March 14, 2007

Wherein Heather Provides Valuable Insight

Study: Quick Walks May Help Smokers Quit

It's not stated in the article, so I think I'd better add it. Smoking while doing these exercises will not increase your chances of quitting.


Posted by hln at 09:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

Yep, Knew That

Surgeon general warns of secondhand smoke

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Breathing any amount of someone else's tobacco smoke harms nonsmokers, the surgeon general declared Tuesday - a strong condemnation of secondhand smoke that is sure to fuel nationwide efforts to ban smoking in public.

"The debate is over. The science is clear: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard," said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona.
It's been about two years since I stopped visiting restaurants and other buildings where owners allow smoking. The only exceptions have been business related, and usually I luck out with trips to the east coast and don't have to make exceptions.

I think I've had one cold. My allergies are more manageable. I don't wheeze. So now I'm a zealot in good company. Carmona advises the general public "Stay away from smokers." It's reassuring.


Posted by hln at 07:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

Dumbing Down

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch edited my letter to the editor into blas├ędom.

The original:

Clay Barbour's article "Smoking bill is coming in St. Louis County" had a strange sentence in it worth some commentary. It's in this paragraph:

"After months of study, debate and negotiations, a final draft of the proposed St. Louis County indoor smoking ban is expected to be introduced next week to the County Council and it appears that bars and restaurants will be hardest hit."

The hardest hit. By what? By whom? Legislation, sure. The possibility of my business, yes, that, too.

For more than a year now I haven't paid money to a local facility that allows smoking. My allergies (face it - we live in St. Louis and all have them) are significantly less, and I'm a far less vituperative diner. No more do I have to answer "eradication" to the befuddled host or hostess who asks "smoking preference."

Survey says that even in MO, the third heaviest smoking state, that only a quarter of us smoke. For some reason there's this overhanging cloudy assumption that these smokers have all the money and wouldn't dare step outside for a cigarette indulgence. All their business would therefore go [insert place with no smoking restrictions here]. The sister assumption is that the smoke produced indoors by these same 25%, the polluters, doesn't drive off business. It's the status quo. So long as we all have lived and dined (and breathed and subsequently coughed), there's been smoking in restaurants. And yea verily thus it must remain so?

Why? Why does it seem such a hardship to finally recognize the 75%+ of the state's population and our choice to not smoke, a choice many of us make for health reasons. That's what it really comes down to. Non-smokers. Yeah, they don't smoke, not even second hand by choice. Ever. Certainly some don't mind the byproducts of others' cigarettes. Some are strange radicals like me (I'll disclose that I'm a conservative distance athlete and 14-year cancer survivor) who avoid it altogether, and for good cause.

Smoking in restaurants? No problem. So long as the smoker contain the smoke for himself/herself. More smoke, more enjoyment - it's a win/win. Some entrepeneur should get right on the space suit design.

Until then, applause to the council in advance for making the right decision. Long list of restaurants I've not seen the inside of for more than a year?

Hope to see you soon. Too bad I can't go bowling.

P-D at least leaves the word "eradication" - vocab word for the high schoolers?

The article "Smoking bill is coming in St. Louis County" (June 22) said, " appears that bars and restaurants will be hardest hit."

The hardest hit? By what?

For more than a year, I haven't paid money to a local facility that allows smoking. My allergies are significantly less, and I'm a far less vituperative diner. No more do I have to answer "eradication" to the befuddled host or hostess who asks "smoking preference?".

There's an assumption that smokers have all the money and wouldn't dare step outside for a cigarette indulgence, so their business would go elsewhere. Another assumption is that the smoke produced indoors by the the polluters doesn't drive off business.

So long as we all have lived and dined, there's been smoking in restaurants. Must it remain so?

Why is it a hardship to recognize the 75 percent of the state's population who don't smoke?

Heather Noggle
Maryland Heights
Lost a little kick, no? I was practically yawning.


Posted by hln at 05:16 AM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2005

Name That Tumor

A young man (for cancer'll accelerate your maturity) who goes by the name of David is free of Frank. Frank was his grapefruit-sized brain tumor. Bye bye Frank.

Can you imagine being 9 and dealing with that? Sorta makes everything else pale in comparison.

I wonder if he gets to keep a picture of Frank (reduced to the size of a peach pit) for a dart board. I would think that would be self assuring.


Posted by hln at 07:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 26, 2004

Clear the Air

If you know a smoker who wants to quit, pass this on.
SUNDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDayNews) -- A large Internet study designed to evaluate the best way to help smokers kick the habit is being sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

QuitLink is the largest Web-based trial of smoking-cessation programs ever conducted in the United States. Enrollment is free and open to any smoker over the age of 18. The study will accept 6,000 people.

"We know there are a lot of smokers out there who really want to quit, and it's difficult," Joanne Pike, of the American Cancer Society, said in a prepared statement. "So sign up now and be one of the first people to take part in a study that will give us answers on how best to help smokers today, and in the future, quit using online resources."

Posted by hln at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

Clear the Air

I've had more than one person view me strangely when I give the condition of "non-smoking restaurant" for lunch or dinner plan making. That means no indoor smoking. None. Nada. This isn't so easy in the St. Louis Metro Area (must simpler where my mother lives - Springfield, and usually simpler on business trips, strangely), but there are some places. The list is published by Tobacco-Free Missouri, known on the web as breathe easy Missouri. These people are so anti-tobacco that they refuse to spell it correctly in all instances.

