WBEZ | diet http://www.wbez.org/tags/diet Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Obesity and junk food: A tale of two studies http://www.wbez.org/news/obesity-and-junk-food-tale-two-studies-113785 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/junkfood1small-057b4ffe9afb81841b76e7e887bb74986059521a-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455377053" previewtitle="What role do high-calorie, low-nutrition junk foods play in expanding waistlines? Two recent studies tackle that question."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="What role do high-calorie, low-nutrition junk foods play in expanding waistlines? Two recent studies tackle that question." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/09/junkfood1small-057b4ffe9afb81841b76e7e887bb74986059521a-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="What role do high-calorie, low-nutrition junk foods play in expanding waistlines? Two recent studies tackle that question. (Morgan McCloy/NPR)" /></div><div><p>More than 36 percent of American adults and 17 percent of youth under 19 are obese, according to the latest&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db219.htm">figures</a>&nbsp;from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p></div></div><p>Scientists still don&#39;t fully understand what got us here. And sometimes, the answers they&#39;ve come up with turn out to be wrong. Consider the changing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/06/25/416936527/farewell-low-fat-why-scientists-applaud-lifting-a-ban-on-fat">advice on fat</a>, which has been amended of late from its days as a dietary demon.</p><p>By now, it would seem that the link between the obesity epidemic and the consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrition foods like sodas, cookies and fries is well-established. But as two recent studies show, researchers are still probing the mechanics of that connection.</p><p>Broadly speaking, both studies explore the connection between junk food and weight &mdash; though they do so using different data sets from two different populations (adults and kids).</p><p>Let&#39;s start with the finding that seems most counterintuitive: For most of us, junk foods may not be what&#39;s driving weight gain. That&#39;s what behavioral economist David Just and his colleagues at the&nbsp;<a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/about">Cornell University Food and Brand Lab</a>&nbsp;concluded in a paper in the journal&nbsp;Obesity Science &amp; Practice.</p><p>The researchers looked at data collected in 2007-2008 from a nationally representative sample of roughly 5,000 U.S. adults as part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm" target="_blank">National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)</a>, including information on weight, height and eating habits. Junk food was defined as fast food, soda and sweets.</p><p>Some of that data set had been used in a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db114.htm#ref1">2013 CDC study</a>&nbsp;that found that heavier Americans were indeed getting more of their daily calories from fast food. But the Cornell researchers wondered what would happen if they excluded the people on the extreme ends of the weight spectrum &mdash; those who are clinically underweight and the very morbidly obese.</p><p>And they found that once those groups were eliminated, there was no association between body mass index and how much fast food, sugary sodas and sweets people consume.</p><p>The finding, which applies to 95 percent of the population, &quot;was really counterintuitive &mdash; not what we expected at all,&quot; Just tells The Salt.</p><p>But if fast food isn&#39;t driving the obesity epidemic, what is? &quot;I suspect we&#39;re eating too many calories from all foods,&quot; Just says. He points to data from the USDA&#39;s Economic Research Service showing that Americans, on average, now eat 500 calories more daily than they did around 1970, before the obesity epidemic took off.</p><div id="res455486233"><div id="responsive-embed-calories-20151110"><iframe frameborder="0" height="546px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/calories-20151110/child.html?initialWidth=675&amp;childId=responsive-embed-calories-20151110&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fsections%2Fthesalt%2F2015%2F11%2F12%2F455074815%2Fare-junk-food-habits-driving-obesity-a-tale-of-two-studies%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D455074815" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620"></iframe></div></div><p>To be clear, Just isn&#39;t saying that you can eat all the junk food you want with no consequence. &quot;You increase your consumption of these things, yeah, you&#39;re going to put on weight,&quot; he says. &quot;But that&#39;s not to say that is the differentiator between those who are overweight and those who aren&#39;t.&quot; And if that&#39;s the case, Just says, instead of targeting junk foods in the war against obesity, maybe we should be preaching the gospel of moderation and portion control with&nbsp;all&nbsp;foods.</p><p>Sure, that&#39;s good advice in general &mdash; but it may not&nbsp;mean we can let junk foods off the hook.</p><p><a href="https://globalhealth.duke.edu/people/faculty/finkelstein-eric">Eric Finkelstein</a>, an associate professor at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University, notes that the data the Cornell researchers used is only a snapshot of what a cross-section of Americans were eating at a single moment in time. So it&#39;s possible, for example, that the overweight and obese people included in the study reported eating less junk foods because they were trying to lose weight.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;d lend a lot more credence to studies that follow change [in eating habits and weight] over time,&quot; Finkelstein tells The Salt.