Friday, October 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Dipping Helps Kids Eat More Veggies

/PRNewswire/ -- This week at the Obesity Society 27th Annual Meeting, new data was presented showing that adolescents deemed "vegetable resistant," who don't eat vegetables at all, significantly increased both the amount and variety of vegetables they ate when they were served with one of America's favorite foods -- peanut butter. Raw carrots, celery, and broccoli were provided either with or without peanut butter for dipping and those not provided peanut butter, did not improve vegetable intake.

"We measured what they ate and were excited to see that even those who reported not eating vegetables, who are the most challenging group, ate a greater variety of vegetables with the peanut butter," said Dr. Craig Johnston, Instructor at the Behavioral Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, at the USDA-ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas who conducted the study.

Vegetable intake has been shown to be beneficial against the development of many chronic diseases, but consumption in adolescents is well below recommended levels and strategies to increase intake in adolescents are limited.

Peanut butter was paired with vegetables in this study, because it is a nutrient-rich comfort food loved by kids and adults alike. In fact, it was well received and readily consumed by the students in this study all of whom are Mexican-American.

The adolescents are part of a treatment group in a successful weight loss program in schools that is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). Though some believe peanut butter would be associated with increased energy intake, the study has demonstrated significant weight loss that is maintained over time.

In the United States, over two-thirds of the nuts eaten are peanuts and peanut butter. Peanut butter provides over 15 key nutrients and is offered in Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) packages because of its protein, nutrient content, and affordability. Numerous studies have also shown that peanuts and peanut butter reduce the risk of chronic disease when eaten in small amounts daily and that they can help in weight management and keeping you satisfied.

Pairing vegetables with peanut butter is an effective, simple strategy for children and adolescents, which helps build positive eating habits and increases vegetable intake. Eating more vegetables with increased variety, by providing them with healthy, nutrient-rich foods like peanut butter may contribute to healthier lifestyles and chronic disease reduction.

The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles. Learn more about peanuts and health at www.peanut-institute.org

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Osteoporosis: What You Need To Know

(NAPSI)-For decades, mothers have told their children to "Finish your milk. It helps build strong, healthy bones." We should listen up, because moms know what they're talking about-that it's important to get an early start on developing healthy bones.

Although it's natural for bone density to decrease over time, millions of Americans suffer from a severe form of bone loss known as osteoporosis. The disease, which literally means "porous bones" in Latin, weakens bone mass and makes individuals more susceptible to fractures during a fall or accident.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), around 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, 8 million of whom are women. And another 27.2 million women are estimated to have low enough bone mass to be "at risk" for the disease. Osteoporosis primarily afflicts women after menopause and some elderly men as well. The good news: It's preventable through diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

For those 10 million Americans who already live with osteoporosis, experts stress the importance of adhering to doctor-prescribed medications to help manage the disease. According to recent data released by CVS Caremark, women with osteoporosis between the ages of 18 and 64 who were not on therapy were 5.7 times more likely to experience a fracture. The research indicates that individuals who take and remain adherent to approved osteoporosis therapies are better able to maintain their mobility and quality of life while avoiding costly fractures.

Those living with osteoporosis can also help slow bone loss by making the following lifestyle changes:

• Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. For calcium, consume green leafy vegetables and dairy products. For vitamin D, experts recommend eating fortified products (e.g., cereal and milk) or foods naturally loaded with vitamin D, including salmon and eggs.

• Take a walk in the sun! Sunshine provides natural vitamin D, so try to soak in at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight a day. The goal is to get direct sunlight to the arms and face at least three times a day.

• Exercise. Weight-bearing exercise such as running, walking and dancing is proven to slightly increase bone density and also increase your strength and balance to avoid falls.

• Cut out bad habits. Don't smoke and keep alcohol intake to a minimum. Both have been associated with osteoporosis.

Finding Help

For more information about osteoporosis, visit the NOF Web site (www.nof.org) and also the Health Resources section of the CVS Caremark Web site at www.caremark.com.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cranberries Provide Eight-Hour Health Protection

/PRNewswire/ -- For those who think cranberries are nothing more than a turkey side dish, new research revealed this week confirms that the crimson berry may be small, but its health benefits are large. Leading scientists from throughout the country and abroad convened today in Savannah, GA, for the Fourth Cranberry Institute Health Research Conference to review the latest findings on the potential health benefits of cranberries, including studies that reveal an eight-hour protection against certain harmful bacteria and significant improvements in biomarkers for many chronic diseases.

More than 30 nutrition scientists from leading research institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a variety of prestigious universities, presented new findings about the cranberry's antibacterial and anti-adhesion properties, as well as promising new areas of research in anti-aging, anti-cancer and protection against cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

"New studies are continually finding how unique cranberries are, and that their potential health benefits are impressive," said Jere Downing, executive director, Cranberry Institute, the nonprofit organization dedicated to cranberry health research. There seems to be no denying that cranberries are antioxidant-rich and deliver unique proanthocyanidins (PACs) that are responsible for cranberries' beneficial anti-adhesion properties.

Cranberry Juice Cocktail Offers Eight-Hour Urinary Tract Protection

Cranberries may offer help to more than 11 million American women each year who contract urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs cost some $1.6 billion in healthcare and the only known treatment is antibiotic therapy, which increasingly contributes to creating bacterial resistant strains of pathogens.

