Sales on large sodas and sugary drinks at movie theaters, restaurants, and other locations are now restricted in New York City after a vote by the Board of Health. This is part of the city’s bold move to curb obesity rates; estimates indicate that at least 5,000 city residents die from obesity-related causes each year.
The ban, however, does not include all sellers in the city and doesn’t capture all sugary drinks. For example, only stores and venues that receive health department inspection grades are impacted by the restriction, leaving vending machines and convenience stores like 7-11 untouched. Diet sodas are exempt from the ruling, but restaurants with self-service soda fountains can no longer provide cups larger than 16 ounces.
For more on New York City’s new food-related regulations, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/nyregion/health-board-approves-bloombergs-soda-ban.html?_r=1.
Emory undergraduate Sandy Jiang recently presented the results of her summer research project at the SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Emory) research symposium. The SURE program provides research training opportunities for undergraduate students over the summer break. Sandy completed her research under the supervision of Dr. Cassandra Quave and the Center for the Study of Human Health. Sandy’s research project, entitled “A Comparison of Traditional Food and Health Strategies among Taiwanese and Chinese Immigrants in Atlanta”, examined traditional knowledge and practices related to food and health . Sandy plans to continue work on this project in the fall and submit a manuscript for publication.
Abstract from the study:
Introduction: Traditional knowledge (TK) systems can play a crucial role in local health strategies and outcomes, especially among migrant communities. The aims of this study are to (1) compare traditional knowledge and practices related to food and health of Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants in metro Atlanta; (2) evaluate how immigrants adapt to new medicinal frameworks; and (3) document the use of medicinal foods and local substitutes as they relate to human health in these communities.
Methods: Snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 50 adult informants (≥ 18 years-old) from the Chinese and Taiwanese immigrant communities in metro Atlanta for participation in semi-structured interviews and structured surveys regarding the use of the local flora for medicinal and food purposes. Standard ethnobotanical methods were employed and prior informed consent was obtained for all study participants. Voucher specimens of quoted species were collected for deposit at the Emory University Herbarium.
Results: A total of 44 medicinal and/or “healthy” food plants were cited by informants as being central to their traditional health practices. Taiwanese were more likely to use Eastern medicine, plant their own food gardens, believe in the concepts of Yin and Yang, and use certain medicinal foods more than their Chinese counterparts.
Conclusions: TK concerning medical and nutritional practices of immigrant communities represents a fundamental aspect to the study of human health. Results from studies focused on the documentation and analysis of local health strategies can be used to facilitate better communication, bridging the gap between biomedical healthcare providers and users of Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) strategies in immigrant communities.
Posted in Botanical Medicine, Health Care, Nutrition, Research
Tagged botanical medicine, diet, food, health, health strategies, immigrants, Nutrition, research
Nutrition is not just what you eat, but also how much of each item you consume. One major change that is cited as a reason leading to the overwhelming overweight and obesity epidemic seen in the United States is portion size which is increased in the presence of larger plates and food containers. In a study of obese adults with type 2 diabetes, patients using a portion-controlling plate (with segments labeled for starch, protein, and vegetables) lost significantly more weight than their non-portion controlled counterparts, and 26% were able to be taken off of their diabetes-related medications.
To help Americans learn more about portion control, as well as see how portion sizes have changed in the last 10 to 20 years, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides a quick reference portion guide, as well as two “Portion Distortion” interactive quizzes where you can test your knowledge of nutrition.
The controversy over the proposed banning large-sized soft drinks in New York City has also sparked interest among consumers over whether all sweeteners are created equal. In particular, are the replacement sweeteners like Sweet’N Low or Spenda better than consuming real sugar? The New York Times recently addressed this issue, with the ultimate conclusion: “Eat and drink less sweet stuff.”
Saturday, January 21st, Slow Food Atlanta and Emory University will host an official viewing party for TedxManhattan, which provides a series of talks with the theme “Changing the Way we Eat” from 10:30 am to 6 pm in the DUC. Refreshments are provided, and RSVPs are encouraged at julie [dot] shaffer [at] emory [dot] edu. Stay for a single talk or many – it will be a great opportunity to meet others in the Emory community interested in sustainable and healthful food options.
The TedxManhattan line up is available at their website. More information about the viewing party at Emory is available here.
As you return back to campus, or if you are just beginning your journey through the University, you will once again face the question, “What’s for Lunch?” We are regularly reminded that our country is facing an obesity epidemic (see http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/ for more information), though we all struggle with making the “right choice.” Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, impacted by their exercise habits, food allergies/intolerances, age, and sex. Our choices are further impacted by our likes and dislikes, cultural history, and even our knowledge of cooking!
Here are Emory there are many things you can do to start the year off right. For example, keep healthy snacks on hand, eat breakfast to help prevent a crash mid-morning, and try new fruits and vegetables as you come across them to open up new exciting food options. A number of online resources are available to help you learn more about what it means to eat healthy.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov, for example, provides an overview of government recommendations for nutrition, including how to read food labels, how to portion your plate wisely (50% fruits and veggies, 25% protein, and 25% whole grains with a side of dairy at each meal), and tools to help you assess your diet.
- MyBestHealthPortal.com recently featured a number of tips for college students with specific advice on how to make healthier choices when facing the open-ended buffet that is the dining hall.
- Additionally, Emory provides you with access to all of the nutritional information for items served on campus at http://www.emory.edu/dining/diet_nutrition.php.
Take the time this year to make a commitment to healthy eating!