</p><p>And, over time, he says, the evidence suggests strongly that even modest increases in the consumption of certain foods will result in long-term weight gain. He points to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296#t=article">2011 study</a>&nbsp;in the&nbsp;New England Journal of Medicine&nbsp;that looked at data gathered over decades on 120,000 U.S. adults. Over a four-year period, an extra daily serving of potato chips was associated with weight gain of 1.69 pounds, the study found. That may not sound like much, but for most adults, that&#39;s how the pounds add up &mdash; gradually, over time, at an average rate of about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/diet-lifestyle-weight-gain/">a pound a year</a>.</p><div id="res455377505" previewtitle="junk food"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="junk food" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/09/junkfood2small-08e9280d5086435939078f831640552ab5136b36-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="(Morgan McCloy/NPR)" /></div><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><p>And problem foods will pack on the pounds for kids, too. Last week, Finkelstein and his colleagues published a similarly detailed breakdown of the links between weight gain and certain foods in children. The researchers turned to data on more than 4,600 kids from the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bristol.ac.uk/alspac/">Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children</a>, an ongoing study in the U.K. that has tracked the same set of children &mdash; with records on their height, weight and food intake &mdash; since their birth in the early 1990s.</p><p>Once again, potato chips raised red flags.</p><p>As the researchers&nbsp;<a href="http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/34/11/1940.abstract">reported</a>&nbsp;in the journal&nbsp;Health Affairs, over a three-year period, every 25-gram serving of potato chips (a little under an ounce) that kids ate daily was linked to about a half-pound of excess weight gain. (Basically, that&#39;s defined as weight beyond what a child should weigh for his or her height and age.)</p><p>Again, half a pound doesn&#39;t sound alarming, &quot;but if you&#39;re also getting an extra half a pound from burgers, and half a pound from french fries, these things add up. And some kids are eating more than a serving&quot; daily, Finkelstein says.</p><p>Other foods the study linked to excessive weight gain included &quot;kid food&quot; staples &mdash; like breaded and coated fish and poultry (think fish sticks and chicken nuggets) and french fries &mdash; and processed meats, butter and margarine, desserts and sweets.</p><p>That&#39;s important, because some 31 percent of American and 38 percent of European kids are now overweight or obese &mdash; and the pounds we gain as kids often stay with us through adulthood.</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obesity-and-junk-food-tale-two-studies-113785 CDC: More women than men are obese in America, and gap is widening http://www.wbez.org/news/cdc-more-women-men-are-obese-america-and-gap-widening-113783 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/obesity_custom-9ee9d533dc5930b332764725ec0582aa85903ab8-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455907311" previewtitle="Obesity prevalence among women in their 40s and 50s has risen to 42 percent since 1999-2000, the CDC found. For middle-aged men, the rate is 38 percent."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Obesity prevalence among women in their 40s and 50s has risen to 42 percent since 1999-2000, the CDC found. For middle-aged men, the rate is 38 percent." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/13/obesity_custom-9ee9d533dc5930b332764725ec0582aa85903ab8-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Obesity prevalence among women in their 40s and 50s has risen to 42 percent since 1999-2000, the CDC found. For middle-aged men, the rate is 38 percent. (iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db219.htm">&nbsp;crunched new numbers</a>&nbsp;on America&#39;s obesity epidemic. What do they tell us? As a nation, we seem to be stuck.</p></div></div></div><p>The overall prevalence of obesity in the three-year period ending 2014 was just over 36 percent. This mean that about 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is obese.</p><p>But if you&#39;re a silver-linings kind of person, there&#39;s this: After decades of increases, obesity rates do seem to be flattening out.</p><p>The CDC says the changes in the prevalence of adult obesity were so slight between 2011 and 2014 (the most recent data available) that they were not statistically significant.</p><p>And another note of optimism: The CDC finds childhood obesity has leveled off. In many states, as we&#39;ve reported, obesity rates are<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/08/06/209213524/falling-obesity-rates-among-preschoolers-mark-healthful-trend">&nbsp;falling&nbsp;</a>among preschool-aged kids.</p><p>Health advocates say that&#39;s a sign of progress.</p><p>&quot;We are excited to see that our nationwide efforts to prevent childhood obesity have stopped the decades-long increase in childhood obesity rates,&quot; said Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, in a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthiergeneration.org/news__events/2015/11/12/1392/prevalence_of_obesity_among_adults_and_youth_united_states_20112014_national_center_for_health_statistics_data_brief_november_2015">statement</a>.</p><p>But he adds, &quot;it is imperative that we double down on our efforts to go beyond flattening the rates so that we actually start decreasing childhood obesity rates.&quot;</p><p>If you dig into the data a little deeper, it&#39;s clear that middle-aged Americans are not as successful at avoiding weight gain &mdash; especially middle-aged women.