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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Layne Beachley is regarded as the best female professional surfer in history.

I was sad to read on Sporty Sistas that Beachley has felt the unending pressures of body image that her career has placed upon her.

This is big news since this is someone whose ego should be boosted – she’s won the World Championship seven times in her career.

She became a professional surfer at the age of 16 and was ranked sixth in the world by the time she was 20.

But in the 1990’s, she suffered from two instances of “chronic fatigue,” which threatened to end her surfing career.

It turns out that the “chronic fatigue” story had a little more behind it.

According to Sporty Sistas, Beachle recently released Beneath the Waves – a chronicle of how she got liposuction on her tummy at the very young age of 24.

Here’s what Sporty Sistas had to say about this,

“It’s comforting to know she has body insecurities just like 99% of girls out there, but on the flip side Layne makes a really disturbing observation that a women’s sporting career can only truly flourish if they are beautiful.”

Personally, I don’t find that comforting at all. It’s so (incredibly) wrong when the best surfer in the world thinks she’s fat and she’s pressured to win AND look perfect.

I have no doubt that this is the result of the way women surfers are objectified in the media (much like many female athletes are).

Beachle was quoted in an article titled, Winners, if they only look good as well, where she said,

“If you don’t fit that image then you’re not worthy of support … It’s a really unreasonable ethic to have,” she says.

I totally agree with the Sporty Sistas when they say,

“admiration is not only about their sporting success, but also heavily due to their sex appeal.” and “sexiness is the defining attribute that determines how big these endorsement can get. And with endorsements comes the ability to drum up support, and thus promote a longer and more recognised career.”

They have valid point here, and they certainly drove it home.

Sexiness sells. That’s what the media is interested in. And anything (or anyone) that “sells” has a better chance of getting endorsed.

And sometimes, unfortunately for women, in order to be a successful, endorsed athlete, you need to be perfect on the field, in life, and in the mirror.

As a society, we have to ask ourselves – when it comes to the health of these athletes, where can we draw the line?

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When health and technology meet, a scary thing happens: there’s an obesity problem. Check out this hilarious video about the Wii Fit, the latest invention to keep kids fat. I love this video!

My favorite part is when the narrator says,

“Instead of having your kids get outside to play and get exercise, why not have them stand right in front of the TV? You’ll save that money on soccer registration.”

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As I posted earlier in my Ranting About Red bull piece, energy drinks should be NOT be consumed by kids and teens. More importantly, they should not be consumed with alcohol (by anyone, not just kids and teens).

Gerald Pugliese recently wrote in Disease Proof that energy drinks like Red bull contain a ton of caffeine.  Ingesting this much caffeine can increase a child’s risk for a heart attack. Here’s what Gerald quoted:

“After drinking a cup of coffee, blood pressure can rise up to 5 or even 10 millimeters of mercury,” said Dr. Charalambos Vlachopoulos from the Cardiology Department of the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens, Greece. Increases of this magnitude can increase a person’s risk of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.

A recent article from the New York Times Well blog (Tara Parker-Hope) points to new research that says that teenagers who drink energy drinks—which are LOADED with caffeine—are more likely to engage in “risky” behavior. Here’s what she had to say:

In March, The Journal of American College Health published a report on the link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior. The study’s author, Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, says it suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with “toxic jock” behavior, a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence.

The finding doesn’t mean the drinks cause bad behavior. But the data suggest that regular consumption of energy drinks may be a red flag for parents that their children are more likely to take risks with their health and safety.

So please, do not drink Red bull. In an ABC news report, they reported that teens and young adults are drinking Red bull in droves.

These days, many teens and young adults choose to stock up on energy drinks such as Red Bull to keep them energized throughout the day and night. According to a Simmons Research poll, 31 percent of U.S. teens — approximately 7.6 million — said they consume energy drinks. On average, they consumed 5.3 glasses in the past 30 days.

College students, on the other hand, consumed 5.6 glasses in the past 30 days.