Ryan, a frequent lunch partner, pointed me to this Post-Dispatch article.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Which is more harmful to your health -- a smoky bar or a city street filled with diesel truck fumes? Well, you might want to skip your next happy hour.

Smoky bars and casinos have up to 50 times more cancer-causing particles in the air than highways and city streets clogged with diesel trucks at rush hour, according to a study that also shows indoor air pollution virtually disappears once smoking is banned.

Conducted by the researcher who first showed secondhand smoke causes thousands of U.S. lung cancer deaths each year, the study found casino and bar workers are exposed to particulate pollution at far greater levels than the government allows outdoors.
And, yes, sing it with me, cancer once is PLENTY, thankyouverymuch. No smoky bars or casinos for me. I'm past thirty - time to seriously evaluate health.

Repace tested air in a casino, a pool hall and six taverns in Delaware in November 2002 and in January 2003, two months after the state imposed a strict indoor smoking ban.

His detectors measured two substances blamed for tobacco-related cancers: a group of chemicals called particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PPAHs, and respirable particles -- airborne soot small enough to penetrate the lungs.

"They are the most dangerous" substances in secondhand smoke, said Repace, a visiting assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Repace said his research also showed that ventilation systems -- sometimes touted by tavern, restaurant and casino groups as an alternative to smoking bans -- cannot exchange air fast enough to keep up with the smoke.
The rest of it is technical detail - still interesting, but this is enough to get the gist. And I smile again at my decision. I'm a much happier diner than I was 8 months ago before I put my foot down. I've been in smoking-allowed restaurants 3 times since then, twice on business (where I recognize I really don't have absolute control) and once on vacation.


Posted by hln at 09:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 01, 2004

Au Contraire!

While I know I'm a specific and this article outlines a general, I must refute the claims of this article.

First, the claims:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cancer can really mess up a person's life, even years after he or she has beaten the disease, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

Cancer survivors have poorer health, lose more days from work and have a generally lower quality of life than people who have never had cancer, the study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (news - web sites) found.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) estimates that 9.8 million cancer patients and survivors are alive now in the United States. About 64 percent of adults and 79 percent of children now survive cancer for at least five years, the CDC says.

These patients have not been studied much, but a series of reports have called for better coordination of care for cancer survivors, especially children. They have found that the harsh treatments often needed to beat cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, can themselves have lasting effects on health.
Yeah, that's nice. You, new cancer survivor, your life's gonna suck. Don't even listen to this. If you're an able-bodied cancer survivor (13 years almost for me, and I'm 32 now, blow a loud raspberry in the general direction of this study.

People, in general, your life's going to lose some quality if you don't...
1) Eat well.
2) Sleep well.
3) Get adequate exercise.
4) Mentally challenge yourself.
5) Positively combat stress.
6) Pursue activities (and people) that/who give you joy.

Bam. There it is. Same advice for cancer survivors as for the rest of the world. The cancer afflicted have two choices: die or survive. Nice boolean condition there. If you survive, you've obviously obtained the better of the two alternatives. Who gives a skinny rat's ass if you have to work a little harder for general "health" when you get a second shot at life. Think Lance Armstrong's whining because of his cancer experience? Obviously not. Anyone want to call him on his health?

Cancer is a wake-up call, a "whoa," whether you bring it on yourself (that stupid smoking thing) or if it's some strange environmental fluke like mine - or something that comes about because of hereditary conditions. I'm facing new side effects in the next x years (however many I have left) - possibilities of cancer treatment-induced cancer, etc. First scare was in June - passed, no issue. So what? What are my choices? Stay as healthy as possible. Take each day as a day. Be thankful all of my limbs work. In the case of one of my coworkers who lost an eye to Ewing's Sarcoma, I'm sure he'd say, "be glad for my remaining eye." I'll ask tomorrow to be sure.

More on the article:
Only 13 percent of cancer survivors described their health as "excellent," compared to 21.9 percent of non-patients, although a similar percentage described their health as "good" -- 33 percent of cancer survivors and 29 percent of non-patients.

"Survivors were more likely to have spent 10 or more days in bed in the past 12 months than control subjects (14 percent versus 7.7 percent)," the researchers wrote.

"Cancer survivors were also more likely than control subjects to report limitations with arthritis or rheumatism, back or neck problems, fractures or bone or joint injuries, hypertension, or lung or breath problems than control subjects," they added.
My health rocks - probably the top of the top if I were included in this study. I wonder if some of this is attributable to the age of cancer survivors in general being higher than that of the general population and if that's taken into account - doesn't state.


Posted by hln at 06:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 24, 2004

Paging Dr. Thackquab

Do you have a good family doctor - either a GP or an Internist? If not, you're either lucky and have little need of a doctor, or you are suffering from can't-get-appointmentitis.

CNN provides an article about doctors who provide same-day appointment service. Is this really all that novel? I hope not - I can get in same day with my Internist or someone in his group, and that has proven VITAL in a few cases, especially with last year's strep infection.

