Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Supersized battle of the sexes

A new study that looked at the cost of obesity had some interesting findings.

George Washington University researchers found the annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man. That is compared to $524 for women and $432 for men for merely being overweight.

The study suggests the reason for the discrepancy between the sexes is that larger women earn less than their skinny counterparts, while weight doesn’t affect men’s earning potential.

What do you think the reason is? Does it have something to do with men traditionally earning more in the workplace? Is it fair? Have you seen this where you work?

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Will you still eat eggs after salmonella outbreak?

An Iowa company has recalled 380 million eggs after hundreds of people got sick from a salmonella outbreak.

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Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

The recall initially affected four states, but it has been expanded to 17, including Georgia.

The most common symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight hours to 72 hours of eating a contaminated product. It can be life-threatening, especially to those with weakened immune systems.

Although thoroughly cooking eggs can kill the bacteria, health officials are recommending people throw away or return recalled eggs.

After the scare, will you still eat eggs? Will you use them in recipes? Do you feel safer eating eggs ordered at a restaurant?

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Are you honest about your weight?

A new CDC study has found that the gap between what Americans say they weigh and their actual weight is decreasing. Unfortunately, our weight continues to rise. Researchers estimate the adult obesity rate at nearly 27 percent based upon a new telephone survey. Other more scientific studies place the obesity rate at 34 percent.

CHRIS HUNT/AJC Special

CHRIS HUNT/AJC Special

With a tendency for people to not be accurate when it comes to how much they weigh, researchers have a host of theories about why the discrepancy is disappearing. Are people paying more attention to their weight by using a scale more? Because so many people are overweight, is the societal stigma disappearing, making people more comfortable admitting their real weight?

So what about you, are you honest when someone asks you how much you weigh? Are you more truthful with medical professionals than friends and family?

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Are you worried about prescription drug abuse?

A new report indicates that prescription pain reliever abuse has increased dramatically across all sectors of society and is America’s fastest-growing drug problem.

Oxycontin is one of the most abused painkillers. AP Photo/Cincinnati Enquirer, Michael Snyder/FILE

Oxycontin is one of the most abused painkillers. AP Photo/Cincinnati Enquirer, Michael Snyder/FILE

The study was conducted by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) findings suggest that prescription painkiller abuse has elevated to a level where it is a public health threat. Their study also found that “non-medical use of prescription pain relievers is now the second most prevalent form of illicit drug use in the nation.” According to the SAMHSA study, substance abuse treatment admissions of those aged 12 and older involving abuse of prescription pain relievers rose by over 400 percent from 2.2 percent in 1998 to 9.8 percent in 2008. The study also found that emergency visits to hospitals involving the non-medical …

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Do you cover sneezes, coughs properly?

It may seem like a silly question. Most of us are taught by our parents to politely cover our mouth when coughing and the mouth and nose area when sneezing. It’s one of those common courtesies that we engage in so automatically that we barely think about it. But health experts say that is exactly the problem.

Add it to Lindsay Lohan's list of transgressions. According to health experts, she's covering her sneeze incorrectly. AP Photo/David McNew, Pool

Add it to Lindsay Lohan’s list of transgressions. According to health experts, she’s covering her sneeze incorrectly. AP Photo/David McNew, Pool

In order to reduce the spread of infectious germs, experts recommend not sneezing or coughing into your hand. All this does is transfer the germs to your hand, and unless you wash your hands immediately before touching a doorknob or other object, you will spread the germs to those items. Instead, experts recommend ‘the Dracula’ approach, which is to sneeze and cough into your elbow, as if you are drawing up your arm in a cape. Handkerchiefs are another option, though regular cleaning would be essential, otherwise you would just …

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Do you get sleepy behind the wheel?

Q: I sleep well at night, wake up refreshed and energetic, and rarely feel tired or take naps. But when I drive for an hour or more, I become so sleepy that I have to pull over and take a 45-minute nap or risk crashing.

After I wake up, I’m alert and good to go. My mother and brother have the same problem; we call it “auto-narcolepsy” because the only time it happens is in the car (whether I’m a driver or a passenger).