</p><p>The prevalence of obesity among women in their 40s and 50s has risen to 42 percent since 1999-2000. That&#39;s higher than the 38 percent the CDC found for middle-aged men. Across all adult age groups, about 38 percent of women are obese, while 34 percent of men were obese.</p><p>Study author and CDC epidemiologist&nbsp;<a href="http://cdczilla.com/cdc-employee/contact/cynthia-ogden-301_458_4405">Cynthia Ogden</a>&nbsp;says these gender differences are a new development. &quot;This hasn&#39;t been the case for some years,&quot; Ogden says.</p><p>And, the divide becomes even greater for some women of color. The obesity rate among African-American women is 57 percent and 46 percent among Hispanic women.</p><p>&quot;The biggest problem is that the obesity rates among low-income Americans and minorities are not improving,&quot; says obesity expert&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/nutrans/popkin">Barry Popkin</a>&nbsp;of the University of North Carolina.</p><p>The medical and economic toll of this problem remains huge as well. According toHealth Affairs, the obesity epidemic carries a $117 billion <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/13/455883665/cdc-more-women-than-men-are-obese-in-america-and-gap-is-widening?ft=nprml&amp;f=455883665" target="_blank"><em>medical price tag.</em></a></p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/13/455883665/cdc-more-women-than-men-are-obese-in-america-and-gap-is-widening?ft=nprml&amp;f=455883665" target="_blank"><em>&mdash;</em></a> via NPR</p></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cdc-more-women-men-are-obese-america-and-gap-widening-113783 Surgery helps some obese teens in battle to get fit http://www.wbez.org/news/surgery-helps-some-obese-teens-battle-get-fit-113784 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bariatric-2bd9acf62b39859d063989fd822a03da249300f4-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res455025089" previewtitle="Physical exercise, diet and supportive counseling are the first steps of any weight-loss program. But sometimes that's not enough to take large amounts of weight off, and keep it off, doctors say."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Physical exercise, diet and supportive counseling are the first steps of any weight-loss program. But sometimes that's not enough to take large amounts of weight off, and keep it off, doctors say." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/06/bariatric-2bd9acf62b39859d063989fd822a03da249300f4-s700-c85.jpg" title="Physical exercise, diet and supportive counseling are the first steps of any weight-loss program. But sometimes that's not enough to take large amounts of weight off, and keep it off, doctors say." /></div><div><div><p>Physical exercise, diet and supportive counseling are the first steps of any weight-loss program. But sometimes that&#39;s not enough to take large amounts of weight off, and keep it off, doctors say.</p></div>13/Ocean/Corbis</div></div><p>Surgery to reduce the stomach&#39;s size is often seen as a last resort for severely obese teenagers, partly because there has been little information on the procedure&#39;s long-term effects on young people.</p><p>But a study&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1506699?query=featured_home">published</a>&nbsp;online Friday in the&nbsp;New England Journal of Medicine&nbsp;tracked teens for three years and suggests that bariatric surgery as part of a weight-reduction plan was not only safe, but increased their heart health and the quality of their lives.</p><p><a href="http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/bio/i/thomas-inge/">Dr. Thomas Inge</a>, a surgeon at Cincinnati Children&#39;s Hospital Medical Center, led the study of 242 severely obese adolescents who underwent the surgery.</p><p>The young people were between 13 and 19 years old and averaged 325 pounds at the start of the study, Inge says. Surgery helped them lose nearly a third of their original body weight and maintain that loss for three years. Even more importantly, Inge says, the development of obesity-linked disease was stopped in its tracks.</p><p>Of teens who had Type 2 diabetes when they underwent the surgery, &quot;95 percent of them had no sign of diabetes at three years,&quot; Inge says. Most participants in the study also dramatically reduced their blood pressure after surgery, and had improved kidney function and less blood fat.</p><p>The hope is that these sorts of improvements in physical markers will ultimately translate to fewer strokes, heart attacks and other disabilities down the road, he says. Previous research has suggested that only about 2 percent of severely obese teens are able to lose weight and keep it off without surgery.</p><p>Adults who have weight-loss surgery also see reductions in diabetes, blood pressure and blood fat, Inge says. But the improvements aren&#39;t as dramatic &mdash; perhaps, he says, because it&#39;s easier to tame a disease that hasn&#39;t already had years to do damage.</p><p>The teens also experienced a big jump in their confidence.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s one thing to talk about what this does to their blood pressure and diabetes,&quot; Inge says. &quot;It&#39;s a whole other thing, when you&#39;re in the patients&#39; shoes, to be able to talk about how they&nbsp;feel&nbsp;after the operation.&quot;</p><p>The answer, he says, was unmistakably good &mdash; so good that some kids made a few other bold changes in their appearance, taking deliberate steps to stand out instead of trying to hide.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very much the routine to see them expressing themselves and saying, &#39;Here&#39;s me with green hair color, pink hair color,&quot; Inge says. &quot;It&#39;s telling the world, &#39;This is the new me, and I like it!&#39; And, &#39;Here we are!