Posts Tagged “obesity”

USDA Awards Major Grant In The Fight Against Childhood Obesity

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VegShowWASHINGTON, D.C. – Many parents struggle with their kids’ eating habits and obesity.  What if more kids actually wanted to consume fruits and vegetables?  A New York startup believes it will make that happen.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Vedge’ Kids, LLC Phase 1 of a 2 Phase $1.1 million grant to conduct research on the effectiveness of its produce-centric TV show and curriculum in the fight against childhood obesity.   Childhood obesity continues to be a serious health concern in the U.S.  Total societal costs are estimated at over 100 billion dollars annually.

The Vedge’ Kids show, which features animated fruits and vegetables as superheroes, aims to inspire and motivate children to eat healthy. The show is unique in that it is entertainment driven not preachy, flat or didactic.

“We’re extremely pleased to have worked with the USDA to reach this milestone,” said Rob Orchanian, President of Vedge’ Kids.  “The individuals at the USDA are dedicated, professional and forward thinking.  Their action confirms our proof of concept and our team’s dedication.  Our goal is to improve the health of all our children by promoting the eating of fruits and veggies.

Our method has been to tear a page from the marketing book of junk food companies.  Eating fruits and veggies is fun, exciting.  They taste great too! We will make sure that little kids and their mommies know that and live that.”

Orchanian went on to say, “The Vedge’ Kids show is the cornerstone of a commercial enterprise. We firmly believe that the shows popular appeal will support a national TV broadcast. We expect this grant will be the 1st of a series of grants and investments that will move us firmly into profitability within the next 2 to 5 years.”

Research will be done in conjunction with the University of Maryland. The University has advised programs offered through Sesame Workshop and PBS.

Vedge’ Kids LLC, headquartered in the greater NYC metropolitan area, is also the publisher of several nutrition-focused children’s books.  More information on the company can be found at

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New Mango Research Reveals Health Benefits

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HPmangosFour new studies surrounding the effects of mango consumption suggest this superfruit has the potential to help combat adverse effects associated with high fat diets and obesity (animal study), as well as inhibit growth of fat cells (anti-lipogenic properties in an in-vivo study), slow advancement of breast cancer tumors (animal study), and improve regularity and decrease inflammation associated with constipation (human subject study). The research was presented recently at the 2016 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, CA.
“While more research is needed, especially in humans, there is a growing body of studies that suggest mango consumption may contribute to some protective effects in relation to obesity, certain cancers, gut health, and inflammation,” said  Leonardo Ortega, Director of Research at the National Mango Board (NMB).
  • Nutrition science researcher, Babajide Ojo at Oklahoma State University, was selected by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) as one of five finalists to present his research at the 2016 ASN Young Minority Investigator Oral Competition. Ojo’s study investigated the effects of supplementing mangos (in the form of freeze-dried mango pulp) in mice fed a high fat diet on body composition, glucose homeostasis and gut inflammatory markers:
  • Chuo Fang, PhD, of the department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University investigated the potential role of mango and its microbial metabolites in regulating lipid metabolism and adipogenesis via the activation of AMPK in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes:
Breast Cancer
  • Researcher Matt Nemec, of the Interdisciplinary Program of Toxicology at Texas A&M University, studied the anti-proliferative activities of pyrogallol, an intestinal microbial metabolite of gallotannin, a mango polyphenol, on mice with ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancer (DCIS):
  • Vinicius Paula Venancio, of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University, studied the consumption of 300 grams of mango compared to an equivalent amount of fiber (1 teaspoon of a fiber supplement) and its effect on abdominal distention and constipation in otherwise healthy human volunteers:

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Grapes Can Lower Risk of Infection, Study Suggests

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DSCN2927+1A USDA study has revealed that eating grapes could help obese people decrease certain types of fats in their blood that are linked to heart disease and lower their risk of infection.

