Hotdogs Linked to Leukemia Risk

Last year, it was discovered processed meats and cheese speed up the growth of lung cancer tumors. And now, new research in BMC Cancer found children who consume cured meats, like hotdogs and bacon, were 74% more likely to develop leukemia. It’s believed nitrites, which build up in cured and smoked meats, amplify cancer-risk. Conversely, researchers suggest the potent antioxidants in vegetables and soy foods may help protect against cancer; Reuters reports.

Not surprising, Dr. Fuhrman considers processed meat, like luncheon meat, as one of the worst meat options available and discourages eating them, especially expectant mothers. Women who eat hotdogs while pregnant put their child at risk for brain tumors later in life.

And other research has shown diets high in saturated fat, i.e. meat, increase the progression of prostate cancer, while eating lots of fruits and vegetables stomps breast cancer risk!

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Study Compares Veggie Diets vs. Low-Carb --UPDATE--

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Steven Acocella, MS, DC, DACBN and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

At the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association researchers evaluated the short to medium term weight loss results of popular diets. Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity grouped the most popular diets into categories based upon the prescribed ratios of energy for each macronutrient. If you remember from Nutrition 101, caloric energy comes from only 3 sources, fat, carbohydrate and protein. For example, diets such as The South Beach Diet and The Atkins Diet derive 50% or more calories from fat while Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live derives the majority of energy from natural, unrefined carbohydrate.

The study looked at food intake over a 2 year period and included several hundred participants who followed the various diet styles compliantly. They then analyzed the relationship between a reduction of Body Mass Index (BMI), the diet style and the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).

The Healthy Eating Index scores were highest for the vegetarian or near vegetarian diet style and lowest for the low carbohydrate, high fat diets. Conversely, energy intake was highest for the Low Carbohydrate group, often exceeding the average accepted recommendations of 2000 Kcal/day or men and 1500 Kcal/day for women. This is strange considering these were weight loss eating plans that were followed intently.

The weight loss results were no surprise. The healthiest body mass was seen in the vegetarian group. A direct, proportional relationship was seen with a rise in the percentage of calories derived from fat and BMI. As the percentage of fat calories increased so did those subject’s BMI. Total calories were also directly related to the percentage of dietary fat with the average daily energy intake for the vegetarian or nearly vegetarian group consuming 1450 Kcal/day and the high fat diet group consuming 2200 Kcal/day. Researchers noted the relationship between the Healthy Eating Index verses calorie and fat percentages were inversely related.

Putting all this together, this important study using an excellent group of subjects has made the following observations: diets low in fat have the highest Healthy Eating Index scores and are generally the lowest in total calories. Those subjects on these diets enjoyed the most favorable BMI measurements and other biomarkers of health. Conversely, the high fat, low carbohydrate diet styles have the lowest Healthy Eating Index scores and those that consumed this diet style had poor BMI measurements and other indicators of health.

It is worth mentioning that the authors of this study discuss a review of the literature suggests that weight loss is independent of dietary composition and is solely a result of total calories consumed. They suggest that their findings, although supportive of this confers that successful, healthy weight loss over time is a function of quality as well as quantity.

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had some thoughts on Steven’s post:

My health equation, Health = Nutrition / Calories is almost entirely ignored by the scientific community. If the micronutrient density index of a particular diet was published along with the other characteristics researchers would place less emphasis on the relative macronutrient composition and more on the micronutrient composition. Nevertheless, the long-term health potential of a given diet is based so much more on its micronutrient profile rather than its macronutrient profile.

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DHA Helps Brain Development of Premature Girls

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals increased DHA intake in premature babies improved the neurodevelopment of girls. Scientists gave breastfeeding mothers a DHA supplement or a placebo. The breast milk of the supplement group had .85% concentration of total fatty acids. The placebo group was only .25%. Researchers also tested two varieties of baby formula, one with a 1.1% concentration of total fatty acids and the other with 0.42%. At 18 months, infants were given standard developmental tests and those on high DHA diets scored 5 points higher than infants on a normal DHA diet and had less mental delay; via Martek Biosciences Corporation.

DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an essential nutrient for optimal brain. Our brains are 50% fat! And children's diets are notoriously low in short-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which the body converts into DHA. DHA deficiency has been linked to dyslexia, depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders. But according to Dr. Fuhrman, most people can make sufficient DHA from omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are found in walnuts, flax seeds, green vegetables, algae and fish that eat the algae.

And Dr. Fuhrman sells his own DHA supplement called DHA Purity. It’s veggie-derived, made from microalgae. Microalgae refers to phytoplankton, microphytes and planktonic algae.

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ADHD Drugs Give Kids Hallucinations!