&#39; &quot;</p><p>The surgery isn&#39;t without side effects and these, too, showed up in the study. In addition to the risks of any surgery, bariatric surgery alters how the body digests food &mdash; so most of the teens also had to start taking vitamin and iron supplements after the procedure. And about 13 percent wound up needing additional abdominal surgery &mdash; most commonly gall bladder removal.</p><p>These teenagers and others need continued follow-up to be certain that benefits outweigh risks as the years go on, Inge says. But at least now, teens &mdash; and their parents and doctors &mdash; are starting to get a little more solid information to help guide choices about treatment.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/06/455007824/surgery-helps-some-obese-teens-in-battle-to-get-fit?ft=nprml&amp;f=455007824" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 06 Nov 2015 14:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/surgery-helps-some-obese-teens-battle-get-fit-113784 New dietary guidelines will not include sustainability goal http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dietary-guidelines-will-not-include-sustainability-goal-113222 <p><p>When it comes to eating well, should we consider both the health of our bodies&nbsp;and&nbsp;of the planet?</p><p>Earlier this year, as we<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/02/26/389276051/will-the-dietary-guidelines-consider-the-planet-the-fight-is-on">&nbsp;reported</a>, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that a diet rich in plant-based foods promotes good health &mdash; and is also more&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/12/15/370427441/congress-to-nutritionists-dont-talk-about-the-environment">environmentally sustainable</a>. And, for the first time, the panel recommended that food system sustainability be incorporated into the federal government&#39;s dietary advice.</p><p>But, it turns out, the idea of marrying sustainability guidance with nutrition advice proved to be very controversial.</p><p>And now, President Obama&#39;s two cabinet secretaries who will oversee the writing of the guidelines say they will not include the goal of sustainability.</p><p>&quot;We will remain within the scope of our mandate ... which is to provide nutritional and dietary information,&quot; write U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sylvia Burwell, secretary of Health and Human Services, in a&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/10/06/2015-dietary-guidelines-giving-you-the-tools-you-need-to-make-healthy-choices/">joint statement</a>.</p><p>The two secretaries went on to say that &quot;we do not believe that the 2015 DGA (Dietary Guidelines for Americans) are the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation about sustainability.&quot;</p><p>The statement came just one day in advance of a much-anticipated congressional hearing. Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell are scheduled to <a href="http://www.c-span.org/video/?328598-1/secretaries-tom-vilsack-sylvia-burwell-testimony-nutritional-guidelines#" target="_blank">testify before the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday morning</a> on the topic of the dietary guidelines.</p><p>Advocates have been pushing for inclusion of sustainability goals. The consulting group<a href="http://www.foodminds.com/">&nbsp;Food Minds</a>&nbsp;analyzed 26,643 written, public comments submitted to the federal government on the topic of the dietary guidelines. They found that write-in campaigns by the advocacy groups Friends of the Earth, Food Democracy Now and My Plate, My Planet were the top three sources of comments.</p><p>Last week, in an editorial&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2015/09/30/science.aab2031.abstract">published</a>&nbsp;in&nbsp;Science&nbsp;magazine,&nbsp;<a href="http://gwtoday.gwu.edu/kathleen-merrigan-serve-executive-director-sustainability-institute">Kathleen Merrigan</a>&nbsp;of George Washington University and a group of co-authors wrote that adopting a reference to sustainability in the dietary guidelines would &quot;sanction and elevate the discussion of sustainable diets.&quot;</p><p>Merrigan argues that &quot;by acknowledging benefits of sustainability, the government would open itself up to greater demand for sustainability investments and would signal to consumers that such foods are preferred.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/newdiet.jpg" style="height: 359px; width: 540px;" title="The debate about sustainable diets has focused on meat production, which requires lots of land and water to grow grain to feed livestock. It also contributes to methane emissions. But the cabinet secretaries with final authority say the 2015 dietary guidelines won't include sustainability goals. (David McNew/Getty Images)" /></p><p>The debate about sustainable diets has focused on meat production. As we&#39;ve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters">reported</a>, meat production uses lots of land and water to grow grain to feed livestock. It also contributes to methane emissions.</p><p>&quot;There are a lot of complex issues around livestock production that suggest &mdash;quite strongly &mdash; that we need to reduce meat consumption for sustainability reasons,&quot;Merrigan told us.</p><p>And other foods also have an environmental footprint that we should not ignore. Take, for instance, almonds.</p><p>&quot;It takes up to 2.8 liters of water to produce a single &#39;heart-healthy&#39; almond,&quot; Merrigan and company write in the editorial.</p><p>&quot;With 80 percent of the world&#39;s almonds growing in drought-stricken California, should consumers be advised to limit almond consumption and consider alternatives that consume fewer resources?&quot; Merrigan and her co-authors ask.