Facundo-Guerrero vs. Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WACB), Nurserymen’s Exchange et al. The appeals court upheld the WCAB’s decision finding that the state’s legislature had the authority to address a workers’ comp crisis the state faced in 2003 by placing limits on chiropractic visits, among other things.
- The U.S. House of Representatives approved a directive in May 2008 that orders the Pentagon to make chiropractic care a standard benefit for all active-duty military personnel. The legislation is contained in H.R. 5658, a bill authorizing defense programs in fiscal year 2009, and is based in part on recommendations from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC).
- Out of a desire to serve and to fill in a vitally important health care gap, ICA (International Chiropractor’s Association) doctors around the U.S. have extended an offer of care for one full year for any US military veteran returning from overseas deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, at no charge. The concept was developed by ICA’s Southern Regional Director Dr. R.J. Kelly, who had initiated such a program in his own personal practice, with very positive results among veterans.
Dietary supplements in this case represent both those aids that claim to help individuals to lose weight and vitamins and mineral supplements that claim to bring better health to individuals. Many wellness advocates feel that all supplements are unnecessary if the individual maintains a well-balanced and healthy diet. From the news shown below, you might wonder why supplements often are heralded as ‘healthy.’
- Many heralded dietary supplements have the potential for harm, especially when taken in large doses or in various combinations with one another or with medically prescribed prescription drugs.
- In May, eight- and 32-ounce bottles of “Total Body Formula” in tropical orange and peach nectar flavors and the 32-ounce bottle of “Total Body Mega Formula” in orange/tangerine, have been voluntarily recalled by Total Body Essential Nutrition of Atlanta. The FDA analyzed the product, according to the state Department of Health, and found extremely high levels of selenium – up to 40,800 micrograms per serving, more than 200 times the amount indicated on the labels. People who consume the product may develop reactions that include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and joint pain and fatigue five to 10 days after using the product. The symptoms can be followed by hair loss, nail brittleness and neurological abnormalities, such as numbness in hands, feet or limbs, as well as kidney and liver dysfunction.
- Before the United States congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, the term “dietary supplement” referred to products made of one or more of the essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and protein. DSHEA expanded the definition stating that herbs, or other botanicals (except tobacco), and any dietary substance that can be used to supplement the diet were to be included in the definition.
- A product sold as a dietary supplement and promoted on its label or in labeling as a treatment, prevention or cure for a specific disease or condition would be considered an unapproved – and thus illegal – drug. To maintain the product’s status as a dietary supplement, the label and labeling must be consistent with the provisions in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994.
- Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put out new regulations in 2007 to help improve the safety and consistency of supplements, some of these rules will not be fully in effect until 2010.
- GlaxoSimthKline (GSK) – the manufacturer of Alli, the first over-the-counter weight loss drug – on April 17, 2008 submitted its 33-page petition to the FDA asking the agency to consider weight loss claims for dietary supplements as disease claims. This petition means that the FDA should consider overweight and obesity as diseases.
- Sometimes the willingness to think that if something is good, then more of it is better. This is not the case with many supplements. Too much vitamin A, for instance, can cause birth defects, liver problems, weak bones and nervous system disorders. Too much calcium can cause kidney problems and block your ability to use other minerals in your diet.
- On the other hand, some supplements may never harm you, but they also may not help with any cures. For instance, there is some evidence that omega-3 free fatty acids are helpful in reducing the risk for heart disease. But, according to researchers, other, proven medications are a better bet for preventing relapse in individuals who suffer from Crohn’s disease than omega-3 free fatty acids.
- Weight-loss supplements widely available for purchase online often include ingredients that are potentially hazardous to your heart, and a new study shows the labels often don’t include this warning. One of the hazardous ingredients that was found in the products has been banned on the U.S. market since 2004, according to study author Dr. Alireza Nazeri, an internist and cardiology research fellow at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, in Houston.
- In a recent authoritative gene array study conducted by researchers at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and Lifegen Technologies in Madison, Wisconsin, it was shown that a dose of resveratrol (rez-vair-aw-trawl) 343 milligrams per day (4.9 mg per kilogram of body weight) produces a gene activation profile similar to a calorie restricted diet. Supra-high doses (greater than 500 milligrams), which often are recommended, are not required and may produce side effects such as evidence that supra-high dose resveratrol inhibits the absorption of folic acid (vitamin B9), an essential nutrient needed for DNA repair.
- Research studies in people to prove that a dietary supplement is safe are not required before the supplement is marketed, unlike for drugs. It is the responsibility of dietary supplement manufacturers/distributors to ensure that their products are safe and that their label claims are accurate and truthful. If the FDA finds a supplement to be unsafe once it is on the market, only then can it take action against the manufacturer and/or distributor, such as by issuing a warning or requiring the product to be removed from the marketplace.
