Guidelines Tell U.S. Consumers To Say “No” To Sugar

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This article is courtesy of PRweb, please share your comments below…..

http://yourhealthjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/kickhabit.jpgThe U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are released every five years, were issued last week and one of the new guidelines’ strongest recommendation is something that consumers have already caught on to — limiting sugar intake, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Overall, U.S. consumers have indicated that sugar is the number one item they try to avoid in their diet and are eating less sugary foods and beverages, according to NPD’s ongoing food consumption research.

The new dietary guidelines recommend that only 10 percent of daily calories come from added sugars. Although this may sound like a lofty goal, consumers have cut down on foods and beverages with high sugar content, like carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and juice, ice cream and frozen treats, and other sweet snacks. Consumption of sugar-free, unsweetened, or reduced sugar products, which is highest among young children and adults 55 and older, follows the trend in concern about sugar overall. Calories were once the top item consumers looked for on nutrition facts labels, but now it is sugar.

Cholesterol, the outcast of past dietary guidelines, is no longer a dietary concern according to the new guidelines. NPD’s food consumption research shows that consumers are in line with this since their concern for cholesterol content has continued to decline since 2006. Eggs, which bore the brunt of the anti-cholesterol push, are back in vogue and consumption is up as consumers look for more sources of protein.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a perennial federal dietary standard and is still front-and-center in the new guidelines. There is good and bad news in regards to this standard. The good news is: consumers are eating more fruits and fruit is among the top growing better-for-you snacks. The bad news is: vegetables are still fighting to find their way into Americans’ hearts and stomachs.

“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.”

About The NPD Group
The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit http://www.npd.com and npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

How U.S. Obesity Compares With Other Countries

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bellymeasurementsmallFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from PBS Newshour that I had to promote called How U.S. Obesity Compares With Other Countries written by Franco Sassi. We know that obesity is on the rise in many parts of the world, as well as obesity related illnesses such as heart disease, asthma, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and weak joints. Sedentary lifestyle, along with less physical activity and more technology is creating a planet of overweight humans. But, how does the United States compare to other countries with regards to obesity. New data is stating that in the U.S., Canada and Ireland, obesity is still on the rise, but the pace is slowing. Childhood obesity rates are slowing in the U.S., as well as in England, France and Korea. Obesity has become one of the biggest threats to public health in developed countries and increasingly so in emerging economies, especially in urban areas. Please visit the PBS Newshour web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was well written and very informative.”

From the article…..

New data is providing a gleam of hope in an otherwise fairly dark picture. After decades of rapid growth, adult obesity is stabilizing in many developed countries.

In the U.S., Canada and Ireland, obesity is still on the rise, but the pace is slowing. Childhood obesity rates are slowing in the U.S., as well as in England, France and Korea.

Despite these encouraging trends, obesity has become one of the biggest threats to public health in developed countries and increasingly so in emerging economies, especially in urban areas. At least one in two people are now overweight or obese in more than half of the 34 OECD countries — and numbers are set to rise further.

In most countries, obesity is strongly linked to gender and socioeconomic standing, with poorly educated women two to three times more likely to be overweight than those with more schooling. For men, disparities are less prominent and almost non-existent in many countries.

In the U.S., however, obesity is more likely to be linked to race than to income, with African-Americans and Hispanics more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic whites or Asian-Americans.

Hover over the bars on the graphic below to see how U.S. obesity rates compare with other OECD countries. Click ‘Next story’ to see how self-reported obesity figures compare with measured rates in each country.

Why do we need to halt the epidemic? Obesity and the chronic diseases associated with it are killers, with severely obese people dying eight to 10 years earlier than their peers.

There is also a financial loss. In Sweden, for example, obese people earn some 18 percent less than others.

But the financial impact itself is mixed. During their life-span, an obese person costs the health care system 25 percent more than a person of normal weight, or up to 3 percent of total health expenditure in most OECD countries (5 to 10 percent in the U. S.). However, due to a shorter life expectancy, overall heath care costs for obese people are not higher than for a non-obese person.

To read the full article…..Click here

Many U.S. Teens Have Poor Health Habits

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vectorboysleepFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article from Philly.com via HealthDay that I wanted to promote called Many U.S. Teens Have Poor Health Habits written by Steven Reinberg. A new study suggests that more than 80 percent of U.S. teens eat unhealthy diets and many are sedentary, which raises the odds they’ll develop heart disease in adulthood. Now, before you say, DUH, please understand studies like this are important to help support the fight against childhood obesity. One in three children are considered overweight in the United States, while one in seven are considered obese. Obesity related illnesses are also on the rise, including weak joints, asthma, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Most children are born in a state of ideal cardiovascular health, but the poor lifestyles many U.S. children exhibit are leading to a loss of this important asset earlier and earlier in life. It is very important that healthy lifestyles start at an early age, as the carry over into adulthood. Please visit the Philly.com web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

More than 80 percent of U.S. teens eat unhealthy diets and many are sedentary, which raises the odds they’ll develop heart disease in adulthood, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 4,600 teenagers, aged 12 to 19, and assessed their health behaviors based on criteria set by the American Heart Association. The poor health habits they uncovered translate into obesity and overweight, which in turn raise risk factors for high blood pressure and other predictors of cardiovascular trouble, the study authors noted.

