Health Points: Tuesday

According to the report of the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, overweight rates increased through adolescence from 7 to 10 percent in the Caucasian girls and from 17 to 24 percent in African American girls. Girls were 1.6 times more likely to become overweight between 9 and 12 years of age than in later adolescence.
She said she’d skip the wine but would take the cheese. Then she grabbed a handful of cheese cubes off the food platter and stuffed them into her mouth. After she swallowed, she looked at me, smiled, and said she wanted to die if she couldn't eat what she wanted. I called the doctor and my patient was treated for a sharp rise in her blood pressure.
The problem was the letter Karlind discovered, tucked inside her report card, saying that she had a body mass index in the 80th percentile. The first grader did not know what “index” or “percentile” meant, or that children scoring in the 5th through 85th percentiles are considered normal, while those scoring higher are at risk of being or already overweight.
My best advice is to keep the food that you want on hand and keep the types you don't out of the house. Start your children with healthy eating habits as soon as possible. Read labels and make informed choices.
The effects of the green-tea drinks go beyond those of caffeine-laden zero-calorie sodas, the manufacturers of Celsius and Enviga say. An antioxidant found in green tea — epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG — significantly increases metabolism, they say, which boosts the body's ability to burn fat.
Soft drink consumption:
  • All Americans: 6.4% of total caloric intake.
  • Teenage boys: 10%
  • Teenage girls: 9%
  • Will an online fitness tracker help people get people exercising? The American Heart Association sure hopes so. More from Jamie Stengle of the Associated Press:
The group hopes its new free Start! program will inspire Americans to follow through on those resolutions to get in shape. With its online fitness and nutrition tracker, participants can enter what they eat each day and how much exercise they get, then get a summary of calories in and calories out.
  • Ever heard of the Swine Flu? Sounds like something you order at a bar. Aetiology enlightens us:
The main swine viruses circulating are of serotypes H1N1, H3N2, and H1N2. (The news report doesn't identify the serotype this person was infected with). Some of these viruses are combinations of human, swine, and avian influenza viruses, and swine have previously been implicated in the generation of pandemic influenza viruses due to their ability to serve as a "mixing vessel" for avian and human-type influenza viruses. And since they're so closely related to humans (well, much more closely related than, say, birds, anyway), there is concern that a swine virus (or an avian virus that becomes adapted to mammals by infecting a pig) could enter the human population and wreak havoc. So, in a nutshell, that's one reason why we're so interested in swine influenza, even though "bird flu" has recently been so dominant in the news. And though this news report shows a fairly simple scenario so far, it raises a lot of unanswered questions.

Food Face-Off

What does 200 calories of food look like? Actually, that’s kind of a trick question because it depends on the food. According to Dr. Fuhrman small amounts of some foods like meat and diary are more calorie-dense than larger amounts of fruits and vegetables. Check out the chart in Foods That Make You Thin for more

Of course, if you prefer pictures, take a look at what’s going on over at WiseGeek. You’ll see that the portion size of 200 calories worth of celery, baby carrots, or broccoli, dwarf what you get from 200 calories of canola oil, uncooked pasta, or cheddar cheese. Gee, I wonder, which foods help you lose weight? Now that’s not a trick question!
WiseGeek: What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

Thursday Health Points: What's in the Papers?

The idea of preventing Alzheimer's and other forms of mental decline is immensely attractive -- and there is some early evidence that this may be possible. Recent research, including an article published two weeks ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that boosting mental skills with simple exercises can help slow the rate of decline as people age.
Dr. Lleras-Muney and others point to one plausible explanation — as a group, less educated people are less able to plan for the future and to delay gratification. If true, that may, for example, explain the differences in smoking rates between more educated people and less educated ones.

Smokers are at least twice as likely to die at any age as people who never smoked, says Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania. And not only are poorly educated people more likely to smoke but, he says, “everybody knows that smoking can be deadly,” and that includes the poorly educated.
In January 2006, a group of residents concerned about the town's health started a free program called "Get Lost in Jackson." Over the next year, participants checked in at monthly weigh-ins; attended classes on fitness, nutrition and health; and began exercising.
“In 19th Century China, being heavy was a sign of great wealth and success, both for men and for women. So this is really a change in the sense that . . . China has been a very poor country, and people are just very, very thin. Now, of course, China is doing very well, and many people have a very reasonable lifestyle and are not suffering at all, but it's not just something the eye is accustomed to seeing and the cultural norm is just that smaller is better.”
The legislation is part of a handful of sweeping bills that Kennedy and others will seek to pass as Democrats begin running Congress. Republicans like Tom DeLay , the former House majority leader who helped to thwart tobacco regulation, are no longer in office.
Low dietary calcium and vitamin D: Milk and other dairy products can provide a major source of bone-building calcium to most diets. Leafy green vegetables and soybeans are also high in calcium.
While some pundits rank radical feminism among the top threats to American manhood, James Rutz says we should shift some blame to tofu.

