A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

Healthy Outlook Leads to a Healthy Lifestyle: Study

(Science Daily) A 'can do' attitude is the key to a healthy lifestyle, University of Melbourne economists have determined…
The study found those who believe their life can be changed by their own actions ate healthier food, exercised more, smoked less and avoided binge drinking.
Community: We’ve seen a lot of evidence on how a sense of efficacy can have positive effects on health.
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How to Get Healthy: Start Now with this Fresh-Start Checklist

(EatingWell) Start a new healthy routine with these easy tips to get healthy now!...
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4 Steps to Break Bad Habits

(RealAge.com)  Creating smart strategies and reinforcing healthy choices ("No cookies in this house!") helps your brain adopt healthy habits. Try these steps:
Change your environment. Always eat fries and a shake in the cafeteria? Find a new locale and bring healthy food into it…
Make breaking the bad habit your mantra. Turns out telling yourself to shape up ("I will not drink soda!") actually helps. Interrupting the cycle of impulse and reward, even temporarily, gives you time to consciously not do something.
Get enough sleep every night
Enlist support. Bring friends, family, support groups, a therapist, and even your dog into your battle to create a new, good habit.
Community: There are many practical things we can do to improve impulse control.
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The Fight for a Healthier World

(Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch) A new study, issued by scientists at the Freeman Spogli institute at Stanford university in California, that suggests that organic food has no medical or health values is deeply flawed, say outraged activists… [They] note that Dr. Ingram Olkin, a co-author of the organics study and a professor emeritus in statistics at Stanford, has deep financial ties to Cargill, the agribusiness multinational which sells genetically engineered foods. Olkin also accepted money from the tobacco industry’s Council for Tobacco Research, according to letters dating back to 1976.
Community: The Los Angeles times has an interview with the editor of the journal that published the study.
(Reuters) ABC News was hit with a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit on Thursday by a South Dakota meat processor that accused it of misleading viewers into believing a product that critics have dubbed "pink slime" was unsafe… In court papers, the company said ABC falsely told viewers that its beef product was not safe, not healthy and not even meat, resulting in the 31-year-old company's loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in profit and roughly half its employees. "The lawsuit is without merit," Jeffrey Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, a unit of Walt Disney Co, said in a statement. "We will contest it vigorously."
Community: Remember when the beef industry sued Oprah?
(Reuters) New York City passed the first U.S. ban of oversized sugary drinks on Thursday in its latest controversial step to reduce obesity and its deadly complications in a nation with a weight problem.
Community: From U.S. News & World Report: “Experts: Courts Likely to Uphold New York Soda Ban.”
(Capital Eye) The food and beverage industry has during the last two decades poured more than $132 million into campaign contributions at the federal level, and annually spends millions more on federal lobbying.
Community: When do we start calling this bribery?
(Reuters) A Norwegian court has upheld a ban on displaying tobacco products in stores, in a closely-watched ruling as governments across the world look to crack down on smoking to improve public health and cut medical costs.
(Reuters) Canada dropped its longtime opposition on Friday to the international listing of asbestos as a hazardous material, a designation intended to curb the use abroad of the fire-resistant substance, which can cause cancer and other illnesses.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Cheddar Burgers with Red Onion Jam
A quick five-ingredient sauce tops cheesy homemade burgers to make an easy, delicious dinner in no time. Serve with baked chips and blue cheese dip.
EatingWell:
Pork, White Bean & Kale Soup
Kale is matched up here with white beans and chunks of lean pork tenderloin to create a soup that's satisfying and quick to make. Smoked paprika gives the soup a Spanish flair so some warm bread and sliced Manchego cheese would go well on the side.
Los Angeles Times:
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Airlines Grapple with Food vs. Biofuel Debate

(Reuters) Airlines battling to cut costs and pollution may not find a quick fix in biofuels, as concerns grow that using feedstocks to create an alternative to kerosene will push food prices higher.
The European Union plans to impose a limit on the use of crop-based biofuels, in a major shift in the region's much-criticized biofuel policy, according to draft legislation seen by Reuters.
The policy U-turn comes after studies cast doubt on the carbon dioxide emissions savings from using crop-based fuels, and following a poor harvest in key grain growing regions that pushed up prices and revived fears of food shortages.
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Tainted Tap Water Sickens 1.1 Million Each Year

