Soda Machines Fight Obesity AND Government Over-regulation

News media outlets and comedians alike had a field day following the proposal and passage of a mandate in New York which put a cap on the serving size of sodas and sugary drinks that could be sold in restaurants and movie theaters. While many argue that this government regulation is overly parental, if not unconstitutional, we cannot argue that the rise of obesity and the threat to health and quality of life is a real and pressing issues in U.S. Society.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also includes a mandate about required nutritional content labeling for all foods in chain restaurants and franchises with more than 20 outlets, and politicians nationwide are pushing for a so called “sin” tax on empty calorie products like sodas.

In response to all the commotion, Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have announced that they will producing new vending machines which make calorie content available on the button for each drink. The machine  will also have more diet and low cal beverages, as well as offer smaller serving sizes. These new machines will appear first in Chicago and San Antonio before being rolled out nationwide. Some people are mocking the, again, parental nature of the machines; rumor has it that a “bad” selection will trigger the machine to question the consumer and suggest a healthier option! However, I think that the problem of obesity is real, and it’s better that the producers of junk food make such changes than the government overstep its bounds and try to control how people eat.

As much as I promote healthy eating in my own lie and encourage others to consider what they are putting in their bodies, I am wholeheartedly against the government telling someone they cannot order a certain serving size. It just goes against the “pursuit of happiness” that lies at the heart of our constitution. Part of what makes the United States so outstanding is our right to personal choice; we can mess up our lives and make all the bad choices we want in pursuit of our pleasures, as long as it does not infringe on any one else’s rights.

By taking an active roll in the fight against obesity and informing consumers, these soda giants are avoiding government over-regulation, and actually empowering consumers with knowledge about the choices that they have the right to make.

So, drink up!

Is Organic Food Worth the Expense?


I’ve been committed to buying organic produce for several years now, and on average I’ve noticed that I pay almost double for my organic produce. There has been plenty of research foretelling of the dangers of consuming excessive pesticides which we assume to be found on regular produce. But Stanford University released a study which has made me reconsider the necessity of my expensive preference. Study author Dr. Dena Brevata says that overall there is little difference or impact on health for adults whether we consume organic or regular produce.

There are of course, some benefits in choosing organics. For one thing, it’s better for the environment to produce food without using toxic chemicals. The study also showed that antioxidants were richer in organic produce than in that residues in childrens’ urine was 30 percent lower when they switched to organic produce.

To keep costs low and stick with the greener option, I reccommend choosing grocery stores like Sprouts and Trader Joes rather than the pricier Whole Foods. Check out your local farmer’s markets as well, this is a good way to find veggies free from pesticides and support your local growers.

India Drugmaker Cipla Cuts Prices of Generic Drug

By Lissette Talledo

Indian drugmaker Cipla has cut the generic version of Bayer’s Nevaxar by 75 percent. These are lung and brain cancer drugs which will be sold at 6,840 Rupees a month.

That is compared to how much Bayer sells these drugs for at 284, 428 per month.

Cipla says they do not expect these price cuts will affect their revenue. The products already have low volumes.

The reason for their decision is to make these drugs more affordable to patients.

Bayer is suing Cipla for patent infringement over Nexavar in court.

This occurred two months after India decided to allow another drugmaker to make a cheaper version of drugs despite Bayer’s objections.

Vogue: Skinny, Underage Model Ban

By Lissette Talledo

Vogue editors of all 19 editions have decided to ban the use of skinny models under 16. The purpose is an attempt to change the fashion industry for a healthier body image.

The editors made a six-point pact where they pledge to not knowingly use models under 16 or ones who appear to have an eating disorder.

Casting directors will also have to check the model’s ID before photo shoots as well as encourage healthy habits backstage.

Fashion designers will be encouraged to consider the consequences of using extremely small sample sizes.

In 2009, the Vogue editor for the UK criticized fashion houses for sending clothes too small for their models.

Worldwide Premature births: More than 1 out 10 babies

By Lissette Talledo

The World Health Organization released a joint report that suggests 15 million babies around the world are born prematurely each year. One million of them die immediately after birth.

Babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature, whereas full term babies are born at 40 weeks.

Being born premature is the second-leading cause of death in children under 5 worldwide. However, those who do survive may develop learning difficulties and other problems.

UN experts say that simple and inexpensive care can help keep these babies alive.

One example of that would be preventing cord infection by using antiseptic cream.

There are inequalities in survival rates for different countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sexual Abuse During Childhood is a Culprit for Some Adults with HIV

By Lissette Talledo

Duke University Researchers have found that about one in four adults with HIV were sexually abused as children.  This psychological trauma can be indicative of increased likelihood for HIV/AIDS and faster health decline.

