USDA Replaces School Junk Food with “Smart Snacks”

Federal officials finalized new regulations on snacks sold in U.S. schools this week, requiring lower limits on the amount of fat, calories, sugar and salt [1]. The USDA’s “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards balances science-based nutrition guidelines with practical and flexible solutions to promote healthier eating during the school day.

School vending machines

Many Runners Drink Too Much Fluid During Exercise

Popular hydration options among runners and endurance athletes include water and carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions, also known as sports drinks. Sports drink manufacturers, in an effort to sell more product, have convinced a large number of athletes — including accomplished runners — that the key to avoiding medical problems during exercise and racing is to drink as much as possible.

According to new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine [1], many runners have erroneous beliefs about their hydration needs, and thus overhydrate by drinking according to a schedule, or drinking “as much as possible.” This increases the risk of exercise-associated hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance in which the sodium concentration in the serum is lower than normal. Hyponatremia can cause nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, seizures, decreased consciousness and/or coma. With events from community 10K races all the way up to marathons and ultramarathons increasing in popularity among non-elite athletes, understanding public belief about hydration and subsequent hydration behavior is an important public health topic.

Runner drinking water

SODIS Method Makes Water Safe to Drink

Each year, nearly one billion people around the world lack access to safe, clean water [1]. Water is essential for life, yet less than 1% of water on the planet is safe to drink. This is especially a problem in developing countries or during natural disasters. Take Hurricane Katrina: back in 2005 when it hit the Gulf Coast, one of the biggest needs for storm victims was access to clean drinking water.

In the United States and Europe, people take it for granted that when they turn on the faucet, clean water will flow out. Indeed, a single flush of a toilet in the West uses more water than most Africans have to perform an entire day’s washing, cleaning, cooking and drinking [2].

Securing access to safe water worldwide is vitally important. Clean water is essential for agriculture, food and energy production, recreation and reduction of poverty. More than 2 million people, most of them children, die every year from water-borne diseases. And time is of the essence: by 2020, more people could die of water-related diseases than those that have died due to HIV/AIDS [2].

SODIS in Indonesia

Surviving Summer: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Summer is the hottest of the four seasons. At the summer solstice, which occurs on June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere and December 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere (when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa), the days are longest and the nights are shortest. Summer is a great time to spend time outdoors and practice a healthy lifestyle. There are plenty of chances to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, get some sun, and get in shape, whether it be by playing a sport, exercising or just working around the yard.

Healthy lifestyle

Health Highlights – September 10th, 2007

Health Highlights is a biweekly summary of particularly interesting articles from credible sources of health and medical information that we follow & read. For a complete list of recommeded sources, see our links page.

Health Highlights
  • The Business of Bottled Water | Think Bigg

    Because bottle water is considered a food, it’s regulated by the FDA. In contrast, tap water is regulated by the EPA. A Natural Resources Defense Council study found that bottled water sold in the U.S. isn’t necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water. Tabetha at Think Bigg writes a thought-provoking article on the business of bottled water.

  • DNA and Spit Law Enforcement Campaigns | Eye on DNA

    What is it with people spitting at other people? Hsien at Eye on DNA tells us about the spit law enforcement campaign in England. Maybe that’ll make them think twice about spitting!

  • I Could Swear I’ve Read This Post Before | Healthbolt

    New clues regarding deja vu have Sara at Healthbolt saying “I could swear I’ve read this post before.”

  • The Sherpa Silenced | Gene Sherpas: Personalized Medicine and You

    Steve Murphy, a.k.a. the Gene Sherpa, is making an appeal for more Gene Sherpas:

    I am now putting out a plea to all of those who wish to harness genetics for health and longevity, those who wish to have science behind their clinical decision making, those who have a keen business sense and the ethics to make you shudder when you see what is being sold, those who wish to learn more about the future of genetic and medicine.

  • Chocolate Myths | Sciencebase

    David at Sciencebase writes about chocolate and the alkaloids caffeine and theobromine, and also provides a great example of unfounded claims and the importance of scientific evidence and source referencing.