Cranberry PACs have been shown to protect against P-fimbriated Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is thought to be responsible for as much as 95% of urinary tract infections, and other strains of E. coli bacteria through anti-adhesion properties, so that pathogenic bacteria are unable to adhere to our cells, multiply and cause an infection. New research presented by Amy Howell, Ph.D., associate research scientist at Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension, examined the anti-adhesion effects of 16 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail (CJC) versus water on subject urine samples exposed to E. coli bacteria. The researchers, including lead researcher Terri A. Camesano, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, reported that CJC provided protection against the pathogen for up to eight-hours.

"The potential for cranberry juice cocktail to help prevent urinary tract infections is significant, especially since we know that the berry's unique proanthocyanidins offer at least an eight-hour anti-adhesion benefit," said Howell. "Based on this and other studies, we recommend that drinking cranberry juice twice daily can help maintain a healthy urinary tract," she added.

Pathogen Protector

The same anti-adhesion benefits studied in urinary tract health are now being identified in other areas of the body, such as the oral cavity, stomach and small intestine. Studies at the conference identified that cranberry PACs help prevent oral bacteria from adhering to tooth and denture surfaces, thereby helping to protect against gum disease and cavities. In addition, researchers from the University of Maine conducted trials to determine if cranberry PACs can help protect against E. coli 0157:H7, the strain responsible for serious--and even life-threatening--cases of foodborne illnesses.

While more studies are needed, the preliminary studies suggest that cranberry PACs may play a role in oral health, gastrointestinal health and protection against bacterial, fungal and even viral illnesses.

Heart Health

Emerging research suggests that cranberries may also play a role in cardiovascular health. A University of Scranton study presented one way in which the cranberry provides cardioprotection. In the study, animals fed a high-fat diet with two doses of cranberry juice cocktail (CJC) daily had significantly decreased atherosclerotic development, compared to animals fed a high-fat diet without CJC. The mechanism of the effect of CJC on atherosclerosis is currently under examination, but is thought to be from the potent antioxidant capacity of the berries.

Anti-Cancer

Numerous ongoing and recently completed studies are evaluating the role cranberries may have in preventing certain cancers. Preliminary in vitro studies conducted at the University of Massachusetts found that compounds in cranberries limit the proliferation of human breast, colon and prostate tumor cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario presented research showing that cranberry extracts impaired the growth of eight different human cancer cell lines.

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Fall Back into Bed and Catch Up On Sleep

/24-7/ -- On November 1st, standard time will take effect. While many people may use the extra hour to watch TV, surf the Internet, stay out late, or catch up on chores, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) advises everyone to use the extra hour to pay off sleep debt.

Sleeping less than 7-8 hours a night impairs alertness and is associated with increased obesity, morbidity and mortality. Despite this fact, up to 40 percent of Americans sleep for less than the recommended time per night. Lifestyle choices, personal obligations and occupational demands all can produce sleep deprivation. Another cause can be an ongoing sleep disorder or medical condition that disturbs sleep.

According to research presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, watching television seemed to be the most important time cue for the beginning of the sleep period, rather than hours past sunset or biological factors. So, in fact, TV may make people stay up late, while alarm clocks make them get up early, potentially reducing sleep time below what is physiologically needed.

According to the researchers, Mathias Basner, MD, MS, MSc, and David F. Dinges, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, "Given the relationship of short sleep duration to health risks, there is concern that many Americans are chronically under-sleeping due to lifestyle choices," said Dinges. Dr. Basner added that "According to our results, watching less television in the evening and postponing work start time in the morning appear to be the candidate behavioral changes for achieving additional sleep and reducing chronic sleep debt. While the timing of work may not be flexible, giving up some TV viewing in the evening should be possible to promote adequate sleep."

The primary symptom of sleep deprivation is daytime sleepiness, which can be overcome temporarily by an increase in concentration and effort, or with the help of a stimulant such as caffeine. The effects of ongoing sleep deprivation are much stronger, however, and can make sleep impossible to resist. Sleep deprivation poses numerous health risks, including high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and obesity. It also can lead to drowsy driving, which is associated with almost 20 percent of all serious car-crash injuries.

"Adequate quantity and quality of sleep is crucial for maximum daytime performance," said American Academy of Sleep Medicine spokesperson William Kohler, MD, medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, Fla. "Activities that interfere with the ability to get that sleep (such as cell phone use, television watching, exciting activities and consuming caffeine) need to be avoided prior to bedtime."

Because the upcoming time change occurs in the middle of the night, sleep cycles can be disturbed. The AASM offers some guidelines for better sleep:

•On the night of the time change, turn your clocks back one hour.
•Do not nap during the day. If you must snooze, limit the time to less than one hour and no later than 3 p.m.
•Maintain a regular wake-up time, even on weekends.
•Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, heavy meals, and exercising a few hours before bedtime.
•Stick to rituals that help you relax each night before bed. This can include such things as a warm bath, a light snack or a few minutes of reading.
•Don't take your worries to bed. Bedtime is a time to relax, not to hash out the stresses of the day.
•If you can't fall asleep, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity. Return to bed only when you are tired.
•Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and a little cool.

The AASM encourages people to discuss any sleep-related problems with a board certified sleep specialist at an accredited Sleep Center. Find a sleep center at http://www.sleepcenters.org/.