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_101497980202.jpg" style="height: 389px; width: 540px;" title="In this Tuesday, July 21, 2015 photo, decaying almonds hang from a dead tree in an almond orchard, in Newman, Calif., abandoned by a landowner who couldn't get enough water for irrigation. Due to California's epic drought, Central Valley farmers who depend on water pumped from the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta to irrigate their crops, have seen their water allocations reduced or eliminated altogether. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)" /></div><p>The meat industry has opposed the idea of including sustainability in the dietary guidelines. &quot;In our view, this is clearly out of scope,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/d/sp/i/237/pid/237">Janet Riley</a>&nbsp;of the North American Meat Institute told us.</p><p>She says experts need a more complete understanding of how food production impacts the environment.</p><p>&quot;If you compare 10 pounds of apples and 10 pounds of meat, the meat surely has the larger carbon footprint, but it also delivers more nutrition, it nourishes more people longer&quot; in terms of calories and protein, says Riley.</p><p>She says, going forward, if sustainability is going to be included in the dietary guidelines, there needs to be more data and more experts at the table.</p><p>In a statement, the meat institute&#39;s president and CEO,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/d/sp/i/237/pid/237">Barry Carpenter,</a>&nbsp;praised the secretaries&#39; decision. He called sustainability &quot;an important food issue,&quot; but one &quot;outside of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee&#39;s scope and expertise.&quot;</p><p>The dietary guidelines are updated every five years, so it&#39;s possible that this debate will continue.</p><p>&quot;The compelling science around the need to adjust dietary patterns to ensure long-term food security cannot be ignored,&quot; Merrigan told me after the secretaries issued their statement. &quot;If not [in] the 2015 DGA [Dietary Guidelines for Americans], then maybe the 2020 DGAs.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/06/446369955/new-dietary-guidelines-will-not-include-sustainability-goal?ft=nprml&amp;f=446369955" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-dietary-guidelines-will-not-include-sustainability-goal-113222 Surgeon General Vivek Murthy breaks his quiet on nutrition and says it will be a big part of his tenure http://www.wbez.org/news/science/surgeon-general-vivek-murthy-breaks-his-quiet-nutrition-and-says-it-will-be-big-part <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/surgeon general1.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy - the country&rsquo;s key spokesperson on public health - spoke last week at a luncheon for Chicago&rsquo;s Healthy Schools Campaign. Despite the deep dietary problems faced by Chicago kids, Murthy&rsquo;s speech largely <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/surgeon-general-wants-us-walk-health-113033" target="_blank">glossed over nutrition to focus on walking</a>. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The speech came in the wake of<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-david/step-it-up-coca-cola_b_8131834.html"> similar criticism</a> earlier in the month from filmmaker Laurie David and activist dietitian Andy Bellati. They said Murthy&rsquo;s approach sounded a lot like the way soda companies frame the obesity debate: It&rsquo;s not about what you eat, it&rsquo;s about how much you move. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A pattern seemed to be emerging. It didn&rsquo;t help that Murthy&rsquo;s office offered no response to the articles and took no questions after his Chicago speech.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But Monday, the surgeon general broke his silence in a call to WBEZ. He told us that he actually cares a lot about nutrition. He even plans to launch his next campaign on the topic.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here are some edited excerpts from our interview:</div><div><hr /><p><strong>ENG</strong>: You&rsquo;ve taken some heat recently for perceptions that you emphasize physical activity at the cost of nutrition. Is that a fair reading of your stance?</p></div><div><strong>MURTHY</strong>: There are a lot of issues that I plan to address during my tenure as surgeon general. I began talking about vaccinations during the measles outbreak in the United States. And what I said, even prior to my confirmations, is that prevention is really the central focus for me. And when I think of building a culture of prevention in America, I believe there are three core components: One of them is physical activity, one of them is nutrition and the other is emotional well being. A few weeks ago we rolled out our first initiative on physical activity and, in coming months, we&rsquo;ll be rolling out initiatives on nutrition and emotional well-being as well&hellip;. That&rsquo;s because, in my experience caring for patients, I&rsquo;ve seen that good nutrition is essential for good health, and it&rsquo;s really at the core of being healthy.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>ENG</strong>: Can you give a preview on what you&rsquo;ll be saying about nutrition in that initiative?&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>MURTHY</strong>: &nbsp;A lot of that is still in the works but I can tell you a little bit about why I&rsquo;m concerned in particular about nutrition. My real concern is that we are as a country are not eating enough in the way of fruits and vegetables and we overconsume sugar and salt in particular. This has important consequences for our health, particularly in terms of contributing to chronic illness like diabetes and heart disease. Chronic illness accounts for seven out of 10 deaths in America and they cost us over a trillion dollars a year, which is this is why emphasizing physical activity and nutrition and changes we can make in both realms is so important to addressing chronic disease...