That's because tofu is made of soy. And soy consumption, writes the Megashift Ministries founder and religion columnist for conservative news site WorldNetDaily.com, "commonly leads to decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality."
Red tomatoes contain lycopene, which not only is good for your heart but also fights cancer and could boost prostate-gland health too.

Blue and purple fruits such as blackberries, black currants and plums promote urinary-tract health and memory function and could thwart the development of cancer. Cranberries have been shown to increase HDL, or good cholesterol, and they act as powerful antioxidants
Losing weight because you want to look good is an extrinsic motivation and one that usually won't take you very far. "Aesthetics can't drive it hard enough, like wanting to fit into your skinny jeans," Dixie Douville, a certified fitness trainer and co-founder of Active Weigh Health and Weight Loss Coaching in Flanders said. "The biggest reason it doesn't work is, a lot of people are unreasonable with the goals they set."

Weight-Loss Articles Cause Eating Disorders!

How’s that for sensationalism? Not good enough? Try these on for size: "Get the body you want" and "Hit your dream weight now!” Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press reports headlines like those might actually influence unhealthy dieting behavior in young girls later in life. This according to a new study:
Teenage girls who frequently read magazine articles about dieting were more likely five years later to practice extreme weight-loss measures such as vomiting than girls who never read such articles, the University of Minnesota study found.


It didn't seem to matter whether the girls were overweight when they started reading about weight loss, nor whether they considered their weight important. After taking those factors into account, researchers still found reading articles about dieting predicted later unhealthy weight loss behavior.

Health Points: Tuesday

This year, farmers planted about three-quarters of a million acres of low-linolenic soybeans, about a third to a half of what is needed to meet the demand, said Steven W. Poole, a spokesman for Qualisoy, an association that researches and promotes soybeans with enhanced traits.
Ultimately, Mr. Poole anticipates that as many as five million acres of low-linolenic soybeans could be planted in the United States as more partially hydrogenated oils are replaced.
I've always liked fresh corn and peas. Each brightly colored, with a crisp sweetness, and both best when cooked very gently. Sit those kernels on a plate, they make a nice visual statement as well. Slopped between loops of intestine, stuck above the liver, soiling the hidden spaces around the pancreas and duodenum, filling the pelvis, some of the sensual pleasure of what may have been a nice meal gets lost, and dealing with it puts me off the feed for a while. Doesn't smell all that great, either. If it's embarrassing to get a drop of soup on your tie, imagine how it'd feel to see your omentum harboring a whole salad. Hanging down from the transverse colon like a wet apron, it can hide lots of cranberries in its crannies; getting them loose requires individual plucking, and can take a while. The upside is that a person with a perforated ulcer is generally in a lot of pain, and sewing up the hole, cleaning out the food, and copiously irrigating away the acids means s/he is likely to wake up with a smile. I can put up with a little personal unpleasantness when it produces results like that.
One 45-year-old professional writer -- who asked not to be named in order to speak more candidly -- described how she lost nearly 100 pounds over three years after doing some heavy soul-searching. "I had to think, 'Why do I do things that aren't so healthy?' and think about what motivates me, not only to be healthy but also what motivates one to not be healthy. What was I getting out of that?"

It is when people fail to develop healthy coping mechanisms that they fall back on bad habits such as smoking, according to John Banzhaf, George Washington University law professor and executive director of the District-based anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health. "And then a cigarette is no longer enough, so you go to alcohol. And on and on."
At times like this, you need beauty. Doesn't matter if it's a sunset or Body Worlds or a good bottle of wine; you need beauty.


And getting next to it can be enough. Getting to hear fetal heart tones coming from the belly of a woman who's had successful emergency surgery can be enough. Seeing one person walk that you never thought would is enough. Having a patient who's well enough to eat the food his family brought in for Eid ul-Adha is enough.
New guidelines from the industry are due in April on how to prevent contamination throughout the food chain, from before greens are planted until they reach the dinner table.


Members of Congress are asking federal agencies to report on what went wrong and how to fix the problem. Some lawmakers want to replace the patchwork system of federal food regulation with a single agency in charge of what people eat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that one in three children born in the U.S. five years ago is expected to become diabetic in their lifetime. The number of diabetics has grown by 80% in the past decade.
As 2007 dawns, there are no wildly popular weight loss fads sweeping the country on the scale of Atkins or South Beach a few years ago, or, to a lesser extent, the Sonoma and Shangri-la diets of last year.
Bah! You're hardly meat. But you are quite popular, and people aspire to taste like you. You're probably quite skinny and free of vices. Except letting people eat your eggs.