- A 2004 report by the National Institutes of Health found that there is nearly $16 billion in supplement sales a year in the nation, with roughly 1,000 new products being developed each year.
Although some of the information below may seem depressing, it’s good to know that the body is fairly resilient and a change in actions, thinking and attitude often can make a dramatic change in a person’s health. Now, if that change can occur across entire states and nations, imagine the possibilities…
- According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, chronic disease is now the principal cause of disability and use of health services. Chronic disease accounts for 78 percent of U.S. health expenditures, and state budgets are affected by these higher medical costs, largely due to additional costs associated with Medicare and Medicaid.
- A number of studies have tied low blood levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) to an increased risk of ischemic heart disease. However, recent studies have shown that low HDL, in and of itself, is not a heart disease risk factor.
- Alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and now this new study shows drinking may also reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50 percent.
- Americans have levels of dustborne compounds, known as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), in their bodies that are seven to 35 times higher than those in Europeans. These PBDEs, which include fire retardants, may affect adults with an underactive thyroid gland, who may experience symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, dry skin, lower libido, depression, brittle nails and elevated cholesterol. Worse, even mild hypothyroidism may increase the risk of fatal heart disease.
- According to a recent report by The World Health Organization (WHO), chronic disease, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease, is responsible for more than 60 percent of all deaths globally and is projected to account for 47 million deaths annually in the next 25 years. The WHO estimates that between 2005-2015, income loss (in international dollars) from these chronic diseases could rise to as much as $558 billion in China, $237 billion in India, $33 billion in Russia and $33 billion in the UK.
- An estimated 20 to 30 percent of all Americans have some degree of fatty liver disease, making it the most prevalent liver disease in this country. Losing 10 percent of your body weight is often enough to return liver function back to normal.
- Rice and fresh fruit consumption in Japan has fallen by about half since 1970, while beef consumption is up more than 40 percent and coffee drinking has tripled. Notably, the number of diabetics in Japan has doubled in the past 15 years, and the government estimates that a further 10 million people have the warning signs for the disease. This is particularly troubling in a rapidly aging country like Japan, adding to the strain on Japan’s national health insurance program.
- In response to new concerns about health in the workplace, Harrah’s and Horseshoe casinos now offer employees incentives to get into shape. Employees from every level and department can participate. Prizes are awarded for the highest percentage of weight lost and the largest change in percent of body fat. The fittest staff member can receive up to $1,000.
- In a March 2008 report, the CDC revealed that one in four U.S. girls aged 15 to 24 is infected with an STD. The most commonly transmitted STDs are human papillomavirus, Chlamydia, herpes simplex virus and trichomoniasis.
- Florida has hit a new low, ranked close to the bottom of a new national survey on healthcare; just a spot above Oklahoma. The first-ever state-by-state health system report focused on children’s health care and finds Florida’s kids have limited access to health services, and higher than normal health insurance costs.
- Salt Lake City, Utah, Honolulu, Hawaii and Colorado Springs, Colorado rank first, second and third out of 49 mid-sized cities (560,000 to 1.45 million population range) as “heart-friendly” municipalities for women by the American Heart Association. All rankings were based on the benefits each city has to offer and residents’ lifestyle choices.
- Researchers found that among 9100 middle-aged men at higher-than-average risk of heart disease, those with gout were more likely to die of a heart attack or other cardiovascular cause over 17 years.
- The European Union is preparing to introduce tough new rules on car advertising just like cigarette advertising, forcing manufacturers to print large “health-like” warnings detailing gas consumption and emissions.
- Anti-smoking advocates and government agencies from Australia to Malaysia and beyond are calling for cigarette distributors to expand health warnings on cigarette packs and to eliminate any artwork that would appeal to younger potential smokers. One such legislation in Malaysia gives distributors until the end of 2008 to implement the changes, which include pictorial health warnings on the front and back of cigarette packs.
- New research shows that children who live in countries at higher latitudes, such as Canada, where there is less sunlight for much of the year, are far more likely to develop juvenile diabetes than kids who live at or near the equator.
While traditional medicine has helped many people recover from debilitating disease, the same medicines may have adverse effects on other individuals. The following tips may help you understand more about the legal drug industry, and whether drugs need to be in your wellness plans.
- California Attorney General Jerry Brown, accompanied by Danville father Bob Pack, have just announced a plan this month (June 2008) to enable doctors and pharmacies to check patients’ drug history through an Internet program. The purpose of the program is to prevent drug addicts from collecting multiple narcotics prescriptions from many different doctors.