</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We are also looking at how we can increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. What&rsquo;s exciting to me is that there are innovative programs out there that are having success in terms of increasing fruits and vegetables. (Murthy cites a program in Virginia that<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/08/10/426741473/healthy-eaters-strong-minds-what-school-gardens-teach-kids" target="_blank"> teaches kids about produce</a> and another in Michigan that <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/11/10/361803607/how-double-bucks-for-food-stamps-conquered-capitol-hill" target="_blank">doubles the value of SNAP dollars</a> when they are spent on local produce.)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So these are some of the issues we&rsquo;re examining right now: how to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and increase water consumption and reduce our consumption of sugar and salt. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>ENG</strong>: Because this was the first thing you rolled out, I think people got the impression that the Surgeon General was simply going to tell us to walk, and not talk about drinking sugary drinks and getting junk out of our diets. What would you say to them? &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>MURTHY</strong>: We are getting to these topics. We are addressing them sequentially, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean that I don&rsquo;t talk about them all the time. When I go to communities across the country I hear about concerns folks have about the lack of availability of nutritious food. I hear concerns about neighborhoods not being safe for physical activity. I hear concerns about prescription opiate abuse, about &nbsp;measles outbreaks and range of other issues that are concerning to folks across the country. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>ENG</strong>: It&rsquo;s no big secret that the food industry and its lobbyists have considerable influence in D.C., and those who speak out against them can find themselves on the end of some tough attacks. Does that ever work into your mind when you say, &lsquo;Ok I&#39;m going to give a speech and instead of attacking sugary drinks I&rsquo;ll focus on physical activity.&rsquo;?&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>MURTHY</strong>: For anyone who has paid attention to my history, not only as Surgeon General, but during my confirmation process as well, I think you know I don&#39;t shy away from controversial issues. I took a lot of heat for talking about controversial issues [gun control] during my confirmation process. And what I said, then and now, is that what drives me in my decision on what to talk about and how to talk about is science and what&rsquo;s going to improve people&rsquo;s health. I come at that as a physician who has seen far too much preventable disease and who feels a great sense of urgency around this because I feel that the longer we take to make changes in physical activity and nutrition and in other areas related to health, the more people experience illness, and the more people pass away prematurely and the more healthcare costs we rack up. So that&rsquo;s what drives me. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng" target="_blank">Chewing The Fat </a>podcast. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org?subject=Surgeon%20General">meng@wbez.org</a></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/surgeon-general-vivek-murthy-breaks-his-quiet-nutrition-and-says-it-will-be-big-part Morning Shift: News from Northwest Indiana http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-02/morning-shift-news-northwest-indiana-111323 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/LHOON.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We&#39;re Indiana bound as we give a little love to &quot;the region&quot; exploring some issues facing the Hoosier state in 2015 with WBEZ&#39;s Michael Puente. We recap the Winter Classic. And, we speak with a best-selling author whose book boasts bacon and a fool-proof fitness plan.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-126/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-126.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-126" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: News from Northwest Indiana " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 08:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-01-02/morning-shift-news-northwest-indiana-111323 Can you lose weight on the marijuana diet? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-you-lose-weight-marijuana-diet-108996 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Marijuana Diet.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://themarijuanadiet.org/">&quot;marijuana diet&quot;</a> may sound like something you&#39;d read about in The Onion. But for its creator, the diet is no joke.</p><p dir="ltr">Art Glass, 66, whose background is in marketing and advertising, says he ballooned up to 345 pounds years ago but returned to a healthy weight by following the tenets of his self-styled strategy, which includes light to moderate smoking but also a healthy diet. <a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/eat-this-author-offers">He talked about it on WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Shift Wednesday.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Glass&rsquo;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Marijuana-Diet-Anonymous-1-ebook/dp/B00EP0UUGA"> e-book &ldquo;The Marijuana Diet&rdquo; &nbsp;went up on Amazon</a> this week and prescribes lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts and nuts along with occasional fasting and superfood smoothies. It further recommends modest amounts of high-quality pastured and grass-fed animal protein, and the elimination of processed foods, white sugar and flour.