Nutrition News Bites- April 18th, 2011

by Rachel Perez

Friedman News

Tufts student combats childhood obesity through school running program

Friedman student Dan Hatfield was recently featured in the Boston Globe for his ongoing project with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.  Dan has developed a running club at the Umana Middle School Academy for students whose health may be at risk.  Also check out thevideo that aired on BNN news!

Agriculture

EU lawmakers vote to widen genetically modified crop bans

Last week the European Parliament’s environment panel voted that EU countries should be free to ban genetically modified crops in order to protect local plants, habitats, and alternative farming practices such as organic production.  The full Parliament will hold its final vote in June.  However several EU governments such as France, Britain, and Germany are in opposition, citing fears that such a proposal would breach world trade rules and lead to legal challenges by biotech companies, exporting countries, and EU farmers.

USDA announces bio energy research grants

On April 13th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $36 million in research grants to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs.  Funded projects cover three areas: crop protection for sustainable feedstock production systems, enhanced value co-product development, and carbon sequestration and sustainable bioenergy production.

 Science

More than half of Americans are using supplementsaccording to NHANES data

This week the CDC released data from National Health and Nutrition Education Survey (NHANES), showing that supplement use in Americans increased from 40% in 1988-1994 to over one half in 2003-2006.  Multivitamins are the most commonly used dietary supplements, with approximately 40% of men and women reporting use during 2003–2006.  Vitamin D use increased for both men and women, while calcium increased from 28% during 1988–1994 to 61% during 2003–2006 among women aged 60 and over.

New study says an apple a day keeps cholesterol at bay

Preliminary data presented at the 2011 Experimental Biology conference made headlines this week.  Researchers from Florida State University studied the long term effects of apples on cardiovascular disease; they divided 160 women to eat a daily serving of either dried apples or dried prunes.  After one year, those who ate dried apples had decreased total cholesterol by 14%, lower LDL cholesterol by 23%, and increased HDL cholesterol by 4%.  The dried apples added 240 calories per day, but the women in the apple group lost an average of 3.3 pounds.  The data is unpublished, but researchers theorized that the nutrients in apples may reduce inflammation in the body.

Food Policy

Chocolate milk stirs controversy in schools

Some schools in Virginia and Washington D.C. plan to introduce a new chocolate milk drink that is lower in fat and does not use high-fructose corn syrup.  This is in response to legislation last year, where several counties banned chocolate milk from elementary school lunch lines due to pressure from parents and health advocates.  The implications are large, since more than 70 percent of the milk distributed in school cafeterias is flavored, according to industry research from the Milk Processor Education Program.

USDA proposes to cut back potatoes in school meals

Last week was the final comment period for the USDA’s Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.  As part of its anti-obesity efforts, the USDA has proposed banning potatoes from school breakfasts, and limiting starchy vegetables–potatoes, lima beans, corn and green peas–to one cup per week in school lunches.  Other proposed changes include increasing fruit at school breakfast, and increasing fruits and vegetables to nearly four servings per week in school lunch.

Food and Features

Seasonal Beverage: The 11th PlagueWhy People Drink Sweet Wineon Passover.

The Atlantic investigates the curiosities of Manischewitz, and its association with the American seder tradition.

Opinion: Recycling Isnt the Answer. To Save the Planet, Eat Plants.

Last week was the fourth annual Low Carbon Diet Day.  In commemoration, this essay comments on what Americans eat and waste.

Perspective Overweight health professionals fight misconceptions from colleagues and clients

Would you take advice from an overweight dietitian or obese cardiologist?  ABC News explores the challenges of professionals who assists others with weight loss while battling weight struggles of their own.

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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