(WebMD Health News) Two new studies are making waves in the tap vs. bottled water debate.
The first study shows that the pipes that ferry drinking water from public wells to home taps may let in viruses that cause more than a million cases of stomach illness every year…
The second study … shows that when viruses surge in tap water, people have a 30% higher risk of getting nasty stomach bugs that cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Community: But there’s some good news for those of us who get out drinking water from a Great Lake: “New Agreement Aims to Keep Great Lakes' Water Clean.”
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The Latest from The People’s Pharmacy

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Compound in cannabis may help treat epilepsy, researchers say

(Los Angeles Times) British researchers have determined that a little-studied chemical in the cannabis plant could lead to effective treatments for epilepsy, with few to no side effects.
The team at Britain’s University of Reading, working with GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, tested cannabidivarin, or CBDV, in rats and mice afflicted with six types of epilepsy and found it “strongly suppressed seizures” without causing the uncontrollable shaking and other side effects of existing anti-epilepsy drugs…
The casual use of marijuana -- or cannabis -- to control seizures dates back to ancient times.
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Popular antibiotic can raise heart rhythm risk

(Harvard Health) A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported that the popular antibiotic azithromycin raised the risk of irregular heart rhythms in some users.
Azithromycin, often sold in a five-day dose known as a Z-Pak, is part of the macrolide class of antibiotics, which also includes erythromycin. Other antibiotics from this class also pose similar risks for those with heart disease risk factors, said Dr. Deepak Bhatt…
The study showed that the heart risks from azithromycin, while real, also are quite rare.
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Breathing technique fails to ease hot flashes

(Reuters Health) Despite the widespread belief that taking slow, deep breaths can relieve the discomfort of hot flashes during menopause, women in a clinical trial found no benefit from the technique.
The lead author of the study … said that based on the results, she would not encourage women to look to slow breathing as a treatment for hot flashes.
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More People Cutting Corners to Pay for Medications

(WebMD Health News) Americans are scrimping to pay for their prescription medications, and some are playing dangerous games with their health as a result.
More than 80% of Americans who don’t have prescription drug coverage are not filling their prescriptions, skipping medical tests, passing on doctor’s appointments because of cost, or cutting corners elsewhere, a new Consumer Reports poll shows.
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What Walgreen's new rewards progam means for shoppers

(Crain’s Chicago Business) Walgreen Co. will officially launch its first-ever rewards program on Monday…
The program, called Balance Rewards, will allow customers to redeem points for up to $50 in free merchandise.
Shoppers will earn points for buying specific items, filling prescriptions, getting immunizations and joining the company's healthy-lifestyle programs, like Walk With Walgreens.
Community: I gave Walgreen’s the idea of sponsoring a healthy lifestyle program several years ago. They not only didn’t pay me for the idea, they didn’t even acknowledge my contribution. They stole my idea.
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State investigating medical consolidations

(Los Angeles Times) A wave of consolidation among hospitals and physician groups has drawn scrutiny from the California attorney general's office amid concerns that these alliances could boost medical prices…
The federal healthcare law pushes medical providers to collaborate more on patient care in hopes that that will reduce costs in a fragmented industry. That has driven much of the acquisition activity across California and nationwide as hospitals and large medical groups merge.
Some healthcare experts, however, worry that this consolidation will raise costs as competition lessens in certain markets.
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Hospital Readmission Rates Dropping Slightly

(Kaiser Health News) A new government analysis has found that hospital readmission rates of Medicare patients have fallen more than previously reported, bolstering hope that hospitals are having some success at tackling this stubborn and expensive problem.
Hospital readmissions have been getting extensive attention as a new penalty program kicks in next month, which will cost hospitals as much as 1 percent of their regular Medicare reimbursements.  The Obama administration has set a goal of reducing readmissions by 20 percent, which would save more than $2.5 billion in a year, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, an independent agency that advises Congress.
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Rising Cost of Inpatient Care Linked to Medical Devices and Supplies

