Make strides to fight childhood obesity through nutrition

Make strides to fight childhood weight problems via nutrition
These pursuits can be the veggie identifications station, a physical action where they get their bodies moving, taste testing distinct meals grown on the farm, feeding the chickens, having a story time with a children&#39s guide based on nutrition …
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Nutrition Labels On Front Of Meals Packaging Can Allow More healthy Alternatives
Nutrition Label (Photograph : Foods and Drug Administration) New investigation suggests that putting nutrition labels on the front of foods packages may be more efficient at enabling healthier foods options than where they are placed presently. New research …
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McIntyre appoints new nutrition director
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre has appointed a new executive director of nutrition. Wanda McCown, who has worked with the college program given that 1982 and has held a quantity of positions in that division during that time, will get above&nbsp…
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Nutrition News: Chipotle Goes GMO-Free of charge, Diet plan Pepsi Ditches Aspartame, and
Calling all burrito lovers! Chipotle has announced that it has eliminated all genetically engineered elements from the meals it prepares. The New York Instances calls the move “a first for a major restaurant chain,” but notes that it is yet yet another …
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Over-processed

From the drive–thru to prepackaged dinners to school lunches to even infant formula, processed foods are everywhere. And while it’s clear a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains supports health, more research is concluding that processed foods do the opposite.

Experts warn against the dangers of MSG (monosodium glutamate), a primary ingredient in processed foods. Visceral fat, which scientists say forms in response to high doses of glutamate in the system, is thought to be a cause of hypertension, obesity, insomnia, and diabetes. And a recent study found that a diet high in processed foods causes depression and inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease. What can you do?

  • To minimize your exposure, cut down on eating out. There are currently no regulations on MSG labeling, so restaurants don’t have to fess up. You can remove this unknown variable by dining in.
  • Stay as close to the original state as possible. An organic apple from a local farmer maintains its raw integrity, while individual packs of applesauce are farther from their purest form; a store-bought apple pie is even farther. Keep your plate full of mostly natural earth-grown foods.
  • Opt for frozen produce over canned — which usually has added salt or syrup. Sub–zero crops are picked at their ripest and flash-frozen to retain nutrients, without additives.

Hidden dangers to diet pills

For many, diet pills can be the solution to years of living with obesity. But for some people there are hidden dangers to these pills. The problem arises during surgery when and if patients don’t tell their doctors about the pills. It’s a secret that could wind up being deadly.

It’s estimated that more than a million-and-a-half people took the weight loss drug last year. It may be their answer for weight loss, but as with any drug, there are dangers.

If you’re going in for surgery and you’re taking a diet pill, here’s a warning.

It’s important to know that if you are taking these diet pills and you do not tell your anesthesiologist or your surgeon, your risk of dying under anesthesiology is about 1,000 times higher than a normal patient.”

Here’s why: the drugs deplete the body’s own storage of adrenaline. Under the stress of anesthesia, blood pressure and heart rate can fall to very low levels. It may be very difficult for the anesthesiologist to treat.

When trouble does arise, there’s no time.

A patient can go from absolutely normal to having no blood pressure, no pulse rate and clinically dead in 3-5 minutes. If something’s not done immediately in another 3-5 minutes, this person is irreversible.

Some doctors are being extremely cautious right now while they learn more about the connection. In the meantime, if you’re taking diet pills and you’re planning surgery, tell your doctor.

Most likely, your doctor will ask you to stop taking the medication two weeks prior to your surgery.

Weight Concerns in Teens

New research finds the use of extremely unhealthy weight loss methods by teens is “alarmingly high.” These extreme measures include taking diet pills, laxatives, diuretics or vomiting. This study of nearly 5,000 Minnesota teens looked at the eating patterns and weight concerns among this group.

As predicted, weight concerns were prevalent among teens. Unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating were reported by 57 percent of girls and 33 percent of boys. Extreme behaviors were prevalent among 12 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys. Overweight adolescents were responsible for most of the extreme habits. Nearly 20 percent of the overweight girls reported taking pills or vomiting.

The researchers write, “Obesity among children and adolescents has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.” They say obesity is currently one of the “greatest contemporary public health issues.” The researchers say they were surprised to find that while girls were more likely to report weight concerns, large numbers of boys reported concerns with weight as well.

A high percentage of girls reported being unhappy with their bodies and perceived themselves as overweight. The researchers say all of these findings suggest doctors and public health officials need to be very concerned with the high rate of dieting among youth and particularly among young girls. They say presently most methods aimed at preventing and treating obesity among adolescents focus on increasing exercise and decreasing calories. They recommend officials begin to educate youth on bad eating habits and teach them how to maintain a healthy weight.