AASM is a professional membership organization dedicated to the advancement of sleep medicine and sleep-related research. As the national accrediting body for sleep disorders centers and laboratories for sleep related breathing disorders, the AASM promotes the highest standards of patient care. The organization serves its members and advances the field of sleep health care by setting the clinical standards for the field of sleep medicine, advocating for recognition, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, educating professionals dedicated to providing optimal sleep health care and fostering the development and application of scientific knowledge.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to face food fears during the holidays

(ARA) - When the holidays turn into something to get through rather than something to celebrate, something is wrong. Holidays are supposed to be happy times, so why do so many people get depressed, frustrated and stressed out?

Carolyn Costin, eating disorder therapist and director of Monte Nido Treatment Center, knows all too well how problematic holidays can be. She has spent years helping her clients gear up for the holiday season by helping them rethink and reframe the way they perceive and handle this time of year.

Most people face food issues during the holidays, but for those who struggle with eating disorders, the holidays add additional anxiety and pressure to an already dysfunctional relationship with food. Costin says she goes over the following tips with her eating disorder clients to make the holidays not only less overwhelming, but even fun. These same tips are useful for anyone who wants to make the holiday experience the best it can be.

Tip 1: Don't focus on the food

Make a list of all the other things that you can pay attention to at holiday parties or family gatherings such as seeing old friends, singing together, playing games, decorating things and making gifts.

Tip 2: Put things in perspective

Remember that holiday parties, and holiday gatherings in general, are really just a short period of time. There is an end in sight. Besides, even if you feel like you make mistakes, overeat or don’t handle things well, you can use these incidents as lessons to learn from.

Tip 3: Balance is the key

* There are no “bad” foods, just bad eating habits.

* Don't deny yourself, but don’t ignore body signals such as fullness.

* Don't be on or off a diet. Instead be on a healthy, balanced overall eating plan.

* Bake with your kids or friends and bring the goodies to homeless shelters or others in need.

Tip 4: Plan ahead

* If you are going to attend a party, plan your food accordingly. If you know it will be a problem, for example, you might be able to skip your afternoon snack and have dessert at the party instead. If you are in treatment for an eating disorder, be sure to check this out with your dietitian or therapist.

* Plan special time for yourself to "get away" from the holiday stress. Get a manicure, go to the park, take a bubble bath.

Tip 5: Be on the offense, not the defense

* If your relatives are coming to you, take control and be responsible for the food and activities.

* Have plenty of things to do to take your mind off of food – trimming the tree, movies, walks, holiday shopping, and time at the beach.

* If you have a problem with a relative but have to see them over the holidays, take responsibility for making it better/livable – write a letter or take the person aside and talk.

* Create your own image of family gatherings. Know what is realistic for you and your loved ones.

* Let the people you love know what a gift they are to you already.

* Don't see anything as an obligation, do things differently.

* Instead of going commercial, make your own cards. This is much easier with computers and printers these days. Or get out your old, or your child’s, colored pencils or crayons or watercolors and really “make” your own.

* Spend time spreading goodwill and showering people with love.

* Know that peace on earth starts with you and how you handle your relationships.

These rules won’t ensure that there will be no problems or that your holidays will be exactly as you would like, but they can help things be more enjoyable and less stressful. It’s important to figure out what works for you and to remember that you have a part in making the holidays all that they can and are supposed to be.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Teenagers Difficult to 'Capture' for Vaccinations; Rates on Rise Overall, But Still Low

/PRNewswire/ -- More teenagers are being vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal meningitis and pertussis (whooping cough), though the rates are still too low, according to recently released government data and a panel of experts convened by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). Now, in addition to urging routine HPV vaccination for girls, providers can educate adolescent boys, young men - and their parents - about HPV and its potential consequences, and offer vaccination to boys as well. Last week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted for a 'permissive' HPV vaccination strategy for boys.

In taking the vote, the Advisory Committee considered research specific to the impact of genital warts in males and whether vaccination in males would be unnecessary if females were vaccinated at high rates. Presently, only about 40 percent of teenage girls receive the first dose of HPV vaccine with fewer than 20 percent receiving the complete three-dose series. Committee members could not consider research about HPV-related cancers in males in their deliberations, though that may leave the door open to revisit or even expand the recommendation to prevent cancer in the future.

"Voting for a permissive HPV vaccination strategy in boys puts the choice squarely in the hands of the parents and puts the onus for educating boys and their parents about HPV squarely on the health care providers' shoulders," said William Schaffner, M.D., president-elect of NFID. "It is a good way to get the conversation going about human papillomavirus in boys, but if current rates are any indication, this strategy will not make a big dent in vaccination coverage."

Even for those vaccinations that are routinely recommended, rates do not yet reach target rates set forth in 2000 for the year 2010. "Adolescents are less likely to have regular wellness visits," according to Amy B. Middleman, M.D., M.P.H, MsEd, Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Immunization at Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research and Liaison Representative to the ACIP for the Society for Adolescent Medicine. "They're a challenging group to reach, with increasingly busy lives; their health needs are uniquely different from those of infants and adults. We need to address this challenge and develop immunization delivery strategies that make sense for this specific age group. Our youth deserve to move into adulthood with every health advantage we can give them and immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases is a big step toward that goal."