(Science Daily) Inpatient hospital treatment accounts for the largest proportion of health care spending in the U.S., with the use of diagnostic imaging services such as MRIs, frequently implicated as the probable cause. A new analysis finds that the biggest expense may not be imaging technology but from supplies including medical devices, such as stents and artificial joints.
"One of the take-away messages for hospitals is that they should examine their own data in closer detail to explore the costs that are rapidly rising and have a better understanding for the underlying reasons," said lead author Jared Lane Maeda, Ph.D., of Truven Health Analytics.
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Medicare, Social Security Literally Extend Lives

(U.S. News & World Report) During the silly season leading up to the November elections, you can expect to hear every claim imaginable about our beleaguered senior benefit programs, Medicare and Social Security. Yet according to a recent study, one of the most dramatic possible claims about these programs turns out to be true: They are adding years to the lives of seniors…
Looking at reduced life expectancy due solely to job losses and related employment cuts, [the researchers] said, "a worker who lost their job at age 58 as a result of a recession could be expected to live three fewer years (19 years instead of 22) as a result."…These negative effects on longevity, however, did not affect people who were in their early sixties…
In other words…, those near the age at which they could begin taking early-retirement benefits from Social Security (age 62) or begin using Medicare insurance (age 65) did not suffer the kinds of ill health effects and reduced life spans as younger people in their later fifties.
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Automatic Budget Cuts Will Reduce Medicare Payments To Doctors, Hospitals By $11 Billion

(Kaiser Health News) Medicare providers would see reductions of about $11 billion beginning in January as part of series of automatic spending cuts set to begin next year unless Congress acts to halt them, according to estimates released Friday by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The numbers came in a report that details how federal agencies would implement roughly $110 billion in mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts agreed to by Congress and President Barack Obama last August as a way to end a bitterly partisan dispute over raising the debt ceiling.  Lawmakers in both chambers, as well as Obama, want to avoid the automatic cuts that would trim federal spending by $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years, called sequestration.
Noting that "sequestration would have a devastating impact on important defense and nondefense programs," the administration detailed cuts to more than 1,200 federal government budget accounts. Half the cuts would come from military programs. Social security and Medicaid are exempted.
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Exercise May Protect Against Emotional Stress

(Science Daily) Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress for an extended period of time post-workout, according to a study…
"While it is well-known that exercise improves mood, among other benefits, not as much is known about the potency of exercise's impact on emotional state and whether these positive effects endure when we're faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym," explains J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. "We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you'll not only reduce your anxiety, but you'll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events."
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Exercise, Meditate To Exorcise Colds

(Andrew Weil, M.D.) You might be able to shake off colds or flu faster than usual- or avoid getting them altogether - if you exercise or practice mindfulness meditation…
Results [of a study] showed that participants who exercised daily had fewer colds and bouts of flu than normal, and missed fewer days of work. Those who did mindfulness meditation also remained healthier than did those in the control group. All told, exercising or meditating resulted in a 40 to 50 percent reduction in colds and flu.
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Video Looks at the Science of Yoga

(NIH News in Health) Millions of people in the U.S. roll out their mats to practice yoga. They work on physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation or relaxation techniques. Scientists, meanwhile, are studying how this mind and body therapy can affect your health and well-being.
A new online video from NIH sheds light on the research and science behind the practice of yoga. It highlights some of the latest studies examining how yoga affects your health, particularly difficult-to-treat problems such as chronic low back pain. Viewers can also learn about research into the safety of yoga and how certain yoga poses specifically affect a person’s body. The video offers valuable “dos and don’ts” for people who are thinking about practicing yoga.
To watch the video, Scientific Results of Yoga for Health and Well-Being, go [here]. This is the second installment in the NIH-produced “The Science of Mind and Body Therapies” video series. 
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Exercise the Buddy System