I can't imagine not being able to see the doctor when it's necessary. For things like a physical or the yearly woman's visit, there's no need for same-day service, though the article points out that there are few cancelled appointments that way.

By the way, the Dr. Thackquab thing is from my father. He had some goofy names for imaginary characters. That was one of them. He also - now this is way off topic - had his own "language" he would walk around talking in. One of his "greetings" was Giddy b'Sow. I think it was a friendly greeting. Further on this, I actually knew of a Dr. Bonebrake. Poor guy never had a shot at an orthopaedic career, obviously.


Posted by hln at 12:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 02, 2004

God Rest Her Soul

I missed this story as it was occurring, but young cancer patient Alexandra Scott, who with her idea raised almost 3/4 of a million dollars for cancer research, has died. She was 8 not-so-innocent years old.

Can you imagine having to understand serious illness and death at 8 and younger? At 8 I was in the 3rd grade. It was 1980. I was good at spelling, and it was a year before I would contract the chicken pox, which was the only serious thing to happen to me in childhood. How...normal.

But young Alex, no. She was diagnosed before she was a year old. Life and cancer were synonymous.
Alexandra, diagnosed just before her first birthday with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer, decided to set up a lemonade stand to raise money for treatment. She took in $2,000 that first year, and a series of stands had raised a total of $200,000 after four years.

In June, lemonade stand fund-raisers were set up in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and France, and Alexandra and her family appeared on Oprah Winfrey's TV program and the "Today" show.

Alex hoped that her Alex's Lemonade Stand charity would raise $1 million this year for cancer research. The effort has passed the $700,000 mark, and Volvo of North America had pledged to hold a fall fund-raising event to assure that the $1 million goal would be reached, Liz Scott said.

Since June, Alex's quality of life had dropped off, and her health had severely deteriorated in the last few days, her mother said. Still, her daughter was determined to push forward even as her condition worsened, she said.

"She had a lot of faith and faith in research and trying the newest things," Liz Scott said.

Posted by hln at 03:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2004

Sand: A Danger to Self and Others

It's my civic duty to report this stuff. Sand is a menace. A MENACE, I say.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although it rarely happens, children can be killed while playing in sand. "Sand dunes, beach digging, and other areas of substantial sand buildup, including deep backyard sandboxes, represent the greatest risk," researchers warn.

The cases of two children illustrate the potential hazard. In one instance, a 10-year-old boy was killed when the tunnel he was digging in his large backyard sandbox collapsed and buried him. In the other, another 10-year-old died after a sand pile buried him at the construction site where he and his friends were playing.

Both boys died of suffocation due to the pressure of the sand on their chests.
Not to demean the deaths of two human beings, but...sand? We've all heard of quicksand because, by golly, we played Pitfall! as children. But this other stuff, don't you feel safer now that you know? Cancel that plane ticket to Tatooine yet?

Next week, we discuss the dangers of pink plastic spoons. And, next month, safety experts will host a forum regarding proper fitting of your helmet before you play in the sand. In 2006, it'll be the law.


Posted by hln at 08:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 27, 2004

Additional Peril

Smoking. Bad.

I was convinced long ago, but today's Surgeon General's report pronounces even scarier repercussions of bad personal choice.

Average years lost from a smoker's life - 13 or 14. Damn. But, hey, if you want to stand militant with your bad choice, emotionally challenged (read: substance addicted and proud of it because it's your RIGHT, dammit) smoker, at least your arteries will stay open longer after vascular surgery. What a benefit! (As this article says, smoking's a likely culprit to cause one to NEED the surgery in the first place.)

Here's your disease list, courtesy of the CNN article.
The surgeon general's report concluded that smoking causes a number of diseases not previously attributed to smoking.

They include: acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach; abdominal aortic aneurysm, cataracts, periodontitis and pneumonia.

The report said current evidence is not conclusive enough to say smoking causes colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer or erectile disfunction.

The evidence suggests smoking may not cause breast cancer in women overall but that some women may increase their risk of getting breast cancer by smoking, depending on genetics, the report said.

Diseases previously linked to smoking include cancer of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lung, mouth and throat. Smoking also has been linked to chronic lung disease, chronic heart and cardiovascular disease as well as reproductive problems.

About 440,000 Americans die of smoking-related diseases each year. The report said more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related diseases in the 40 years since the first surgeon general's report on smoking and health was released in 1964.

That first report linked smoking to lung and larynx cancer and chronic bronchitis. Subsequent reports, like the one released Thursday, have expanded the list of diseases linked to smoking.
A not-so courteous reminder to drop the habit if you have it from the angelweave resident cancer survivor. It ain't that difficult to catch. Why try?


Posted by hln at 04:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2004


If you want to lose weight, eat slower. If you want to eat slower, take smaller bites. (This from the woman who can make a piece of cheesecake last for 30 minutes).

Why? Because the slower you eat, the simpler it is for your "full" mechanisms to kick in. Drinking a bunch of water with dinner will aid you, too.

Why on earth does Heather feel she needs to state the obvious at 7:00 a.m. on a Thursday? Because now there's a "device" to aid you with the smaller-bite quest.

How silly is this? It's pretty silly. You see, the problem can be solved with a knife and fork in most cases. CNN gives you a good pun, though.
But Scientific Intake believes its DDS System is more palatable than a strict diet or surgery. The company expects to begin selling its devices Wednesday for about $400 apiece.
More palatable. Yeah, I think I could buy a lot of good knives for accurate small bites for $400.