Long road trips can make drivers sleepy, leading to accidents. Photo by Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Long road trips can make drivers sleepy, leading to accidents. Photo by Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times/MCT

A: You are certainly not alone. Others also have reported that driving or riding in the car makes them sleepy. We recently heard from a long-distance truck driver that eating sunflower seeds helps him stay alert on 12-hour trips. The mental concentration needed to crack the shell, extract the seed and spit out the residue seems to be enough to maintain alertness. It may also help that the seeds are rich in fat and protein rather than rapidly …

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Diet and fitness tips from ‘Biggest Loser’ winner Ali Vincent

Ali Vincent appeared on season five of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” reality weight loss show and became the show’s first female winner. Once a competitive athlete, when she gave up her sport (synchronized swimming) she did not begin a new fitness routine and the pounds slowly crept on over the years. Eventually, she found her 5′5″ frame topping out at 234 pounds. That’s when Vincent decided to apply to be on “The Biggest Loser” and went on to lose 112 pounds. She recently made an appearance in Atlanta and took the time to respond to our questions about her weight loss journey.

At the beginning of her weight loss journey, Ali Vincent weighed 234 pounds. She is pictured here on the right. Next to her is her mom, who also appeared on the reality TV show, "The Biggest Loser."

At the beginning of her weight loss journey, Ali Vincent weighed 234 pounds. She is pictured here on the right. Her mom, who also appeared on the show, is seen on the left. File photo.

Q. What was your biggest motivation for going on the show “The Biggest Loser” and making your weight loss journey an experience you shared with the public?

A. I had tried every diet in the world and they …

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Have you survived a catastrophic accident or illness?

No one wants to imagine the ordeal of dealing with a catastrophic accident or illness, but there are many people who have suffered severe trauma and have survived. Hollywood film and television producer Simon Lewis is one of those people, and he provides the grueling, heart-breaking but ultimately inspirational account of his own experience after a horrific car accident in the book, “Rise and Shine.”

Rise and Shine by Simon Lewis.

Rise and Shine by Simon Lewis.

Lewis was 35 when his wife was killed and he was initially declared deceased at the scene of a terrible hit-and-run accident. The culprit was never found. The initial days after the accident found Lewis hanging precariously between life and death. Lewis suffered severe brain damage and multiple broken bones. Doctors were initially not optimistic about him pulling through, let alone ever walking or driving a car again. But Lewis found the will and determination to survive, as he and his family often had to battle doctors and insurance companies to …

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Should ban on gay men’s blood donations be lifted?

Update: In June, The Health and Human Services Department’s Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability declined to change the current ban on gay men donating blood, but did recommend that current policies be reviewed, noting that current policy may permits potentially high-risk blood donations while preventing low-risk donations. The panel ultimately concluded that existing research isn’t adequate to justify lifting the ban, and more research is needed on this controversial issue.

According to CNN, the Federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability will consider the controversial issue of blood donations from gay men. In June, this committee will makes recommendations to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA. Current FDA rules prohibit men who have had sex with another man since 1977 from donating blood. The rules came about during the initial outbreak of AIDS in the early 1980’s, when tests used at the …

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How well do we understand food allergies?

Food allergies are a hot topic in the news right now. According to a recent CDC report, the number of people with a diagnosed food allergy had risen by 18 percent over the last decade. But a recent report by the American Medical Association suggests that the incidence of true food allergies may be far lower than what is generally believed. All of these contradictory reports about food allergies may be leading to a great deal of confusion for the average American consumer and for doctors trying to treat these conditions. A recent Harris Interactive/HomeFree study indicates that a good deal of people (43 percent) think gluten is an allergy, like wheat or shellfish. Just 3 percent of Americans can correctly identify all four of the listed common food allergens (nuts, dairy, eggs and wheat.)

Shellfish are one of the top food allergens. Photo by Chris Hunt/AJC Special.

Shellfish are one of the top food allergens. Photo by Chris Hunt/AJC Special.

One major issue is semantics. A food allergy is not the same as a food intolerance. Food allergies can be …

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