(U.S. News & World Report) More than 60 percent of adults don't get the recommended amount of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week. We've all heard about the virtues of exercise—elevated mood, better sleep, better cardiovascular and lung health, better muscle tone, increased energy, and improved strength and stamina. And, oh yeah—weight loss. Yet, many of us still suffer from a simple lack of motivation.
But there is one simple way to keep you motivated and accountable to your fitness goals: the buddy system. That's right, the rule we all learned in kindergarten—that a buddy can keep you on the right path—works for exercise, too. Research shows that working out with a partner ups the odds that you'll honor your exercise commitments, making it easier to get fit.
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Centeredbeing: Getting exercise at your desk

(Vicky Hallett, MisFits, Washington Post) My new office habit: When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I get as floppy as possible in my chair. With my chest resting on my thighs, my hair brushing the tops of my feet and my knuckles touching the ground, I take a few deep breaths. I enjoy the stretch along the backs of my legs. A sense of calm overtakes me. And when I sit back up, I’m greeted by an awesome head rush — and not a single strange look from my colleagues.
That’s because they know I’m just practicing Centeredbeing,a mindful movement system that’s designed to fight sedentary behavior and stress. The techniques, which are adapted from yoga and Pilates, can be strung together to build a solid workout, but they’re also handy whenever you need a moment to focus on your body rather than your computer screen.
“Your mood can improve in 10 minutes even if your biceps don’t look different,” says Centeredbeing co-creator Suzie Carmack.
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Recipes

MyRecipes.com:
Mushroom-Prosciutto Pizza
This simple pizza flavored with cremini mushrooms and Italian ham can be made in just about 20 minutes.
EatingWell:
Seared Salmon with Green Peppercorn Sauce
A simple sauce of piquant green peppercorns, lemon juice and butter top this seared salmon recipe. Green peppercorns come from the same plant as black ones, but are harvested before they mature. Typically packed in vinegar, they have a refreshingly sharp flavor. Look for them near the capers in most supermarkets. Serve with smashed red potatoes and sautéed kale.
Andrew Weil, M.D.:
Chinese Green Bean Salad
This bright green, crunchy salad is bursting with Asian flavors and is so easy to prepare. Look for fresh, plump organic green beans if you can find them. Cook them until they are bright green and still crunchy-tender. At this point you can keep the green beans refrigerated. Toss them with the dressing just before serving or the acid in the dressing will dull the bright green color.
Food as Medicine
Green beans are low in calories - just 44 per cup - but rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
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No Evidence That Black Cohosh Relieves Menopause Symptoms

(Science Daily) Although many women coping with hot flashes and other distressing symptoms of menopause have turned to black cohosh supplements as a treatment alternative, a new review … finds no evidence that the herb is effective.
"I was a little surprised of the outcome of the review given the large number of perimenopausal women that use the herb across the globe for the management of menopausal symptoms, as well as the many manufacturers and therapists that promote the herb for this purpose," said lead reviewer Matthew Leach, Ph.D.
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FDA warns of burns from muscle and joint pain busters

(Reuters) Over-the-counter muscle and joint pain relievers may cause chemical burns in rare cases, U.S. health regulators warned on Thursday.
Products that contain menthol, methyl salicylate, or capsaicin — including major brands such as Johnson & Johnson's Bengay, Sanofi's Icy Hot, Capzasin and Flexall, and Rohto Pharmaceutical Co's Mentholatum — were found to cause first- to third-degree burns.
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Antidepressants, Sleeping Pills and Anxiety Drugs May Increase Driving Risk

(Science Daily) Drugs prescribed to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia may increase patients' risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents, according to a recent study…
Psychotropic drugs affect the way the brain functions and can impair a driver's ability to control their vehicle. Research on the links between psychotropic medication and driving accidents has focused on benzodiazepines, which have been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Perhaps the best known of these drugs is diazepam. Newer Z-drugs, used to treat insomnia, have received less attention, as have antidepressants and antipsychotics…
"Our findings underscore that people taking these psychotropic drugs should pay increased attention to their driving performance in order to prevent motor vehicle accidents," said lead researcher, Hui-Ju Tsai… "Doctors and pharmacists should choose safer treatments, provide their patients with accurate information and consider advising them not to drive while taking certain psychotropic medications."
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Neural Implant Recovers Ability to Make Decisions, Monkey Study Shows

