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May 9, 2006, 10:59 PM CT

Food Marketing And Childhood Obesity

Food Marketing And Childhood Obesity
The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services today released a report recommending concrete steps that industry can take to change their marketing and other practices to make progress against childhood obesity. The report is a product of last summer's joint FTC/HHS workshop, which provided a forum for industry, consumer, academic, and government stakeholders to examine the role of the private sector in addressing rising childhood obesity rates in the United States. Since 1980, childhood obesity rates have tripled among adolescents and doubled among younger children. Workshop participants acknowledged that a number of factors contribute to childhood obesity, but recognized that regardless of the causes, responsible marketing can play a positive role in improving children's diets and exercise behavior.

"Responsible, industry-generated action and effective self-regulation are critical to addressing the national problem of childhood obesity," said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. "The FTC plans to monitor industry efforts closely, and we expect to see real improvements".

"Businesses need to work with mothers, fathers and children to bring America's epidemic of childhood overweight under control,'' said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. ``Families can help children to be physically active and to eat right, and business can encourage children to eat nutritious foods in proper portions".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 8, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

Social Stress Prompts Hamsters To Overeat

Social Stress Prompts Hamsters To Overeat
Put a mouse or a rat under stress and what does it do? It stops eating. Humans should be so lucky. When people suffer nontraumatic stress they often head for the refrigerator, producing unhealthy extra pounds.

When Syrian hamsters, which are normally solitary, are placed in a group-living situation, they also gain weight. So researchers at the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State University are using hamsters as a model for human stress-induced obesity. They want to begin unraveling the complex factors that lead people to eat when under stress and hope that the information can eventually be used to block appetites under this common scenario.

The study, "Social defeat increases food intake, body mass, and adiposity in Syrian hamsters," by Michelle T. Foster, Matia B. Solomon, Kim L. Huhman and Timothy J. Bartness, Georgia State University, Atlanta, appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by The American Physiological Society.

Hamsters similar to humans

In the study, the scientists look at nontraumatic stress -- the stress we experience in everyday life, such as getting stuck in traffic or trying to complete a major project at work. It is distinct from traumatic stress, such as suffering the death of a loved one. Traumatic stress typically dulls the human appetite, said Bartness, the study's senior researcher and an authority on obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 8, 2006, 11:32 PM CT

Cutting Calories Can Combat Aging

Cutting Calories Can Combat Aging
A lifelong habit of trimming just a few calories from the daily diet can do more than slim the waistline - a new study shows it may help lessen the effects of aging.

Researchers from the University of Florida's Institute on Aging have found that eating a little less food and exercising a little more over a lifespan can reduce or even reverse aging-related cell and organ damage in rats.

The discovery, described this month in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, builds on recent research in animals and humans that has shown a more drastic 20 percent to 40 percent cut in calories slows aging damage. The UF findings indicate even small reductions in calories could have big effects on health and shed light on the molecular process responsible for the phenomenon, which until now has been poorly understood.

"This finding suggests that even slight moderation in intake of calories and a moderate exercise program is beneficial to a key organ such as the liver, which shows significant signs of dysfunction in the aging process," said Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., an associate professor of aging and geriatric research at the UF College of Medicine and the paper's senior author.

UF researchers found that feeding rats just 8 percent fewer calories a day and moderately increasing the animals' activity extended their average lifespan and significantly overturned the negative effects of cellular aging on liver function and overall health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 4, 2006, 4:52 PM CT

Embryos In 3-d D

Embryos In 3-d
D Three-dimensional computer image of a mouse embryo
Utah and Texas researchers combined miniature medical CT scans with high-tech computer methods to produce detailed three-dimensional images of mouse embryos - an efficient new method to test the safety of medicines and learn how mutant genes cause birth defects or cancer.

"Our method provides a fast, high-quality and inexpensive way to visually explore the 3-D internal structure of mouse embryos so scientists can more easily and quickly see the effects of a genetic defect or chemical damage," says Chris Johnson, a distinguished professor of computer science at the University of Utah.