Susan Zunino, a molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC) in Davis, California, studies phytochemicals—natural compounds found in fruits such as grapes and strawberries. Her recent work suggests that phytochemicals from grapes may have a positive effect on the immune system of obese individuals.
Hospital and clinic documentation of viral and bacterial infection has shown that obese people are at a much higher risk for developing infections after surgery, according to Zunino. About 35 percent of Americans are obese, which puts them at a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and bacterial and viral infections.
In the study, obese participants drank either a mixture of water and grape powder made from freeze-dried table grapes or a placebo twice a day for three weeks. The two groups switched to the opposite mixture for the next three weeks.
Blood samples were analyzed to measure the effects of grapes on blood lipids (fats), blood markers of inflammation and cells of the immune system during the study. Compared with the placebo group, the grape powder group had reduced plasma concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad” cholesterol, which is associated with heart disease.
When scientists stimulated immune cells from blood with a bacterial component, they found an increase in the production of proteins—cytokines—that are instrumental in fighting off infections. In previous research, Zunino discovered that one of the same cytokine proteins was produced when obese individuals consumed strawberry powder.
However, obesity leads to more inflammation in the body, according to Zunino. Therefore, more studies are needed to find out if the increase in cytokine production, after grapes and strawberries are eaten, contributes to more inflammation or is beneficial in reducing infections.

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Ethnic Cultures are Driving More Produce Consumption

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RobertaCookMany factors have affected food consumption patterns over the last 25 years.

In Tracking Demographics and U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Patterns, a 2011 report has a list that is lengthy.

Roberta Cook, cooperative extension specialist and lecturer in the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics at the University of California-Davis, writes about key trends that affect food consumption,  including:

* demand for foods of high and predictable quality offering convenience and variety;

* growing demand for freshness and foods with higher flavor profiles;

* a willingness to experiment both in restaurants and in the home;

* the changing ethnic composition of the population, which has expanded demand for Asian and Hispanic commodities;

* the growth in public knowledge about how diet and health are linked;

* the importance of maintaining physical fitness throughout life;

* the simultaneous trend toward higher rates of obesity;

* an exploding research base on the specific phytonutrients/antioxidants associated with individual fruits and vegetables and their potential protective health benefits;

* a higher public sector profile and policy engagement on U.S. health issues to the benefit of fruits and vegetables, such as MyPlate;

* and growing consumer interest in where and how food is produced.

Cook points out the changing ethnic makeup of the U.S. population is definitely favorable to fresh produce consumption, since Hispanic and Asian Americans consume fruits and vegetables at higher rates than African Americans and whites.

Roberta Cook has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University.  Since 1985 she has been the Cooperative Extension Marketing Economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) at University of California, Davis.  She conducts an applied research and industry outreach program focusing on the marketing and international trade of fresh fruits and vegetables, including studies on international competitiveness, industry structure and procurement practices, the N. American fresh tomato industry, and trends in consumer demand and food distribution.She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Ocean Mist Farms and Village Farms, and served for 11 years on the Board of Naturipe Farms. She has served on numerous PBH committees and is a member of the Monsanto Vegetable Seeds Advisory Council. Other board service includes: the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent; Sunkist Growers; the California Kiwifruit Commission; and the American Agricultural Economics Association Foundation. From 1998-2003 she was a member of the ATAC for Fruits and Vegetables of the U.S.D.A. and the U.S.T.R.

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Californians, Oregonians Lead in Veggie Consumption

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DSCN4878Residents of California lead the nation in vegetable consumption, while neighboring Oregon is second.

Even though Oregon is second, most folks here aren’t eating enough, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 11 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day, second only to California, where 13 percent eat enough veggies, CDC researchers report.

Nationwide, only 8.9 percent of Americans are eating two to three cups of vegetables every day as recommended.

Fruit consumption is slightly better. About 14.5 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, compared with 13.1 percent of all Americans and 17.7 percent of people in California.

Fruits and vegetables are important in lowering a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, said Jordana Turkel, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

For example, they contain a lot of fiber, which helps control spikes in blood glucose levels by slowing the digestive process, and the fact that they are generally low in fat helps lower cholesterol levels.

“We are seeing now what is going to happen if this trend continues,” Turkel said. “Obesity is on the rise. The rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. I think we are seeing the effects of all of this now.”

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Could Expansion of Space-Time be Causing Obesity in America?

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By Larry Oscar

With the recent decline in theIMG_6361 United States as a world and economic power, it should be no surprise that many of our citizens are turning to weird philosophies and religions for guidance in their lives. So it isn’t too surprising when we have a lot of interest in science these days. And that is a good thing. Science makes people think, and that is something a lot of people don’t do very often today.

