WBEZ | diabetes http://www.wbez.org/tags/diabetes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is it time for the 'Immigrant Diet'? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/it-time-immigrant-diet-110723 <p><p>At a little Asian grocery store on Chicago&rsquo;s north side, Douglas Cheok studies the produce as he shuffles down the aisles. The Malaysian-born communications consultant, carefully selects small amounts of ginger, garlic, leafy greens, and soba noodles.</p><p>Then he stops at a shelf lined with fermented bean curd.</p><p>&ldquo;This salted bean curd soaked in vinegar and oil adds a more solid taste to the noodle soup or whatever you cook,&rdquo; he says sharing an Asian secret to inexpensive flavor. &nbsp;</p><p>Cheok adds the pungent curd to his cart, grabs a few fresh shrimp and heads to the check out line to buy groceries. It all costs less than $15 but he says it will last well over a week.</p><p>Once back in the kitchen, Cheok chops, minces, boils and stir fries his ingredients into a large feast of soup, greens and noodles. In the process, he demonstrates what might hold the key to affordable nutrition for all.</p><p>At least that&rsquo;s the working hunch of public health professor Adam Drewnowski, who is researching folks who upend conventional wisdom by achieving high levels of nutrition on tiny budgets.</p><p>Drewnowski stumbled upon the phenomenon last year when he was examining data on nutrient dense foods. Much of it is fairly expensive, but there were a few exceptions. Among a small group of Mexican American adults Drewnowski found consumers who were achieving high levels of nutrition at a low cost.</p><p>&ldquo;So maybe the secret is being able to transform those real foods, the raw ingredients which can be obtained cheaply at ethnic markets, into tasty meals&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Maybe, if you know how to cook them and transform then you&rsquo;re going to be OK.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Douglas Cheok show how he cooks healthy on a budget</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XKVFUFgUWUM" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Drewnowski is the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington and he&rsquo;ll be looking at a different sample of data later this year from Seattle. There he also expects to find Asian immigrants like Cheok.</p><p>So what is it about these immigrants that allows them to pull off this feat? &nbsp;</p><p>The folks at Oldways believe it&rsquo;s about sticking to traditional diets. OldWays is a nutrition non-profit aimed at improving health through heritage. And it urges folks to adopt many of the healthful tenets of Mediterranean, Latin American and Asian diets. This month they are launching classes on the African Heritage diet as well. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Traditional diets are not expensive diets,&rdquo; says Oldways president Sara Baer-Sinnott. &ldquo;The longer that immigrants are here in the US and become acculturated, the less likely they are to continue their traditional way of eating and therefore their health statistics decline. They become more obese. They have more hypertension. They are overweight. And by following traditional diets, it&rsquo;s not a very expensive way to eat and it&rsquo;s a healthier way to eat.&rdquo;</p><p>These diets can be especially affordable in cities like Chicago with abundant, low-cost ethnic grocers. While limes can cost 50 cents apiece at mainstream stores, they can often be 12 for a dollar at ethnic grocers.</p><p>Kenny Moore is a produce buyer for Pete&rsquo;s Fresh Market which serves heavily ethnic communities. He says that he&rsquo;s able to offer bargain prices because he sells such a large volume.</p><p>&ldquo;On a whole Hispanics and Asians do buy a lot of produce and so it helps our volume and our buying,&rdquo; Moore says. &ldquo;They like cooking and use a lot of herbs and vegetables to do so.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ethnic%20grocer%202.jpg" title="Ethnic grocery stores can offer incredible deals on produce because they sell so much of it, store reps say. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><p>The situation in these ethnic neighborhoods would appear to be a public health professional&rsquo;s dream: affordable, accessible produce and lots of folks who know how to cook it. So does that automatically equal great health? Not always. &nbsp;</p><p>While Asian-Americans suffer less obesity than the general population, Latinos check in with more. In fact, 6th grade Latino boys suffer from the highest childhood obesity levels in the nation, despite generally robust access to fresh produce. &nbsp;</p><p>Public health researchers are still trying to sort it out why this happens.</p><p><strong>&ldquo;</strong>There are plenty of grocery stores in the neighborhood but buying healthy food. It gets tricky,&rdquo; says Erica Rangel a coordinator for <a href="http://enlacechicago.org/">Enlace, a health and education non-profit</a> in the Little Village neighborhood.</p><p>She recently gathered a group of women enrolled in an Enlace healthy gardening program to talk to about what&rsquo;s contributing to poor health in their community.</p><p>Graciela Contreras is a school lunch lady, gardener and grandmother who suffers from diabetes. Ironically, she blames some of the health problems in her community on traditional Mexican foods.