Monday, November 03, 2008

The faddist hatred of salt has had a worrisome side-effect

Iodine deficiency was long ago thought to be dealt with adequately by putting iodine in table salt. Your salt container probably says "iodized" somewhere on it. There is iodine in sea salt naturally as well. But the report below reveals that iodine deficiency is now showing up. Obviously the totally unwarranted hatred of dietary salt has had the intended effect of reducing consumption of it and the unintended effect of reducing iodine intake

AUSTRALIA'S top food regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand has ruled that iodine must be added to all bread by September 2009. Food Standards Australia New Zealand is responding to its Australian Total Diet Study, which found that about 43 per cent of Australians have an inadequate iodine intake. It estimates this will drop to no more than 5 per cent after iodine-fortification of bread.

The ATDS is conducted about every two years to ensure the Australian food supply is safe and nutritious. "Insufficient iodine intake, particularly in groups such as pregnant women, babies and young children, is of great concern," Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Senator Jan McLucas said. "Mild to moderate iodine deficiency can result in children having learning difficulties and can affect the development of motor skills and hearing. "In extreme cases it can result in severe intellectual disability."

Women aged 19 to 49 need between 100 and 200 micrograms of iodine a day but the study found 70 per cent were not getting enough. Ten per cent of children aged two to three years are also not getting enough iodine.

Ninety-six types of food were tested in a "table-ready" state for the trace elements selenium, chromium, molybdenum, nickel and iodine. The survey found that selenium intake also needed further investigation. FSANZ chief scientist Dr Paul Brent said that the agency had taken a new approach to producing a world-leading total diet study focused exclusively on nutrients.


Green space better for kids' waistlines, health?

The brain-dead leaping to desired conclusions never stops. Could it be that people who live in "greener" areas are more economically successful? Greener areas ARE more desirable. And since we know that economically successful people have better health, does not the study below simply confirm that for yet another population?

In an era of rampant obesity that has raised concerns over youth health in particular, researchers have found that for poor children, living in "greener" neighborhoods is linked to slower weight gain. The findings come from a study billed as the first to examine the effect of neighborhood parks and other leafy areas on inner city children's weight over time.

Past studies have offered "snapshots in time" showing effects similar to this one, said Gilbert Liu, senior author of the new research in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. "Our new study of over 3,800 inner city children revealed that living in areas with green space has a long term positive impact on children's weight and thus health," added Liu, of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The study followed children ages 3 to 18 over two years. Higher neighborhood greenness was associated with slower increases in body mass indexa standard measure of weight excess or deficiencyregardless of age, race, sex or residential density, scientists said. The children in the study were mainly African-American and publicly insured.

The researchers used satellite images to measure greenness, which wasn't simply defined as parks. "Our research team adapted methods, originally developed for agricultur and forestry research, to estimate greenness," said research group member Jeffrey S. Wilson of Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis. "These measures are affected by all forms of vegetation that are visible to the satellite and take into consideration not only how much vegetation is present, but how healthy that vegetation is." Trees and other urban vegetation improve aesthetics, reduce pollution and keep things cooler, making the outside a more attractive place to play, walk or run, scientists noted.

Childhood obesity is associated with a variety of health problems including type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea and emotional distress. Over the past 30 years, obesity has doubled in children age 2 to 5 and age 12 to 19 years and has tripled in children between 6 and 11 years of age, according to the U.S. Institute of Medicine.

Obese child are likely to be obese as adults increasing risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke and higher health care costs. "Obesity is a national epidemic," said Liu, a pediatrician. "Our lifestyle makes us sedentary and less healthy. For children, physical activity is active play and that usually take place outdoors. We need to encourage them to go outside and play."


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