- A full ten percent of Americans – children, teens and adults – take antidepressants in the form of Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Effexor or Cymbalta.
- “Puppy Prozac” (specifically the antidepressant clomipramine), commonly is used to curb aggression and lessen obsessive compulsive behaviors, such as constant licking in dogs and cats and feather picking in birds.
- Over 70 million Americans reportedly suffer from insomnia, opening a market for a new class of non-narcotic sleep drugs, like Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata. Americans spent almost $1.8 billion filling more than 16 million prescriptions for Ambien and Ambien CR last year, and almost $713 million on over 6 million prescriptions of Lunesta, according to Drug Topics digital magazine.
- While older sleep aid pills are much more likely to cause daytime sedation, addiction and withdrawal symptoms, drug classified as nonbenzodiazepines (NBZs), including Lunesta and Ambien, seem just as likely to cause amnesia and erratic behavior such as eating binges, driving cars and engaging in other activities that they later cannot remember. The Wall Street Journal relates one story of a woman who painted her front door in her sleep, and in some cases, people have even set fire to their homes while in the seemingly-hypnotic state sometimes caused by the drugs.
- UK’s huge over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller market jumped by nearly a quarter between 2001 and 2006, according to the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the OTC drug-industry body. The increase, from £406 million to £500 million, excludes “impulse outlets” such as newsagents and gas stations, from which about 40 per cent of British consumers claim to get their OTC drugs. Anadin’s maker, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, says that last year it sold nearly 27 million packs of the pills, and adds, “If stacked on top of each other, they would reach over 56 times the height of Mount Everest.”
- Of the 700 participants in a 2006 study, 22.9% reported having loaned their medications to someone else and 26.9% reported having borrowed someone else’s prescription. An even greater proportion of participants reported situations in which medication sharing was acceptable to them.
- Ghanaians have learned that all anti-malaria drugs that are sent to the West Afrika sub region are fake and therefore useless. The BBC Radio Five Live show in Ghana intimated that the fake drugs industry is worth a whopping $30bn a year.
- A list of the top 20 prescribed drugs in 2007 compiled by Emergis, a company that manages drug claims for about half the private drug plans in Canada, contains twenty drugs that eat the lions’ share of private insurance dollars. Lipitor, one of five cholesterol-lowering agents on the list, is number one.
- The current warning on Roche Laboratories’ Tamiflu (generic name oseltamivir) urges close monitoring of flu patients, particularly children, for “increased risk of self injury and confusion shortly after taking Tamiflu.” The panel recommended that this warning be strengthened to say that “in some cases, these behaviors resulted in serious injuries, including death, in adult and pediatric patients.”
- A study in the current issue of the Journal of Orthopedic Trauma links Merck’s osteoporosis drug Fosamax to a rare type of fracture in the femur. This isn’t the first time that Fosamax has been linked to rare side effects in a small number of patients – there’s pending litigation against Fosamax maker Merck from people alleging the drug caused their jaw bones to erode.
- Bimatoprost was first used by Allergan in its drug Lumigan, which can alleviate eye pressure caused by glaucoma. As a secondary effect, the drug was observed to make patients’ eyelashes grow longer. Now, this drug may be on the market next year as a complementary addition to Botox, also made by Allergan.
- The FDA is looking into a class of drugs called tumor-necrosis-factor blockers because of 30 reports over the last decade that the drugs could cause cancer in children and young adults. The blockers treat various forms of arthritis including juvenile idiopathic arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
- The antibiotic, Biaxin, has been known to cause such side-effects as anxiety, behavioral changes, confused states, convulsions, depersonalization, disorientation, hallucinations, insomnia, manic behavior, nightmares, psychosis, tinnitus, tremor and vertigo. These conditions were highlighted recently by a Canadian man who stole a taxi and ripped out its meter.
- Pfizer’s smoking-cessation drug Chantix, which has come under fire for its potential for suicidal thinking in some patients, came in for a bit more trouble in May 2008 when the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) barred pilots and air traffic controllers from taking the drug.
- On the other hand, health officials in the federal government are urging smokers to use Chantix as part of their efforts to stop smoking despite the drug’s association to suicidal thoughts and behavior. And, while the new smoking cessation guidelines, published by the US Public Health Service, do note the Chantix links with suicide and other psychiatric side effects, the Pfizer drug is promoted as the method most likely to help smokers wanting to quit. The new guidelines are creating controversy, not only because of the strong Chantix recommendation, but also because their lead author, Dr. Michael Fiore, has ties to Pfizer.