(Science Daily) Researchers have taken a key step towards recovering specific brain functions in sufferers of brain disease and injuries by successfully restoring the decision-making processes in monkeys.
By placing a neural device onto the front part of the monkeys' brains, the researchers … were able to recover, and even improve, the monkeys' ability to make decisions when their normal cognitive functioning was disrupted.
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Deaf gerbils 'hear again' after stem cell cure

(BBC News) UK researchers say they have taken a huge step forward in treating deafness after stem cells were used to restore hearing in animals for the first time.
Hearing partially improved when nerves in the ear, which pass sounds into the brain, were rebuilt in gerbils - a UK study … reports. Getting the same improvement in people would be a shift from being unable to hear traffic to hearing a conversation.
However, treating humans is still a distant prospect.
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Neuralstem's cells improve movement in rats with broken spines

(Reuters) Neuralstem Inc said its stem-cell therapy significantly improved movement in rats with broken spines, increasing the likelihood of the technology being used to treat people with spinal cord injuries…
The company said the tested rodents regained movement in all their lower extremity joints as the stem cells helped connect the broken points of the spinal cord.
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Long-Lasting HIV Drug Could Change Therapy

(MedPage Today) An extremely long-lasting anti-HIV drug has the potential to alter both treatment and prevention of the virus, researchers said here.
Preliminary data … suggest that the investigational integrase inhibitor S/GSK744 might need to be given only every 3 months.
That would have "enormous implications for treatment, but perhaps even more for prevention," said Roy Gulick, MD…, who was not involved in the research.
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Portland joins fluoride bandwagon, will add it to water supply

(Los Angeles Times) The City Council of Portland, Ore., on Wednesday approved putting fluoride in the municipal water, ending the city’s official resistance to using the additive to fight tooth decay.
The ordinance, which passed 5-0, calls for city water to be fluoridated by 2014, a spokeswoman for the city said by telephone. Portland is the largest city in the United States that does not add fluoride to its water.
Despite the council’s action, opponents of the ordinance have insisted that they will continue to fight fluoridation, and some said they plan to force a referendum. Oregon voters have rejected fluoridation three times.
Community: There are some other things I think we should consider putting in the water supply, too: Oxytocin, to make us more trusting (more here and here); propranolol, to reduce racism; something that can increase the neurotransmitter GABA, to help with impulse control; and the "magic mushroom" ingredient  psilocybin, to improve imagination and creativity.
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Coping with medical bills is now the most severe financial woe Americans face

(New York Daily News ) It's enough to make you sick.
People are so strapped for cash these days, they can't afford their drugs and are doing without medical tests and procedures, a new survey from Consumer Reports has found.
Nearly one-half of Americans under the age of 65 who don't have prescription drug insurance are not filling their prescriptions because of the cost, up from 27% last year.
Six out of ten declined a medical test, 63% put off a doctor's visit to save money - and 51% delayed a medical procedure.
Overall, a whopping 81% said that over the past 12 months they have been trying to cut corners to cope. That's up from 65% last year.
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The Wrong Way to Save Money on Health Care

(Robert Reich) Employer outlays for workers’ health insurance slowed from a 9 percent jump last year to less than half that — 4 percent — this year, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Foundation…
[O]ne big reason for the drop: Employers are shifting healthcare costs to their workers. (The survey shows workers contributing an average of $4,316 toward the cost of family health plans this year, up from $4,129 last year. Many are receiving little or no employer-provided coverage at all.)
Score another win for American corporations — whose profits continue to be robust despite the anemic recovery — and another loss for American workers.
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PBS documentary explains healthcare costs