According to a new study in Pediatrics many drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause hallucinations in children, even when taken as directed. Researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviewed 49 clinical studies, conducted by pharmaceutical companies, and determined ADHD drugs can cause psychosis in some children, specifically worms, bugs and snakes crawling all over them. The list of medications included Ritalin, Focalin XR, Adderall XR, Daytrana, Concerta, Strattera, Celltech and Metadate CD; Reuters investigates.

My goodness, how many Scrabble points is all that worth! Now, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of bombarding kids with drugs for ADHD, calling these medications unnecessary. Instead, he recommends a nutrient-dense diet, devoid of processed foods and packed with healthy foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and brain-building omega-3 fatty acids. And avoid food dyes too! They’ve been linked to ADHD.

Oh, and it was recently discovered drinking a lot of instant coffee causes hallucinations too.

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Family-Based Approach Helps Kids Lose Weight

Change the way kids think about health and lifestyle. According to new research, published by The Cochrane Library, family-based interventions, such as improving diet and more physical activity, help overweight children lose weight more than conventional self-help approaches. Scientists insist it’s important for parents to get involved and influence their children’s behavior; Reuters investigates.

Instilling healthy habits early is a great idea, especially when it comes to fitness. It’s been reported that a person’s activity level in youth, influences their over health as an adult. Maybe that’s why South Korea is giving away free gym memberships to children. Darn it! I want a free membership.

And don’t forget. Studies have shown kids eat like their parents. So dad, put down deep-fried hotdog!

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Veggies Scarce in Poor Communities

A new analysis of 54 studies in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals America’s poorer neighborhoods have fewer supermarkets selling a variety of healthy foods at cheaper prices and more convenience stores that sell less fresh food at higher prices. Minorities and low-income individuals living near supermarkets consumed more fruits and vegetables, in some areas consumption rose by 32%. Poorer communities are also more likely to have more fast food restaurants; Reuters reports.

In New York City, supermarkets are leaving low-income communities, making it harder for residents to find fresh food. Officials claim 3 million people live in high-need neighborhoods, classified as having too many health problems and too few supermarkets. Lack of healthy food and the glut of fast food joints are fueling alarming rates of diabetes and obesity in poorer communities.

But some people are taking a stand. Los Angeles city officials want a moratorium on new fast food restaurants and other L.A. residents are turning empty lots into vibrant vegetable gardens. Awesome!

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Take it Easy, Stress Will Make You Crazy!

Next time you’re freaked out, calm down. A new study in Neurology claims people who cope with stress are less likely to develop dementia. In outgoing, social people the findings were particularly high. A decreased risk was also observed in less social people that could still handle stress well. Researchers tracked 506 older people for 6 years, during this time 106 became demented. In the beginning, participants filled out questionnaires to determine their personality type and stress level; CNN reports.

I deal with stress by bashing my head against the wall. Kidding! Actually, for me Yoga is a huge stress alleviator. And a previous study reveals mediation and prayer techniques, like those found in Yoga, might change people’s gene activity and help them better react to stress. Shanti, shanti!

And other reports show being social improves memory and reducing stress helps you live longer.

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China, Lethal Punishments for Toxic Milk

In a swift and harsh act of justice, China has sentenced 2 men involved with the milk-melamine crisis to death and another man to life in prison. With 6 fatalities and 300,000 babies suffering kidney disease from ingesting baby formula tainted with melamine, a pesticide, China sought an abrupt and decisive end to a national embarrassment and has since taken steps to improve food safety; via BusinessWeek.

Initially China encouraged citizens to breast feed in order to avoid tainted formula and the United States Food and Drug Administration urged consumers not to buy Chinese-made baby formula. And recently research discovered exposure to melamine can cause painful kidney stones.

In 2007, the U.S. quarantined 6,000 hogs contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid, an ingredient in bleach and herbicides.

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Heart Health: Potassium Good, Sodium Bad...

Salt’s a bad guy! Dr. Fuhrman says consuming salt boosts stroke risk and previous studies show sodium leads to hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure. Even sea salt is a bad idea. When he was on Studio 10 TV in St. Petersburg, Florida, this past November, Dr. Fuhrman explained the supposed health benefits of sea salt don’t out weigh the negatives.

And now, a new study in Archives of Internal Medicine claims high sodium intake and low potassium consumption increases heart disease risk by 24%. Scientists collected data from 2275 participants, ages 30 to 54, with pre-hypertension. After examining urine excretion, researchers determined those people peeing out more sodium and less potassium were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease; from FoodNavigator-USA.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with a myriad of nutrients and vitamins. And foods like strawberries and plums are excellent sources of potassium. So, go buy some!

