Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New York Asks to Bar Use of Food Stamps to Buy Sodas

According to an article published in the New York Times, Mayor Bloomberg is looking to ban the purchase of sodas with food stamps. The request was made to the USDA and is part of an aggressive anti-obesity push by the mayor that has included advertisements, stricter rules on food sold in schools, and an unsuccessful attempt to impose a tax on the product.

The request was a ban for two years to study whether or not it would have a positive impact on health and whether a permanent ban was merited.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Study: Paying Cash, Not Credit, Leads to Healthier Food Choices

According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, paying with cash instead of plastic leads to more careful spending and healthier food choices. Researchers followed the grocery shopping habits of 1,000 households for six months, tracking what they bought and how they paid for it. The study found that those who used debit/credit cards more frequently tended to make unplanned/impulsive purchases that included more unhealthy foods.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Roundup

Here is a review of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Preemie births inch down, but still a big problem, MSNBC.com, 11/17/2010
Brief Intro: According to a report from the March of Dimes, premature births have inched down from 12.8% of U.S. babies born in 2006 to 12.3% in 2008.

2. 'Tooth Angels' provide free dental care to Maine students, WMTW.com, 11/16/2010
Brief Intro: A group of dental hygienists are traveling across Maine to provide students in need with free dental care.

Vulnerable Populations
1. Unemployment benefits extension introduced in house, CNNMoney.com, 11/17/2010
Brief Intro: A bill introduced into the House on Wednesday would give the unemployed three more months to file for extended jobless benefits. The legislation would extend the deadline to file for federal unemployment benefits to Feb.28 instead of the current deadline of Nov. 30th. This would spare the benefits of 4 million people.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Study: Walking Is a Brain Exercise Too

In a recent Time article, a study published in Neurology has found that walking may improve memory in old age. The researchers tracked the physical activity of 299 healthy men and women with an average age of 78. Their activity ranged from walking 0 blocks to 300 blocks per week. Nine years later, the participants underwent brain scans and those that walked more had more brain mass than those who had walked less. Four years after this, the volunteers were tested for dementia. 116 people from the group had shown signs of dementia, but those who had walked about 7 miles per week (72 city blocks) had half the cognitive issues than those who had walked the least.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Hispanic Mortality Paradox

In a recent Time article, the author discusses the Hispanic mortality paradox. While the Hispanic population has several characteristics that are usually associated with a shorter life (more obesity/poverty and lower education), the life expectancy of a Hispanic baby born in 2006 was 80.6 years - which is 2.5 years longer than whites, 7 years longer than African-Americans and almost three times the national average.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Even 1 Soda a Day Can Hike Your Diabetes Risk

According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, a study recently published in the journal of Diabetes Care found that people with a daily habit of one or two sugar sweetened beverages were more than 25% likelier to develop type 2 diabetes than were similar individuals who had no more than one sugary drink per month. Those who drank sweetened drinks at a rate of one per day also had a 20% higher rate of developing metabolic syndrome.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vision clinic opens for underserved Latinos

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Eye Institute has started its Chicago Vision Outreach program to provide service to the underserved. Many of the patients in areas targeted by the program have not seen a regular doctor in years and have underlying or undiagnosed conditions such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Those targeted by the program are usually uninsured and would have to go to Cook county hospital in order to receive care. With waiting times of about 6 months to a year for an appointment, patients were somtimes gambling with diseases that could cause them to go blind before they received the care they needed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Roundup

Here are articles of interest that have been published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Walgreens tackles food deserts, NYT.com, November 12, 2010
Brief Intro: Walgreens is participating in an experiment that will help people in food deserts by selling fresh fruits and vegetables in ten locations.
2. Battle lines drawn over Medicaid in Texas, NYT.com, November 11, 2010
Brief Intro: Some Republicans in the Texas legislature are floating the idea of opting out of the federal Medicaid program, as they believe that state's participation in that program and CHIP is helping to bankrupt the state.