Instead they let someone else or some group do the thinking for them. I was discussing this over lunch one day with some friends when it dawned on us that most of the problems people seem to have coping with life are a result of letting someone else do your thinking. This behavior results in low self esteem. After all, when you are letting others do your thinking, then you have no sense of accomplishment; mainly because anything you achieve in life is a result of following some else’s advise and not your own idea.

You do however, get to blame everyone else for your problems because the mess you find yourself in is a result of taking someone else’s advise. The only problem with this is you will find yourself in hopeless situations. You can’t get out of it because the very people telling you what to do are the ones who got you in the mess in the first place.

No wonder so many young people want to commit suicide and take the people they blame for their misery with them. Science doesn’t have all the answers either, and the one thing that science has proven is …. “The more we know, the more we know we don’t know.” Sort of like a dog chasing his tail. We do have some bright spots in science now and then.

One recent bright spot has been the Large Hadron Collider built by Cern from 1998-2008. It is located on the Swiss/France border just outside Geneva, Switzerland. It is the largest particle collider ever built, and it was built by people who definitely think for themselves. This is the biggest leap into scientific discovery that the human race has ever done.

The LHC can accelerate protons to just slightly less than 10 miles per hour of the speed of light. That’s 186,000 miles/second. At those energy levels the protons collide and break apart into the fundamental particles that make up everything in the universe. That includes you and me. The LHC has already discovered what is believed to be the particle that is responsible for gravity, the “God Particle” or Higgs boson. By understanding what all matter is made of we can

This is done to have a better understanding of our universe and what makes time and space exist. Space-Time, as we know it, is rather strange. In 1929 Edwin Hubble observed that the universe was expanding at an ever increasing rate. This was contrary to what Einstein had postulated, and Hubble’s observations have since been confirmed. The universe is indeed expanding, and space is expanding. Something we don’t understand.

The expansion of space and space-time is a very big deal. After discussing this with a friend, over some beers of course, it was pointed out that this increase in the expansion of space-time could be the reason for the increase in the size of the average American today. Come to think of it, it may just be that the expansion of space-time has caused the increase in the obesity of many Americans. It may not be the huge consumption of food substances after all. It may be the expansion of space that is causing the increase in the size of the average American.

In fact, we may have a non-linear space time expansion. That would account for the fact that some are getting bigger while others stay the same size. Now see what thinking for yourself accomplishes. Will someone please tell New York’s Michael Bloomberg, quick, before he tries to outlaw hot dogs or Big Macs?

Larry Oscar is a graduate from the University of Tulsa and holds a degree in electrical engineering. He is retired and lives with his wife on a lake in Oklahoma where he brews his own beer, sails, and is a member of numerous clubs and organizations.


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Mango Research Suggests Good Health, Disease Prevention

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IMG_6527There has long been research — both anecdotal and data-based — suggesting a positive link between the eating of fruits and vegetables and healthy outcomes, including disease prevention.

The National Mango Board is working to pursue the connection, specifically with mangos, and has some research on its side. The board is publicizing early results of some studies and  refining the nutrition message as it promotes mango and green papaya salad.

New mango nutrition research on obesity and cancer are the subjects recently presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Boston.  The research identifies important findings that merit further investigation to determine whether mangos can potentially have a positive effect on blood sugar in obese individuals and help to limit inflammation.

An Oklahoma State University study examined the effects of daily mango consumption on the obese. Twenty adults participated in the study, consuming significant amounts of mangos in a dried form for 12 weeks.  Blood sugar levels at the conclusion of the study were significantly lower than the baseline in both male and female subjects, but there were no significant changes in body composition for either gender.

Texas A&M had another study on the effects of polyphenols found in fresh mangos on cancerous and non-cancerous breast cells, which were examined. This study suggests that mango polyphenols might limit inflammatory response in both cancerous and non-cancerous breast cells. Because this was an in vitro study, more research is needed to determine whether mango polyphenols can have the same effect in humans.

The National Mango Board is actively marketing the nutrition message, which claims that mangos are a nutrient-rich fruit containing more than 20 different vitamins and minerals. The NMB states that mangos are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamins C and A. Vitamin C is important for wound healing and immune function; and vitamin A is critical for vision and helps maintain healthy skin.

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