Another obstacle to vaccination is that parents and providers don't make vaccination a priority during adolescence. While infants and toddlers regularly have wellness visits where they are weighed, measured and inoculated, adolescents are more likely to see a health care provider only when they're ill, and vaccinations are not likely to be offered during these sick visits. Sports physicals are a good opportunity to capture this age group, but that leaves out a large contingent of teens. Regular wellness visits including vaccinations are recommended for all adolescents at 11-12 years of age.

Vaccination Rates Demonstrate Need for Improvement; Surprising Disparities in Coverage

Overall, vaccine coverage rates for the nation's preteens and teens are increasing, but they remain low. The CDC's National Immunization Survey (NIS) Teen survey estimates the proportion of teens aged 13 through 17 years who have received six recommended vaccines by the time they are surveyed. Three of these are recommended to be given at age 11-12: meningococcal vaccine, tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap), and, for girls, HPV vaccine. The survey also covers three other vaccines recommended to be given at an earlier age: measles- mumps-rubella (MMR), hepatitis B and varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Influenza vaccine is also recommended every year for all adolescents up to age 18, but vaccination rates for influenza are not measured yet by the NIS-Teen survey.

The survey results reveal some ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. Hispanic females were more likely than Blacks and Whites to start the vaccination series against HPV, but less likely to complete the recommended three-dose series. Overall, Hispanics were also more likely than Blacks and Whites to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease, hepatitis B, varicella and Tdap. In another surprising finding, teens living below poverty were more likely than those living at or above poverty to start the HPV series. Teens living at or above the poverty level had the highest vaccination rates for MMR and the lowest rates for HPV.

Key findings--racial and ethnic disparities:

-- Hispanic females were more likely than Blacks and Whites to start the
HPV vaccination series (44.4 percent), but less likely to complete the
recommended three-dose series (14.7 percent).
-- Fewer White females than Hispanics started the HPV vaccination series
(35.0 percent), but more completed the three-dose series (19.5
percent).
-- Hispanic teens were also more likely than Black and White teens to be
vaccinated against meningococcal disease. Hispanics (46.8 percent);
Blacks (43.1 percent), Whites (39.7 percent).

Key findings--poverty level:

-- Teens living below poverty level are more likely to start the HPV
vaccination series (46.4 percent) than those living at or above the
poverty level (35.8 percent).

-- For all other diseases, teens living at or above the poverty level are
more likely than those living below to be vaccinated against MMR (89.6
percent vs. 87.1 percent), hepatitis B (88 percent vs. 86.7 percent),
varicella (82.9 percent vs. 77 percent), tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis
(41.2 percent vs. 38.6 percent) and meningococcal disease (42 percent
vs. 40.8 percent).

The complete NIS Survey, including state-by-state vaccination rates, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/stats-surv/nis/nis-2008-released.htm.

"It's great to report that we're doing better at reaching Hispanic females and those living below the poverty level about the threat of the human papillomavirus, but we need to do more to increase the rate of those actually completing the three-dose schedule," said Lance E. Rodewald, MD, Director, Immunization Services Division; National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

The High Price Of Smoking

(NAPSI)-If you or someone you know is a smoker, you may have noticed that the cost of cigarettes continues to rise. The national tax on cigarettes is currently over a dollar a pack.

Most smokers have heard many of the health reasons to quit. After all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. Many people, however, may not have thought about the harm smoking does to their wallets.

The cost of cigarettes varies, but a person who smokes a pack a day can expect to save at least $1,600 a year by quitting. The more you smoke, the more money you would save by quitting. By not buying cigarettes, a former pack-a-day smoker could buy:

• A portable DVD player in just two months (worth over $250)

• A flat-screen TV in only six months (worth $750)

• A four-day cruise for two in one year (worth over $1,500).

No matter what your reason is for wanting to quit smoking, how-ever, doing so can be hard. Seventy percent of smokers say they want to quit, according to the CDC, but only 3 to 5 percent who try to quit without treatment remain smoke-free for up to one year, a study published in the medical journal Addiction reports.

"If you're thinking about quitting smoking, a great first step is to talk to your health care provider. There are options that can help you quit and give you support to stay smoke-free," said Carol Southard, RN, MSN, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill. "Saving money is a good reason to quit, but above all, you'd be making a huge difference in your health."

No matter how old you are or how long you've smoked, there are immediate and long-term benefits to quitting:

• Within 24 hours, blood pressure and heart rate may drop.

• In two to 12 weeks, circulation and lung function may improve.

• After one year, excess risk of heart disease drops to half that of a smoker.

• After 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is half that of a continuing smoker.

To learn more, visit www.mytimetoquit.com. This information is courtesy of Pfizer Inc.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obese Women Who Gain More Than 15 Pounds in Pregnancy Retain Nearly Half the Weight a Year Later

/PRNewswire/ -- Obese women who gain more than the recommended amount during pregnancy are much more likely to retain a portion of that weight one year after they give birth, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

This is the largest U.S. study to examine the relationship between excessive weight gain during pregnancy and weight retention specifically in pregnant women who are obese. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study of 1,656 obese women found that most of them gained too much weight during pregnancy, then, on average, kept on 40 percent of the weight one year after they gave birth.