A study reporting development of the new method - known as "microCT-based virtual histology" - was published recently in PLoS Genetics, an online journal of the Public Library of Science.

The study was led by Charles Keller, a pediatric cancer specialist who formerly worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of University of Utah geneticist Mario Capecchi. Keller now is an assistant professor at the Children's Cancer Research Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

University of Utah co-authors of the study are Johnson - who directs the university's Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute - Capecchi, medical student Mark S. Hansen and several members of Johnson's institute: computer science undergraduate Thomas Johnson III, research assistant Lindsey Healey and former associate director Greg M. Jones, who now is state science advisor to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


May 4, 2006, 4:46 PM CT

Attitudes And Consequences Of College Drinking

Attitudes And Consequences Of College Drinking
Professors at Kansas State University have found that males tend to be greater risk takers when it comes to alcohol, while women tend to use more protective strategies, including drinking only with friends, counting the number of drinks, limiting the amount of money spent on drinking and eating food before drinking.

Steve Benton, professor of counseling and educational psychology, Ronald Downey, professor of psychology, and Sheryl Benton, assistant professor of counseling and educational psychology and assistant director of Counseling Services, have done a study and paper on college student drinking, attitudes of risk and drinking consequences.

"My belief is that we have to face the fact that a certain percentage of college students will drink," Steve Benton said. "So, what can we do to reduce the likelihood of them getting into trouble?".

The scientists looked at how risk, along with other factors, play out in understanding the kinds of behavior people get into.

"Students who tend to have attitudes that make them greater risk takers are more likely to get into trouble when drinking," Steve Benton said. "Even when controlling the amount of alcohol, it's not how much you drink that affects the amount of trouble, but how risky you are."

He said that if a person doesn't care what others think and doesn't worry about laws, then they're more likely to get into trouble. Those with a lower-risk attitude will get into less trouble.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 11:38 PM CT

PMS: A Fact Of Life Or All In The Mind?

PMS: A Fact Of Life Or All In The Mind?
Premenstrual distress: An unavoidable condition a number of women suffer with relentless regularity. Or is it? Can heterosexual women learn a thing or two from their lesbian sisterhood?

In her keynote talk: "Premenstrual Syndrome and Self-policing: Constructing and Deconstructing Premenstrual Distress in Lesbian and Heterosexual relationships", Professor Jane M Ussher, will put forward her views to delegates of an international 3-day conference for psychology experts to be held at the University of Leicester, entitled "Qualitative Research and Marginalisation."

Professor Ussher is Professor of Women's Health Psychology and Director of the Gender Culture and Health Research at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and a world-renowned expert in her field.

Her talk draws on her recently published book 'Managing the Monstrous Feminine: Regulating the Reproductive Body' (Routledge, 2006), She commented: "The majority of women experience physical and psychological changes in the premenstrual phase of the cycle, but only some women experience distress associated with these changes, and position them as PMS. My paper argues that this distress and self-diagnosis is associated with practices of self-policing - negative self-judgement, self-silencing, self-sacrifice, over responsibility and self blame.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 11:16 PM CT

Australians Too Busy For Lunch

Australians Too Busy For Lunch
While most Australians believe that eating a substantial, healthy lunch is important, one in three skip this vital meal at least once a week, and one in 10 rarely or never have it.

A new ACNeilsen Omnibus poll of 1400 Australians shows that people engaged in home duties are most likely to skip lunch; with almost half those surveyed (46%) doing so at least once in the past week.

Too busy is the catch-cry of lunch-skippers - 43% said they didn't have time to go out or make themselves something to eat. A further 20% said they weren't hungry at lunchtime while another one in ten (11%) said they had too a number of personal tasks to do to fit food into their break.