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re used to the way we were taught to eat by our parents in Mexico &mdash; to eat tacos and enchiladas all that,&rdquo; she says in Spanish. &ldquo;That comes with more fat. So we are teaching our children and grandchildren to be healthier by eating vegetables. I steam the vegetables now.&rdquo;</p><p>Rangel believes the health issues have more to do with genetic factors, assimilation and little time for scratch cooking.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s easier when you&rsquo;re trying to feed a family and you feel that pressure to just buy in bulk things with higher sodium that are processed foods,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You find it everywhere.&rdquo;</p><p>The other ladies offered similar sentiments. But I also chatted with local 6th grader Victor Marquez. While he doesn&rsquo;t have a weight problem, he says he know a lot of boys who do.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;d have a problem if they ate good food but they eat bad foods,&rdquo; Marquez says. <strong>&ldquo;</strong>They eat junk like frozen stuff, chips, pizza, candy chocolates, lollipops, whatever.&rdquo;</p><p>But what about the fresh fruit stands that operate on nearly every block in Little Village? Don&rsquo;t his pals buy their fresh cups of mangoes, corn, melon and pineapple?</p><p>&ldquo;I always see kids get the chicharrones and the raspados and those aren&rsquo;t good because they&rsquo;re like ink,&rdquo; he says &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Those chicharrones are deep fried artificial pork rinds and the raspados are snow cones drenched in inky sugar syrup. One vendor told me they&rsquo;re her No. 1 seller with kids.</p><p>But there may be hope for these kids off the street and back in the home. Drewnowski has some new research coming out that suggests the longer folks spend cooking, the better they eat. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>That certainly seems to be true for Douglas Cheok.</p><p>Back in his kitchen, he&rsquo;s chopping vegetables and boiling water for his stir fried greens and shrimp noodle soup. In less than an hour he&rsquo;s turned out enough dishes to last him all week. &nbsp;</p><p>As Cheok finally sits down to his his meal of shrimp soup and tofu with greens, he shares a startling secret.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t know how to cook before I came to the States,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;In Malaysia eating out was cheap so I didn&rsquo;t have to cook.&rdquo;</p><p>Still, the retiree says that if he can learn to cook, &ldquo;Anyone can learn. You don&rsquo;t need a college degree to know how to cook. But it is always good to know how to cook.&rdquo;</p><p>And it might not hurt to live near an ethnic grocery store.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/48706770&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/it-time-immigrant-diet-110723 Grilled meats serve up dangerous compounds, but you can avoid some http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/grilled-meats-serve-dangerous-compounds-you-can-avoid-some-110214 <p><p>For many, Memorial Day weekend means it&rsquo;s finally time to bust out two things: the white shoes and blackened meats.&nbsp;</p><p>American dads may take pride in their cross-hatch grill marks, but those juicy, charred slabs of meat are coming under incresing scrutiny for the dangerous compounds they develop when protein meets dry blazing heat.</p><p>These include heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and advanced glycation end products or HCAs, PAHs and AGEs.</p><p>Peter Guengerich is a biochemistry professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He&rsquo;s been studying HCAs and PAHs for 25 years, and he says that, on their own, the compounds aren&#39;t all that dangerous.</p><p>&ldquo;But our bodies have enzyme systems that convert these into reactive compounds,&rdquo; Guengerich said. &ldquo;Things that get stuck irreversibly on your DNA and can cause mutations and potentially cancer, most commonly colon cancer.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s important to note that this has little to do with charcoal vs. gas or other fuels.</p><p>Dr Jaime Uribarri of Mount Sinai Medical Center says what matters are the AGEs &mdash; the crispy, browned, tasty bits that form on the outside of grilled meat and other foods.&nbsp; In the kitchen they&rsquo;re considered flavor, but in most medical labs, Uribarri says, they&rsquo;re linked to inflammation that causes &ldquo;diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, dementia and essentially most of the chronic medical conditions of modern times.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, recent Mount Sinai research shows that mice fed a diet high in AGEs &mdash; similar to a Western diet &mdash; developed marked cognitive decline and precursors to Alzheimers disease and diabetes. Those fed a low-AGE diet were free of those conditions.&nbsp;</p><p>So does this mean an end to the all-American cookout?&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If it is something done only once a year it may not be that bad,&rdquo; Uribarri says.</p><p>Only once a year?</p><p>Professor Guengerich won&rsquo;t go that far, but he does urge moderation.</p><p>&ldquo;Well basically if you only eat these things occasionally, [I&rsquo;m] probably not too concerned,&rdquo; the biochemist said. &ldquo;But if you are making a habit of eating these things every other day, grilled at high temperatures, you probably should think about it a little bit more.