Chew on that.


Posted by hln at 06:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 27, 2004

Clear the Air?

The Sacramento Bee reports (do Bees really report? For that matter, do they spell, either?) that CA lawmakers want to regulate the air in your vehicle. If you have children present, that is.
California lawmakers are considering a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to prohibit smokers from lighting up in a private car when children are present.

The proposal by Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh, D-South Gate, has drawn the ire of Republican lawmakers who say it goes too far in attempting to police personal behavior.

Supporters, however, call it a crucial stride toward protecting the state's children from the damaging effects of second-hand smoke.
Okay - anyone not see this coming? I'd leave this for possible-but-not-likely evening blogging if it weren't for the next part.
Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia, called the measure "big brother government." "Government is going to raise our kids for us because parents don't know what's best? That's a very scary thought," Mountjoy said.
Uh, Dennis, darling, while I agree with you in principle, on this one regarding "what's best," I'd have to side with the government. Anyone want to challenge that car full of cigarette smoke contains better air than car lacking cigarette smoke? The pollution's the ONLY issue I have with the product. Otherwise, adult users, if you wanna rot your bodies, go ahead. It's legal.

I'm certain Mr. Mountjoy had more profound things to say - I'll give him the benefit of a doubt, and it's possible da Bee's point was to make him sound idiotic (Success!). I would posit that smokers who smoke using their children's air are not exactly thinking about "what's best" for their children on that particular issue. I believe that they're probably not thinking it's an issue at all, merely smoking because of whatever it does for them. Mine were. I certainly bitched up a storm (I know you're so surprised).

But back to the issue at hand...if it's the car now, it'll be any building next because in many places all that's left is the home. In my mind, there are plenty of conclusive studies that show that the product harms the self (and others and certainly provides no benefit to the others) and should not be on the market. But there's that big agricultural tie-in and'll never be illegal. Prohibition failed and failed miserably. There's no reversal of legality on such a supercharged issue.

So lawmakers pick at citizens regulating they can, I guess. I can't imagine working next to someone who is smoking. Glad I was born no earlier than I was.

And on a side note, the people who compare food items to tobacco, I spit on you. Humans have to eat. Period. They don't have to smoke. Go look up "need" versus "want."


Posted by hln at 02:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 21, 2004

Imminent Heat Preparation..And Some Rambling

It's just April, but Reuters warns soon-to-be summer exercisers of the danger of heat.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - As summer approaches, people who exercise or play sports outdoors can reduce the risk of heat stroke by giving themselves a chance to adjust to rising temperatures and humidity, according to a sports medicine expert.

"When it gets hot and humid, you see the risk go up," said Dr. William O. Roberts, who is the president-elect of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

When people who are not accustomed to hot and humid weather exercise outdoors, they run the risk of developing exertional heat stroke, Roberts said in an interview with Reuters Health.

Exertional heat stroke differs from traditional heat stroke, which occurs when a person is exposed to extremely high temperatures, such as during a summer heat wave. Victims of traditional heat stroke are often elderly people who do not have air conditioning.
I read this as "fill the Hydrapack (holds 2 liters) full of water once an hour or so." I had problems with heat on a metric century last year (no wind, riding up on a levee, almost outta water). 95+ degrees. I don't recommend that. This year I'll have an extra bottle cage for more warm previously frozen Gatorade. That levee won't get me this year. I like the cycling drinking game - if someone in your little peloton takes a drink, so do you. Whaddya think of that one, Blackfive?

An article like this is a bit humorous so early. Today was gorgeous - about 76, 12 mph wind (so I felt it). Did my little 14 mile jaunt after work. Slower today because of the wind and tired legs (yesterday was leg day at the gym, and I blasted them. What's that mean, you say? Figure 5 sets on an incline sled working from 160 up to 200 pounds. Figure another five on a sled that targets your hamstrings and rear - worked up to 270 on that. Then inner and outer thigh work, targeted quads (leg extension - 3 sets, 6 reps at 95 (this after all of that), 8 reps at 85, and 8 reps at 75, targeted hamstrings (65, 75, and 80, I believe) and seated calf (worked up to 110 pounds plus body weight). So, yeah, they were tired. Downright weary now.

In other news, I will be entering the IMAO t-shirt contest. Too many of the judges nudged. I'm having problems choosing a picture (have a few from Florida and will probably take a few this weekend to have a wider variety from which to choose). Is the "not safe for work" (as deemed by the Bonfire) one too improper? It's not an especially good picture of my face, and it's not like legs are gonna win me a t-shirt contest.

So many difficult decisions. So much pressure. So much potential promise. So much melodrama.


Posted by hln at 08:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 20, 2004

Smokers At Risk!

Why someone thought to study this, I'll never know, but researchers have tied smoking to increased risk of frostbite.
Smokers, who already risk cancer and heart disease, are more susceptible than others to frostbite because their blood vessels do not expand fast enough to warm chilled fingers and toes, researchers said on Sunday.

The nicotine in cigarettes seems to be to blame, slowing the body's normal responses to cold, the team at Yale University in Connecticut found. Dr. Kichang Lee and colleagues immersed the hands of smokers and nonsmokers in water at 41 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.
I mention this because of Owen's post noting that a county in Norway declared smoking to be a "right" last week.