SOURCE: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2002;156:171-178

Dangerous Dieting: Fad Diets

Have you tried to lose weight cutting carbohydrates, protein or fat? With America in the throes of an obesity crisis, the diet industry has taken off. But fad diets can hurt your health.

If you’re like most women, you’ve tried at least one of the fad diets to hit the market. Two years ago Mariana Morris went on a high protein diet. “It was a thing that would make you lose all the weight you wanted in one week, and I was in a hurry,” she says.

She lost weight, but that’s not all. “I looked at my hand and the ring that’s usually very big on me was so tight it was almost cutting into my skin.” Morris’s kidneys were being taxed from eating too much protein, causing her body to store water. Many fad diets rob the body of the nutrients it needs and can cause kidney stones, osteoperosis, low blood sugar, heart disease and muscle loss.

Dietician Helen Battisti says eating is actually the body’s best defense against weight gain. “If you find you’re an individual who gets up in the morning and goes all day without eating — trying to either curb your calories for the day, or just so busy that you forget to eat — then you’re pretty much guaranteed that come night time you’re going to start eating and not be able to finish. That’s not the time to fuel your body.”

That’s why diets that starve the body are dangerous. The Atkins Diet calls for serious restriction of carbohydrates, which Battisti says can cause kidney problems and fatigue. She says The Zone Diet is low in carbohydrates as well, robbing your body of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Battisti says The Three-Day Diet, which restricts calorie intake to 1,000 for 72 hours, tends to just loose water — it’s not a long term solution.

Morris says, “I will not try another fad diet that focuses on just one food group. There obviously is something unnatural about it.” Medication fixed Mariana’s kidney problem, and now she knows quick fixes don’t work. A balanced diet and exercise do.

A quick fix diet is just that; 95 percent of dieters regain the weight they’ve lost. Some healthy weight loss tips from Battisti are to stay active, eat breakfast, and never take diet pills, even ones sold over the counter. Never eliminate entire food groups from your diet, unless you have an allergy.

Doctor explains the importance for high-risk people to screen for liver cancer

What motivated you to do this study on liver cancer?

Dr. Thuluvath: Liver cancer is increasing in this country because of what we call the silent epidemic of hepatitis C. It is also due to what we call cryptogenic cirrhosis, which we presume is due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is secondary to obesity, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. So, there is an increase in liver cancer due to these diseases in the community. Two million people die from liver cancer every year.

What did you look at in your study?

Dr. Thuluvath: The question of our study is what is the best form of treatment for liver cancer in someone with cirrhosis of liver. In this country, most of the liver cancer patients have cirrhosis at one point. In our own transplant circle, we know liver transplantation is perhaps the best treatment modality, because it not only removes the cancer but also the diseased liver. So, we decided to look at the nationwide database of about 1,000 patients transplanted for this condition. We divided the last 20 years into three time periods to look at the trends. Over the last 10 years, we have learned a lot about who got transplants, how to pick the right patients, the selection, and how to get the best results.

The study looked at data nationwide and found there has been a major improvement in the outcome of liver cancer in this country. In the early part, 1987-1991, the survival was around 25 people, and the next period it was up to 96 people, and then in the most recent period up to 2001, it has gone up to almost 260 people. That’s pretty good for cancer. When you say five years, it is almost like a cure for this patient because if liver cancer were to recur it would happen within one or two years. So, that’s what prompted us to do the study, and we were quite pleased to see we can cure liver cancer in somebody with cirrhotic liver, an advanced cirrhosis, and 60 percent or more can live for five years or more.

Have there been many studies looking at trends in liver cancer?

Dr. Thuluvath: There was a major paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1996, which gave recommendations about how to get the best results for liver transplant, and it is since known as Milan criteria. Since then there have been many small papers on the subject.

What’s the message you want to send to patients?

Dr. Thuluvath: Liver cancer, if it is detected early, is curable. The key here is to make that diagnosis early. For that, the patients and doctors have to work together. We have different ways to do surveillance. We can do blood tests, ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). But, the majority of patients with cirrhosis don’t get any of these tests.

The commonly available techniques, whether we use MRI, blood test or a combination, still miss a third of liver cancer. We, myself and some of my colleagues, are focusing on finding ways to diagnose cancer at an earlier stage. Then, we can offer them many more options, including a liver transplant, and we can probably improve the survival of patients with liver cancer in this country. This may not apply to every country in the world, where they don’t have the access to liver transplantation, but at least in the United States, we can improve the survival by early detection and the offering of the best modality of treatment.