&rdquo;</p><p>But before you put away the Weber you should know there are lots of ways to cut down on these compounds at your barbecue.</p><p>To reduce the AGE&rsquo;s, Uribarri suggests a few things.</p><p>&ldquo;Make sure the meat is not left for very long periods of time on the grill,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Whenever possible, the meat should be marinated or freshened with juices during the cooking. And simultaneously, eat a lot of fruits vegetables and things that will kind of antagonize the bad effects of these compounds.&rdquo;</p><p>These would include antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, pomegranates and cherries &mdash; one Michigan butcher even blends them into his burger meat.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/blueberries.jpg" title="Eating antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, cherries and pomegranates with grilled foods may help reduce the harmful effects of grilling byproducts. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG) " /></div><p>Studies also show that marination in wine, vinegar or lemon juice can lower the meat&rsquo;s pH and cut way down on the formation of AGE and HCA. Another study shows that rubbing meat with fresh rosemary can cut HCA development most entirely.</p><p>Guengerich says you should also cover your grill with foil to avoid carcinogenic flare ups that produce PAHs on the surface.</p><p>&ldquo;And if you are particularly concerned you can preheat [the meat] in a microwave and get the juice out,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Then take it out and put it on the grill and you&rsquo;ll actually reduce your exposure by about 90 percent and you won&rsquo;t lose that much in the way of taste either.&rdquo;</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s the low-tech method of simply scraping off what Guengerich calls &quot;the black crud&quot; from the outside of your food. Those grill marks are rich in these carcinogenic compounds.<br /><br />Fans of cole slaw, broccoli and Brussels sprouts may also have more leeway. One study found that regular consumption of these cruciferous vegetables can help clear DNA damage wrought by the grilling process.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>And finally, Uribarri suggests simply swapping the dry high heat cooking for gentler water based methods most of the time.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;So take for example a piece of meat,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;You put it on the grill to cook for half an hour, you generate so many AGEs. Then you take the same piece of meat, but now you put it under a lot of water to cook as a stew, you generate much much fewer. &ldquo;&nbsp;</p><p>This may be effective, but will anyone really want to come over to your house this summer for a burger boil?</p><p>Wiviott doesn&rsquo;t think so.<br /><br />&ldquo;No one wants to eat nine ounces of poached chicken or turkey breast,&rdquo; the pitmaster of Barn &amp; Company says.</p><p>&quot;Conversely, if you grill it and you have texture and crunch and flavor and salt and fat, that&rsquo;s when something really tastes good.&quot;</p><p>Wiviott is the author of &ldquo;Low and Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in FIve Easy Lessons.&rdquo; And he finds&nbsp; it hard to swallow all the recent science deriding his favorite foods.</p><p>&quot;In my lifetime, I&rsquo;ve seen coffee be not good for you; now it&rsquo;s good for you. Red wine not good for you; now it&rsquo;s good for you.&nbsp; Butter, pig fat. Margarine was good for you and now it&rsquo;s not,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I mean, since the cavemen started cooking, people have cooked their meat over an open fire and we&rsquo;re still around. So I can&rsquo;t imagine that it&rsquo;s all that bad for you&hellip;.Plus, it&rsquo;s absolutely delicious.&quot;</p><p>So does this mean you have to choose between boiled meat or colon cancer? Between long life and a char-striped hot dog?</p><p>&ldquo;Well it is a carcinogen,&rdquo; Guengerich says. &ldquo;But I don&rsquo;t want people to have a guilty conscience or feel like they are going to get cancer tomorrow. Just be moderate about your consumption of anything. Grilled foods included.&quot;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Farmers-market-cabbage.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts can help clear DNA damage from byproducts of grilled meats. (WBEZ/MONICA ENG) " /></div><p><strong>Tips for Reducing Grilled Food Dangers</strong></p><p>If you don&rsquo;t want to give up grilling meat all together, experts say, there are several ways to reduce the formation and your consumption of heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and advanced glycation end products. Here are some of them:</p><ul><li>Pre-cook your meat in a pot of water, a low-temperature oven or microwave before finishing briefly on the grill.</li><li>Cover grill with foil to reduce drips and flare ups, which produce PAHs, or consider wrapping your meat in foil before placing it on the grill.&nbsp;</li><li>Marinate meat with vinegar, lemon juice or wine for at least 10 minutes before grilling. This can alter its pH, thus reducing the formation of AGEs during cooking.</li><li>Rub your meat with rosemary or other antioxidant rich fresh herbs before cooking.