- Pfizer’s Neurontin and Lyrica, J&J’s Topamax, GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Lamictal, Meda AB’s Felbatol, UCB SA’s Keppra, Novartis AG’s Trileptal, Cephalon Inc.’s Gabitril, Abbott Laboratories’ Depakote, Eisai Co.’s Zonegran, and carbamazepine, sold by several drugmakers all are epilepsy drugs that may be required by U.S. regulators to warn patients that their products double the chances of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Homeopathy is an ancient ‘medicine,’ one that many skeptics treat as an outdated and unsophisticated method of wellness. On the other hand, some individuals swear by homeopathy, which – as you’ll soon learn – includes many natural treatments as well as some odd ways to treat human ills.
- Laws about what is required to practice homeopathy vary among states. Three states (Connecticut, Arizona, and Nevada) license medical doctors specifically for homeopathy.
- In homeopathy, like cures like. For example, if the symptoms of your cold are similar to poisoning by mercury, then mercury would be your homeopathic remedy.
- In some cases, homeopathically-prepared opium is recommended for traumatic stress syndrome. Homeopathically-prepared opium is available in the US only to DEA-licensed physicians.
- According to some documents, there is virtually no scientific evidence that homeopathic remedies are effective. This does not mean that patients don’t feel better or actually get better after seeing a homeopath as homeopathy can aid the placebo effect, the post hoc fallacy and the regressive fallacy (or, put simply, wishful thinking).
- With that said, people with almost all types of mental, emotional and physical problems such as headaches, PMS (Post Menstrual Syndrome) and actual fears and anxieties can be helped with homeopathy.
- Additionally, worldwide, homeopathy has continued to grow and, according to the World Health Organization, is the most widely practiced alternative form of medicine, second only to allopathic medicine (otherwise known as Western medicine, biomedicine, scientific medicine, or modern medicine).
- A group of 118 children with eczema were tested to understand the effects of homeopathy. 54 had homeopathy and the rest conventional treatment for one year. Both groups reported similar levels of improvement, although doctors noted that the symptoms were better in those treated with homeopathy.
- While on a course of homeopathic treatment, you should avoid strong flavors such as mint (including toothpaste), coffee or camphor.
This category, according to many wellness experts, is the true foundation for wellness. Yet, many people don’t understand how to eat, what to eat, or how to portion their foods. As you’ll soon learn, the learning seems to never end, especially when many marketed foods can be dangerous to your health.
- Nutrition is the cornerstone of naturopathy, and a number of medical doctors who want to ride the growing wellness wave are claiming to be naturopathic doctors. A medical diploma, even from the best medical school, does not make these doctors naturopaths. A practitioner who claims to be a naturopathic doctor will have a diploma that clearly states they have earned the degree.
- Thanks to marketing that pushes dark chocolate as a healthy option for a sweet tooth, the sales of premium chocolate grew more than 30 percent this year alone, following three years of double-digit growth.
- People who eat a lot of fruit and have a high intake of flavonoids perform better on tests of verbal fluency, logical reasoning and visual memory – three skills that translate into doing your job better, faster and smarter.
- Soy health is controversial. Although it is a lean source of plant protein found without saturated fat, which is healthy and can prevent certain types of heart disease, cancer survivors should eat soy in moderation or not at all. Cancer survivors, specifically women who have had breast cancer, need to be cautious of soy because of its plant estrogen, which could stimulate cancer cells, according to the American Dietetic Association.
- Alberta is the first Canadian province to introduce food guidelines specifically targeting children and their caregivers at facilities outside schools. Their 2008 nutrition guidelines, meant for day-care and recreation centers as well as schools, is pointed toward curving childhood obesity and early indications of adult onset diabetes.
- A U.S. research team from Emory University in Atlanta analyzed urine samples from children ages three to 11 who ate only organic foods and found that they contained virtually no metabolites of two common pesticides, malathion and chlorpyrifos. However, once the children returned to eating conventionally grown foods, concentrations of these pesticide metabolites quickly climbed as high as 263 parts per billion.
- Kellogg has vowed that, by the end of this year, it would either make its least-healthy products a bit healthier or that it would stop advertising them to children under age 12. It has also agreed to stop using licensed cartoon characters – Spider-Man and Shrek and their like but not proprietary characters like Tony the Tiger – to promote the foods they make that fail to meet certain nutritional standards. Thirteen other major food companies – including Kraft, General Foods, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Burger King and McDonald’s – have made similar pledges, some of which are already in effect.
- School board members in Arlington Heights, Illinois, voted to ban birthday cakes and cupcakes from classrooms next year as part of a new wellness policy. Birthday parties are still OK.
