Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
A video just debuted last week from the Center for Science in the Public Interest addressing the dangers of drinking too much soda. Called “The Real Bears,” it stars a family of animated polar bears and it’s set to an fun original song by Jason Mraz. The backstory to the video is getting lots of attention, because it’s the creation of an advertising legend named Alex Bogusky, whose former clients include Coca-Cola. In fact, he helped make that famous Coke commercial starring four different animated polar bears, but he’s not discussing any comparisons. (“They’re just some bears,” he told USA Today. “I leave it up to people to decide if they see a parallel.”)
I definitely recommend watching it and sharing it–but it’s not for young kids, as it depicts the major hazards of consuming too much sugary soda, including obesity and diabetes-induced amputations. (!) The target audience, says Bogusky, is us moms: “Guys give up when things get tough,” he said in the USA Today interview, “but moms figure it out. I want moms to see it and get passionate about it.”
I’m far from a health-food fanatic–and I looooooove Diet Coke–soda is completely off-limits to my daughters, ages 4 and 7. (Well, there was one time last summer when I plied them with Shirley Temples in order to buy me and my husband a little more time at an outdoor beach bar, but that was it. Really.) I’d kind of assumed most parents felt that way, but it surprises me how many children’s birthday parties I’ve been to where soda is served to the kids themselves.
A note about the very end of the video, which I found a little jarring because it shows the bears dumping their soda into the ocean instead of drinking it. It wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but apparently lots of people felt the way I did. Says Bogusky: “That was the number-one reaction we got to the ending: What will happen to the fish? That’s so wild. We’re willing to drink cola and serve it to our kids, but we’re concerned the moment we put four bottles of it in the ocean.”
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Thursday, September 13th, 2012
“Are You Pouring On the Pounds?” That’s the question posed by advertisements plastered on New York City subway cars. The ads depict sugar packets and beverage containers bubbling over with globs of fat, and caution that excess sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
New Yorkers will soon have to settle for chugging smaller sodas. The New York City Board of Health voted today to pass a ban on supersize soft drinks. The controversial ban, proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last spring, imposes a 16-ounce limit on cups and bottles of non-diet soda, sweetened teas, and other high-calorie beverages. The policy only applies to drinks sold at cafeterias, theaters, restaurants, and fast-food joints—meaning that you can still guzzle mega beverages sold at supermarkets or convenience stores. Dairy-based drinks get a free pass if they contain more than 50% milk.
Will the ban shrink our waistlines? Given that beverages are just one component of any diet, it’s hard to tell for sure. But sugar-packed drinks can definitely contribute to weight gain. There are about 240 calories in a 20-oz. Coke, compared to 200 in a 16-oz. one. The difference might not seem significant, but consider this: if you gulp down a soda a day, it adds up to an extra 14,600 calories per year. That’s enough to make me want to put down my straw.
Image: Girl drinking soda via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Savvy shoppers know to scour nutrition labels. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Labels are already pretty tricky to decipher— it’s difficult to make sense of ingredients like xanthan gum, datem, and disodium phosphate. Nutrition information could have gotten even more confusing, thanks to a suggestion from the Corn Refiners Association.
In 2010, the CRA petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to change the term “high fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar” on nutritional labels. Yesterday, the FDA denied the request, suggesting that the name change would have inaccurately portrayed the ingredient as “natural.” The sweetener is widely used in snack foods, condiments, and other pantry staples. (And sugar is in more foods than you might think.)
In order to make thoughtful decisions about what to feed their families, shoppers need to be able to understand the ingredients, and recognize those that they want to avoid. Here’s hoping that keeping the term “high fructose corn syrup” will empower consumers to shop smart.
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Monday, April 2nd, 2012
Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?
What science tells us about the incredible shrinking childhood.
Outgrowing Autism? Study Looks at Why Some Kids ‘Bloom’
About 10 percent of children who are severely affected by autism at age 3 seem to have “bloomed” by age 8, leaving behind many of the condition’s crippling deficits, a new study shows.