“Most children are born in a state of ideal cardiovascular health, [but] the poor lifestyles many U.S. children exhibit are leading to a loss of this important asset earlier and earlier in life,” said lead investigator Christina Shay, an assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology in the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

Childhood levels of cardiovascular disease risk factors strongly predict their threat in adulthood, Shay said. And the length of time young people live with elevated risk factors also has an impact on their heart health as adults, she added.

Based on the current findings, the United States may witness “increasing rates of heart attacks and strokes as the current generation of children reach adulthood compared to previous generations that had more favorable risk factors,” she said.

The students, who participated in one of two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, are said to represent about 33 million teens nationwide. Their health behaviors were rated as poor, intermediate or ideal.

To read the full article…..Click here

U.S. Dogs And Cats Overweight

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walkingdogFrom Your Health Journal…..”I wanted to promote an article I read recently by by Stacy Fox from KHOU entitled Animal Attraction: Fifty-five Percent of U.S. Dogs and Cats Overweight in Latest Veterinary Survey. Now, obviously we do not cover pet health too often here at Your Health Journal. But, this article brings up an interesting concept, as there is a human obesity problem in the US, but interestingly enough, there is the same problem with pets. Is it a lifestyle problem, eating problem? If a pet owner is sedentary, does the pet become very sedentary? Is there a relationship between pet obesity and human obesity? A recent report found 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers. Please visit the KHOU web site (link provided below) to read the complete article, it was well written and informative.”

From the article…..

U.S. pet obesity rates continued to increase in 2012 with the number of overweight cats reaching an all-time high. The sixth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers.

“Pet obesity remains the leading health threat to our nation’s pets.” states APOP’s founder and lead veterinarian for the survey Dr. Ernie Ward . “We continue to see an escalation in the number of overweight cats and an explosion in the number of type 2 diabetes cases.”

New York-based veterinary endocrinologist and APOP board member Dr. Mark Peterson agrees. “The soaring rate of feline and canine obesity is taking a terrible toll on our animals’ health. There is a vast population of overweight cats and dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes. The best preventive measure a pet owner can make is to keep their dog or cat at a healthy weight. Diabetes is far easier to prevent than treat, especially when twice daily insulin injections are needed.”

Veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Joe Bartges cautions that many pet owners don’t recognize when their pet is overweight. “In this survey, approximately 45 percent of cat and dog owners assessed their pet as having a normal body weight when the veterinarian assessed the pet to be overweight.” Dr. Ward calls the phenomenon of incorrectly evaluating an overweight pet as normal “the fat gap.” “The disconnect between reality and what a pet parent thinks is obese makes having a conversation with their veterinarian more challenging. Many pet owners are shocked when their veterinarian informs them their pet needs to lose weight. They just don’t see it.”

To read the full article…..Click here

Searching For The Cause(s) Of Obesity

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obesestationarybikeFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article on the Seattle PI web site written by Timi Gustafson entitled Searching For The Cause(s) Of Obesity. The article starts by stating two thirds of Americans are overweight. One third is obese. Along with this, obesity related illness are on the rise, including asthma, weak joints, heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. We are eating too much food, make unhealthy food selections, participating in less physical activity, sedentary, and involved in too much technology. Recently, we have seen local governments try to ban large soft drinks, and implement fax taxes. Obesity has been such a hot topic, but change is needed to our lifestyles to fix it. Please visit the Seattle PI web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Two thirds of Americans are overweight. One third is obese. Obesity and a host of illnesses related to weight problems kill more people than any other disease. Experts are scrambling to find answers for what causes the epidemic and seem to come up with new explanations every day, only to be contradicted by the next study. Unsurprisingly, consumers are confused and stop paying attention.

How is it that we are eating ourselves to death, not just here but increasingly around the world? Does the so-called “Western diet,” consisting of cheap, highly processed, highly caloric foods, make us fat? Or is it sugary sodas? Are portion sizes too big? Does the food industry turn us into addicts? Do we just not exercise enough?

So far, none of the countless studies on these subjects have had much impact in practical terms. Lobbying efforts and political gridlock are oftentimes blamed for the maddeningly slow progress. But that may not be the only reason. Some experts warn that despite of all the research, finding definite answers may prove elusive for some time to come.