Do you feel like liver cancer does not receive as much attention as it should to be able to properly prevent it?

Dr. Thuluvath: I think you get a lot of publicity for prostate cancer and to some extent breast cancer. But liver cancer, because it’s not as common as these cancers, has not come to that attention of the public. Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, but it seems to affect the part of the world where there is a lot of hepatitis B and poverty. In Africa and parts of Asia, this is like an epidemic. Now, it looks like liver cancer has come to the United States and Western Europe. I think there is now more attention being given to liver cancer.

One cancer we think we can prevent early is colon cancer. Early detection is key there. I think in a way that is the best example for early detection and cure of all cancers. Simple tests can prevent or cut down a significant proportion of this cancer.

Are there specific reasons why liver cancer is more aggressive now?

Dr. Thuluvath: That’s a very interesting question. We addressed this in a small study we did in Maryland. Worldwide, Africans and Asians seem to have a higher incidence. That is perhaps due to hepatitis B. If you go to the Western part of this country, you see a lot of cancers in Asians because they had what we call transmission of hepatitis B from their parents. But, the difference between the races has decreased significantly in the last 10 years in this country. When we looked at the reason they differ Maryland, we actually found Caucasians and blacks have the same incidence of liver cancer. There was a big gap that seems to have closed significantly. It could affect anybody.

What are the risk factors for liver cancer?

Dr. Thuluvath: The risk factors are important. Hepatitis C, B, hemochromatosis, and cirrhosis for many reasons could predispose someone to liver cancer. This patient should be carefully monitored. Once they develop cirrhosis, the risk increases significantly. They need close monitoring at least every six to 12 months with some sort of scanning. They can have either an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI; it depends on the expertise of the local hospital. And, they should have regular blood work to look for this cancer. This is a treatable cancer, and the early detection is the most important aspect of the management.

Are transplants given early after diagnosis, or does the disease have to develop extensively before a transplant is approved?

Dr. Thuluvath: I think the important part of our studies tells us the faster the transplantation the better the outcome will be. You don’t want the liver cancer to advance because there is a high probability that cancer may spread elsewhere, like to the blood vessels or lymph nodes. The earlier the better.

Now that you have this exciting new information, are you still dealing with the shortage of organs?

Dr. Thuluvath: That is something we have not been able to solve. The organ donation in this country, unfortunately, has not gone up in the past 10 years. It’s almost plateaued. I think a shortage of this nature may help people to learn more about liver transplantation. Many of these patients would have died within a year if they were not transplanted, and many of them may have contributed significantly to the community and the families.

In the future, we may be able to find ways to use organs from other species, and the research has to develop in that field. Hopefully, maybe 10 or 20 years later, we will be thinking of stem cell research to help us to develop these organs. But, I think in the immediate future, the focus should be to increase the organ donation and also to perfect the technique of live donor liver transplant. That can save many people.

What do you see as the impact of this study?

Dr. Thuluvath: I’m excited about the possibilities. I think the public needs to know all these things because unless they’re educated, they’re not going to go to their physician and say, “Time for me to have a screening test.” Once the patient is educated, he or she can remind the physicians too. Also, they need to learn that cancer, if you diagnose it early, is a curable disease

Who should be talking to their doctors about screening?

Dr. Thuluvath: Anyone with cirrhosis of liver should talk to their doctors about screening for liver cancer, and this is more important for those with hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and a condition called hemochromatosis, where there is too much iron in the body. These are the three major risk factors. But, we have recently seen increased incidence of cancer in people with cryptogenic cirrhosis, which means we really don’t know what caused cirrhosis, but we assume most of them may have progressed from fatty liver disease. This population is going to increase substantially because of obesity in this country. Two out of three people we see in this country are obese now, and the significant number will have fatty liver disease. A small proportion will progress to cirrhosis, which is a substantial number of patients, and many of them may end up with cancer of the liver. So, they should also get the early screening. I think that is the most important thing.

What do you hope to see in the immediate future of this field of study?

Dr. Thuluvath: From my point of view, I think we need to develop better techniques to detect this cancer. We don’t have very good tests yet. I would sense the detection rate is still around 60 percent to 65 percent. That means one out of three cancers could be missed even if you do all this screening. The screening has to be something that is easily applicable to a majority of patients, like a blood test, which has a very high sensitivity and specificity.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.