1. Proficiency of Black students is found to be far lower than expected, NYT.com, November 9, 2010
Brief Intro: A new report called "A Call for Change," has been released by the Council of the Great City Schools group, shows that the achievement gap between both black and white students is worse than expected. The report, which focuses on Black males shows that only 12% of fourth grade Black boys are proficient in reading - compared to 38% of White boys. In math, only 12% of eighth grade Black boys are proficient compared to 44% for White boys.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

D.C. schools dinner program aims to fight childhood hunger

According to an article in The Washington Post, D.C. public schools have started offering an early dinner to approximately 10,000 students, many of which are now receiving 3 meals a day from a school system looking to expand efforts to curb childhood hunger and poor nutrition. The program, which is estimated to cost the school system about $5.7 million this year, comes at a time of heightened concern about childhood poverty in the city. The dinner initiative has three goals: hedging against childhood hunger, reducing alarming rates of obesity and drawing more students to after-school programs.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Groups take aim at disparities facing African-Americans

According to a recent article in The News Gazette, groups from three systems that help children in trouble - schools, child-welfare agencies, and juvenile justice- gathered together to see how they could eliminate disproportionality. With less than 22% of Champaign County children being African-American, the group makes up 63% of out-of-school suspensions in Urbana, 60% of child-welfare cases, 81% of discipline referrals in the Champaign schools, and 82% of juvenile detention admissions within the county, the groups are looking for ways to help eliminate the disparities faced by African-American families.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New study explores why black women might be less likely to breast feed

According to Kiddada Green from the Black Mothers Breast Feeding Association, there are three reasons why black mothers may be more averse to breast feeding their babies:
1. Psychological effect of historical influences - the separation of mother and child during slavery, the slave woman being asked to nurse her mistresses children, and slave women having to return to the fields quickly after giving birth.
2. African-American women are discouraged for a number of reasons from breast feeding.
3. Lack of support

Her organization was organized in order to create a support system for mothers in order to motivate them to begin breast feeding and encouraging mothers to keep up the practice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Documentary of Interest: I can't do this but I CAN do that

A recent HBO documentary takes a look at children with learning disabilities and their families. There are eight learning disabled children profiled in the documentary that have learned to use their strengths in order to overcome their challenges.

The film provides viewers with a better understanding of what challenges those labeled as learning disabled or differently abled learners face. As one of the children in the film states, "It's not a learning disability, its a learning difference. If people think you have a disorder, their expectations drop tremendously. I can do better than that."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Podcast: Interview with Jason Eiseman (Technology)

As a new feature for this blog, I am creating podcasts to help keep readers informed about important topics within the nonprofit, information, and technology fields. For the first interview podcast, I decided to check-in with Jason Eiseman, who is the Emerging Technology Librarian at the Yale Law School Library.

Jason shares his views on technology and libraries and provides resource recommendations that you can use to keep ahead of the curve. You can view his personal blog, Jason the Content Librarian, here.

*The above podcast link is in WAV format. If you need MP3, click here.

Friday Roundup

These are articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Gene variations may explain HIV control, USNWR, November 5, 2010
Brief Intro: Researchers say that rare variations in an immune system protein may explain why some people may continue to remain healthy, despite infection.

2. U.S. obesity rate may hit 42% by 2050, USNWR/Health Day, November 5, 2010
Brief Intro: A research team from Harvard and MIT have predicted that adult obesity rates will continue to rise for another 40 years before leveling out. With these rates, the team predicts that 42% of the adult population will be obese.