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Junk Food Ads in Health Magazines

Hypocrisy, thy name is advertising. A new study in the European Journal of Public Health reveals 25.5% of advertisements in 30 popular British magazines are for ready-made meals, soups and sauces, which are full of salt. Another 23% are for high-fat and sugary foods, like ice-cream, chocolate bars, sweets and soft drinks. Only 1.8% of the adverts are for fruits and vegetables. And here’s the kicker, many of these advertisements appear alongside articles with healthy messages; ScienceDaily investigates.

Can’t say I’m shocked! Now, in December, research came out claiming sophisticated marketing campaigns do not acknowledge a drug’s rarer complications and hides any lack of long-term testing, putting people at increased risk of serious side-effects.

As for food advertising, last year Kellogg’s announced it would cut advertisements aimed at young children.

Via That’s Fit.

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Salt Lake City is the Fittest City

The World Health Organization estimates 1.6 billion adults, ages 15 and up, were overweight and 400 million adults were obese, worldwide. So, where are all these fat people coming from? Definitely not Salt Lake City! A new survey found Salt Lake, Utah, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Minneapolis, Minnesota are the top 3 fittest cities in the United States. But, Miami, Florida, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and San Antonio, Texas made the list as America’s top 3 fattest cities; via Men’s Fitness.

We better watch out! There’s going to be an all brawl between U.S. cities. In November, the Centers for Disease Control said Burlington, Vermont has the healthiest people in America. Although, Las Vegas has got to be happy, they broke their 2-year streak of being the fattest city in the country. Kudos!

As a nation, we need to reel this obesity thing in. Obesity costs the U.S. more than $100 billion a year.

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Britons Choke Down Healthy Food...

Many Brits love a full English breakfast, but hate nutritious foods, like spinach, mushrooms, lentils, onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and other vegetables. But, they still eat them! According to a new report, during their lifetime, people living in the United Kingdom consume 4,000 portions of foods they dislike, because they know eating them is healthy. Nutritionists are astonished by the amount of food people are forcing themselves to eat; The Telegraph investigates.

Wow, that’s hardcore! But not nearly as tough as the mums who started dealing hamburgers on the playground when the local school tried to improve its menu, now that’s gangster!

Via CalorieLab.

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Rubber Chemical Linked to Cancer

Your rubber ducky may be more dangerous than you think. According to a new study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine a chemical called 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT), commonly used in rubber products, may heighten cancer risk. Researchers examined data on plant workers from 1955 to 1984 and 1971 to 1984 and determined those exposed to fumes during the manufacturing process were twice as likely to develop colon cancer and 4 times as likely to get bone marrow cancer; Reuters reports.

Great, another chemical to worry about! If you recall, Bisphenol-A (BPA) was all over the news last year. BPA is used to make hard plastic and has been linked to learning impairments and depression and prostate cancer and breast cancer.

So, be mindful of your environment, especially if you have kids!

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Way More Americans Could Go on Statins!

Pretty soon, 11.2 million more people could be put on cholesterol-lowering medications. A new study in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes reveals statins, such as Crestor and Lipitor, can lower heart attack and stroke risk by 44%. Currently, 33.5 million older Americans, with high cholesterol and hypertension, take statins. However, authors of the new study, called JUPITER, believe 44.7 million people now fit the criteria for statin therapy, meaning more and more prescriptions; HealthDay News reports.

Not all news on statins is good! Just last week, research came out linking statins, like the aforementioned Crestor and Lipitor, with rare eye disorders, including eyelid-droop and double-vision. That means 11.2 million more people will have googly eyes!

I guess it’s easier to prescribe pills and meds, than fruits and vegetables, which naturally reverse and prevent high cholesterol and heart disease.

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Pollution Linked to Arrhythmia and Scientists Get the Lead Out

A new study in the European Heart Journal claims patients with implantable heart defibrillators are at greater risk of ventricular arrhythmia, a potentially fatal heart rhythm, when exposed to air pollution. Of the 211 participants observed for 33 months, researchers determined 73 patients had rapid abnormal heart rhythm due to pollution; Reuters investigates.

In related in news, researchers from South Korea may have figured out how to remove dangerous metals, like lead, from people’s blood. Appearing in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, scientists claim magnetic fields can fish out harmful metals from the bloodstream. High lead levels can cause anemia and brain damage; via Reuters.

And chemical contaminants, specifically pesticides, are actually causing fewer male births in both animals and humans.

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Japan Says Cloned Meat is Good to Eat!

On the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that genetically modified animals can enter the food supply. Yesterday, Japan announced cloned meat, like Dolly the sheep, is okay to eat. Officials claim available scientific information shows cloned animals are just as safe as conventionally bred livestock; Reuters investigates.