</li><li>Before eating, scrape off the carcinogenic &ldquo;black crud&rdquo; that may develop on meat or other foods during grilling.</li><li>Remove browned and blackened chicken skin before eating.</li><li>Eat cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis to provide your body with sulforaphane, which has been known to help clear DNA damaging compounds more quickly.</li><li>Eat antioxidant rich, deeply colored fruits and vegetables with your grilled meats to help counter the effects of the compounds.&nbsp;</li><li>Consider a weenie boil rather than a weenie roast. You will produce many fewer AGEs in the process.&nbsp;</li></ul></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 21 May 2014 11:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/grilled-meats-serve-dangerous-compounds-you-can-avoid-some-110214 Morning Shift: Thanksgiving is a time to reflect-and share with the community http://www.wbez.org/morning-shift-thanksgiving-time-reflect-and-share-community-109265 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/cover Flickr The Wu&#039;s Photo Land.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We examine how SNAP cuts could impact those in our community this Thanksgiving and beyond. Plus, how do diabetics navigate the holiday season? And, the music of Nick Tremulis.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-what-we-re-mindful-of-this-thanksgiv/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-what-we-re-mindful-of-this-thanksgiv.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-what-we-re-mindful-of-this-thanksgiv" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Thanksgiving is a time to reflect-and share with the community" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 08:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/morning-shift-thanksgiving-time-reflect-and-share-community-109265 Women’s hospital aims for ‘baby friendly’ status http://www.wbez.org/story/women%E2%80%99s-hospital-aims-%E2%80%98baby-friendly%E2%80%99-status-96224 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/breast feeding_Flickr_thekmancom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. (AP/File)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-08/Prentice.jpg" style="margin: 9px 18px 6px 1px; float: left; width: 254px; height: 380px;" title="The facility, part of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, delivers about 12,000 babies a year. (AP/File)">A hospital that delivers more than a quarter of babies born in Chicago is entering an international program that aims to improve the health of both newborns and their mothers. The program focuses on breastfeeding.</p><p>Prentice Women’s Hospital, part of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, is planning to follow 10 guidelines set by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund, also known as UNICEF.</p><p>The guidelines include helping mothers begin breastfeeding within an hour of birth, providing infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically necessary, giving no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding babies and allowing mothers and newborns to room together around the clock.</p><p>Prentice, one of eight Chicago hospitals to apply for the baby-friendly status so far, delivers about 12,000 infants a year, more than any other facility in the city. The path toward the designation includes extensive staff training and new hospital policies. The process could last years.</p><p>“All the staff in the hospital will get some exposure to what it means to be a baby-friendly hospital,” said Adam Becker, executive director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, a federally funded group that works with the city to help hospitals enter the international program. “Then there are many categories of staff that do more hands-on training.”</p><p>“If Prentice takes all these steps,” Becker added, “roughly 27 percent of babies born in Chicago and their mothers will have access to the most supportive environment possible to encourage breastfeeding from birth.”</p><p>But the program has a downside, according to Dr. Maura Quinlan, vice chairwoman of the Illinois section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “The main issue is time, especially documenting the whole process and the 10 steps,” she said. “I don’t think many smaller hospitals have the resources to go through the application.”</p><p>“The designation is something the hospital can show on its website but it doesn’t mean that other hospitals don’t provide the same services,” said Quinlan, who delivers babies at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn.</p><p>Prentice’s quest for baby-friendly status marks a turnaround of sorts. Years ago the hospital eliminated many of its lactation-specialist positions.</p><p>Illinois birth-certificate data for the six months ending last July 31 suggest that about 80 percent of Prentice newborns breastfed there. By that measure, the hospital ranked sixth among 19 facilities that deliver babies in the city.</p><p>The first hospital in Chicago to apply for the baby-friendly status was Holy Cross last summer. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/after-wbez-report-hospital-steps-breastfeeding-efforts-90006">A top official there said a WBEZ report</a> about the hospital’s breastfeeding performance made improvement a priority.</p><p>The other Chicago applicants include Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital, the University of Illinois Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital, Resurrection Medical Center and Roseland Community Hospital.