Many of these teens are combining Red bull with alcoholic beverages.  it is reported that the side effects are very dangerous and not worth the extra “buzz” you might feel.

“You can hinder your respiration,” said Roger A. Clemens, of the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy. “From a public health perspective, you should not mix stimulants with alcohol.”

“When you combine those two together, you always have a risk,” he said. According to Clemens, some major concerns with mixing these two drinks include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular risk, impaired judgment, shortness of breath, dizziness, disorientation and rapid heart beat.

So please, don’t follow the crowd. Especially if you’re an athlete. It’s just not worth it. Parents, discourage this behavior in your kids, please.

It makes me think, if these drinks are so bad for you, why doesn’t the FDA step in and do something? Caffeine needs to be regulated a little more carefully.

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Online searches via Google for the drug amantadine spiked on early last week after the drug played a prominent role in the medical drama “House.”

In terms of digital health, as the Washington Post accurately points out, this is important for one key reason. Primetime TV is a powerful medium to send people to the Internet to look up drugs.

In the epidsode, House, the hero on the show, realized that a young woman named Amber had damaged kidneys and was taking amantadine for the flu. The drug built up to toxic levels.

The result of mentioning amantadine: the drug shot to the top of Google’s hot trends list last week, WSJ’s Buzzwatch reported.

So, there is a clear connection here. Primetime TV and pharmaceutical drugs.

According to Jacob Goldstein at the Washington Post, between January and September of last year, pharmaceutical products and logos were seen or mentioned 705 times on broadcast and cable television, up from 630 times during the same period in ‘06, Fortune reported last year.

Rachel at Our Bodies Our Blog also pointed out that last year, The Well-Timed Period noted posters for the NuvaRing on the set of Scrubs and wondered whether this was an example of “stealth pharma marketing.” It later became clear that this was exactly the case, with NuvaRing maker Organon Pharmaceuticals acknowledging placement deals with primetime programs including “Scrubs,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “King of Queens.”

But the FDA can’t ignore this forever. Researchers at UCLA recently called for the FDA to regulate this marketing scam.

The facts about drugs in scripts are poorly supervised and sometimes incorrectly portrayed (as are medical terms and emergency situations). But what we can see from last week’s report is that people are paying attention. And, they’re making the extra step of going onto their computers to find out more.

If the facts are incorrect, this can become a large-scale public health concern if the FDA does not jump in soon.

As far as marketing goes, the Pharma companies will probably see the TV-internet connection as a positive trend and attempt to buy their way into more Primetime TV shows.

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There has been a lot in the news lately about obesity, health and basically how American’s can’t seem to close their mouths when it comes to food. However, there is also a lot in the news lately about rising oil prices, and –even worse — a global food crisis. But, in the face of a global food shortage, one must look at what’s right in front of their faces: wasted food.

I recently read a very interesting article in the NY Times Well Blog about food that we DON’T eat. The article features a slideshow (which is awesome) and a podcast interview between Tara Parker-Hope (one of my favorite writers) and Jason Bloom, the author of WastedFood.com, a blog which will serve as the basis of his future book about wasted food.

So I took a look at Jason’s blog. Incredibly interesting and I highly recommend you read it regularly. In one of his most recent posts entitled “Envisible Elephants,” Jason tells us that 27 percent of food, or, 96 billion pounds, is wasted each year. Now, what’s crazy about this is that this is OLD DATA.  It’s from 1997.

Jason went to far as to predict that we now waste about 150 billion pounds of food annually, which equals the weight of about 15 million elephants.

Now, how is this happening? How about “all-you-can eat” facilities? Capitalism at its best.

In a post on 5/22, Jason gives us the example of food trays. Apparently, they make us pile on more than we can actually take in (people pile multiple plates per meal onto one tray). He refers to a  Virginia Tech student-led campaign which determined food wasted in a week. Apparently, the students averaged about a half-pound of edible waste per student per meal — 1,400 pounds of waste per day. Take a look at the slideshow. (disgusting)

I don’t know about you, but this makes me think twice before piling on the food in a cafeteria. With the oil industry taking over the world horrible global food crisis, we should be paying more attention to what we DON’T eat.

