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Granola: A Really Sweet Dessert!

Granola started out as an unsweetened breakfast alternative.

Are you part of the majority of Americans who believe a mixture of oats, sugar, vanilla flavor, and maybe a few nuts and raisins is a healthy food? If so,  think again! Most commercial granolas tend to have enough sugar that they rival an ordinary slice of chocolate cake or a cup of ice cream. Read a fascinating history of granola on the New York Times website.

PositiveTip: Make your own granola, but beware of putting too much sugar, honey, maple syrup and other sweeteners in it. 

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Heart Disease Still the Leading Cause of Death

A change in the rankings of the leading cause of death is underway in the U.S.

Nationally, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., but cancer is the top killer in several subgroups and geographic regions. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Hispanic populations as well as non-Hispanic Asians and Pacific Islanders. It is also the number one cause of death in 22 states.

PositiveTip: Choosing a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of both heart disease and cancer.

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Cancer is a Weighty Matter

Twenty percent of cancers are related to excess body weight.

The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found growing evidence that losing weight may prevent obesity-related cancers. Those include postmenopausal breast, colorectal and esophageal cancers. The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that if every American were at a healthy weight, 130,000 or more cases of cancer could be prevented.

PositiveTip: Intentional weight loss, when needed, can help lower cancer risk.

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Why Are Drug Prices so High--and Rising?

In the U.S. drug prices are based on what the market will bear.

The U.S. Congress is currently investigating why drug prices are increasing so rapidly. The pharmaceutical companies protest that it is because of the costs of research and development. However, JAMA analysts disagree stating there are two major factors:

  • protection from competition by manufacturers of generic versions, and
  • prohibitions against negotiating lower prices.

Also at fault are government protected monopoly rights for new drugs.

PositiveTip: Living healthfully can reduce or eliminate the need for many medications thus avoiding the need for expensive medication.

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Impact of Close Proximity to Retail Tobacco Products

Living close to tobacco sellers associated with lower odds of quitting!

Finish researchers have found that for every 500-meter increase in the distance from home to the nearest tobacco outlet is associated with a 16% increase in the odds of quitting smoking. This study is the first of its kind to look at the impact of residential proximity to tobacco sales on smoking behavior.

PositiveTip: Beware of the Marlboro Man who now rides in local retail advertisements, promotions, and price discounts for tobacco products.

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AHA Recommends Lower Sugar Intake for Children

Cut back significantly on added sugars!

The American Heart Association Scientific Committee now recommends children limit their added sugar intake to no more than 25 g (6 tsp) daily. This is half the amount recommended by the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They also recommend sugar-sweetened beverages be limited to one 8 oz serving per week or less; and added sugars should be avoided for all children under 2 years.

PositiveTip: Avoiding too much added sugar is a positive step toward a healthy diet and reduced risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.

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A Simple Alternative to Knee Surgery?

Aggressive exercise therapy may be a good alternative to knee surgery in many patients.

Researchers randomized a group of middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears of the knee. The exercise group was given progressive strengthening exercises in supervised sessions 2-3 times per week for 12 weeks. The surgical group followed standard postoperative care for daily range-of-motions exercises. After 24 months both groups showed the same improvements in knee pain, function, and quality of life.

PositiveTip: If you experience degenerative knee pain, talk to your physician about the possibility of exercise therapy rather than surgery.

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Fried Egg 2016

Kids today feel empowered and entitled to ask many questions about drugs.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids has re-imagined the 30 year old ad campaign known as "This is You Brain on Drugs." "Fried Egg 2016" has launched a national radio, TV, print and online media campaign to help point parents to quality resources to answer their kids questions about substance abuse.

PositiveTip: Kids are going to ask, so be ready with thoughtful answers.

PositiveTip for

Fried Egg 2016

Kids today feel empowered and entitled to ask many questions about drugs.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids has re-imagined the 30 year old ad campaign known as "This is You Brain on Drugs." "Fried Egg 2016" has launched a national radio, TV, print and online media campaign to help point parents to quality resources to answer their kids questions about substance abuse.

PositiveTip: Kids are going to ask, so be ready with thoughtful answers.

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Exposure to Secondhand Pot Smoke May Damage Blood Vessels

Even brief exposures to secondhand pot smoke impairs blood supply to lining of blood vessels.

U.S. researchers have found that a one minute exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke was associated with significant short-term impairment of the blood supply to the lining of the blood vessels of rats. It took a full 90 minutes to recover normal function after a 60 second exposure to marijuana smoke compared to 30 minutes following a similar exposure to tobacco smoke.

PositiveTip: Avoid secondhand smoke whether from tobacco or marijuana.