</p><p>More than 15,000 facilities in 134 countries have earned the baby-friendly status since the program’s 1991 launch, according to UNICEF. In the United States, just 125 hospitals had received the designation by December, according to New York-based Baby-Friendly USA Inc., a chapter of the international program. The only two in Illinois are Pekin Hospital in downstate Pekin and St. John’s Hospital, further south in Springfield.</p><p>U.S. health officials say breastfeeding helps newborns avoid infections, obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. For mothers, they say it reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies get no solids or liquids other than breast milk for the first six months of life.</p></p> Thu, 09 Feb 2012 11:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/women%E2%80%99s-hospital-aims-%E2%80%98baby-friendly%E2%80%99-status-96224 Leaving poor neighborhoods brings health benefits http://www.wbez.org/story/leaving-poor-neighborhoods-brings-health-benefits-93302 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-19/Cabrini.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Moving from public housing to a better-off neighborhood might come with health benefits, according to a unique study led by Chicago researchers.</p><p>During the 1990s, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development paid for 1,788 women with children to move out of public housing and into low-poverty neighborhoods as part of the Moving to Opportunity program. A comparable group remained in public housing. That set up a perfect experimental situation for researchers, who could now examine how the group who moved fared compared with the control group.</p><p>In a batch of data <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1103216">published in the New England Journal of Medicine, </a>they found that women who moved had much better rates – about 20 percent lower – of obesity and diabetes than women who stayed in public housing.</p><p>“I was actually surprised by the size of the effects,” said Jens Ludwig, professor of law and public policy at the University of Chicago. “Having the opportunity to move from a high-poverty to a lower-poverty neighborhood had about the same size impact on diabetes as what you see from things like lifestyle interventions or medication.”</p><p>The study didn’t examine why that’s the case, but Ludwig said previous research suggests some possible explanations. It could be that poor neighborhoods have worse food options, fewer opportunities for exercise, and higher levels of stress. The study included residents of Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, as well as women from four other cities.</p></p> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 21:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/leaving-poor-neighborhoods-brings-health-benefits-93302 Coalition recommends first-ever nutrition and exercise standards for after school programs http://www.wbez.org/story/coalition-recommends-first-ever-nutrition-and-exercise-standards-after-school-programs-90346 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-10/Kid at playground_Flickr_Phalinn Ooi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A coalition of groups, including the Chicago-based national YMCA, has issued the first-ever comprehensive national nutritonal and physical activity guidelines for camps and after school programs.&nbsp;</p><p>The standards were issued Tuesday by the Healthy Out-of-School Time Coalition and coordinated by the YMCA, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College.</p><p>They include a common sense-approach including serving fruits and vegetables instead of more sugary, fatty treats; and offering water rather than juices or soda.&nbsp; Half-day programs should offer at least half an hour of physical activity; full-day programs should offer at least an hour.</p><p>“Energy balance and appropriate physical activity are critical to good health and preventing childhood obesity, which is reaching record numbers in this country,” says project co-leader Ellen S. Gannett, director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time. “If out-of-school programs can influence smart choices for children when they’re away from home and out of the classroom, they will be an important component in the campaign to fight childhood obesity.”</p><p>The new standards have already been adopted by the National Afterschool Association (NAA), and local YMCA's will begin the process of adopting the standards this year.</p><p>According to the coalition, more than eight million children nationwide participate in out-of-school programs for at least three hours a day.</p></p> Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/coalition-recommends-first-ever-nutrition-and-exercise-standards-after-school-programs-90346 Study: sleep loss saps testosterone http://www.wbez.org/story/study-sleep-loss-saps-testosterone-87259 <p><p>Losing sleep might sap men’s testosterone, according to <a href="http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/21/2173.extract">new research by Chicago scientists</a>. Men release most of their testosterone during sleep, so University of Chicago professor Eve Van Cauter wanted to see if less sleep meant less of the hormone.</p><p>She recruited volunteers and restricted their sleep to just five hours per night for eight days. At the end of that stretch, her team took blood samples to test for hormone levels. They found an average 15 percent drop in testosterone.