If that lung cancer doesn't getcha, well, there's always the pulmonary disease, the cardiovascular disease, the breast many ways to die. And now, a cheery chilly way to lose phalanges.

Everybody buy a carton today! And move to Norway.


Posted by hln at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

St. Fat Louis

You might have read Men's Health around the time it put out its list of the fattest cities. Other magazines do it, too. St. Louis always seems to make the pudgy list. Well, the County Executive and St. Louis' mayor are looking to do something about that. So is the Post-Dispatch, the local newspaper, that puts out a Health and Fitness section every Monday.

But back to the article.
Slay and the equally fit St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley have teamed up to inspire residents to lose weight, eat a healthier diet and exercise regularly.

The resulting health and fitness campaign is "Get Hooked on Health St. Louis."

It will feature former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith as the first St. Louis fitness czar and follow cities such as Philadelphia, Houston and Cincinnati in getting public officials behind efforts to turn couch potatoes into gym regulars.
There will be some TV PSAs, and there's a website, As if this name is at all indicative of St. Louis. But I visited anyway.

Website's a bit sparse, but it holds some promise. I'd like to see recipes, a bustling calendar of area events (Trailnet, etc). A full listing of all area parks and their facilities. Without all of that, it's a waste of taxpayer money. Heck, it may be a waste of taxpayer money as is, but at least try to drop the ratio.

I'll send them all of my ideas, and hopefully some good will come of it.


Posted by hln at 11:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 22, 2004

Heather the Radical

Yesterday, while dining at the Olive Garden, a restaurant that redesigned in the last few years to put the smoking section right in the front of the store (you know, right around where you have to wait for a table. WHY???) I decided (with nudging from my dear spouse) that I should restrict my restaurant dining to fully non-smoking restaurants.

There, decision made. Now life is much simpler; I'm removing the thing that makes me bitchy. If I'm going to pay for a meal that I do not cook, I want to fully enjoy it. I can't do that if I'm chewing the air and my nasal passages decide to shrink their air aperatures.

So, last night's mission was to find all of the smoke-free restaurants here in the St. Louis area I could. I was surprised to find that I think I'll be doing all right with finding good food. My decision will likely hamper some social eating when I explain why I won't visit a restaurant, but I can live with that. I don't exactly have a social circle filled with smokers, as you can imagine.


Posted by hln at 12:12 PM | Comments (6)

February 24, 2004

It's Not Your Fault!

Uh huh.

Researcher link obesity - yes, obesity - to advertising. I think I spoke too soon about the Death of Personal Responsibility by just giving that to one post. Pile this one in.
WASHINGTON - Thousands of advertisements for candy and sugary foods help fuel the epidemic of childhood obesity in America, a pair of new studies asserts.

The Kaiser Family Foundation said in a study released Tuesday that the main mechanism through which the media contributes to childhood obesity is through billions of dollars worth of advertising.

"The number of ads children see on TV has doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 since the 1970s, and the majority of ads targeted to kids are for candy, cereal and fast food," the Foundation said.

It reported that 15.3 percent of children aged six to 11 were listed as overweight in 1999-2000, compared to 4.2 percent in 1963-1970.
So, anyone figure in the food that was on-hand in the house for these kids to eat? No. Overweight/obese parents with bad eating habits? Not figured in. Is it winter and your slope's made of metal (and quite profound at a 40 degree angle), and all you need is the water hose?

Yes, pilgrim, it is, and you do.
The American Psychological Association on Monday called for the government to restrict ads aimed at children under 8.
Dr. Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist who was a co-author of the APA report, said actions "could include specific restrictions on advertising junk food or toys that promote violence or precocious sexuality."

"Given the developmental vulnerabilities young children have to advertising, however, a prohibition on all marketing aimed at children is the only truly effective solution," said Linn.
Hey, I got it, since we're talking about TV - how about families monitoring/limiting that? And it look as though children are going to have another "important" age. 8. Before, we had 13 - becoming a teenager. 16 - can be licensed to drive a car. 17 - can get into R-rated movies, 18, no longer a teenager/eligible to vote, and 21 - buy-it-yourself alcohol indulgence.

Would a law stop children from viewing advertisements for products for which they will develop foodlust? Uh, no.

Can't you people go study cancer or how to prevent divorce or something? Shoo - shoo. You can't fix people, certainly not by legislation; they have to fix themselves.


And just a few moments after I finished this, another related article presented itself. Check this out - TV and Eating Meals Out - they're in collusion to fatify children. That's right, they're collectively a cage into which your child may be trapped. They're "working together."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Excessive television watching and fat-laden fast food menus are working together to make U.S. children fatter and fatter, two separate reports said on Tuesday.

The reports by non-profit groups, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, were issued a day after the American Psychological Association published a new policy recommending legal limits on advertising aimed at children.
You know what's funny - this APPLIES TO THE POPULATION AS A WHOLE, no? Sorry for the shouting.