Actually, last year, the FDA said the same thing when they approved the consumption of cloned meat, from animals like cattle, swine or goats. But, much like their stance on genetically modified animals, the FDA does not require labeling meat as coming from clones. I guess it’s supposed to be a surprise!

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Antibiotics in the Soil and Veggies...

A new report in the Journal of Environmental Quality claims crops grown in fertilizer made with livestock manure actually absorb the antibiotics injected into cattle. Researchers point out that an alarming 70% of antibiotics produced in the United States are fed to livestock and 90% of those antibiotics are excreted in farm animal urine and feces. Putting vegetables at risk, even those grown on organic farms, exacerbating the fear over antibiotic-resistant bacteria; Environmental Health News investigates.

It gets worse! Last week it was discovered many pharmaceuticals, like cholesterol-lowering medications, painkillers and tranquilizers, are polluting our drinking water. Eek!

Also, in humans, antibiotics are over-used and misused. According to Dr. Fuhrman, doctors are too quick to prescribe antibiotics for conditions that will resolve on their own, like ear infections.

Via TreeHugger.

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Preschool Lunches, Parents Skimp on Healthy Stuff

This fall, a study revealed the food supplied to 94,000 public and private schools by the United States Department of Agriculture is of poor nutritional quality, too many high-fat foods, like pizza and chicken nuggets. In California, fruits and veggies only make up 13% of the total money spent on school food.

And now, new research in Journal of the American Dietetic Association claims most bagged lunches, packed by parents, did not have enough of fruits and vegetables. Researchers studied the lunches of 74 children from 5 different childcare centers, observing their packed lunch for 3 days. They found only 29% of the packed lunches had adequate fruits and vegetables. And many parents were more likely to pack foods kids liked, rather than healthy, nutritious foods; HealthDay News reports.

Not surprising. Some parents feed their kids pizza and French because they don’t like vegetables and fruit hurts their mouth. Kooky! That why Dr. Fuhrman says it’s the parents’ job to set the example, if you want your kids to eat healthfully, start eating YOUR fruits and veggies! Monkey see, monkey do.

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Research Questions Traditional Heart-Risk Assessments

Two new studies, one in the American Journal of Roentgenology and the other in the British Medical Journal, cast doubt on the long-established Framingham Risk Score for evaluating cardiovascular disease. The Framingham score assesses risk based on age, gender, total blood cholesterol, HDL, smoking, blood pressure and taking blood pressure medication. The first study did not accurately predict risk for a group of 1,653 people with no history of heart disease and the second revealed the Framingham score did no better than chance in predicting the 108 deaths; HealthDay News reports.

Okay, I admit, this report made me woozy, way over my head! So I asked Dr. Fuhrman about it. Here’s what he had to say:

Medical studies are clouded when they only look at the symptoms of unhealthy behavior such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These easily measurable numbers correlate with unhealthful lifestyle and diet-style, but they could reflect past habits, not present ones, plus they are not the sole cause of heart attacks.

These numbers do not incorporate other more critical factors such as diet-style and exercise tolerance and body weight. So if one person had higher cholesterol but was eating significantly healthier and exercising more, they might be at significantly lower risk than a person with a lower cholesterol and blood pressure, but with more intravascular and cellular oxidative stress from their low nutrient diet.

Hopefully that clears it up for you. Now, in other heart-related news, a recent report showed even a little extra belly fat can increase cardiovascular risk. And, in attempt to curb his own heart troubles and those of his city, Chicago’s health commissioner is encouraging everyone to go vegetarian!

Like Dr. Fuhrman says, a vegetable-based diet is the best way to aggressively reverse heart disease!

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Cyclists May Have More Osteoporosis

You’ve probably heard it before. Exercise is really good for your bones. It makes them stronger. But a new study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise claims cyclists were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop osteoporosis or near-osteoporosis. However, biker riders did have less body fat and more muscle. Adding running or weight lifting to a workout can help stimulate the bones and keep them strong; via KiroTV.

In other news, the osteoporosis drug Fosamax has been linked to esophageal cancer. And, getting plenty of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is a great way to keep bones strong and healthy. So is using a weighted vest.

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Instant Coffee is Far Out, Causes Hallucinations...

Old hippies and frat boys will love this. A new study in Personality and Individual Differences claims people drinking 7 or more cups of instant coffee a day were 3 times more likely to hallucinate; psychotic experiences such as seeing ghosts and hearing voices. However, experts have their doubts, but, and this is really freaky, according to the report, 3% of people regularly hear voices; via BBC News.

Now, if hallucinating wasn’t bad enough! Previous research reveals daily coffee intake can actually shrink women’s breasts, 3 cups of coffee per day resulted in an average breast size 17% smaller than women who drank under 3 cups a day. Going insane and small boobies, sounds like a nightmare!