</p><p>“And 15 percent is not an insignificant amount, since it is about the amount that occurs with normal aging by 10 to 15 years,” Van Cauten said.</p><p>So in one respect, a week of bad sleep is like aging a decade or more.</p><p>Testosterone plays a role in reproductive health, but also in insulin sensitivity, bone density and general vigor. Scientists are interested in how the reduction might affect everything from fertility to weight gain and diabetes.</p><p>The study sample was small – just 10 subjects – and limited to lean, healthy young men. There are many open questions, like how the effect might change over time and how it translates to women and older or overweight subjects. But the finding, out in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adds to growing evidence that sleep deprivation has big effects on hormone levels.</p></p> Wed, 01 Jun 2011 04:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/study-sleep-loss-saps-testosterone-87259 Hospital regulators let formula vie with breast milk http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Vanessa3.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 199px;" title="Lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes says Cook County’s Stroger Hospital has a long way to go. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)"></div><p>A new French study shows that breastfeeding may have lasting benefits for a child’s metabolism. Other studies suggest breastfeeding helps prevent infections, chronic diseases and obesity. Evidence like this has moved the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend giving babies no food or drink other than breast milk for their first six months. At many Chicago-area hospitals, though, breast milk competes with baby formula. At some of them, the real stuff usually loses. From our West Side bureau, we compare how the area’s hospitals approach breastfeeding and see whether watchdog agencies are paying much attention.</p><p>MITCHELL: Certified lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes landed a job in December.</p><p>STOKES: I was excited just to get to that place to really make a difference.</p><p>MITCHELL: That place was the maternity ward of Cook County’s Stroger Hospital. Stokes was there to encourage and train moms to breastfeed. But she noticed the hospital giving them signals it was OK to feed newborns formula.</p><p>STOKES: I saw bottles in the cribs.</p><p>MITCHELL: Then Stokes met one of the hospital’s newest mothers. Like many patients on the ward, she was young and black. What was less usual was her file. It showed she’d been planning to breastfeed.</p><p>STOKES: The baby was born and then, at night, she had some problems with latch-on, which happens. She said, ‘The nurse told me to give the baby a bottle.’ That’s what she told me.</p><p>MITCHELL: You believe her?</p><p>STOKES: Yes, I do. Most nurses, they just don’t want to take the time to help moms. They have a million other things to do.</p><p>MITCHELL: And there was no breastfeeding peer counselor or lactation consultant on duty overnight?</p><p>STOKES: No.</p><p>MITCHELL: One of Stokes’ supervisors at Stroger confirms that the hospital keeps bottles in cribs and that the nurses sometimes give out formula without any medical reason. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals">Birth-certificate data</a> show that less than 60 percent of infants born at Stroger get to breastfeed there. And there are more places like this. A dozen Chicago-area hospitals have even lower rates. The data show there’s one on the South Side where just 10 percent of newborns start breastfeeding.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door closes.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): I’m inside that hospital now. It’s called Holy Cross. I’m taking an elevator to the 6th floor to see Anita Allen-Karriem. She directs what Holy Cross calls its Family Birth Center.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door opens. Intercom voice. Birth Center door opens.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem shows me around the ward.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: And, as you can see, this is our rooming-in. And our moms are here and they can have their baby here 24/7...</p><p>MITCHELL: She says Holy Cross initiates breastfeeding within an hour of birth.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: My nurses have the tools that they need to assist with breastfeeding the mom. And we encourage breastfeeding on demand.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): How many lactation consultants do you have on staff?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: We don’t have any. Our volume does not support that at this particular time.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): Any peer counselors that come in as volunteers? Breastfeeding peer counselors?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: No, we don’t have that at the present.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem says convincing her patients to breastfeed is not always easy. She says most have not received any prenatal care before showing up in labor. Even more than Stroger Hospital, Holy Cross lets breast milk compete with formula. Allen-Karriem says her hospital sends moms home with a few days worth of formula. The idea’s to tide them over, until they get into a federal nutrition program that provides more.