HEALTH

Eboost launches ‘berry’ good energy shot

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK Eboost on Thursday launched its super berry liquid shot, formulated with a host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including vitamins C, D, B6 and B12, folic acid, niacin, selenium, chromium, zinc and green tea. The 15-calorie beverage also is formulated with nutrient-rich superfruits, including pure extracts of blueberry, blackberry, pomegranate, mango, acai, maqui berry and grapeseed.

 

The new ready-to-drink energy beverage is available in four flavors — citrus orange, pink lemonade, acai pomegranate and super berry. It’s available as effervescent powder packets, tablets and liquid shot forms at select retailers, including Bed, Bath & Beyond and Duane Reade.

 

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Americans set to repeat unhealthy habits this holiday season

BY Michael Johnsen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Heading into the 2010 holiday shopping season, Americans appear ready to repeat unhealthy eating and exercise habits, according to the latest Gallup-Healthways well-being index released Thursday.

 

The WBI healthy behavior sub-index — which measures incidence of smoking, eating healthy, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and exercise — slipped for the third consecutive month, falling to 63.8 in October. The percentage of respondents who exercised three or more times a week has dropped two points since July to 51.7%, while the percent who said they ate healthy and the percent consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables each day both dropped in the same time period.

 

The percentage of respondents who report smoking has remained consistent in nearly three years of measurement, hovering around October’s 20.6% with very little variation.

 

Over the past two years that Gallup-Healthways has been measuring WBI, the healthy behavior sub-index dropped steadily from September through December before recovering in January, once everyone made their New Year’s resolutions.

 

 

The physical health sub-index, which measures the number of sick days used in the past month, obesity, cold, flu and headaches, among other things, dropped to 76.2 in October from 76.6 in September. Daily flu incidents increased by one point, and daily cold increased by four, both very much in line with previous years. Seasonal influences and increased rates of headache likely will create a drag on the PHI through the end of the cold-and-flu season in March, Gallup-Healthways reported.

 

The WBI, which helps illustrate the picture of American well-being across several matrices, recently tabulated its 1 millionth survey. The WBI is a daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health and well-being. By interviewing at least 1,000 U.S. adults every day, the WBI provides real-time measurement and insights needed to improve health, increase productivity and lower healthcare costs. Public and private sector leaders use data on life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment and basic access to public services to develop and prioritize public initiatives.

 

“Prior to this work, how well-being was intertwined with daily life was unknown,” stated Nikki Duggan, Healthways lead WBI data analyst. “We didn’t know the impact elements, such as happiness, anger, stress, health status, employment status and neighborhood safety, had on the whole,” she said. “Through these million people sharing their lives, we have uncovered incredibly valuable insight for our country and its people. We have heard both concern and hope over the past three years of our surveying.”

 

 

The survey’s inception in January 2008 provided researchers with a snapshot of America prior to the recession, and also a baseline against which to measure the impact of the stock market crash in October of that year. Within two months, overall well-being fell 2.8 points, while life evaluation index scores, the measure of people’s current life perception and hope for the future fell 5.6 points within one month.

 

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Health officials cracking down on smoking with graphic tobacco control strategy

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday unveiled a new comprehensive tobacco control strategy that includes proposed new bolder health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements. Once final, these health warnings on cigarettes and in cigarette advertisements will be the most significant change in more than 25 years.

 

“Every day, almost 4,000 youth try a cigarette for the first time and 1,000 youth become regular, daily smokers,” stated HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Today marks an important milestone in protecting our children and the health of the American public.”

 

 

The strategy includes a proposal issued by the Food and Drug Administration titled “Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements.” Specifically, the proposed rule details a requirement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that nine new larger and more noticeable textual warning statements and color graphic images depicting the negative health consequences of smoking appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements. The public has an opportunity to comment on 36 proposed images through Jan. 9, 2011.

 

By June 22, 2011, the FDA will select the final nine graphic and textual warning statements after a comprehensive review of the relevant scientific literature, the public comments and results from an 18,000 person study. Implementation of the final rule (Sept. 22, 2012) ultimately will prohibit companies from manufacturing cigarettes without new graphic health warnings on their packages for sale or distribution in the United States. In addition, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers will no longer be allowed to advertise cigarettes without the new graphic health warnings in the United States. By Oct. 22, 2012, manufacturers can no longer distribute cigarettes for sale in the United States that do not display the new graphic health warnings.

 

“Today, the FDA takes a crucial step toward reducing the tremendous toll of illness and death caused by tobacco use by proposing to dramatically change how cigarette packages and advertising look in this country. When the rule takes effect, the health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes,” stated FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “This is a concrete example of how the FDA’s new responsibilities for tobacco product regulation can benefit the public’s health.”

 

 

In addition to the announcements made Wednesday, other recent tobacco control and prevention efforts include:

  • The Affordable Care Act is giving Americans in private and public health plans access to recommended preventive care, such as tobacco-use cessation, at no additional cost;
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invested $225 million to support local, state and national efforts to promote comprehensive tobacco control and expand tobacco quit-lines;
  • The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act aims to stop the illegal sale of tobacco products over the Internet and through mail order, including the illegal sale to youth;
  • The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing and distribution of tobacco products. Significant progress already has been made by restricting the use of the terms “light,” “low” and “mild,” banning characterizing fruit, candy and spice, flavors from cigarettes, and putting in place restrictions on the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to youth; and
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program Re-authorization Act raised the federal cigarette tax by 62 cents per pack. Raising the price of tobacco products is a proven way to reduce tobacco use, especially among such price-sensitive populations as youths.

 

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