And other dangers of coffee, i.e. caffeine, consumption include heightened risk of osteoporosis, miscarriage and heart disease. So, is that morning pick-me-up really worth it? Probably not.

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Lack of Sleep Leads to More Colds

This is ironic. I’m both exhausted and sniffley today. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine claims people who sleep for less than 7 hours every night may get more colds. Researchers examined healthy men and women between 2000 and 2004 and found participants who didn’t get enough sleep were more likely to develop a cold after being exposed to a cold virus, backing up previous studies suggesting sleep deprivation may impair immune system function; Newswise reports.

Crap! I better go buy some tissues. Now, not getting enough sleep is no joke. Other research has associated lack of sleep with heart problems and obesity and 40 million Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. That means there are a lot of sleepy fat people running around with bad hearts. Eek!

And another way to avoid a cold, and even the flu, is practicing good hygiene, like washing your hands.

Via Vitamin G.

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Cell Phones Don't Cause Eye Cancer, But...

Ever since the days of those prehistoric 1980s cell phones everyone wonders if mobile phones are cooking our heads with cancer. The research is conflicted. Some studies say they boost cancer risk, like brain cancer, but now, new research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute claims regular cell phone usage does not increase a person’s risk of getting eye cancer. After studying 1,600 people for about a decade, scientists detected no link between cell phones and cancer; Reuters reports.

Actually, a year ago I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on mobile phones and cancer risk. And he admitted it’s hard to say. “The bottom line is we don’t know,” he explained, “Cancer causation is a 20 to 50 year process. So we have to follow young people for more than 20 to 30 years to really have answers here.” Good idea! Currently the largest study on cell phones and cancer was only 10 years.

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Young Adults Don't Take Heart Risks Seriously...

You might not realize it. But heart disease starts early, i.e. childhood. According to Dr. Fuhrman, lifetime cholesterol levels are affected by the food choices we make as kids. In fact, for many people, even if they adopt a healthy plant-based diet later on, they still might not obtain as favorable cholesterol levels as they would have had, had they started eat healthfully as a young person.

And now, new research in Circulation claims young Americans who are told they have low risk of heart disease, could have a high lifetime risk. The study examined people under the age of 50, determining that individuals who had low risk of heart trouble over the next 10 years, already had damage to their arteries that might cause problems in the future, 91% of the participants had risk of heart disease; Reuters investigates.

Actually, previous reports have show heart disease begins developing in men during adolescence and the American Heart Association recently revealed obese kids can have middle-aged arteries. Now despite the benefits of eating fruits and veggies for you heart, some researchers recommend giving kids statins instead. Eek!

Vicks VapoRub Dangerous for Little Kids

Children’s cold medicine has drawn heavy fire lately. Health officials are concerned over the possible health risks. In fact, last month, Canadian health officials urged parents not to give kids over-the-counter cold remedies, even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considered banning children’s cold medicine

And yesterday, researchers in Chest revealed Vicks VapoRub, a popular cold remedy, triggers respiratory distress in children younger than 2, when incorrectly applied under the nose, causing airways to swell and fill with mucus. This reaction is normal in adults, but infants and toddlers’ have narrower airways, putting them at risk. But researchers are quick to point out. Vicks clearly states their product should never go under the nose of children under the age of 2. And while not tested, generics could pose the same danger; Reuters reports.

Oddly enough, many of these cold remedies may not even work in little kids, placebo works just as well.

Hourglass Shape a Thing of the Past

Curves have long been associated with female beauty, such as Marilyn Monroe, but not anymore. In Current Anthropology, researchers reveal the pressure of demanding jobs and being more independent are causing women to produce more hormones which make them physically stronger and able to handle more stress. It’s also causing them to gain more weight around their middle than their hips. As a result, many modern day sex symbols, like Keira Knightley, have angular or “straight up and down” figures; The Daily Mail reports.

The findings are a little confusing. What do beautiful actresses have to be stressed about? Which Chihuahua best matches their handbag!

Via That’s Fit.

Melamine Linked to Kidney Stones

Chinese milk products tainted with melamine, a chemical used in making plastic, ignited a frenzy this fall, sickening thousands of children and contaminating foods like green beans, candy and baby formula. And now, a new study in International Journal of Clinical Chemistry and Diagnostic Laboratory Medicine claims melamine exposure alone is enough to cause kidney stones and the greater the exposure, the larger the stones. Scientists compared various urine samples from children who consumed tainted milk; via Reuters.

The hubbub over melamine prompted the FDA to open an office in Beijing, China to sure up food safety regulation and imports to the United States.