"We found that nearly three quarters of obese women gain too much weight during pregnancy--and the more weight they gain, the harder it is to lose," said study lead author Kim Vesco, MD, MPH, a practicing OB/GYN and an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "This extra weight also increases the risk of pregnancy and delivery complications like diabetes, preeclampsia, bigger babies, C-sections, and birthing injuries." Vesco is also leading a new study to help obese women maintain their weight during pregnancy. (See related release on the "Healthy Moms" study.)

This study defined excess weight as more than 15 pounds, which until recently was the minimum amount of weight gain recommended for obese pregnant women by the Institute of Medicine. In May of 2009, the IOM set an upper limit for weight gain in obese pregnant women, suggesting they gain between 11-20 pounds.

This study found that, on average, women retained 40 percent of the weight they gained during pregnancy one year after delivery. So if a woman gained 15 pounds during pregnancy, she could be expected to retain 6 of those pounds at one year; if she gained 30 pounds, she would retain 12 pounds.

The study included 1,656 Oregon and Washington women enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente health plan whose body mass index was 30 or higher at the start of their pregnancies, and who gave birth between January 2000 and December 2005. To be included in the study, women had to have three key weight measurements recorded in their medical records: a starting weight between six months prior to conception and 12 weeks after conception; a delivery weight within two weeks after giving birth; and a follow-up weight 8-18 months after delivery.

The study looked at pregnancy weight gain and weight retained one year after delivery. Compared to women who gained less than the recommended 15 pounds, women who gained 15-25 pounds were twice as likely to retain 10 excess pounds; women who gained more than 35 pounds were nearly eight times more likely to retain at least 10 pounds. The study also found that younger women and first-time mothers were most likely to gain too much weight.

"We need to do a better job of helping obese women control weight gain during their pregnancies. Once the baby is born, it's much harder to change eating habits and start an exercise program," said Victor Stevens, Ph.D., co-author and senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "If we can prevent the weight gain in the first place, moms and babies will be healthier in the long run."

Authors of the study from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., include Kimberly Vesco, MD, MPH; Joanne Rizzo, MPA; Victor J. Stevens, PhD; Nancy Perrin, PhD; Donald J. Bachman, MS; and Mark Hornbrook, PhD. Authors of the study from the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga., include Patricia M. Dietz, DrPH, MPH; William M. Callaghan, MD, MPH; and Carol Bruce, BSN, MPH.

Tips for Controlling Excess Weight Gain During Pregnancy

-- Every day eat 8-12 fruit and vegetable servings, 3 servings of low-fat
dairy, 5-9 ounces of protein-rich foods, 6-10 servings of whole
grains, and 3-7 teaspoons of healthy fat (e.g., olive or canola oil,
nuts).
-- Eat regular meals and small healthy snacks between meals.
-- Reduce fat to less than 30 percent of calories.
-- Reduce consumption of sweets and sweetened drinks.
-- Keep a food diary to check for nutritional adequacy and portion
management.
-- Eat only 100-300 extra calories per day beyond what your calorie needs
were before you became pregnant.
-- Exercise 30 minutes on most days. If you aren't exercising, talk to
your provider about how to start an exercise program.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

American Cancer Society Stands by its Screening Guidelines; Women Encouraged to Continue Getting Mammograms

/PRNewswire/ -- "Today's New York Times article 'In Shift, Cancer Society Has Concerns on Screening' indicates that the American Cancer Society is changing its guidance on cancer screening to emphasize the risk of overtreatment from screening for breast, prostate, and other cancers.

"While the advantages of screening for some cancers have been overstated, there are advantages, especially in the case of breast, colon and cervical cancers. Mammography is effective - mammograms work and women should continue get them. Seven clinical trials tell us that screening with mammography and clinical breast exam do reduce risk of breast cancer death. This test is beneficial in that it saves lives, but it is not perfect. It can miss cancers that need treatment, and in some cases finds disease that does not need treatment. Understanding these limitations will help researchers develop better screening tests. The American Cancer Society stands by its recommendation that women age 40 and over should receive annual mammography, and women at high risk should talk with their doctors about when screening should begin based on their family history.

"The bottom line is that mammography has helped avert deaths from breast cancer, and we can make more progress against the disease if more women age 40 and older get an annual mammogram.

"Since 1997 the American Cancer Society has recommended that men talk to their doctor and make an informed decision about whether or not prostate cancer early detection testing is right for them. This recommendation also still stands.

"Cancer is a very complex and complicated disease. The American Cancer Society makes evidence-based cancer screening recommendations, and strives to provide clear messages about cancer screening to patients and doctors. Our guidelines are constantly under review to evaluate them as new evidence becomes available. Simple messages are not always possible, and over-simplifying them can in fact do a disservice to the very people we serve."

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Food Choices: What It Takes To Feel Truly Satisfied

(NAPSI)-New research suggests that the most satisfying food choices must fulfill more than just nutritional requirements. True satisfaction from food is multidimensional, involving both physical and psychological factors.

"When making food choices, people need to think not only about what they're putting in their bodies with regard to nutrients but also how that food makes them feel, including if it satisfies their taste cravings and boosts their energy levels," said Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, author of "The F-Factor Diet," who conducted the study funded by Pharmavite, LLC.