- The Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley, states that sugared beverage consumption has increased 500 percent over the past five decades – at a rate that roughly corresponds with the increase in overweight children. In response to this news, public health leaders from six Bay Area counties in California recently gathered in Oakland to launch the area’s first “Soda Free Summer” campaign. Alameda County ran a successful “Soda Free Summer” pilot project last year, in which 42 percent of the participants polled reported reducing their soda consumption during the summer campaign, with half of those giving it up altogether.
- The health and wellness market for foods has increased in tune to the news that many people worldwide are overweight and unhealthy. In just one market, sales projections show the potential value of the green tea market in 2011 will be $204m in the U.S. and Europe combined. Green tea sales in the U.S. increased by 6.1 percent between 2000 and 2005.
- Studies have shown that it sometimes takes 15 to 20 tries before finicky kids will accept new flavors and textures. This is why it normally takes a full month for school kids to accept new and healthier food programs where peas really are green and fruit really is crunchy.
- In June, a consumer advocacy group called on the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of eight artificial colorings in food. According to Michael F Jacobson, executive director of the CSPI in Washington, D.C., Americans are now consuming twice as much food dye per person as they did five decades ago. The blue color of Aunt Jemima Blueberry Waffles does not come from blueberries, neither does the yellow of Kraft Mac and Cheese come from the cheese. The dyes used to impart color in these foods may be very harmful and may lead to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in some children.
- In the first human study of its kind, scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) randomly assigned 10 people with hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) to receive daily probiotic milk drinks or placebo. The results showed that the milk drink that contained the probiotic Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) has been shown to help hay fever sufferers.
- A large new study published in the journal BMJ finds that people who adhered closely to a traditional Mediterranean diet, which is also low in meat and dairy products, had “substantial protection” against Type 2 diabetes.
The following information did not seem to fit any other category, but we wanted to include the tips for your entertainment and/or enlightenment.
- Australian researchers have recently discovered that heavy cannabis use causes significant brain injury, memory loss, difficulties learning new information, and psychotic symptoms, such as delusions of persecution [paranoia], delusions of mind-reading, and bizarre social behaviors in even non-vulnerable users.
- A bill passed by the California state Assembly, now in the state Senate, would make selling the hallucinogenic drug salvia to anyone under the age of 18 a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. The drug, an herb in the mint family native to Mexico, is legally available to people of all ages in California. Though the high from the salvia leaf by itself, whether smoked or chewed, is relatively short-lived and mild, the drug is much more commonly used in a concentrated form that has far stronger hallucinogenic effects, such as out-of-body experiences.
- New York men are slathering up their torsos with the hemorrhoid cream, Preparation H, to make themselves look “ripped.” This medicine has long been used by body builders in need of a quick fix for a problem area prior to competition, as well as women looking to reduce puffiness around their eyes.
- Humans share a common ancestor with the platypus that lived approximately 170 million years ago. This discovery will provide an essential background to future advances in understanding mammalian biology and evolution.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shifting its previous position, has told companies they must allow shareholders to vote on a proposal for universal health insurance coverage. Many companies say the health care principles are not a proper matter for shareholders to vote on, and they have tried to keep the proposal out of proxy statements prepared for their 2008 annual meetings.
- According an August 2000 article in The Law Enforcement Trainer magazine, more than 2,000 U.S. police officers have heart attacks and die each year in the line of duty. This is shocking when you consider that approximately 100 police officers die each year at the hands of suspects.
- Research by Northeastern University secretly tracked the locations of 100,000 people outside the United States through their cellphone use and concluded that most people rarely stray more than a few miles from home. Although this first-of-its-kind study raises privacy and ethical questions for its monitoring methods, which would be illegal in the United States, it revealed that people only move within a 20-mile-wide circle for half a year. The results, which also show that people exhibit similar patterns whether they travel long distances or short ones, could open new frontiers in fields such as disease tracking and urban planning.
- Twelve different new research projects will determine how interactive games can be used to improve public health and the health care profession. The studies, which will last between one to two years,are part of a new $2 million grant from philanthropic group the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the University of California Santa Barbara’s Health Games Research Center. The studies will last between one to two years.
- Cigarette smoking may improve attention and short-term memory in persons with schizophrenia by stimulating nicotine receptors in the brain, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the June issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry.
- The modern era of health tourism is considered to have begun in 1939 when Deborah and Edmond Szekely opened a US $17.50-a-week, bring-your-tent spa and healthy-living retreat, which became the renowned Rancho La Puerta fitness resort in Mexico.
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