Nutrition News Bites- February 21st, 2011

by Rachel Perez

AHA updates heart health guidelines for women

The 2011 American Heart Association’s heart health guidelines for women now consider personal and socioeconomic variables in addition to clinical research, and ask doctors to discuss barriers to meeting the guidelines with their patients. The guidelines encourage a healthy lifestyle, which includes consumption of fruits and vegetables, physical activity, and maintenance of a healthy body weight.

Study: NYC calorie labeling does not affect teen’s fast-food choices

A look at the eating habits in 349 children and teens showed no change in calorie consumption before and after New York City’s 2008 mandatory restaurant calorie posting.  While 57% of teens noticed the calorie labeling, only 9% took the information into consideration, and average pre and post calorie counts were 730kcal and 755kcal respectively.  Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the study is an important forerunner to federal policy, which will mandate calorie posting in restaurants with 20 or more locations.

USDA introduces online atlas of rural and small-town America

This week was the debut of The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America, an online mapping tool that captures agricultural, demographic, economic data on rural areas across the United States.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack notes, “The new Atlas will complement USDA’s efforts in promoting rural development and well-being by helping policy makers pinpoint the needs of particular regions, recognize their diversity, and build on their assets.”

High-fiber diet may be linked to longevity, study says

New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that a high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory disease. Researchers used food-frequency questionnaires to track the diet of 388,122 adults over nine years, and found that those who consumed the most fiber—averaging 25-29 grams/day—were 22% less likely to die.  Fiber from whole grains and beans seemed most beneficial.  “The results suggest that the benefits of dietary fiber go beyond heart health,” said Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health, in an accompanying editorial.

National CDC physical activity survey marks highest inactivity in Southern, Appalachian states

A report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that Colorado has the most active population, while Kentucky has the least active residents.  Phone surveys collected physical activity data in all 3,141 US counties from 2007 through 2009.  Other states with at least 70% of counties reporting high physical activity include California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

New Jersey may use mobile farmers markets to reach food desserts

New Jersey legislation aims to send mobile farmers markets to urban food deserts where there is a shortage of grocery stores.  Under the proposed bill, the state agriculture secretary would pick at least one city in northern, central, and southern New Jersey.  But some producers are concerned that farmers may not find the program profitable enough to participate.

Food Trend: American tastes move beyond mainstream ethnic, explore new cuisine

Market research from Mintel tracked the release of new ethnic food items in 2010, and saw an expansion beyond standard Italian, Mexican, and Asian categories. The firm noted a 150% increase in Caribbean food launches in 2010 compared with 2009, 68% for Thai and 230% for Japanese.  Consumer demand may be inspired by travel, cookbooks, television shows, and living in diverse neighborhoods.

Fitness Q-and-A: One man and his 365 marathons

How did 49-year-old Stefaan Engels accomplish 365 consecutive marathons in one year?  Time magazine gets all the details, including how many pairs of shoes he went through to set this world record.   Hopefully this offers inspiration to the Tufts Marathon Challenge team; good luck to you!

Rachel Perez is a second year Nutrition Communications student.  Feel free to email her at rachel.perez@tufts.edu with feedback or any nutrition nibbles you might find!

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