3. Wyoming and W. Va lead in chewing tobacco use, MSNBC.com, November 4, 2010
Brief Intro: Wyoming tops the nation in chewing tobacco use, with 1 in 6 adult men making use of the product. In both Wyoming and W. Va, approximately 9% of adults, both men and women, make use of chewing tobacco. The report, created by the CDC, is one of the government's first attempts to collect state level statistics on smokeless tobacco.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New poll reveals confusion about children with learning disabilities

A recent learning disability poll conducted by Roper uncovered troubling misunderstandings about the definition, root causes, and key influences about children who may learn differently. The president of the Tremaine Foundation felt that the poll's findings, "threaten our children's futures and undermine efforts to improve educational outcomes for all."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hispanics cite bias in survey

In a recent survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, more than 6 in 10 Latinos in the United States say discrimination is a major problem, a significant increase in the last three years.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Smaller brain region may fuel weight gain in teens

A new study suggests that the smaller size of an impulse-control region in the brain may predispose children to gain weight. Or, the obesity itself may influence brain size, which in turn may fuel uninhibited eating. The researchers noted that the study only shows an association and not a cause-effect link.

The study was presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Meeting this week in New York City.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moms' literacy pivotal to kids' academic success

According to a HealthDay News article, improving mothers' literacy skills may boost the success of low-income children in schools, according to a new study. The study examined data from 2,350 students, aged 3 to 17, and their families in 65 Los Angeles communities.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal of Demography.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Roundup

Here is a listing of of articles of interest published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Obesity traced to early eating habits, UPI.com, October 29, 2010
Brief Intro: Canadian researchers have found that food behaviors developed in early childhood may contribute to obesity. The study, published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, suggests parents may be rewarding children for certain types of behavior. The research team recruited 1,730 4 and 5-year old Canadian children for the study.

2. Foodmakers pledge to fight obesity with clear package labels, Bloomberg.com, October 28, 2010
Brief Intro: The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association announced a new voluntary labeling system. By developing a clear and easy to read label, it is hoped that it will help customer understanding and help parents and other shoppers identify and select products that contribute to a healthy diet, according to Ms. DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman.

1. In sharp rise, 47 city schools may close over performance, NYTimes.com, October 28, 2010
Brief Intro: The New York City Department of Education said that up to 47 schools may be closed for poor performance. The schools face a potential "phase-out", which means that the schools will stop accepting students and loses one grade per year until it ceases to exist.

2. School Diversity: The problems with economic integration, Yahoo News (Time.com), October 28, 2010
Brief Intro: In an article by Andrew Rotherham, he discusses the challenges of economic integration in education. In his opinion, he says that the U.S. has spent decades bringing low-income children to good schools. He believes that it may be best to realize the limitations and practical constraints of these approaches.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can too much screen time end up hurting kids?

British researchers studied more than 1,000 kids between the ages of 10-11. Over 7 days, the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire that asked how long they spent in front of the TV and computer and asked questions about their emotional, behavioral and peer-related problems. The odds of significant psychological difficulties were about 60% higher for children spending more than 2 hours a day in front of either screen compared to kids who spent less time. The effect was seen regardless of sex, age, stage of puberty, or level of educational or economic deprivation.

You can read more on this article on MSNBC.com.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Washington state compiles list of chemicals toxic to children

Under new rules proposed by Washington state, manufacturers of children's products would be required to report whether toys, jewelery, apparel, and other items contain certain harmful chemicals, according to a recent article published on MSNBC.com. State officials came up with the 59 chemicals of concerns from approximately 2,000 chemicals that cause cancer and harm fetal development, among other factors. The chemicals on the list are toxic and have been found in children's products or have been present in human tissues, such as blood or breast milk.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Benefits of raising bilingual children

According to a recent article on the BBC News, bilingual children may be less easily confused and less likely to develop Alzheimer's when they grow up. According to the work of Agnes Kovacs and Jacques Mehler, infants brought up by parents who spoke different languages did better in a puppet game by adjusting more quickly to changes. They were also quicker in anticipating on which side of the screen the puppet in the game would appear on, based on speech clues.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Senate panel examines how chemicals affect kids' health

A recent article on CNN details how a Senate panel is examining how chemicals used in everyday life affect the health of children. The subcommittee is examining how chemicals affect children, especially those developing in the womb. Several studies have shown that hundreds of toxic chemicals are found in mothers, and subsequently, their babies after birth.

A surprising find by a non-profit environmental advocacy organization, Environmental Working Group, found an average of 232 chemicals in the cord blood of babies born in 2009.