Taxes on sugary beverages seem to cut consumption, a Harvard public health expert said Tuesday, describing the sometimes controversial tariffs as one path of attack against the U.S. diabetes epidemic.Sara Bleich, a professor of public health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute, said that a preliminary analysis of Philadelphia’s six-month-old 1.5-cent per-ounce tax shows sales dropping 57 percent by volume.“Consuming those drinks is very tightly linked to both obesity and diabetes,” Bleich said of the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet.Philadelphia’s tax-related drop came amid reports that consumption of soda and other sugary beverages has been in decline nationwide, said Bleich, speaking as part of a panel at the Harvard Chan School on the toll of diabetes and the future of treating the disease.LaShawn McIver, senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy for the American Diabetes Association, noted that the metabolic disorder is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than AIDS and breast cancer combined, and costs the country $322 billion annually.One in 11 Americans — some 30 million people — has diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many more — about 84 million — have prediabetes. Complicating the picture, McIver said, is that nearly 90 percent of the latter group aren’t aware of the threat.“This is a huge issue from a public health perspective,” McIver said.Diabetes is closely linked to the nation’s obesity epidemic, with nearly 90 percent of those with type 2 diabetes — the vast majority of cases — also overweight or obese. The root problem, Bleich said, is that we live in an environment rich in cheap, convenient, calorie-laden foods, and an era of increasingly sedentary lifestyles.“Diet is a huge driver of the diabetes epidemic, and this is important because a person’s ability to control their diabetes is very dependent on their ability to select foods or be in an environment that allows them to control their blood sugar,” Bleich said.That’s where food policy comes in, she said. Policy can alter the food environment and make consumers less dependent on willpower alone. Taxes alter environment by making cost a more significant factor. Another effective tactic, Bleich said, is requiring calorie counts on restaurant menus, so that customers can consider not just price and taste, but also the health effects of meals.Requiring calorie counts on menus began in New York in 2006 and has since spread to other states, Bleich said. A federal version of the requirement contained in the Affordable Care Act is set to take effect next year. The measures have had less impact on consumer choices than on restaurants, which have been dropping the highest-calorie dishes and adding new ones that average 12 percent less, a difference of roughly 60 calories.“It sounds small, but at a population level, if you can extract that number of calories out of the diet, it can actually have a pretty big impact on levels of both obesity risk and diabetes risk,” Bleich said.Panelists also discussed the role of technology in treating the disease. Continuous glucose monitors use a probe under the skin to keep tabs on blood sugar, with data uploaded for doctors to review. They can also send out help signals.Howard Wolpert, vice president for medical innovation at the Lilly Innovation Center, said that technology can both improve blood sugar control — reducing risk of complications such as blindness, kidney failure, and infections — and make medical care more efficient. People whose blood sugars are relatively stable can see the doctor less frequently, while those with erratic sugars can keep regular appointments.Telemedicine, Wolpert said, has the potential to make a bigger difference, extending the reach of physicians to underserved communities, like Native Americans and Inuits, in which care is scarce but rates of diabetes are high.
Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard District 8U.S. Coast Guard crews assisted a 145-foot offshore supply vessel taking on water, near Cameron, Louisiana, early on Monday morning.At 12:00 a.m., the crew of the Candy Fleet-owned Candy Store vessel contacted Sector Houston-Galveston watch-standers to report the vessel was taking on water and in need of assistance.A Station Lake Charles 29-foot response boat-small boat crew was launched. Once on scene, the crew of the RB-S passed two dewatering pumps to the vessel and remained on scene throughout the night with the Candy Store.Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Lake Charles personnel were dispatched to the scene to investigate and respond to fuel discharge around the partially submerged vessel.
An armed gang clad in military uniform reportedly raided the headquarters of Ghana’s main opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, on Monday in an attack that may likely raise political tension just one year before the country holds its presidential elections.The NPP said that around 15 men using military and police vehicles vandalized its offices in a downtown neighborhood at around 0100 and confiscated computer equipment.Talking to Reuters, police spokesperson Cephas Arthur said that it was not yet clear who conducted the break-in, suggesting it was a “civilian raid” rather than one carried out by the security forces.Next year’s elections will see incumbent President John Mahama battle it out against Nana Akufo-Addo, whom he narrowly defeated in 2012.Mahama’s national Democratic Congress party endorsed him as its candidate on Monday.NPP’s Communications Director Nana Akomea released a statement on the raid saying that the party did not know who conducted it.He said that three party officials were made to surrender their phones before being shoved into a security post and locked up. A couple of minutes later, the men dressed in military uniform ordered them out.“They (the armed men) produced a sack and proceeded to pour the contents out on the floor. The contents included four AK-47s and four machetes which the military uniformed men claimed to have found on the compound,” it said.