What I do agree with? The CSPI, surprisingly. This is dead on the money.
The CSPI, which publishes frequent reports on the fat and calorie content of popular foods, criticized kid's menus at restaurants that feature deep-fried foods, sugary drinks and calorie-laden desserts.
This sister article also mentions that the study doesn't trade time in front of the TV for time that could be spent exercising, choosing rather to lay the blame entirely on advertising. Well, last I checked, time not in front of the TV (like, y'know, exercise) means fewer minutes/hours said studied child or children is not exposed to the advertising. I'm scratching my head here.

Doesn't this all boil down to parents teaching their children such basics as nutrition and a balanced life? No, wait, that's the GOVERNMENT'S job. I'm sorry; I forgot.


Posted by hln at 12:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

No, no, no! Legislators, Stop That! Rite-Aid, Restock Your Shelves!

    PORTLAND, Maine - Bottles of nicotine-laced water were pulled from the shelves of Rite Aid drug stores in Maine as legislators considered whether to ban the product.
No! Quit it. Yahoo! has the scoop.
    A Rite Aid spokeswoman said the company removed bottles of NicoWater for sale in its 80 Maine stores Wednesday night, shortly after a legislative health committee voted 6-5 for a measure to outlaw the product until it's approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites).

    The bill would need full Senate and House approval to become law.

    Jody Cook, a spokeswoman for Rite Aid, said the company decided to stop selling the product in Maine because it wanted to be a good corporate citizen. Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pa., has 3,400 stores nationwide.
So, Jody, you're going to pull cigarettes from your shelves, you good corporate citizen, right?

    State Sen. John Martin took aim at NicoWater last spring when he saw ads touting the product as a cigarette substitute for people who have nicotine cravings in non-smoking environments.

    The product is sold in four-packs of half-liter bottles, each of which has 4 mg of nicotine, an amount equal to that in two cigarettes. Martin said NicoWater poses a threat, especially to children, and carries no health benefits.
No health benefits? You're a fool, Martin. It's WATER. And if it stops a smoker from smoking and gives him or her the fix, of COURSE there's a health benefit. Oh, but we're doing this for the "children," aren't we? It threatens them so. Tomorrow "it" will be a single Kit-Kat.

Free NicoWater (but I'll stick with Ice Mountain, thanks).


Posted by hln at 10:40 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 28, 2003

It's a Mad, Mad Cow

Hello. My name is Heather. I'll be the host of this blog. Again.

Been without Internet access for about 24 hours, and with the holidays and stuff, I've lost immediacy with the whole mad cow story. But, of course, others have put into print (at least on screen) their thoughts.

First I read was Kevin at Wizbang in his post Mad Cow Patties, and it covers the political bent taken on this issue. Evidently, Dr. Howard Dean points his parentally shaking finger at the Bush administration for not being able to immediately immobilize and something like magnetically (and instantly) recall any other of the bovine persuasion that may be affected. Oh, please. Eric Schlosser was seriously yapping (eloquently, I might add - that's not an affront) in his book Fast Food Nation, and that was released in 2001. That means it was written the previous year or two years. Mr. Dean, meet Mr. Schlosser. For more on that, I reviewed the book earlier.

Kevin's nicer than I am. He says:
    Instant traceability would be nice, but would have had no effect on the foreign boycotts of U.S. product. Nations have enacted immediate bans on our beef product just has we have done with Canadian beef and British beef before that. Whether or not we could instantly identify the history of the infected animal would have ZERO impact on bans. Immediate bans are a politically easy and popular mechanism to quell domestic uneasiness. Being able to block imports for good cause is also popular because it makes money for domestic producers; just ask US beef producers coming off their best year ever partially due to the ban on Canadian imports.
And he's absolutely right on the money here. It's as if everything changed in that second when the disease was identified. Ack! Panic! What else could be lurking?

And as to the sufferance of the beef industry, from a foreign standpoint, yes. Kevin again:
    Taxpayers are already supporting the cattle industry and farming in general with a byzantine myriad of federal programs. As many have pointed out the industry has lobbied against the kinds of controls now being called for, so a good case could be made for the fact that they made their bed and should now lie in it.
Ah, industry responsibility. "We can self-police." "Oops."

I'm going to segue for just a bit - yesterday I purchased the book known as Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf. Very small print, this one. It may be good it's in paperback. Publisher's Weekly calls it "A more generous view of the beef industry than Eric Schlosser's recent Fast Food absorbing first-hand account." Somebody get me a copy of The Jungle for my birthday in July?

But, excuse, me for a moment. I have to go shake the steaks in the marinade. Moo.


Posted by hln at 05:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 22, 2003

Obesity and Laws. Again.

Today at Yahoo!, we learn that there are already some state-level laws in place.

Yeah, okay. I like the latter half of the article.
    "There's a lot of fear and hysteria," said Mike Burita at the Center for Consumer Freedom, an advocacy group for the restaurant and food industry. "We're allowing government and these public health groups to dictate our food choices to us."

    Among his top targets is the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group that produces a steady flow of warnings about unhealthy food, from movie popcorn to Chinese takeout.

    "It's OK to have a cheeseburger and fries, but it shouldn't be a mainstay of your diet," Burita said. Exercise and education are the solutions, he said. "Kids went from playing dodge ball to playing computer games."

    The skeptics are being heard. A Texas proposal to limit school children's access to snack and soda vending machines died after the state soft drink association complained. Most of the 80 or so obesity-related bills around the country also failed to pass.

