Health Points: Tuesday
- A new program is getting NYC kids up and running. The AP is on it:
The program, which targets childhood obesity, is in more than 100 New York City schools plus 20 schools in other states and 20 in Cape Town, South Africa, where a non-governmental organization became interested.
The children earn prizes like medals and certificates each time they notch 26 miles — a marathon — and they can track their progress on personal Web pages.
The running club is best known for putting on the New York City Marathon, which draws world-class runners and hobbyists alike on the annual race through the five boroughs. But foundation Executive Director Cliff Sperber said the purpose of the Mighty Milers isn't to raise a new generation of marathoners
- According to Kevin Sack of The New York Times, school food and nutrition is improving. Check it out:
Spurred by the growing crisis in child obesity, the nation’s schools have made “considerable improvements” in nutrition, fitness and health over the last six years, according to a new government survey that found that more schools require physical education and fewer sell French fries.
The survey, which is conducted every six years, shows that more schools than six years ago offer salads and vegetables and that fewer permit bake sales. More states and school districts insist that elementary schools schedule recess and that physical education teachers have at least undergraduate training. More states have enacted policies to prohibit smoking at school and to require courses on pregnancy prevention.
Perhaps most striking, 30 percent of school districts have banned junk food from school vending machines, up from 4 percent in 2000. Schools offering fried potatoes in their cafeterias declined, to 19 percent from 40 percent.
- The FDA is thinking about putting limit-labels on salt. More from Reuters:
The November 29 meeting will consider a request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to limit salt in processed food and to require additional health information on food labels about salt and sodium content of foods, among other changes.
In 2005, the group petitioned the FDA to reclassify salt as a food additive, rather than its longtime designation as a food "generally recognized as safe."
It has cited the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure. Cutting salt intake can reduce changes of developing and curtail the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
- A new study claims calcium deficiency might be helping fuel the spread of breast cancer. David Douglas of Reuters reports:
"Calcium deficiency, due either to low calcium in the diet or to vitamin D deficiency, is very common in older women, who are also the population at highest risk of breast cancer and breast cancer bone metastases," lead researcher Dr. Colin R. Dunstan pointed out to Reuters Health. Metastasis occurs as cancer progresses and the cells spread from the primary site to attack other areas of the body.
Dunstan of the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord and colleagues conducted dietary studies in a mouse model of breast cancer growth in bone. The results are published in the journal Cancer Research.
The researchers found that after breast cancer tumor was implanted into the animals, the mice that were feed a diet containing only 0.1 percent calcium showed signs of high bone turnover compared with the animals feed a diet with a normal 0.6-percent calcium content.
- Halloween is coming and so is the landslide of candy. So, if you’re thinking about cheating a bit. Get a load of this list of the fattiest candies. ParentDish passes it along:
It's Halloween and you're watching your fat intake. However, you aren't willing to completely sacrifice the chocolately goodness of the holiday. Which of the following is the lowest fat treat to sneak from the kids loot pile?
- Butterfinger bar
- Milky Way bar
- plain M & M's
- Snickers Bar
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- Kit Kat bar
If you live in an area where shopping for organic food poses a challenge, don't throw in the all-natural kitchen towel! Many Americans in similar circumstances have found the perfect solution: community supported agriculture, or "CSA." First popular in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s, the CSA movement has -- pardon the pun -- taken root with a vengeance in the United States, where it is sometimes referred to as "subscription farming."
How, exactly, does a CSA work?
By definition, CSAs are composed of "a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- The ban on a pesticide used to kill apple moths has been lifted in California—somewhat daunting. Juliana Barbassa of the Associated Press reports:
The spraying is aimed at the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that has infested 12 California counties stretching from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fears that if the moth, which consumes 250 varieties of plants, crosses into the San Joaquin Valley, the infestation could cause up to $2.6 billion in losses.
Hundreds of residents reported feeling short of breath and sharp stomach pains after spraying began. Environmentalists quickly sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure the airborne chemical droplets were safe for residents and aquatic life.
In lifting the ban, O'Farrell found the agriculture department's health-monitoring plan adequate to address concerns of residents. The government monitoring program will "accept and investigate" medical complaints after the pesticide is sprayed, the judge wrote.
- Lack of sleep is no good for women’s tickers. Reuters reports:
British researchers found that among more than 10,000 adults who were followed for five years, women who routinely slept for six hours or less were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to develop high blood pressure.
Compared with women who said they typically got seven hours of sleep a night, those who logged in six hours were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.
There was, however, no clear relationship between amount of sleep and blood pressure among men, the study authors report in the journal Hypertension.
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