Having counseled more than 1,000 patients about their eating habits, Zuckerbrot designed the study to measure the many factors that influence a food's perceived satisfaction. For the study, she selected four snacks with similar calorie levels and nutrient profiles: shelled edamame, low-fat wheat crackers, fruit-flavored yogurt, and a whole soy and real fruit bar (strawberry flavor). Forty-two women from New York completed daily surveys to report their overall satisfaction, general and specific cravings, and hunger levels one hour after consuming each food.

The study results indicate that satisfying hunger has both physical and psychological dimensions, and the best food choice meets both. The whole soy and real fruit bar was rated better than the wheat crackers and edamame for managing hunger and cravings. Although the foods were similar in calories and nutrients, it was not surprising to Zuckerbrot that the whole soy and real fruit bar scored well for managing hunger and cravings, due to its combination of protein, fiber and fats, which are nutrients known to be satisfying.

Additionally, one hour after eating the soy and real fruit bars, participants had less of an urge to eat again and had fewer signs of physical hunger and cravings. Participants also felt less of a need to eat something to improve their mood or feel more alert when compared to the other three test foods.

"Women want foods that taste good and make them feel good, which can mean curbing cravings and can relate to feeling good about putting that food into your body-many prefer all-natural ingredients in a food, for instance," said Zuckerbrot. "If the food doesn't do these things, women may still have the urge-even if they aren't hungry-to reach for something else."

Examples of food choices she recommends:

• Whole soy and real fruit bars, such as SOYJOY®

• High-fiber cereal mixed with granola

• Low-fat popcorn combined with dried cranberries

• Nuts and chocolate chips.

For more information, visit www.soyjoy.com.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Top Foods to Keep Your Mind Young

/PRNewswire/ -- Diets rich in strawberries, other berries, nuts, and certain spices may lower age-related cognitive declines and the risk of neurodegenerative disease, according to James Joseph, Ph.D., of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. Dr. Joseph describes his breakthrough work on the everyday foods that promote brain health during a presentation this week at Neuroscience 2009, the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience being held in Chicago.

Aging often results in mental decline -- and the world's aging population is large and growing. There are currently 390 million people over the age of 65 around the world with an expected increase to 800 million by 2025. According to Alzheimer's Disease International, dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65. Some 24 million people worldwide are currently thought to experience some form of dementia.

"With the rising cost of healthcare and drugs, patients are increasingly turning to preventive lifestyle actions over which they have some control, such as exercise and diet," said Dr. Joseph. "Emerging science continues to point to natural foods as sources of beneficial nutrients that can have some positive impact on cognitive function."

Strawberries, other berries, nuts, and certain spices contain plant compounds called polyphenols and other plant chemicals, which are believed to provide brain health benefits. Although some of the benefit has been attributed to the antioxidant activity of those compounds, antioxidant activity alone is not predictive in assessing the potency of these compounds against certain disorders affected by aging. In fact, in Dr. Joseph's studies, oxidative stress markers were only modestly reduced by these antioxidant rich foods. The polyphenols in berry fruit like strawberries may be responsible for other mechanisms including enhanced neuronal communication and reduced stress signals due to enhanced neuroprotective stress shock proteins.

According to Dr. Joseph, you can protect yourself against the two major villains of aging, oxidation and inflammation, by including the following foods in your diet regularly:

-- Strawberries
-- Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
-- Walnuts
-- Fish
-- Turmeric (a spice in curry)

California strawberries are grown and available year-round in supermarkets across the country. As America's favorite fruit, they are an easy addition to a diet that promotes brain health.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

(NAPSI)-Thousands of lives could be saved from home fires each year if the homes had working smoke alarms. To encourage people to install and maintain smoke alarms and sprinklers, practice fire escape plans and perform a home safety walk-through, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) launched the Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign.

The campaign suggests:

• Placing properly installed and maintained smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas and on every level of your home.

• Installing both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor smoke alarms.

• Testing smoke alarms monthly and changing alkaline batteries at least once every year or as instructed.

• Installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.

Do your part to get out before firefighters have to come in.

For more information, visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/smokealarms or call (800) 561-3356.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New FDA Web Page Lists Disposal Instructions for Select Medicines

/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today launched a Web page for consumers with information on how to dispose of certain drugs, including several high-potency opioids and other selected controlled substances. These medicines have the potential to be harmful, even deadly, in a single dose if taken by someone other than the intended person.

The FDA recommends that these medicines be disposed of by flushing down the sink or toilet. The goal is to keep them away from children and others who could be harmed by taking them accidentally.

Medicines not listed should be thrown away in the household trash after mixing them with some unpalatable substance, such as coffee grounds, and sealing them in a bag or other container. Another option is to dispose of them through drug take back programs, if federal and state law permit.

"The safe disposal of medicines from the home after they are no longer needed is an important concern for the FDA," said Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy center director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

All medicines listed have disposal instructions in their professional prescribing information; however, this information is targeted to health care professionals. The Web page provides clear instructions for consumers on whether a medicine should be flushed or disposed of in the trash.

Throckmorton also said, "The FDA is working with other groups to improve the use of several drug disposal methods, including drug take back programs. However, for some potent medicines that can cause harm or death if inadvertently taken by family members, the FDA currently recommends flushing them down the sink or toilet to immediately and permanently remove them from the home. Simple precautions like these can reduce the likelihood of accidental and potentially dangerous exposure to unused medicines."