“If we can find the causes of obesity, we can try to eliminate or counter them,” wrote Christopher Chabris, a professor of psychology at Union College, together with his colleague Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois in an op-ed piece in the New York Times. “Unfortunately, finding causes is easier said than done, and causes we think we see can turn out to be illusions.”

Hoping for a smoking gun that lets us clearly identify causation may not be in the cards, ever. As an example, the authors cite a study that analyzed potential connections between food advertising on billboards and prevalence of obesity in certain parts of Los Angeles and New Orleans. The study results showed that areas with more outdoor food advertisements had a higher proportion of obese people than those with fewer ads. So, there seems to be a direct link.

To read the full article…..Click here

Finding Balance

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Thank you to the CDC for providing this educational video…..

More than one third of U.S. adults are obese. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than your body uses. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. The key is FINDING A BALANCE in your lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.

CDC Video Player.  Flash Player 9 is required.
CDC Video Player.
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– Courtesy of the CDC

Battling Obesity At The Local Level

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obeseboyvectoreatingFrom Your Health Journal…..”We are always looking at the national or international level when we discuss the obesity epidemic facing mankind. I was reading today a local obesity story from FOX 11 (Wisconsin) written by Chad Doran entitled Battling obesity in the Fox Valley. Mr. Doran mentions how experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese, and Fox Valley is facing the same issue. As a local expert stated in the story, ‘change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.’ Such great points to take notice. In the United States, many are worried about the current generation of children having a shorter life expectancy than their parents. The government is worried about healthcare costs in the future, as obesity related illnesses (asthma, cancer, heart disease, weak joint, type 2 diabetes) are on the rise. So, change is needed, and as the Fox Valley article suggests, it starts at the family level. Please visit the Fox 11 web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Battling bulging waistlines. It’s a growing problem everywhere. Even in the Fox Valley.

Health experts say it’s now an epidemic 30 years in the making.

It’s not hard to spot, even here in the Fox Valley. Experts say 62% of Americans are now overweight or obese.

“We struggle just like the rest of the nation does,” said Dr. John Edwards, a pediatrician with Theda Care.

He says change won’t be easy and it needs to be a family effort.

“As much as possible if we can have parents on the same page, realizing that healthy eating is better for all of us. That’s going to make an important difference as well as what’s available and setting the example for kids.”

The second meeting of a Fox Valley summit on obesity is focusing on initiatives to combat the problem. The first meeting of local leaders last week identified problem areas and causes.

“The healthier our employees are the lower our healthcare costs, the lower our healthcare costs the more money we can put into city services,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.

The city of Appleton employees more than 600 full-time workers. Hanna says the city has incentive driven programs to encourage employees to be physically fit. Just one way businesses can help stem the tide of obesity.

To read the full article…..Click here

U.S. Obesity Rates

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overweightbusmanFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from CBS written by Ryan Jaslow entitled New survey tracks U.S. obesity rates: Where does your state stack up?. We have discussed here so many times the problem facing the United States regarding obesity. Many Americans are getting less physical activity and eating poorly, resulting in many obese citizens. Obesity related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weak joints, and asthma are also rising. Recently, a new Gallup poll shows Colorado has the fewest obese citizens in the country, with 18.7 percent of its population obese. On the other side of the belt loop, West Virginia reported the highest obesity rate, with 33.5 percent of its population being obese. Colorado is the only U.S. state with an adult obesity rate smaller than 20 percent, and West Virginia is the state with the highest obesity rate. This is a very interesting article, and very important to read. Mr. Jaslow did an excellent job conveying his message, and educates his audience about a critical issue in the United States. Please visit the CBS web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

The most obese state in the country has almost double the proportion of plus-sized citizens than the least obese state, according to a new survey.

The newly-released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows Colorado has the fewest obese citizens in the country, with 18.7 percent of its population obese. On the other side of the belt loop, West Virginia reported the highest obesity rate, with 33.5 percent of its population being obese.

Colorado is the only U.S. state with an adult obesity rate smaller than 20 percent, the report found. The Centennial State has held the title of thinnest state for three years running, according to Gallup-Healthways.

For West Virginia, the new numbers mark the third year in a row as the state with the highest obesity rate. But according to the latest figures, the state’s obesity rate is down from 35.3 percent in last year’s survey.

Obesity rates in each state were not statistically different in 2012 when compared with findings from 2011, with the exception of four states: New Jersey, Georgia — which showed increases in obesity rates — and North Carolina and Delaware, which saw decreases.

Obesity rates continued recent regional trends and were highest in Southern and Midwestern states and lowest in Western and Northeastern states (click slideshow to the left to see where your state stacks up).