</p><p dir="ltr">This alone might be enough to improve a dieter&#39;s health, but Glass also suggests regular exercises--mostly long-held poses that can be done on a chair, a couch or standing.</p><p dir="ltr">So is the marijuana aspect of the diet really that crucial? &nbsp;Maybe not for some.</p><p dir="ltr">But for those whose unhealthy eating habits stem from psychological or emotional issues, Glass believes smoking can help them explore the triggers or experiences that have led to their self-destructive behavior.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Losing weight is one of the most challenging things there is,&rdquo; Glass said on the Morning Shift Wednesday. &nbsp;&ldquo;Marijuana helps you get in touch with yourself and let go of the crap you don&rsquo;t need and when you let go of that psychological crap, you will let go of your weight.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Glass uses his own experience as evidence and, in his book, catalogues more than 100 testimonials from Internet users who also report pot-induced weight loss. Their screen names include &ldquo;stonerchick609&rdquo; or &ldquo;smotpoker&rdquo;.</p><p dir="ltr">But he also cites peer reviewed studies that show correlations between pot smoking (among adults) and better metabolic health.</p><p dir="ltr">One <a href="http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/08/24/aje.kwr200.abstract">2011 study that appeared in the American Journal of Epidemiology</a> looked at two large populations of American adults and found obesity rates of 22 percent and 25.3 percent among non-marijuana smokers but only 14.3 percent and 17.2 percent among marijuana smokers, even when researchers controlled for other factors.</p><p dir="ltr">Another <a href="http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2813%2900200-3/abstract">2013 study that appeared in the American Journal of Medicine</a> showed lower insulin levels and waist circumference (an indicator of dangerous visceral fat) among regular pot smokers.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, for Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite, who is the Acting Medical Director at Rush University and a researcher of &nbsp;cannabinoids, these studies show association not causation. In other words, she thinks that the better health could be linked to other factors.</p><p dir="ltr">She also points out what munchie sufferers know well: that marijuana has been traditionally associated with appetite stimulation and increased food consumption rather than appetite suppression. She points to the drug rimonabant that aided weight loss by blocking human cannabinoid (marijuana) receptors--it was later withdrawn from the market due to dangerous side effects.</p><p dir="ltr">Glass says that he&rsquo;s no stranger to the munchies but suggests combating them by taking no more than three tokes per smoking session, smoking alone and never eating while under the influence. &nbsp;He recommends using that time for exercise and self-guided reflections on the root causes of one&rsquo;s unhealthy behavior.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It sounds like the author is recommending self-treatment, being your own psychologist,&rdquo; Kazlauskaite said. &ldquo;For some people it might work but others might benefit from guidance. I would recommend meeting with a behavioral specialist who specializes in therapy for obesity.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Kazlauskaite, however, agrees with some of Glass&rsquo; nutritional advice, especially his emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables and the removal of sugar and processed foods.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Some of these recommendations are really desirable changes for people who want to lose weight or maintain a lighter weight,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;So if someone smokes marijuana but also makes better meal and snack choices then that is better than not making healthy nutritional decisions at all. But it might be that without smoking marijuana people might lose more weight. If someone wants to test this hypothesis the ideal study would be to compare diet alone with diet and marijuana.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng &nbsp;is a WBEZ producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 17:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-you-lose-weight-marijuana-diet-108996 Morning Shift: Diet trends, bikes and music http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-28/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music-107894 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Chicago Bike Sharing_courtesy of Associated Press.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As Chicago launches its bike-share program, we hear from you about if this new service will be utilized or largely ignored. Also, Monica Eng gives us the facts and fallacies about diet trends. And Chicago&#39;s Black Ensemble Theater pays tribute to Howlin&#39; Wolf.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Diet trends, bikes and music " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-28/morning-shift-diet-trends-bikes-and-music-107894 Study: Diet May Help ADHD Kids More Than Drugs http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/2011-03-11/study-diet-may-help-adhd-kids-more-drugs-83599 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//berries.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hyperactivity. Fidgeting. Inattention. Impulsivity. If your child has one or more of these qualities on a regular basis, you may be told that he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If so, they'd be among about 10 percent of children in the United States.