The FDA worked with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to develop the first consumer guidance for proper disposal of prescription drugs. The ONDCP federal guidelines were first issued in February 2007.

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How to minimize winter’s impact on your arthritis pain

(ARA) - You’re not just imagining it – you really can feel winter’s chill in your bones, especially if you’re among the 45 million Americans who have arthritis. Coping with this often debilitating disease can be even more challenging when the weather turns cold, making joints feel even more stiff and painful.

In fact, rheumatoid arthritis that first appears in the winter or spring may be more severe than arthritis that emerges in summer and fall, according to a French study of arthritis patients. In addition to cold temperatures associated with winter, viruses – which are more prevalent during winter – may play a part in the increased severity of winter-onset arthritis, the study concluded.

But winter’s chill shouldn’t drive you indoors until the spring thaw. Just the opposite, says the Web site AthritisToday.org. Walking outside in the winter has many health benefits for arthritis sufferers, including burning calories and helping you feel positive and motivated, the site says. Plus, inactivity is often associated with an increase in pain.

So how can you stay active and manage your arthritis this winter? Here are a few tips:

Stay warm and dry

Dampness and cold exacerbate arthritis pain. Dress warmly and avoid dampness. If you live in an area with particularly damp weather, equip your home with a dehumidifier to take excess moisture out of the air.

When walking outside, wear warm, waterproof footgear and gloves. Layer your clothes for warmth and breathability, and choose fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin.

Stay active

“Use it or lose it” definitely applies to arthritis sufferers. Exercise can help keep joints moving, strengthen muscles connected to joints, preserve bone health, and improve your overall health and fitness, according to www.Arthritis.org, the Web site of the not-for-profit Arthritis Foundation.

If you are less active during winter, arthritis can cause even the smallest movement to be painful. Maintain your prescribed exercise regimen, under your doctor’s guidance, as much as possible during winter months. The movement will help fight off the stiffness that cold weather brings to your joints.

Get help

See your doctor regularly throughout the winter and consider using aids that are designed to help ease arthritis pain in the colder months. For example, IMAK’s Arthritis Gloves provide mild compression and warmth to help relieve the increased joint pain and swelling associated with winter.

Designed by an orthopedic surgeon, the gloves can be worn indoors during daily activities and outdoors under your regular gloves. Made of cotton Lycra, the gloves have open fingertips that allow freedom to touch, feel and grip. Visit www.IMAKproducts.com to learn more.

Keep to your diet

Our diets tend to become “heavier” in colder weather as our bodies instinctively crave warmth-generating and fat-building fare to help us stay warmer. But it’s important to maintain a healthy diet throughout the winter. Controlling excess weight, which puts undue strain on already sore joints, is a key element of managing your arthritis. Also, talk to your doctor or a qualified nutritionist about what nutritional supplements might be helpful in minimizing your pain.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Olive Leaves: This Season's Flu Fighter

(NAPSI)-You've probably heard that olive oil can be good for heart health, but did you know that the olive leaf might help ward off colds and flu?

Olive trees can live over 1,000 years, resisting attacks from bacteria, virus, fungus and a range of microorganisms. Now doctors say compounds made from olive leaves let people tap into that same natural defense system-and that the result could be fewer colds and flu and improved overall health.

Key to the olive leaf's protective powers is a host of anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal compounds, along with a powerhouse of cell-protecting anti-oxidants. In fact, research at Australia's Southern Cross University identified the olive leaf as the most powerful, radical-scavenging anti-oxidant of 55 medicinal herbs.

You can take a liquid supplement to get the full benefits. Barlean's Olive Leaf Complex is made by pressing fresh olive leaves, rather than drying them and turning them into pills. This leaf extract has been shown to have an anti-oxidant capacity 400 times greater than that of vitamin C.

Plus, the product may help improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure and joint health.

For more information, visit www.barleans.com.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

New Government Research Finds One in Every 100 Children Has Autism, of Whom Nearly 40% Are Recovered

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Children's Health Survey published results from a 2007 telephone survey in Pediatrics today in which 78,000 households in the US were asked if their child (ages 2-17) was known to "currently have autism, Asperger's Disorder, pervasive development disorder, or other autism spectrum disorder." The survey showed that 1% of children (one in 100) now have the disorder. Previous estimates from the CDC had reported a prevalence rate of one in 150. To read the new report online, visit: http://nschdata.org/Dataquery/SurveyAreas.aspx?yid=2

The survey also reported that nearly 40% of households surveyed who had a child diagnosed with autism reported that their child did not currently have the condition. This finding supports numerous reports from the Autism Research Institute, that recovery from autism is possible in some children. According to Dr. Stephen M. Edelson, Executive Director of ARI, new research challenges the long-held view that autism is an incurable genetic disorder: "What we are discovering is that those with autism often have underlying medical disorders that impair neurological, gastrointestinal, metabolic, and immune systems, that when these problems are accurately diagnosed and treated, the symptoms of autism often improve -- sometimes to the point that the child is no longer classified as autistic."