Via The New York Times.

More Obese Americans than Overweight Americans

Well, its official, we’re doomed! According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of obese Americans now outweighs the total number of overweight people, 34% of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7% of people who are overweight. In 2005-2006, researchers say one-third of Americans were obese, a startling 72 million people, and the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980, however the trend of overweight has remained stable during that time; via Reuters.

We shouldn’t be proud of this milestone, especially since obesity has been linked to poor health and migraines, cancer, thyroid inflammation and other diseases. So, based on this research, we’ve got a wave, scratch that, a tsunami of sick people on the horizon.

But, oddly enough, a recent study actually claims obesity protects against heart disease. It’s cuckoo!

Fit Kids Make Healthy Young Adults...

A new study in Pediatrics claims a person’s level of fitness as a child influences their health as an adult. Of the participants, Norwegian students, those who were more physically active at age 13 were less likely to become obese and develop high blood pressure in their 20s and mid-30s, but this effect dissipated by age 40. Leaving researchers to recommend staying fit as you grow up; Reuters reports.

With so many schools cutting gym programs and obesity soaring worldwide, a lot of attention is being paid to keeping kids active. The National Football League has its Play 60 campaign and recently, India’s health minister suggested making Yoga mandatory for all school children.

Oh! And remember, the television is the enemy. Children that watch too much TV are unfit.

Women Less Active than Men

Presenting at the UK Society for Behavioral Medicine’s annual conference, researchers claim both young girls and women over 70, aren’t as active as their male counterparts. In children, boys tended to play very physicals games and run around like mad men, but girls spent more time in smaller groups, engaging in conversation, verbal games and socializing. In older folks, exercise levels were down among both genders. However, men did more intensive activities, but rested more. While women engaged in lower intensity activities, like housework, for longer intervals; The BBC News investigates.

Staying active and exercising is important for everyone, especially women. Exercise can help build stronger bones, staving off osteoporosis.

Via That’s Fit.

Slumping Economy, Slumping Diets

Okay, no matter what side of the political fence you fall on, we can all agree, the economy is in toilet. For most of us, money is tight. And according to experts, this spells trouble for the already horrible American diet. People might become more inclined to ditch healthier foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, for cheaper, horrible foods, such as fast food and cereal; Reuters explains.

And previous reports have claimed up-ticks in candy sales are directly related to recession. But, you can survive hard times healthfully, if you keep your eyes open! You can find plenty of great, reduced priced produce at most supermarkets and farmers markets are a haven of affordable fruits and veggies.

Statins May Weaken Eye Muscles

A new study in Ophthalmology claims statins, very popular cholesterol-lowing drugs, may cause rare eye disorders, like eyelid-droop, double-vision and weakening of the muscles that control eye movement. Researchers examined 256 cases where statins, such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor, were associated with eye-muscle disorders, of the cases, 62 patients reported no more eyelid-droop or double vision after they stopped taking the medication. Experts call this side-effect rare; Reuters investigates.

Statins might make drug companies a lot of money, but they come with a price. According to Dr. Fuhrman, other side-effects of statins include hepatitis, jaundice, liver problems, gastrointestinal complications, low platelet levels and anemia. And many doctors question whether statins even prevent heart attacks at all!

There’s a better way. A diet rich fruits and vegetables improves cholesterol and reverses heart disease.
 

Too Much TV Leaves Kids Unfit

SpongeBob and MySpace might be super cool. But new research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests teenagers who spend more than 2 hours in front of a television or computer each day, had less endurance during a standard running test than their peers. However, the findings do not support the theory that watching television or playing on the computer makes kids out-of-shape, but still, researchers recommend parents set clear rules for computer usage and TV time; Reuters reports.

Television has a nasty reputation. A previous report claims sitting around and watching good TV makes people more likely to overeat, the brain becomes distracted and doesn’t realize it’s over-consuming. And commercials make it worse! On average, children ages 8 to 12 are exposed to 7,600 ads a year, teenagers about 6,000 and little kids, ages 2 to 7, 4,400 commercials a year. Eek!

Go outside kids! You haven’t lived until you’ve spent hours throwing a tennis ball against a wall.
 

Obesity Boosts Ovarian Cancer Risk

Older obese women are more at risk for ovarian cancer than women of normal weight. Printed in Cancer, new research studied 94,525 women, ages 50 to 71, for 7 years. During that period, 303 participants developed ovarian cancer. Scientist determined obese women, i.e. having a body mass index of 30 or more, were 1.26 times more likely to get cancer; The New York Times reports.

Obesity has also been linked to other cancers, like prostate cancer and breast cancer.