The researchers studied more than 600 patients with HIV, ages 20 to 71, and found that about a quarter of them were indeed abused sexually at a young age.

They also found that about half of the patients experienced three or more traumatic events throughout their lives such as enduring physical abuse, or suffering the loss of a child.

Such traumatic experiences were indicative of worse health-related behaviors including instances of unprotected sex.

One can thus conclude the reasons behind reckless sexual behavior, which can lead to a person contracting HIV.

Extra Smoking Counseling Found Ineffective

By Lissette Talledo

A study in the British Medical Journal says that intensive counseling, as well as offering free nicotine patches, does not help smokers quit.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham found that this additional support does not contribute with people giving up on smoking.

They studied more than 2,500 smokers and followed up on them after a year and found no significant results in groups given either intensive counseling or nicotine patches versus groups who didn’t receive those treatments.

The Department of Health in England and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies funded this study to see if they can improve their services. Because of the lack of positive results, the Department of Health will not offer those services for the NHS Smoking Helpline.

Underweight Model Ban in Israel

By Lissette Talledo

The Israeli government has passed a law which bans the use of underweight models. Publications will have to specify if the image has been manipulated to make the model appear thinner. Models in Israel are now required to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 18.5 percent. They will have to present updated medical records of their weight when applying to jobs. Supporters say the images of underweight models contribute to eating disorders in young girls. In Israel currently, around 2 percent of girls ages 14 to 18 have severe eating disorders. Critics say the focus should be on the model’s health instead of her weight since some are naturally thin.

¿Vive usted en un desierto de alimentos?

Aunque su patio trasero probablemente no tiene arena o nopales, todavía podría estar viviendo en un desierto: el desierto de alimentos. Olvídese de los espejismos y las serpientes de cascabel. Este tipo de desierto se trata de la comida sana, fresca — o más exactamente, la falta de los mismos.

El Departamento de Agricultura acaba de publicar una fantástica nueva herramienta en su pagina de web, llamado el “Localizador de desiertos de alimentos“, que le permite ver si su comunidad no tiene acceso a alimentos asequibles, fresca y saludable. Lo más importante, el Localizador ayuda a los políticos y los planificadores a identificar a las comunidades en las que la intervención pública o privada puede ayudar significativamente a las familias a mejorar su salud y nutrición a través de mejorar el acceso a las tiendas de comestibles, en lugar de tiendas de la esquina que venden excesivamente procesados productos​​.

Vea si su comunidad es un desierto de alimentos en el sitio del USDA. Foto/USDA.

Sabemos que los problemas de salud relacionados con la nutrición se han disparado en todo el país. Según los CDC, casi el 75% de los adultos estadounidenses (y 30% de los niños) están sobrepeso o son obesos. De individuos nacidos en el año 2000, uno de cada tres desarrollará diabetes durante su vida, estas tasas siendo mucho mayor en los afro americanos e hispanos.

El acceso a alimentos frescos y saludables es una parte enorme del problema. No podemos esperar que la gente come alimentos que son buenos para el cuerpo o el medio ambiente cuando no están disponibles.

Casi 50 millones de estadounidenses están sin seguro médico, dice el CDC

Más y más estadounidenses están teniendo más problemas para pagar el seguro médico, señalaron los del CDC. Foto via Flickr.

Considerando que la gente en EE.UU se esta poniendo más de sobrepeso y aumenta la probabilidad de tener alta presión y diabetes, es desalentador saber que ahora hay casi 50 millones de estadounidenses que viven sin seguro de salud, 3 millones más que el año pasado, según un informe de los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades y Prevención (CDC). Según el informe, uno de cada cinco personas no tenían seguro durante una parte de los últimos 12 meses.

Un experto de la Fundación de Kaiser Family, que supervisa estas cifras dice que la economía es parte de la culpa.

“En los EE.UU., la cobertura de seguro de las personas está relacionada con su trabajo y cuando la gente pierde puestos de trabajo, pierden la cobertura de seguro que viene con el trabajo”, dice Rachel Garfield, la investigadora y directora asociado de la Comisión Kaiser sobre Medicaid y “No Asegurados.”

Más de un tercio de los adultos desempleados menores de 65 años han estado sin seguro de salud para más de un año en comparación con aproximadamente una de cada seis adultos que todavía están trabajando, afirma el CDC.

La gente en el sur y el oeste eran menos propensos a inscribirse en un plan de salud. Y los hombres adultos menores de 65 años tenían más probabilidades de no tener seguro que sus contrapartes femeninas.

Los investigadores dicen que de 68.000 estadounidenses encuestados, dos tercios se consideran en buena salud, pero eso es menos que hace una década.

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