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Ok, I have to admit: when I first read this article I started to laugh. Apparently, the Wii Fit is causing quite a stir. Apparently, it told a 10-year-old that she is obese, and obesity experts are outraged.

In today’s society of youth and multimedia, I first thought the Wii Fit could be a good thing. Maybe, instead of sitting still and playing with these games, the kids would actually be moving. But I still can’t go back on my instinct that these games are not the same as actual outside sports which involve HUMAN INTERACTION, and they’re turning our kids into “zombies.”

Wii Fit was released in Japan on December 1, 2007, in Europe on April 25, 2008, May 8, 2008 in Australia and May 21, 2008 in North America. In North America, Wii Fit was launched on May 19, 2008 with an exclusive release at the Nintendo World Store in New York City.

But when this was launched in Europe, a ten-year-old British girl stepped on the game’s electronic balance board and entered her height, and the Wii labeled her ‘overweight.’ She was reportedly devastated.

Obesity experts are outraged — they are concerned Wi Fit could damage children’s body image and are telling parents to be warned. Many fitness experts don’t even believe in BMI anymore, especially with children, because they’re constantly growing and the BMI can change monthly.

I actually think it’s a good thing. It’s about time kids get a “reality check” on their weight. If they’re “overweight” or “obese,” they need to see it and start making changes in their lives. I actually HOPE they get embarrassed in front of friends. It should be embarrassing.

Maybe then, they’d get pissed off and actually turn off the damn TV and go outside and play. This is a beautiful time of year. It’s an AWFUL time for the Wii to come to the northeast of the U.S. People should be encouraged to go outside, not sit around a TV and MAYBE work up a sweat.

That said, I think the Wii Fit has amazing potential for people who are confined to a living room due to suffering a stroke, sickness or disability. Further, it has great potential for seniors, whose bodies maybe can’t handle the harsh impact of exercising outside.

If you’re interested in what the new game has to offer, check out this YouTube video. It goes through some of the games. The intelligence behind this thing is amazing. I’m just concerned about the impact it will have on society.

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HillaryIt seems only fitting that I post following today’s results in West Virginia. I have a few thoughts on the current Presidential race, a few of which were spurred by today’s headline.

New York Times headline: Clinton Wins West Virginia, With Race a Factor.  Interesting headline choice. Right below that headline is another article entitled ‘Almost Nominee’ Status Keeps Obama in Limbo. Shocker. As a paper that is very democratic and whose editors are pro-Hillary (because NY is her home state), it seems they, too are jumping on the Obama bandwaggon when it comes to reporting the “real” news.  And this is nothing new.

Why couldn’t the headline simply be, “Clinton Wins West Virginia”?

INSTEAD, the article reads, “Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lopsided victory over Senator Barack Obama was fueled by strong support from white, working-class voters. ”

So, this couldn’t possibly be becuase SHE IS A QUALIFIED CANDIDATE. No, it must mean that the voters in West Viriginia are racist.

This is such crap.

HOWEVER, I must say, even though the reporting is AWFUL, there is some good that comes of this. It highlights the fact that if race is, in fact, a factor, then it means that Senator Obama will have quite a hard time defeating Senator McCain for the white vote.

However, I think we should give the citizens of the U.S. a little more credit. I doubt they’d vote for a candidate based upon race any more than they’d vote for a candidate based upon gender.

Or would they? (see my previous post)

Where is our country headed? If we let race and gender influence the way we elect or political leaders, then we have bigger problems than the war in Iraq or a dwindling healthcare system.

Sports taught me that it didn’t matter if you were black or white, boy or girl, good hair or bad hair, rich or poor. If you could play and you worked hard, you’d earn a spot on the court. The same should be true in our political system. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more clear that this is simply not the case.

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