The Autism Research Institute (ARI) was the first organization to call attention to the alarming increase in autism. Today it is the hub of a worldwide network of parents and professionals who are seeking answers to what has caused this dramatic increase in autism spectrum disorders, and what can be done to help restore health to those affected.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

More Children May Be At Risk For Seasonal Virus Than Previously Believed

(NAPSI)-As we enter the fall and winter months, parents should be aware of a common, seasonal virus called respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. While symptoms in most children are mild, RSV disease is the leading cause of hospitalizations in infants under 1 year of age in the United States. A recent study showed that RSV disease accounts for inpatient hospital stays for one out of every 334 hospitalizations and one of every 38 emergency department visits for children under 5 years of age.

Premature babies and those with certain medical conditions are generally considered to be at high risk for severe RSV disease. But parents should know that the incidence of RSV disease in children up to the age of 5 is greater than previously thought, according to data published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Virtually all children will be infected with RSV by the age of 2," says Caroline B. Hall, M.D., professor of pediatrics and medicine in infectious disease at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "These data simply suggest that parents should be aware that, during the fall and winter months, RSV is in the community and they should protect their children from RSV, especially if they have a premature infant."

What is RSV?

RSV is a virus that usually causes cold-like symptoms. RSV recurs yearly and can be contracted more than once over a child's lifetime. Most babies exposed are able to fight the virus off, but up to 125,000 infants go to the hospital each year in the United States because of RSV.

Are all children at risk?

Although all children can contract RSV, premature birth, being born with certain heart conditions or having chronic lung disease may increase your child's risk of severe RSV disease.

Other RSV risk factors for premature infants include close contact with other young children, at daycare or in a home with older siblings and exposure to tobacco smoke and other air pollutants that can irritate your baby's lungs and make it more difficult to fight off the virus.

How can you tell if

your baby has RSV?

"RSV symptoms are similar to the common cold, such as fever and a runny nose, and can be difficult to distinguish," said Dr. Hall. "Parents should be aware of RSV symptoms and of the routine precautions that could help protect their child."

Parents should look for the following symptoms of severe RSV disease and consult a healthcare professional if any are present:

Respiratory symptoms accompanied by:

• Fever (in infants under 3 months of age, a fever greater than 100.4°F rectal is cause for concern)

• Persistent coughing or wheezing

• Rapid, difficult or labored breathing

• Unusual lethargy, tiredness

• Decreased intake of liquids

What can you do to

help protect your child?

Just like the cold and flu, RSV spreads easily on hands and lives on common surfaces, such as countertops and tissues. Therefore, it is important to keep other children and adults who have colds with coughing and sneezing away from your baby. You can also help prevent the spread of RSV by cleaning your baby's toys and personal items used by others and asking those who touch your baby to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer gels.

The RSV season usually occurs from late fall to spring in most of the country, but the onset varies in different parts of the United States.

For further information on the length of the RSV season where you live, and steps you can take to avoid RSV, ask your baby's doctor.

You can also learn more online at www.rsvprotection.com.

"Virtually all children will be infected with RSV by the age of 2."

-Caroline B. Hall, M.D.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Face Masks Offer Protection Against Spreading H1N1

/PRNewswire/ -- With flu season officially underway on October 4th, Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMN) , a company dedicated to infection prevention and control, recommends that Americans take extra precautions against spreading H1N1 influenza. Crosstex International, a subsidiary of Cantel Medical, is one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of face masks.

Best evidence suggests that the H1N1 virus is transmitted through large droplets from sneezes or coughs that travel through the air and land on surfaces. The virus can remain active for up to 24 hours.

Because the risk of transmission of the virus skyrockets with every sneeze and cough, face masks are a vital tool in fighting H1N1. Wearing a high-quality, FDA-cleared face mask that covers the mouth and nose can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

A report from the Institute of Medicine states, "In the event of pandemic influenza, supplies of effective vaccines and antiviral medications are likely to be inadequate to treat a very large number of affected individuals. Therefore, non-pharmacological interventions will be important, including the use of respiratory protection through respirators, medical masks or both."

Seth Segel, Executive Vice President at Cantel Medical said, "We know that masks provide one of the simplest, most cost-effective infection prevention tools in the fight against spreading the flu. While seeing someone wearing a mask on a crowded subway can be startling, during flu season, it should actually provide you with a level of comfort. The more people who wear masks, the lower the risk of transmitting the disease, especially in densely populated areas."

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Center for Autism and Related Disorders Research Study Finds Chewing Gum an Effective Treatment for Rumination in Children with Autism

/24-7/ -- According to new research conducted by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), the "Chewing Gum as a Treatment for Rumination in a Child with Autism" study reveals the challenging behavior of rumination can be treated effectively by using chewing gum as a replacement behavior. The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Rumination involves regurgitation of previously ingested food, re-chewing the food, and re-swallowing it. The study examined a child with autism who displayed chronic rumination for approximately one year, resulting in the decay and subsequent removal of several teeth. After several treatments failed, including thickened liquids and starch satiation, the child was taught to chew gum. His rumination decreased significantly when gum was made available.

"The key findings of this research study are significant for both parents and practitioners," says researcher Denise Rhine, MS ED, BCBA. "The findings suggest that access to chewing gum may be an effective and practical treatment for rumination in some individuals with."

The complete "Chewing Gum as a Treatment for Rumination in a Child with Autism" study is published in the summer 2009 Edition of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, pages 381-385. The study is also online at http://seab.envmed.rochester.edu/jaba/toc/cur/jabacurrent.php.

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