    "It's difficult to want to tackle something like this, something as huge as this," said Weiner, the Nevada lawmaker. She plans to bring together people from the food industry and the public health community to work with lawmakers.
If people want to be fat, let them be fat. The only thing I've advocated so far is more detailed labelling. I'd be pretty obnoxiously vocal if somehow my favorite junk food were no longer available at my local grocery store, and that's where this may head someday if it goes out of control.

And can't you see it? A butter ration. "Mrs. Noggle, I'm sorry. You've purchased five tubs of butter in this last week. You can't have any more." Nevermind I just finished making 60 dozen cookies to give away (if you gain weight over the holidays, make sure everyone around you gains more!).

In my recent travels, I did notice that people seemed less overweight everywhere I went. In St. Louis, here, it's quite prevalent. But in San Francisco and around Massachusetts....naaa. Someone might carry an extra 10 or 20, but nothing that would cause the health uproar and nothing that couldn't be removed with some extra sweat and nutrition caution.

So there's the blog entry for the evening. I'm off to volleyball.


Posted by hln at 06:21 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 02, 2003

Speaks For Itself

    CHICAGO (AFP) - Women smokers face twice the risk of developing lung cancer as men, but it is not yet clear why the cancer risk for women is higher, according to the findings of a study.

    The study, presented here to the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, also found women smokers faced a much higher risk than men of developing lung cancer no matter how often they smoked or how old they were.

    "We found that women had twice the risk of developing lung cancer as men, independent of how much they smoked, their age, or the size and textures of nodules found in their lungs," explained Claudia Henschke, a professor of radiology and division chief of chest imaging at the Cornell Medical Center in New York.
Wow. So, ladies, what're you going to do?



Posted by hln at 05:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 21, 2003

No Smoking!

Yes, it's the Great American Smokeout day.

If you're in my extended family, please make this the Great American Smokeout WEEK. Thank you.

Anybody who reads this knows my thoughts on tobacco. If you do smoke, this day is a reminder to be introspective about what you're doing to your body and whether you really WANT to continue to do so. There've been enough studies on nicotine addiction for me to state that all smokers don't WANT to smoke.

So quit for a day if you can - this is your day.

Good luck and good fortune.


Posted by hln at 06:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 19, 2003

Please Stop By and Leave a Message

Fellow blogger Andy of Poked and Parotid has a weblog about his experiences with his parotid gland tumor. His surgery's tomorrow, and then he'll be on the "other side," as I've learned we of the extracted parotid and/or parotid tumors are called.

Drop him a congratulatory e-mail tomorrow - facial surgery can be rough stuff, emotional and otherwise.

And, if you're scratching your head wondering what a parotid is, read my story.


Posted by hln at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Botox! Beauty!

I snarked on some Botox ads in Fitness magazines a few months back, but Big Arm Woman one-up's me with her witty and wry Botox commentary. Visit.

(Update...oops - I saw the TV ad and snarked on it, and then the Botox print ads were everywhere).

    "This season, give yourself the gift of Botox cosmetic. Before all the holiday get-togethers and parties. Botoxilin blah-blah-blah...Give yourself the gift of Botox cosmetic."

    I almost missed my light. Yes folks, injectable paralytic bacteria is now being hyped as the perfect little accessory to go with your new strappy heels and party dress. You too can look like an escapee from Madame Tussaud's in all of your holiday photos! And you can spend all day on Christmas assuring your family and friends that yes, you do really like the gift, it's just that the facial muscles responsible for smiling have all been temporarily rendered immobile!


Posted by hln at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2003

One-a-Day Plus Contraception

Bristol-Myers will be marketing its chewable contraceptive!

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators said on Friday they approved the first chewable oral contraceptive for women, a spearmint-flavored tablet called Ovcon 35.

    New York-based Bristol-Myers will manufacture the product, and Warner Chilcott, a division of Northern Irish drug maker Galen Holdings Plc , will market it, the Food and Drug Administration said.

    Ovcon 35 contains progestin and estrogen, the hormones used in standard birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, the FDA said.

    The new pill may be swallowed whole or chewed and swallowed, the FDA said. Women who decide to chew the tablet should drink an 8-ounce glass of liquid immediately afterward so the full dose reaches the stomach, the FDA said.

    Ovcon 35 is available in a 28-day regimen in which women take 21 active tablets followed by seven placebo tablets.

    The drug's possible side effects are similar to those of other birth control pills, the FDA said. They include an increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes, particularly for smokers.
I have to ask...WHY? I mean, it makes for great jokes about little Billy finding your birth control pill stash and later informing you he "ate all the Flintstones," but I just don't get it.


Posted by hln at 07:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2003

The Password is "Sedentary" >From

>From iWon's Health section: Mirrors Don't Reflect Kindly on Women Working Out.
    Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fittest woman of all?

    You may not get the answer you desire if you exercise in a gym where the walls are actually adorned with mirrors.

    That surprising finding comes from a Canadian study in the journal Health Psychology. The research found sedentary women who exercised in front of a mirror for 20 minutes felt less energized, less relaxed and less upbeat and positive than women who exercised without a mirror.

    The McMaster University study also found women who didn't exercise with a mirror felt less physically exhausted after a workout, while those who did their workout in front of a mirror reported no change in their levels of exhaustion.