For Amusan, the home crowd will have a glimpse of the hurdler who has been hugging the headlines with breathtaking performances in the circuit in the United States this season.Among other heroics, Amusan last month won the womenâ€™s 100m Hurdles at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title with a new personal best time of 12.57secs.The Delta State Government as well as Solid Works Limited is sponsoring the 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix which over the years has attracted top athletes from across the world to the oil-rich and sports loving state.Immediate past President of the AFN and CEO, Solid Works Ltd, Chief Solomon Ogba, revealed that outside of the elite cast of athletes, the High School and Inter-Collegiate Category is also gathering much momentum as students in and around Delta State are looking forward to the July 18th Meet with keen interest.Ogba highlighted the need to continually provide platforms for youngsters to exhibit their skills and get discovered.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Nigeriaâ€™s top performers on the track this season, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Tobi Amusan, have both arrived in Nigeria ahead of the 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix.The 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix fixed for Tuesday, July 18 at the Delta State Polytechnic Stadium, Ozoro, is guaranteed to have a rich number of top athletes on parade; some of whom are already arriving in the country.Okagbare who last weekend in London ran an impressive 10.99secs in the womenâ€™s 100m event is one of the star attractions even as the sprints queen will hope to strike a better rhythm on the home front as she counts down to the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.
There’s an old sentiment in the sporting world that states the more experienced teams often perform the best. Don’t tell that to the Wisconsin volleyball team.After having practiced as a team for just a short time this spring, sophomore Kirby Toon was pleased with her team’s 25-23, 25-17, 25-21 victory Saturday over UW-Milwaukee.“We’ve only been practicing for about a week, so it’s looking pretty good,” Toon said. “We have a very young team with a lot of new players coming in.”The Badgers’ roster features many underclassmen and includes only three seniors.Head coach Pete Waite was also impressed by his young team’s performance. He highlighted a few keys to the win that they had practiced during the preceding week.“I thought our serve receive was pretty solid,” Waite said. “That’s something we’ve been working on during our individual workouts and team workouts.”The Badgers were aced just three times and committed only four receiving errors in total.Senior Allison Wack, who led the team with 17 kills in the match, agreed her team’s improved serve receiving was an integral part of their success.“We are just seeing better serve receive than last year,” Wack said. “Overall I think it was great. We’re working on a whole lot of new things and new techniques.”Waite explained some of the new ideas he and his staff have already started to implement.“We had Kirby Toon and Al Wack jump-serving with topspin, which was new for them. They did a nice job,” Waite said. “That always puts the opponent on their heels a little bit.”The new serving technique did seem to throw the Panthers off, allowing the Badgers to pick up several easy points throughout the match. Wisconsin recorded 11 aces, including two by Toon and four by Wack.UW-Milwaukee, however, also presented some unique challenges for the Badgers. The Panthers play in a slightly different way than Waite and his team is accustomed to seeing.“Milwaukee runs a very fast offense so they’re flying all over the place and they’re tough to keep up with,” Waite said. “As a bigger team from the Big Ten, we played a smaller team from the Horizon League that’s a great ball handling team and I think our ball handling stood up with theirs; it’s not an easy thing to do because every conference recruits in a different way.”Although the Badgers stood up to most of the challenges that Milwaukee presented, Waite and his players know there is still much to be learned.Waite specifically addressed the team’s struggles with maintaining a high hit percentage. The Badgers struggled in that statistical category, hitting only .141. In 2009, Wisconsin finished with a .172 percentage for the season.“Our hitting percentage needs to be better; we need to bring that up,” Waite said. “After a week of team training, that’s a really good reminder to us of what [we] need to focus on even more.”The Badgers are hoping they can improve in all areas this spring while also gaining valuable experience for the more trying fall season.“Our goal isn’t necessarily [about] the wins and the losses,” Toon said. “It’s to go out and improve every time we play.”