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: Is it the best method of nutrition? No, it is not. Breastfeeding is. However, it’s the mom’s choice. If she wants to exclusively breastfeed, we do not send her home with formula. However, because she has not chosen to breastfeed, would you send her outside your doors with no way to feed her infant and no way to buy any formula?</p><p>MITCHELL: Again, Holy Cross is at the bottom when it comes to breastfeeding rates in Chicago-area hospitals. Experts say that’s not a big surprise since it doesn’t have lactation consultants and gives out all that formula. But some hospitals are taking a different tack.</p><p>INTERCOM: Stroke alert for the Emergency Room...</p><p>MITCHELL: Like Stroger and Holy Cross, Mount Sinai on Chicago’s West Side serves mostly low-income patients. Last year about half the babies born at the hospital were getting breastfed there. To lift that rate, Mount Sinai says it’s planning to apply for a pro-breastfeeding designation from the United Nations called Baby Friendly.</p><p>SAIDEL: This is the room where the hearing screen is done...</p><p>MITCHELL: Lou-Ellen Saidel is one of two half-time lactation consultants on Mount Sinai’s maternity ward. She says you can see the effect of the Baby Friendly program right in this room. Saidel says the nurses used to quiet down babies for hearing tests by giving them formula. Now, she points to a big sign at eye level.</p><p>SAIDEL: It says, ‘Bottles should only be given for a documented medical reason.’ So now they don’t use formula on breastfeeding babies anymore in here.</p><p>MITCHELL: Saidel says Mount Sinai puts almost every staffer who comes into contact with new mothers or infants through breastfeeding training...</p><p>SAIDEL: ...from registered nurse to secretary. This is a process of people acquiring skills that were not taught in nursing school and medical school.</p><p>MITCHELL: For the Baby Friendly designation, some Sinai staffers will need more training. The sessions won’t cost the hospital much money but will eat up staff time. That could explain why no Chicago hospital has applied for the designation. But a lot of breastfeeding experts say the hospitals should give it a try.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Breastfeeding is one those priority areas that are life-and-death for their patients.</p><p>MITCHELL: Rachel Abramson is a former post-partum nurse who heads a Chicago nonprofit group called HealthConnect One.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Those of us who grew up thinking that formula feeding is the norm and perfectly adequate have a hard time shifting our vision to see the risks of illness in the first year of life, juvenile diabetes, of breast cancer for mother, of obesity and diabetes — lifelong — for mothers and babies.</p><p>MITCHELL: Abramson says the costs for treating these diseases often ends up on the shoulders of taxpayers. If that’s the case, you might think the government and hospital oversight groups would push hard for better breastfeeding rates. But they don’t push. They mostly nudge.</p><p>MITCHELL: One group with some accountability is the Oakbrook Terrace-based Joint Commission. It accredits hospitals. Ann Watt helps direct the commission’s quality-evaluation division. Watt says about a year ago the commission published some standards for hospitals to measure whether newborns were breastfeeding.</p><p>WATT: Our medical experts have indicated to us that this is a best practice.</p><p>MITCHELL: But these commission standards are voluntary. In fact, just three Illinois hospitals have adopted them.</p><p>MITCHELL (on phone): Could a hospital be performing poorly by these measures and still get accreditation?</p><p>WATT: Yes.</p><p>MITCHELL: Another group with some say is the Illinois Hospital Association. I asked the group whether it would support more public oversight of hospital breastfeeding practices. A spokesman declined to answer on tape but sent a statement saying the rules should not be rigid. The statement says breastfeeding management should begin with prenatal care, not the mother’s hospital stay. The hospital association also points out that the decision to breastfeed is personal.</p><p>MITCHELL: The folks with the most to say about hospitals breastfeeding rates are at the Illinois Department of Public Health. The department is in charge of enforcing the state’s hospital-licensing code. The code requires hospitals to follow basic breastfeeding guidelines that two physician groups published in 2007. In a statement to WBEZ, the Illinois Department of Public Health says it investigates breastfeeding infection-control issues. Otherwise, though, the department says it does not enforce the guidelines. That leaves public policy on breastfeeding largely up to individual hospitals — places like Stroger, Mount Sinai and Holy Cross.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Baby Friendly effort. Chicago officials announced in August 2010 that Mount Sinai was seeking the international designation. The hospital registered to begin that four-phase process in September 2011.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk North Lawndale native brings Harvard cred back to the neighborhood http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/north-lawndale-native-brings-harvard-cred-back-neighborhood <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_3256.