Gyms can be intimidating places with grunters of both sexes (I'm trying to be fair, here), men who can lift three times a normal woman's body weight...with one arm, and socialites who hog machines or benches while gabbing about nothing. But, ladies, the mirrors are typically there for a reason, and that reason is a one-syllable, one-word exercise maxim. FORM. Yes, it matters how you lift and lower the free weights and/or weight stacks. It matters in many ways - from isolating and working the proper muscles to ensuring that you avoid unnecessary injury. The purpose of the gym is not to make you FEEL good while you're there; it's to make you feel fabulous every other minute of the day/week/month/year/life. And do more.

    Further research in "real-world" exercise settings are needed to determine if this mirror-related negative effect is widespread, the researchers say.
I think I'd smack the first "researcher" who approaches me at Gold's and says, "excuse me, are you a sedentary exerciser."

And then he (or she) would know.


Posted by hln at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2003

Common Sense Prevails

Although this issue hits me right between the rational and the emotional (and a catfight ensues and I get nasty), sanity prevailed today in Louisiana. (And the rational won this round, brusing and cutting emotional, which feels the need to strike back for a few paragraphs.)

Give the smokers nothing, please; they made their choice. It was (and continues to be with each cigarette) a stupid one, but consequences arise from all choices, and this consequence brings some nasty health implications (wheeze a bit to the music, now, smokers) and conscious gouge in the pocketbook.

So you people get no money, no monitoring. Nada. None. Suffer. Learn to spell emphysema.

That's what you chose. So chosen.

There. Balance.


Posted by hln at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2003

Ellen Goodman, Come on Down

When Brian mentioned this article while I was cooking dinner, I was so certain it would require a rant. As it stands, it just deserves three direct points I must make.

1. Goodman states thus:

In regard to obesity and personal responsibility, midway through the article...
    At the same time, we have learned something from the campaigns against smoking. Personal responsibility is not a free pass for corporate irresponsibility. It's easier to just say no when you aren't being manipulated and marketed to say yes. Willpower is influenced by price, by advertising and even by lawsuits.
Manipulated and marketed to say yes? How far can I spit, please. You take away my personal responsibility and give it to my oppressor, then you take away my ACCOMPLISHMENT for resisting/circumventing/overcoming/vanquishing/annhilating said "oppressor." Away with ye; your argument is weak and intolerable.

2. Regarding the same quote...

"It's easier to just say no when you aren't being manipulated and marketed to say yes." What is this? It sounds like a nice excuse for ANYTHING. Oh, sorry, Bob, Josie cheated on you because that other guy's MARKETING was just AMAZING. Doesn't that just sound like a lovely, justifiable, unmistakeably AMERICAN weak-ass cop-out? Better luck next time.

3. Wrapping up the fallacy...

    But it's likely to be a long haul to get smaller portions in fast-food restaurants and to slim down advertising to kids. Food is one part of a complex obesity problem that includes Game Boys instead of ball games, and TV instead of track and field. Moreover, it's still tricky to attack fat as a health issue without attacking fat people, and we've had a big enough portion of that, thank you.
Dropping portions? First, I'm tired of everyone blaming fast food. Full-blown restaurants are just as much "to blame" as any other. But, thankfully, I am glad. I know enough to make my meal into two (at least) if it's large. I like the "value" I receive in this. Please don't cut my portions; I can do that on my own. If you cut my portions, I'm certain the price won't drop. We've been here. This argument's old forgotten remoldy cheese, so I'll stop now.

Thanks for your time. Eat well.


Posted by hln at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2003


How much would you pay to avoid a common cold? I pondered this question this evening, as I am currently fighting the latest variety of summer cold to enslave the office (four of us ill that I know of).

I get about two a year. I think I'd drop $500 at the onset to make it go away. I figure that's $100 or less a day, and, well, most likely very much worth it. Colds always hit me hard and affect my mood (even though I recognize this - sad, eh?). This cold will mean a few days off of training and possibly, unless I feel better instead of worse the next few days, some time off work.

How much would you pay?


Posted by hln at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2003

Send that Cancer Back to its Mama, Weeping

CNN has a report released on July 1 that explains about cancer what we humans already know deep down if we've ever paid attention to health reports.

It enumerates many risk factors.
    Twenty-nine percent of cancer deaths prevented, again, by focusing on the fundamentals, such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and cancer screening. If people used all of that stuff, actually focused on that stuff, again, then you can actually cut down these cancer deaths and rates by quite a bit. The numbers, just the absolute numbers, as well, 100,000 cancer cases a year could actually be eliminated and 60,000 cancer deaths. We're not talking about any new drugs, no new treatments here, just focusing on what we know.
Yes, Dr. Gupta. Very nice. Good job of stating the obvious and putting some numbers with it for palatable consumption. Still, maybe a few people will read that, and the little dinging bell will chime, so perhaps I'm being harsh. I still don't expect any radical behavior change based on this nicely packaged info spiel.

Fair, though. This harshness is coming from the woman whose cancer was so rare she became a teaching tool for the local university hospital.

But it ain't gonna come back, and neither is any other kind. I kicked it so hard it ran shrieking, as I say, back to its mama and weeping in horror.


Posted by hln at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)