FDA Cracks Down on Crushed Beetles in Food

Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth. Apparently food producers have been grinding up bugs to make food colorings for years! Beetles are a source of carmine or cochineal extract, which makes red, pink, orange and purple. And there’s been very little restriction on its use. A spokes person for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has lobbied to get carmine banned, said there is no way to tell how many products contain the dyes, it can be anything red. The FDA has decided to act now, due to reports of allergic reactions, requiring manufacturers to list carmine or cochineal in the ingredients; The Palm Beach Post reports.

Sounds yummy! There’s actually a big obsession with cramming bug parts into our food. Recently, Greenpeace unveiled a series of advertisements, featuring green onions shaped like spiders, scorpion carrots and peapod grasshoppers, to raise awareness for genetically modified ingredients in food.

Not to mention, a previous experiment showed rats fed genetically engineered corn developed signs of liver and kidney toxicity after 3 months. The corn contained a compound to repel insects.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to C-Sections

According to a new study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism low vitamin D may increase the likelihood of having a Caesarean section. Researchers examined 253 births at a Boston hospital from 2005 to 2007 and determined women with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were nearly 4 times more likely to have an emergency C-section than mothers with normal levels; The New York Times investigates.

Vitamin D is an important, but overlooked, nutrient. We get it from the sun. Our bodies convert ultraviolet rays into a chemical, which acts like a hormone, and tells our intestines to absorb more calcium and phosphorus. And other reports have associated vitamin D deficiency with hypertension, heart attacks, rickets and cancer. Dr. Fuhrman sells his own vitamin D supplement called Osteo–Sun.

I was born via C-section. But that’s because my horns and tail got stuck.
 

Walking Fights Age-Related Weight Gain

Walking just a half an hour each day might help keep you from packing on the pounds as you get older. The research, appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined 5,000 men and women, ages 18 to 30, for 15 years, revealing those who walked 30 minutes a day reduced weight gain by 1 pound. The results also found those who exercised more during their middle adult years were more likely to maintain their weight as they got older; WebMD reports.

It can’t get much easier than walking. Heck, it’s what we evolved to do! But a lot of us are too busy with work and don’t have the time to walk around for a half an hour. So try taking the stairs instead, it’s been proven to improve heart health. And simple stretches at your desk can keep the blood following too.

Now, if you can, get running! A previous study showed runners actually live longer.

Via CalorieLab.
 

More Americans Have Multiple Chronic Conditions

A new study in Health Affairs claims more Americans have multiple chronic illnesses than ever before. The percentage of people with 3 or more chronic illnesses rose from 13% in 1996 to 22% in 2005 for ages 45 to 64. It increased 45% for ages 65 to 79, jumped 54% for individuals older than 80 and among all ages, figures went up 6% from 1996. And data reveals the number of Americans with 1 chronic condition, like cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart failure, was 41% in 1996 but rose to 44% in 2005. Obesity and inactivity are being blamed; Reuters reports.

And these maladies are hitting us in the wallet too. On average, obesity and it’s sequelae cost the United States more than $100 billion a year and physicians and hospitals usually fail to make a long term impact on the health of their patients, which is evident when you consider a recent report revealing 24 million Americans have type-2 diabetes, a risk factor for many chronic diseases, up 3 million since 2005.

Children's Weight Issues Overlooked

A new analysis of 60,000 medical records revealed pediatricians fail to diagnosis weight problems in children. Reporting in Pediatrics, researchers determined 54% of obese children and 74% of severely obese kids were diagnosed, but only 10% of overweight children were given a weight-related diagnosis, meaning doctors are missing an opportunity to intervene before weight issues get out of control; The New York Times investigates.

Not surprising, some parents can’t even recognize their child is overweight or obese, could be because parents themselves are overweight and previous research claims kids eat like their parents and if parents don’t eat and live healthfully, they shouldn’t expect their children too!

And unchecked childhood obesity is being blamed for more kids taking drugs for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and other chronic conditions. Eek!

Trillions Spent on Healthcare, Tax Soda

According to a new report, Americans spent $2.2 trillion on health-related costs in 2007, roughly $7,500 per person. Illustrated in Health Affairs, health spending accounted for 16.2% of U.S. gross domestic product in 2007. And at 6.1%, this is the slowest growth rate since 1998. Researchers attribute the broader use of cheaper generic drugs for the decline; Reuters reports.

What did you expect? More active, healthier living! Now, with healthcare expenses raging into the trillions, it’s no wonder why politicians, like New York’s Governor David Paterson, are proposing taxes on hurtful foods, like soft drinks. And in this video New York’s Health Commissioner, Richard F. Daines, MD explains how the soda tax would work. Just ignore the stuff about milk.

Eat Slowly, Lose Weight...