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>For a kid growing up in an impoverished Chicago neighborhood, getting to college is a big deal. Getting a Harvard doctorate is practically unheard of. But what makes Joseph West unique is that after he got that elite degree, he moved right back to the harsh streets of his old neighborhood.</p><p>Now he works in the very homes of his neighbors, in the belief that healing a community begins with improving its health.</p><p>When they started knocking on doors, Joseph West's team of health workers were in stiff competition with the Jehovah's Witnesses and the census.</p><p>Now, the team has the blocks of North Lawndale largely to themselves.</p><p>They're out to knock on at least 2,500, count the people affected by diabetes, and enroll them in a large study.</p><p>Today they're on South St. Louis Avenue, following up with Michael Hudson.</p><p>CAMP: You been taking your blood sugar and everything? HUDSON: Yeah, it was 87. CAMP: Oh, that's wonderful!</p><p>North Lawndale, like other poor, black neighborhoods in Chicago, has a disproportionate share of chronic disease.</p><p>Joseph West is an epidemiologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital</p><p>He and his team are trying to mobilize a whole culture around health, starting person by person.</p><p>SHEPHERD: So we want to know what made the difference. HUDSON: Jay’s potato chips. SHEPHERD: So you're learning one thing about not snacking last night, your sugars will be better in the morning time. So that's another thing we can add to your action plan.</p><p>The early survey results are sobering.</p><p>Like Hudson, more than one in four people surveyed have diabetes – three times the national rate – and at least that many more are at high risk.</p><p>These aren't just data to Joseph West – this is his neighborhood. His family.</p><p>WEST: Essentially I actually live down the street. I live on the other end of St. Louis, down there. And my mother lives four doors down. At one point, my family lived on four different houses on St. Louis.</p><p>West grew up in a poor family, steeped in the causes of the 1960s.</p><p>He got himself into college … flunked out … clawed his way back in.</p><p>And he wound up working on a big public health study in Chicago, run by a guy named John Holton.</p><p>Holton now heads the Better Boys Foundation in North Lawndale.</p><p>HOLTON: Joe is a kind of guy who seems very stoic, but he's got a great, easy smile, laughs from a very deep place in his body. You are very comfortable when you're with Joe West.</p><p>The two men shared a love of chess and jazz.</p><p>And Holton nurtured another passion in West.</p><p>HOLTON: He really wants to see a level playing field. And a level playing field begins with one's health.</p><p>Mentors like Holton helped West send out 11 grad school applications.</p><p>Ten were rejected.</p><p>His one acceptance letter came from Harvard.</p><p>It was a triumph for West … but not his last big battle.</p><p>Harvard brought culture shock and money pressures … and then devastation when his little brother was arrested for murder.</p><p>WEST: I wanted to quit, and I actually did quit once. But it was the community that embraced me and said, we need you. You can do more for us with a degree than you can without it.</p><p>He says once he got that degree, there was no question of going anywhere but North Lawndale – a place he loves, and also tries to be realistic about.</p><p>WEST: To be quite honest it’s mixed, right? I feel a tremendous obligation. But then you get a little mixed feelings when you're in your backyard and you’re playing with your son, there's gunfire a block away on the alley and you have to pick your son up and run in the house, so. It's a delicate walk.</p><p>Perhaps the central lesson he's learned has to do with the connections between how a neighborhood gets like that, and the health of its people.</p><p>WEST: So part of this is trying to figure out how you build that sense of community around this small issue of diabetes, which feeds into this bigger issue. Access to not just medical care but access to food, recreation, et cetera. The things that improve anybody's quality of life.</p><p>It’s clear that West isn't the first person to make these connections.</p><p>WEST: OK. 1600 block of Hamlin …</p><p>That block of Hamlin where the team is heading next is significant.</p><p>Its north end is where, in 1966, Martin Luther King moved in and put North Lawndale at the center of the civil rights movement.</p><p>WEST: You know King said one of the greatest fights for equality is that of health and well-being. And we have a community where we're trying to do just that.</p><p>Adjacent to King's old address, that fight continues … block by block and door by door.</p><p>Dr. Joseph West says he can't imagine working anywhere else.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Read more about the <a href="http://www.suhichicago.org/files/APHA_Presentation_1110_2010.pdf">Block by Block North Lawndale</a>.</p><p>You can learn about Joseph West's memoir, <a href="http://joseph-west.com/">"Trod the Stony Road: A Young Man's Journey from the Mississippi to the Charles."</a></p><p>West's project is part of the broader project of the <a href="http://www.suhichicago.org/">Sinai Urban Health Institute.</a></p><p><em>Music Button: Zeb, "The Rude Boy Style", from the CD The Sound of Rhythm &amp; Culture, (ESL) </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Jan 2011 20:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/north-lawndale-native-brings-harvard-cred-back-neighborhood