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Posts Tagged ‘public health

The benefits of rarefied air…

 

From inner-city food deserts to car-centric suburbs, aspects of the physical environment are frequently cited as a contributing factor to the rise of obesity in the developed world. However, new research, published earlier this year in the International Journal of Obesity and summarised online at the Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog, Obesity Panacea, found a surprising correlation between elevation and obesity in the United States.

As the paper’s lead author, Dr. Jameson Voss of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, points out, mapping obesity prevalence in America reveals distinct, and hitherto unexplained, geographic variations:

Obesity appears most prevalent in the Southeast and Midwest states and less prevalent in the Mountain West. Despite significant research into the environmental determinants of obesity, including the built environment, the explanation for these macrogeographic differences is unclear.

Intriguingly, those areas in which less than a quarter of the population is obese map almost exactly onto the more mountainous regions of the country—the Appalachians, the Rockies, and the Sierra Nevada. And, indeed, after controlling for diet, activity level, smoking, demographics, temperature, and urbanisation, Voss and his colleagues found “a four- to five-fold increase in obesity prevalence at low altitude as compared with the highest altitude category”…

Read the full (and filling) story at Edible Geography.

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As we head for higher ground, we might send playful birthday greetings to Joan Miró i Ferrà; he was born on this date in 1893.  A  painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, who worked over time as a Fauve, Magic Realist, Surrealist, and Expressionist (and pioneered Color Field painting), Miró had a huge influence on artists in the later Twentieth Century (Frankenthaler, Rothko, Motherwell, and Calder among many others), and on design pioneers like Paul Rand.

“Women and Birds at Sunrise” 1946

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Carl Van Vechten’s portrait of Miró

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Written by LW

April 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

What could possibly go wrong?…

 

The AP reports that our friends at Frito-Lay have gotten the message about consumer choice:

The next Lay’s potato chip will taste like chicken and waffles. Or cheesy garlic bread. Or Sriracha, a hot sauce often used in Thai dishes.

Lay’s is letting potato chip lovers decide which one of the three will be its newest flavor. All of them will be sold at retailers nationwide starting next week. After trying them, fans have until May to vote for their favorites. The flavor with the most votes will stay on store shelves…

Lay’s adds about one new potato chip flavor every year. Last year it launched the Lay’s Classic BLT, made to taste like the sandwich. This is the first time in Lay’s 75-year history that it has let U.S. consumers choose the company’s next flavor.

For context, readers might review the New York Times Magazine’s informative piece on “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food“– the pull quote from which (from a Harvard professor of Public Health) is “I feel so sorry for the public.”

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As we reach for the baby carrots, we might spare a thought for Neil Arnott; he died on this date in 1874.  A Scottish physician and inventor, he created the Arnott stove (with a self-regulating fire) and the Arnott ventilator.  But he is surely best remembered as the inventor of the waterbed– “Dr Arnott’s Hydrostatic Bed” (1832).

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Written by LW

March 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

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