The more work responsibilities people have, the more likely they are to claim they can't do lunch. More than half the respondents on annual salaries of $60,000 or more said they were simply too busy.

Only a handful of those surveyed blamed their lack of lunch on takeaways being too expensive, fattening or unavailable in their area. Nor were they worried about being perceived as slacking off at work if they take time out. One in five men who don't lunch (21%) think skipping lunch helps them lose weight compared to only 13% of women. Of the one in ten people who rarely eat lunch, more than half (55%) don't think it's important as long as they have a good dinner.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 11:11 PM CT

Drug Could Help Quit Smoking

Drug Could Help Quit Smoking
Smokers who try to quit using existing medications, such as nicotine patches or Zyban, are about twice as likely to succeed as those who don't use medicine or are prescribed placebos during clinical trials.

But despite the relative effectiveness of medications currently on the market, more than 80 per cent of quitters will be smoking again within a year, as per a review in the latest IJCP, the UK-based International Journal of Clinical Practice.

A new kind of drug has now been developed that could improve long-term quit rates, as per Dr Jonathan Foulds from the Tobacco Dependence Program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Varenicline is being evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration under a six-month priority review which began in late 2005.

"Trials carried out so far have yielded promising results, suggesting that varenicline could be a major advance in the therapy of nicotine dependence" says Dr Foulds.

"Drugs are normally earmarked for priority review by the FDA if they are felt to address health needs that are not currently being adequately met.

"What makes varenicline different to existing medicine is that it is the first therapy specifically designed to target the neurobiological mechanism of nicotine dependence."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 10:36 PM CT

Chemists Assuring Quality Of Tequila

Chemists Assuring Quality Of Tequila
Whether you're celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just having another relaxing day in Margaritaville, you might one day thank a chemist for assuring the authenticity of your tequila. New tests developed by scientists in Mexico and Germany will help distinguish the real thing from fraudulent versions, which are a potential threat as this alcoholic beverage grows in popularity.

The findings could help provide a "shot" of quality assurance to the estimated billion-dollar tequila market, the researchers say. Their study is scheduled to appear in the June 14 issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

But there's no reason for consumers to panic, the researchers say. "Tequila is one of the best regulated spirits in the world with strict Mexican standards and labeling regulations," says study leader Dirk Lachenmeier, Ph.D., a chemist with Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt Karlsruhe (Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Laboratory of Karlsruhe) in Germany. Thanks to advancements in chemistry, the quality of this ancient Mexican beverage can now be protected.

Tequila is made from the blue Agave plant and its production is limited to certain geographic areas, primarily to the state of Jalisco in West-Central Mexico. Although it is subject to strict production standards and labeling regulations, adulterated samples have occasionally been reported, the researchers say. The exact percentage of fraudulent samples on the market is unknown, they add.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 0:28 AM CT

Neighborhood Safety May Play Role In Obesity

Neighborhood Safety May Play Role In Obesity
Mothers of young children are more likely to be obese when they perceive their neighborhoods as unsafe, as per a new study in the journal Obesity.

Scientists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Mathematica Policy Research and the University of Pennsylvania analyzed perceived neighborhood safety and obesity in women with young children. Connection with one's neighbors, characterized as neighborhood cohesion, did not have a significant relation to the mother's obesity.

"The characteristics of neighborhoods can influence how and where people spend their time, and unsafe neighborhoods are often thought to contribute to the obesity epidemic by decreasing outdoor activity," said study leader Hillary Burdette, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Despite a hypothesized link between neighborhood safety and obesity, this was the first study to evaluate this association among adults."

Using data collected in 20 large U.S. cities in 15 states for the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, scientists focused on 2400 women with preschool children and found that mothers who perceived their neighborhoods to be safer had a lower body mass index (BMI) and were less likely to be obese, even after accounting for multiple measures of socioeconomic status. The percentage of mothers who were obese increased from 37 percent in the safest neighborhoods to 46 percent in the least safe neighborhoods.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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