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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Disney to ban junk-food ads on TV, websites

Posted: 06 June 2012 1244 hrs

A Mickey Mouse character assists Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Culinary Dietary Specialist Gary Jones (C) make healthy smoothies on June 5. (AFP/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
WASHINGTON: The Walt Disney Company, in a first for a US media giant, has said it will ban junk-food advertising on its TV channels and websites from 2015 to help fight obesity among US children.

"This new initiative is truly a game changer for the health of our children," said First Lady Michelle Obama, a champion of better eating for young people who attended Disney's landmark announcement in Washington on Tuesday.

"This is a major American company, a global brand, that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives," she said.

In a statement, Disney said all food and drinks advertised on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned children's websites would, from 2015, be required to meet its own nutrition guidelines.

The rules will also apply during Saturday morning cartoons on the ABC stations owned by Disney, which reach one in four American households from New York to Los Angeles.

"The nutrition guidelines are aligned to federal standards, promote fruit and vegetable consumption and call for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar," it said.

Breakfast cereals, for instance, would have to contain less than 10 grammes of sugar per serving in order to be advertised on Disney outlets. Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes, squarely targeted at youngsters, now come in at 11 grams.

Besides the new advertising standards, Disney said it would roll out a "Mickey Check" check-mark icon this year to identify nutritious food and menu items at its retail shops and theme parks.

Seventeen percent of US children are obese, a figure that has tripled in 30 years, according to a report last month from the Institute of Medicine that warned of a "catastrophic" impact on national health care and productivity.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, said 42 percent of Americans could be obese by 2030 -- the year when today's eight year olds will be turning 26.

"I believe this is a positive development," said Kelly Brownell, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, in an email to AFP.

"Disney has credibility and reach, and they have set quite good standards for what can be promoted as healthy food. I believe they are making good progress and other media companies will have to take notice."

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), whose members include such food industry giants as Kellogg's and Kraft Foods, called Disney's announcement "another important step" to helping consumers have a healthy diet.

"We have voluntarily adopted strict advertising criteria," it added, "so that 100 percent of ads seen on children's programming from GMA members now promote healthier diet choices and better-for-you products.

But others expressed scepticism.

"Kids aren't obese because they are watching fast food commercials on the Disney Channel," wrote a Virginia resident under an online story about Tuesday's announcement on the website of Advertising Age, a trade journal.

"They are obese because instead of being active, they are sitting in front of a TV... How about creating TV shows that challenge kids to be active while watching?"

Speaking from Los Angeles, a Disney spokeswoman explained that the 2015 start year for the guidelines had been set in order to allow existing advertising agreements to expire.

- AFP/al

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Disney to ban junk-food ads on TV, websites

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

US approves first heart pump for children

A new hope... for kids!

Posted: 18 December 2011

A model of a heart
WASHINGTON: The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a first mechanical cardiac assist device for children that can help keep patients alive as they await a transplant.

The EXCOR Pediatric System, made by German company Berlin Heart, can be sized to fit young people from newborns to teenagers.

"This is a step forward, it is the first FDA-approved pulsatile mechanical circulatory support device specifically designed for children," said Susan Cummins, chief pediatric medical officer in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

"Previous adult heart assist devices were too large to be used in critically ill children to keep them alive while they wait to get a new heart," she added in a statement Friday.

The device was tested on a group of 48 US patients, and was found to improve survival rates for transplant patients compared with the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, the current standard of care, though not FDA approved.

As a whole, a reported 12-17 percent of children and 23 percent of infants die while they await heart transplants, according to the FDA.

- AFP/cc

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US approves first heart pump for children

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Fewer US teens smoke, drink

With news like this coming from the US, now this is something!

Posted: 15 December 2011

WASHINGTON: Cigarette and alcohol use by US teenagers are at their lowest point since the mid-1970s, but marijuana use remains steady, according to the findings of a national survey released Wednesday.

Some 18.7 percent of grade 12 high school students, typically aged 17 or 18, reported smoking cigarettes in the latest Monitoring the Future, well down from a peak of 36.5 percent in 1997.

Among eighth-grade pupils, the proportion of smokers was 6.1 percent, down from 21 percent in 1996, the classroom survey of 46,773 students from 400 schools indicated.

"That cigarette use has declined to historically low rates is welcome news, given our concerns that declines have slowed or stalled in recent years," said Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the survey.

Some 63.5 percent of 12th graders and 26.9 percent of eighth graders consumed alcohol in the past year, down from peaks of 74.8 percent in 1997 and 46.8 percent in 1994 respectively.

Binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks in a row in the fortnight prior to taking the survey, saw a five-year decrease, reported by 6.4 percent of eighth graders, 14.7 percent of 10th graders and 21.6 percent of 12th graders.

On the other hand, use of marijuana "remains steady" after some increases in recent years, with 36.4 percent of 12th graders having used it once in the past year, and 6.6 percent on a daily basis.

Some 11.4 percent of 12th graders said they had used synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice.

Launched in 1975, Monitoring the Future is among three major surveys sponsored by federal health officials to take stock of substance abuse among American teenagers.

- AFP/wk

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Fewer US teens smoke, drink

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Eating fish boosts heart health in young women

Now this is good to hear, but even better 'to eat'!

Posted: 06 December 2011

Apple for health
WASHINGTON: Women of childbearing age can reduce their risk of heart problems by regularly eating fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, said a Danish study out Monday.

The study is the first to examine younger women, age 15-49, and determine whether fish in their diet has a real impact on their current likelihood of heart problems, instead of their longevity.

For instance, "those who rarely or never ate fish had 50 percent more cardiovascular problems over eight years than those who ate fish regularly," the research said.

Women who rarely or never ate fish faced a 90 percent higher risk of heart problems than those who ate fish weekly.

When researchers looked at hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in three different assessments over a 30 week period, they found it was three times higher among women who did not eat fish.

The findings, published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, are based on a Danish study of 49,000 women with a median age of 30 that spanned eight years.

Women were interviewed by phone about their family history, lifestyle and fish consumption, and were tracked over the next eight years.

"We saw a strong association with cardiovascular disease in the women who were still in their late 30s," said Marin Strom, lead researcher and post doctoral fellow at the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"The biggest challenge in getting health messages like this across to younger populations is that usually the benefits may not be evident for 30 or 40 years, but our study shows this is not the case."

Women most commonly reported eating cod, salmon, herring, and mackerel, all of which are high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, believed to protect against heart and vascular disease.

The study focused exclusively on dietary intake of fish, not supplements with fish oil.

"Women who eat fish should find the results encouraging, but it is important to emphasize that to obtain the greatest benefit from fish and fish oils, women should follow the dietary recommendations to eat fish as a main meal at least twice a week," said Strom.


Taken from; source article is below:
Eating fish boosts heart health in young women

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