Thursday: Health Points
- Great news! Burger King plans to sell apple slices that look like French fries. The Associated Press is all over this stroke of marketing genius. Take a look:
Burger King Holdings Inc., the world's second largest hamburger chain, said it has set nutritional guidelines to follow when targeting children under 12 in advertising, including limiting ads to Kids Meals that contain no more than 560 calories, less than 30 percent of calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.
In that vein, Burger King is building a Kids Meal that will contain the flame-broiled Tenders, organic unsweetened applesauce and low-fat milk, for a total of 305 calories and 8.5 grams of fat. It will be available in restaurants sometime in 2008, the company said.
The fast-food chain is also developing what it calls BK Fresh Apple Fries. The red apples are cut to resemble french fries and are served in the same containers as fries, but they are not fried and are served skinless and cold.
- Maybe gas is so expensive, that people can’t afford food. Reuters reports that higher gas prices seem to be having a slimming effect on Americans. Here:
The report, written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics, found that the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices.
Gasoline hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000 before moving back to a record high of $3.22 in May 2007.
Higher gasoline prices can reduce obesity by leading people to walk or cycle instead of drive and eat leaner at home instead of rich food at restaurants.
- The suits over at GlaxoSmithKline must be in a panic because a new study casts more doubt on the diabetes drug Avandia. Gardiner Harris of The New York Times reports:
One study found that Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, doubled the risks of heart failure and raised the risks of heart attack by 42 percent. A second study found that Actos, a similar drug made by Takeda, actually lowered the risks of heart attacks, strokes and death but, like Avandia, also raised risks of heart failure.
Taken together, some of the authors said, the two studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association confirm what doctors and patients using Avandia have already done in great numbers, that is, switch to another drug. Sales of Avandia have plunged.
GlaxoSmithKline said in a written statement that the studies were flawed and “offered no new information on the safety of Avandia.” The company “continues to support Avandia as safe and effective when used appropriately,” the statement said.
- Money talks and fat walks. Australian doctors believe overweight people should be paid to attend weight-loss programs. More from the AFP:
Obesity has more than doubled in Australia in the last 20 years and is placing an uncomfortable strain not only on waistlines but on health services, the Australian General Practice Network said.
To combat the spiralling problem, it wants the government to give the overweight a 170 dollar (141 dollar US) subsidy to do something about their expanding physique.
The network, which represents general practitioners, said effective weight-loss programmes were often too expensive, particularly for those with modest incomes.
- According to The Los Angeles Times, L.A. officials are considering an outright ban on fast food restaurants. Tami Abdollah has more:
Amid worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Los Angeles officials, among others around the country, are proposing to limit new fast-food restaurants -- a tactic that could be called health zoning.
The City Council will be asked this fall to consider an up to two-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A., a part of the city where fast food is at least as much a practicality as a preference.
"The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.
- Kids with high blood pressure? Yeah, it’s actually a growing problem. Rob Stein of The Washington Post examines:
"This is a major public-health problem," said Rebecca Din-Dzietham of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, who led the study, which will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. "Unless this upward trend in high blood pressure is reversed, we could be facing an explosion of new cardiovascular-disease cases in young adults and adults."
With an adult form of diabetes already being diagnosed more frequently in children and more young people developing high cholesterol, the new finding is another indication that the obesity epidemic is spawning a generation at heightened risk for illnesses that struck their parents and grandparents only later in life, experts said.
"This is very worrisome," said Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "This is another piece of evidence suggesting that the obesity epidemic will likely turn into a heart-disease epidemic."
- The Diabetes Blog asks another very good question, should you diabetics seek a doctor or a dietician? Here’s a snippet:
A gaping hole exists between conventional medicine and diet. Conventional medicine claims that the cause of Type 2 diabetes is unknown. Medical doctors, as practitioners of conventional medicine, are not trained to explain how it happened. They treat symptoms with medicine. The business of medicine is medicine. The business of diabetes would be devasted if the cure was as simple as diet. The explanation Thomas Smith provides in his empirical studies is fascinating and I encourage anybody with competing or supporting evidence to open the debate.
- Apparently all those ladies in the gym are doing it more for health, than looks—go figure! Jack Kelly of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
"Women who have this disorder usually are interested in exercise to improve their appearance, but an instructor who emphasizes physique during a workout may deter such students from coming back," said Brian Focht, assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State, and a co-author of the study.
The study, which was published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, indicated women in the study reported that they enjoyed a step aerobics class more when the instructor focused on how the workout was making them more fit.
Even though most of the women studied took the class primarily because they were concerned about their body image, they enjoyed the class less and were less likely to take another if the instructor emphasized how a particular exercise would tone their legs, slim their waists, or otherwise improve their appearance, the researchers found.
- This is a big oops. Apparently many physicians in training can’t properly interpret the statistics in medical literature. The Cancer Blog is all over it:
A new study from Yale shows that 75 percent of physicians in training surveyed do not understand the statistics used in medical literature. The study surveyed internal medicine residents at 11 programs across the country.
The residents scored an average of 41% correct on the test and the senior residents scored worse than the junior residents, possibly reflecting a loss of knowledge over time.
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