FDA Says it Will Deny Request to Ban BPA
The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it will deny the National Resources Defense Council’s petition asking it to prohibit the use of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, in products manufactured in the United States.
Is Sugar Toxic?
Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer.
You Want Me to Sign WHAT Before Your Kid’s Party?
Sure, you expect to sign a waiver before your kid goes rock-climbing. But a backyard birthday party? More parents are requiring legal sign-off before basic activities like parties and play dates.
Mattel to Make Bald Barbie
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Following an ongoing campaign on Facebook for Mattel to add a bald Barbie to its line-up, the company said it will create a bald friend of Barbie starting next year.
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
UNICEF: Millions of Kids Live in Urban Squalor
Millions of children are growing up in squalid urban areas and denied basic services despite living close to them, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Tuesday.
More Drugs Being Approved for Rare Diseases in Kids
A growing number of drugs are coming to market to help treat rare diseases in children, a new U.S. government study finds.
FDA Approves Breath Test to Determine Bacterial Infection in Kids
U.S. health regulators have approved Otsuka America Pharmaceutical’s breath test to detect bacterial infection that causes stomach inflammation and ulcer, for use in children aged 3 to 17 years.
Why Pediatricians Say Breast-Feeding is About Public Health, Not Just Lifestyle
In a quietly worded statement released this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recalibrated the national dialogue on breast-feeding, deeming it a “public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.”
Still Too Much Sugar in Kids’ Diets, Researchers Say
America’s intake of sugary foods and drinks has dropped in recent years, but U.S. kids are still consuming too much, government researchers say.
Sweet Photo of Dad Feeding Baby Turns Controversial
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A father tenderly giving his baby a bottle… what could be wrong with that? Breast-feeding advocates in New Zealand demanded that an ad campaign delete an image of a dad feeding his baby, complaining it undercut their “breast is best” message.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
3 Changes to Children’s Vaccine Recommendations Announced
The nation’s largest pediatrician group today released its new schedule of recommended childhood vaccinations. It made three major changes to its previous recommendations, after a federal advisory panel of experts reviewed recent evidence from vaccine studies. The biggest change is the new recommendation that boys should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV).
Can Anesthesia Raise the Risk of ADHD?
A new study finds that children who have multiple surgeries early on have a higher risk of learning disabilities later.
Home-Birth Advocate Dies in Childbirth
With home births growing more popular in the U.S., the death of a home birth advocate who went into cardiac arrest during childbirth brings renewed attention to the debate over the safety of giving birth at home.
Should Sugar Be Regulated Like Alcohol and Tobacco?
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Sugar poses enough health risks that it should be considered a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco, contend a team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Woman Seeking Food Stamps Shoots Her Children
A woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office on Monday and staged a seven-hour standoff with the police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said.
Sugar Is on the Menu for Kids’ Breakfast
Only one in four children’s cereals meets government guidelines for limits on sugar, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy organization.
Radiation Traces Found in Japanese Baby Formula
Traces of radiation spilled from Japan’s hobbled nuclear plant were detected in baby formula Tuesday in the latest case of contaminated food in the nation.
Santa Finds Kids Giving Shorter Lists in Recession
With unemployment stubbornly high, more homes in foreclosure and the economic outlook dim, many children who visit Santa are all too aware of the struggle to make ends meet.
Steroids May Boost Survival for Very Preemie Babies
Giving steroids to pregnant women at risk for preterm birth as early as 23 weeks during their pregnancy may boost an infant’s overall chance of survival and reduce the baby’s risk of serious developmental issues, including brain injury, a new study says.
Students Gripe About School’s 5-Strikes Grammar Policy
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Summit Christian Academy in Missouri has released a new policy, effective in January, stating that students will have to rewrite their papers if they have more than five grammatical errors. On the rewrite, however, they won’t be able to get anything higher than 75%.