</p><p>Kids with ADHD can be restless and difficult to handle. Many of them are treated with drugs, but a new study says food may be the key. Published in <em>The Lancet </em>journal, the study suggests that with a very restrictive diet, kids with ADHD could experience a significant reduction in symptoms.</p><p>The study's lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, writes in <em>The Lancet</em> that the disorder is triggered in many cases by external factors — and those can be treated through changes to one's environment.</p><p>"ADHD, it's just a couple of symptoms — it's not a disease," the Dutch researcher tells <em>All Things Considered</em> weekend host Guy Raz.</p><p>The way we think about — and treat — these behaviors is wrong, Pelsser says. "There is a paradigm shift needed. If a child is diagnosed ADHD, we should say, 'OK, we have got those symptoms, now let's start looking for a cause.' "</p><p>Pelsser compares ADHD to eczema. "The skin is affected, but a lot of people get eczema because of a latex allergy or because they are eating a pineapple or strawberries."</p><p>According to Pelsser, 64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD are actually experiencing a hypersensitivity to food. Researchers determined that by starting kids on a very elaborate diet, then restricting it over a few weeks' time.</p><p>"It's only five weeks," Pelsser says. "If it is the diet, then we start to find out which foods are causing the problems."</p><p>Teachers and doctors who worked with children in the study reported marked changes in behavior. "In fact, they were flabbergasted," Pelsser says.</p><p>"After the diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior," she says. No longer were they easily distracted or forgetful, and the temper tantrums subsided.</p><p>Some teachers said they never thought it would work, Pelsser says. "It was so strange," she says, "that a diet would change the behavior of a child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, a teacher said."</p><p>But diet is not the solution for all children with ADHD, Pelsser cautions.</p><p>"In all children, we should start with diet research," she says. If a child's behavior doesn't change, then drugs may still be necessary. "But now we are giving them all drugs, and I think that's a huge mistake," she says.</p><p>Also, Pelsser warns, altering your child's diet without a doctor's supervision is inadvisable.</p><p>"We have got good news — that food is the main cause of ADHD," she says. "We've got bad news — that we have to train physicians to monitor this procedure because it cannot be done by a physician who is not trained." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. </p> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 23:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/children039s-health/2011-03-11/study-diet-may-help-adhd-kids-more-drugs-83599 Study shows link between diet and mental illness http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/study-shows-link-between-diet-and-mental-illness <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//hair pulling.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="333" width="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-17/hair pulling.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>Diet has long been thought to influence our moods. But researchers have discovered that certain foods might actually trigger certain forms of mental illness.</p><p>Dr. Joseph Garner, associate professor in the department of animal sciences at Purdue University, studies trichotillomania, a disorder that&rsquo;s characterized by repetitive hair pulling. Although trichotillomania has been recognized for thousands of years&mdash;it has been described in Ancient Greek medical texts&mdash;there has been little research done directly on the condition. Doctors know it starts in adolescence and affects between 2 and 4 percent of the population, mainly women.&nbsp; Treatment options are limited.</p><p>Garner and his team hoped to reduce hair pulling behaviors in mice by creating meals high in sugar and tryptophan (an amino acid found in turkey as well as dairy products, soy, tofu and nuts). All the mice were prone to body-focused repetitive behaviors, but only one group were active hair pullers. Instead of getting better, the mice who ate the high-sugar and tryptophan diet got worse.</p><p>&ldquo;The mice that were pulling hair started pulling more hair, mice that weren&rsquo;t pulling hair began to do so or else began scratching at themselves,&rdquo; said Garner. The diet triggered the disorder in the healthy (but genetically prone) mice and made those already sick even sicker.</p><p>Except for the high levels of tryptophan, the diet&rsquo;s equivalent in human terms would be one filled with lots of juices, soda and candy&mdash;pretty much the average American diet. So does this mean junk food heavy diets could be causing some mental illnesses? Maybe. Garner&rsquo;s next step is to replicate the study using the same diet excluding the tryptophan. But if he&rsquo;s right it could mean revolutionary changes in the way we view, and treat, these disorders.</p><p>Dr. David Carbonell, psychologist and director of the Anxiety Treatment Center of Chicago, works with people who have trichotillomania. He hadn&rsquo;t read the study but remains skeptical about the results. &ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t seen evidence in anxiety disorders that diet plays a strong role,&rdquo; he said. Although he welcomes more research into this under-studied disorder, he says cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment available.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Dec 2010 20:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/study-shows-link-between-diet-and-mental-illness