I’m a slow eater. I don’t rush, period. And findings in the British Medical Journal suggest people who eat fast and fill up quickly are 3 times more likely to become overweight than people who eat at a more leisurely pace; via RealAge.

Actually, eating MORE can help you slim down too. High fiber foods, like green vegetables, beans and fresh fruit, fill you up quickly and provide lots of nutrients, but are low in calories. So you’ll feel satisfied and still lose weight!

In fact, Dr. Fuhrman cites lack of a fiber as a primary reason why people get fat.

Via That’s Fit.

Fruits and Veggies Tied to Breast Cancer Survival

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveals women with early-stage breast cancer may live longer if they adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid things like red meat and refined foods. Researchers followed 1,901 women diagnosed with breast cancer for 8 years and found those maintaining a healthy diet had a lower overall death rate than those eating a Western diet, i.e. lots of processed meat, high-fat dairy and white bread. This trend held up even when other factors were considered, like tumor size and smoking; Reuters reports.

Actually, previous research, also in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, claims breast cancer survivors who eat more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day are less likely to develop recurring tumors. And pectin, a compound found naturally in citrus fruits and used in jams, has been shown to inhibit the growth of proteins responsible for cancer progression.

The powerful phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables have anti-aging effects, promote cardiovascular health and also lower the risk of other cancers, like prostate and pancreatic cancer. And a recent reported linked fruits and vegetables with reduced risk of colon cancer too.

Breastfeeding Helps Kids' Lungs...

In the past, research has shown breastfeeding can increase children’s IQ, decrease risk of obesity and release happiness hormones in babies. And now, a new study in Thorax has determined children who are breastfed for at least 4 months have better lung function than children breastfed for shorter periods and then given a bottle; Reuters investigates.

Dr. Fuhrman advocates breastfeeding until age 2. This allows plenty of time for the mother’s antibodies to be passed along to her child. These nutrients are necessary for proper immune system function, maximizing intelligence and protecting against cancer, like breast cancer.

But sometimes breastfeeding can go berserk, like this crazy restaurant that cooked with human breast milk. Very gross!

Osteoporosis Drug Fosamax Linked to Esophagus Cancer

A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests a connection between the osteoporosis drug Fosamax and esophageal cancer. Since the drug debuted in October 2005 and up to May 2008, the FDA has received 23 claims of patients in the U.S. being diagnosed with esophagus cancer. Fosamax is the suspect drug in 21 cases and the concomitant drug in 2. Experts urge not prescribing Fosamax to patients with Barrett's esophagus, a condition caused by chronic acid reflux and is a precursor to esophageal cancer; ABC News reports.

And in April, a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine linked Fosamax and its generic alendronate with irregular heartbeat. Researchers compared the heartbeats of individuals taking and not taking the drug, revealing 6.5% of those taking medication had irregular heart rhythm and only 4.1% of individuals not taking medication had irregular heartbeat; via BayNews9.com.

Preventing osteoporosis is key. According to Dr. Fuhrman things like checking your vitamin D levels, exercising regularly and avoiding salt—which can leach calcium from bones—helps women avoid osteoporosis. Also, wearing a weighted vest can help strengthen bones.

Smoking Ban Cuts Heart Attacks

In 2003, the town of Pueblo, Colorado passed a municipal law making work environments and public places smoke-free. Since that time, heart attacks have dropped by more than 40%. The CDC tracked hospitalizations for heart attacks and found in the 18 months before the ban there were 399 hospital admissions in Pueblo, but in a year and a half following the ban, heart attack admissions dropped to 237, a 41% decline; Reuters investigates.

Refreshing to hear, because just a year ago a report revealed the U.S. Congress was not doing enough to curb smoking. Saying many states are failing to take anti-smoking action, but meanwhile cigarette companies continue to spend billions to market tobacco products.

Promoting smoke-free initiatives can also save billions. This summer research by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education showed that California saved $86 billion in healthcare costs, by investing a scant $1.8 billion in anti-smoking programs.

Diabetes Still Slamming the U.S.

Type-2 diabetes continues to wreak havoc in the United States. An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes, up more than 3 million since 2005. This staggering figure also means increased incidences of heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, kidney disease, nervous system damage and other diabetes-related complications. Not surprising, experts cite weight-loss and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and healthy diet, as the best ways to stave off type-2 diabetes; HealthDay News reports.

Don’t be 24 million and one. A vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet not only prevents type-2 diabetes, but can reverse the effects of the disease. Many of Dr. Fuhrman’s patients actually kick their need for insulin! Wholesome foods, like green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds are the perfect medicine against type-2 diabetes.

In other diabetes news, recent reports show cancer is more lethal in diabetics and eating eggs boost diabetes-risk.