The survey found the national obesity rate held steady at 26.2 percent in 2012 — compared with 26.1 percent in 2011 — but is still higher than the 2008 U.S. obesity average of 25.5 percent.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Children In U.S. Eating Fewer Calories

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healthyjunkFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article in the Salt Lake Tribune via The New York Times news service written by Abrina Tavernise entitled Children In U.S. Eating Fewer Calories. Over the past week, I have written my displeasure with the US being called the fat capital of the world in many articles I found on the net – then I produced articles from other countries like Canada, Britain, Mexico, Australia, and China stating how they have similar concerns. There is no doubt the US has a weight issue, but they are not alone. Health care cost may skyrocket in the future if change does not occur…. change is also needed to reduce obesity related illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and weaker joints.

Then, we read a refreshing articles which states how American children consumed fewer calories in 2010 than they did a decade before. Health experts said the findings offered an encouraging sign that the epidemic of obesity might be easing, but cautioned that the magnitude of the decline was too small to move the needle much. Please visit the Salt Lake Tribune (link provided below) to read the entire article. It was well written and informative.”

From the article…..

American children consumed fewer calories in 2010 than they did a decade before, a new federal analysis shows. Health experts said the findings offered an encouraging sign that the epidemic of obesity might be easing, but cautioned that the magnitude of the decline was too small to move the needle much.

And while energy intake has not changed considerably for adults in recent years, fewer of their calories are coming from fast food, researchers said. Obesity rates for adults have plateaued after years of increases. A third of adults are obese.

The results of the research on childhood consumption patterns, the only federal analysis of calorie trends among children in recent years, came as a surprise to researchers. For boys, calorie consumption declined by about 7 percent to 2,100 calories a day over the period of the analysis, from 1999 through 2010. For girls, it dropped by 4 percent to 1,755 calories a day.

“To reverse the current prevalence of obesity, these numbers have to be a lot bigger,” said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “But they are trending in the right direction and that’s good news.”

National obesity rates for children have been flat in recent years, but some cities have reported modest declines. The new evidence of a lower calorie intake for children may also foreshadow a broader national shift, experts said.

“A harbinger of change is a good phrase,” said R. Bethene Ervin, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the authors of the report. “But to see if it’s really a real trend we would obviously need more years of data.”

A drop in carbohydrate consumption drove the decline, a point of particular interest for those who study childhood obesity. Sugars are carbohydrates, and many argue that those added to food like cereal and soda during processing are at the heart of the childhood obesity epidemic. Ervin said it was not clear whether such added sugars alone were behind the carbohydrate decline.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Should The U.S.–The Sickest Country In The Developed World–Shred Its Safety Net?

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From Your Health Journal…..”A great article today on MSNBC by Geoffrey Cowley regarding the health of Americans stating if federal health spending continues to expand at its recent pace, it will eventually swallow the economy. For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high-income countries. The warning signs have been here for years, as many have warned us that obesity (and being overweight) will have a major impact on the economy – and the country cannot afford this right now. Please visit the MSNBC site (link provided below) to read the complete article. Mr. Cowley is an excellent writer, and nails this on the head.”

From the article…..

As we careen from the fiscal cliff toward a dispute over the debt ceiling, even moderates have been adopting the spirit of austerity. “Entitlement reform” is the slogan of the season, and health care programs are high on the list of likely targets. The case for action is compelling: if federal health spending continues to expand at its recent pace, it will eventually swallow the economy. But there’s more than one way to approach the challenge. Should we focus on cost (cut payments and eligibility to balance the books)? Or should we set our sights on value (finding ways to buy more health for our money)? That’s a big question, so we’ll chip away at it between now and the next congressional mêlée. Let’s start with a more basic question. Is the U.S. over-committed to social welfare? Is the government doing more than it can afford to support public health?

A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) puts the question into context by comparing U.S. rates of death and disability to those of 16 “peer nations” including Canada, Australia, Japan and the countries of Western Europe. Despite our top-tier medical expenditures, we trail the rest of the developed world on virtually every measure of health and well-being. “For many years, Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high-income countries,” the authors observe. “This disadvantage has been getting worse for three decades, especially among women.”

By international standards, our lives are not only short but also brutish–marred by higher rates of injury, homicide, teen pregnancy and drug overdose, not to mention obesity, heart disease and chronic lung disease. The report notes that our “longstanding pattern of poorer health…is strikingly consistent and pervasive over the life course–at birth, during childhood and adolescence, for young and middle-aged adults, and for older adults.”

The problems extend far beyond our health care system. True, 49 million Americans lack basic health coverage, and suffer demonstrably for it. “Compared with people in other countries, Americans are more likely to find care inaccessible or unaffordable and to report lapses in the quality and safety of care outside of hospitals,” according to the report. But the research implicates a host of other factors as well. Our fast-food cuisine makes over-eating the national default. Our car-centered communities discourage physical activity. Our gun laws foster lethal violence. And our high rates of poverty, especially among children, leave millions feeling hopeless and excluded.

To read the full article…..Click here