(UPI) "Money & Medicine," is a film attempting to explain why U.S. healthcare costs $2.2 trillion a year yet ranks poorly with developed nations, the producer says.
Recent studies suggest one-third of all U.S. healthcare expenditures were unnecessary, partly because healthcare providers are rewarded for the quantity instead of the quality of the services they offer and many Americans still believe the notion that "more care is better care," "Money & Medicine" producer-director Roger Weisberg said.
Healthcare policy experts are concerned about the financial implications of a healthcare system that encourages the over-utilization of medical services, further inflating healthcare costs without necessarily improving patient medical outcomes, Weisberg said.
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Health Care Jobs Report: A Dire Warning To Congress

(Shefali S. Kulkarni, Kaiser Health News) You knew this was coming: Just four months before a series of automatic spending cuts kick in, Medicare providers warned that, if those cuts become reality, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost.
The report … predicts that the 2 percent cuts to Medicare providers included in the “budget sequester” beginning in January will cause as many as 766,000 health care and health-related jobs to disappear by 2021. An estimated 496,000 jobs will be lost during the first year of the automatic cuts…
While members in both parties have said they hope to avoid the series of automatic cuts, it’s not clear what will happen. For example, earlier this week House Speaker John Boehner said he was “not confident” Congress could reach a deal before the budget sequestration will begin in January.
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Some anti-obesity campaigns may backfire, researchers say

(Los Angeles Times) As U.S. health authorities prosecute an all-out war against obesity, a small cadre of researchers is warning that the nation's 78 million obese adults and 12.5 million obese children are already suffering collateral damage.
The message that they will become victims of self-inflicted disease, poor role models for their families and a drag on the economy unless they lose weight has left many obese Americans feeling depressed, defeated and ashamed, these experts say…
Anti-obesity campaigns viewed as stigmatizing "instill less motivation to improve health," and the messages that appeared most effective at encouraging behavior change didn't mention obesity at all, according to the research team from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity…
"Shame is about feeling bad about who you are," [psychotherapist Nina] Savelle-Rocklin said. That message "is unbearable and intolerable" to most, and those who quell negative emotions by eating "are going to turn to food.... It's just a recipe for disaster."…
Far more effective were messages that suggested specific steps that would improve health, conveyed a sense of empowerment and left references to obesity unspoken.
In the study, the slogan that got the highest marks for motivation was "Eat well. Move more. Live longer." Part of a British campaign called Change4Life, it was rated stigmatizing by less than 30% of participants, and 85% said it would move them to make changes.
Community: Once again we see the importance of fostering a sense of efficacy in building healthful habits. I would change the slogan to “Eat well. Move more. Feel better now and live longer.”
Scientific American may assert that “Anti-Obesity Is Not the New Homophobia,” but I agree with the study above. I’ve made more changes in my life by being gentle than by being hard on myself.
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Is America Really a Nation of Lazy Gluttons?

(Yoni Freedhoff, MD, U.S. News & World Report) Many people seem to think that obesity is solely a self-control issue, that obese folks are lazy gluttons who lack willpower and refuse to move. But do opponents of New York City's proposal [to ban giant sugary sodas] truly believe that people are choosing to gain weight?...
People have not changed since the 1970s; the world around them has. While weight is dependent on the choices we make, the environment in which we live has a tremendous impact on choice. Consider, for example: the unbelievably fast pace of life and our perpetual electronic tethers; the ubiquity of fast food and vending machines; increasingly sophisticated junk-food marketing that targets children; the super-sizing of meals; incredibly cheap sources of calories; the rise of processed, heat-and-eat meals in place of homemade ones; front-of-package labeling that lets nutritionally bereft meals masquerade as health food; and, finally, a culture that rewards, celebrates, and fundraises with food at each and every possible opportunity.
This world is very different from the one we used to live in. And the notion that personal responsibility will be sufficient protection against the unhealthy foods the world continually thrusts upon us is incredibly naïve.
If we hope to see this tide turn, we're going to need support—not just for personal steps, but for environmental ones as well. America is not a nation of lazy gluttons.
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That 20 oz. sugary soda is a threat to public health

(Thomas Farley, commissioner of New York City’s Health Department.) Imagine New Yorkers’ reactions if a new strain of influenza or some other communicable disease were killing almost 6,000 New Yorkers a year and causing debilitating illness — including amputations — for thousands more. The call for bold action would be overwhelming — and completely appropriate.
[Today] is the day the Board of Health will vote on our proposal to limit to 16 ounces individual serving sizes of sugary drinks in restaurants and other venues. After months of misleading criticism and a barrage of advertisements from industry-sponsored “grass-roots” groups, it is crucial we all remember how serious the obesity crisis is.
Obesity leads to the deaths of nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year, more than any health problem except smoking, according to our best estimates. This epidemic is not a communicable disease like influenza, but it is more dangerous and more deadly. Obesity causes diseases such as diabetes and heart attacks. Those diseases kill, leaving children without parents and people without spouses. And even when it doesn’t kill, obesity leaves its victims suffering and in pain.
This epidemic already affects most New Yorkers. More than half of New York City adults are overweight or obese, as are nearly 40% of New York City’s kids. One in eight adult New Yorkers has diabetes, many of whom do not know it…
That’s why we are also taking many other steps to address obesity, from providing exercise classes to increasing access to healthy foods… [I]f we can reduce obesity rates in New York City by just 10%, it could save hundreds of lives a year. That’s definitely worth it.
Community: The Harvard School of Public Health tells us “How much sugar is in soda, juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks.” And New York is doing a lot more to improve its citizens’ health by preventing chronic disease:
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Changing the Environment can Improve Health

(Philadelphia Inquirer) Obesity rates for Philadelphia schoolchildren fell significantly over four years, researchers reported Thursday, suggesting that the sort of steps taken here in one of the hardest-hit cities might help reverse a national epidemic.
(Reuters) A Big Mac and large fries? They'll cost you 1,050 calories, and beginning next week, McDonald's will tell its customers that in bright lights on its fast-food menus. The world's No. 1 hamburger chain said on Wednesday it is going to start listing calorie information on menus in some 14,000 U.S. restaurants and drive-throughs - ahead of a national rule that will require larger restaurant chains to make such disclosures.
(Los Angeles Times) Doctors are supposed to help patients eat healthfully — but they’re not exactly dietary angels themselves… At least one group of researchers thinks it’s time for this to change…  [They] called on physicians to forgo the pizza and burgers and start demanding more healthful fare at work.
(UPI) In countries in Europe where there is a restaurant smoking ban, young people were 35 percent less likely to smoke regularly, U.S. researchers say.
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Why Lose Weight?

(USA Today)  Many obese Americans say they face discrimination and stigma because of their weight, according to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll released today. And the levels of stigma rise along with weight, and affect both people's working and social lives. Fifty-two percent of people who fell into the "obese" or "morbidly obese" categories believe they have been discriminated against when applying for a job or promotion. And about two-fifths said they have been socially shunned, and 36 percent felt they've been discriminated against when being seated in theaters or restaurants.
(Andrew Weil, M.D.) After analyzing data from 5806 participants in a large national health survey, researchers at Drexel University School of Public Health found that low levels of vitamin D among obese individuals may increase the risk of insulin resistance, a contributing factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Individually, vitamin D insufficiency and obesity are recognized as independent risks for insulin resistance. The Drexel study, published online on June 29, 2012 in Diabetes Care, suggests that the combination of both greatly increases the odds.
(Science Daily) "In our study, a small weight gain was enough to raise a college student's systolic blood pressure by 3 to 5 points. If young people continue to gain 1.5 pounds a year and think it doesn't matter, they're misleading themselves and increasing their risk for heart disease," said Margarita Teran-Garcia.
(UPI) Increased obesity and poor nutrition may be fueling the increase in kidney stones in U.S. adults, a food expert says. "It is possible that better reporting and treatment options for kidney stones may have contributed to the numbers, there are other factors that might lend themselves to the development of kidney stones in children and adults -- the increase in obesity and poor nutrition," Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.
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