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.
Newstalk ZB 14 May 2013Christchurch teenagers are said to be increasingly violent towards their parents – and the earthquakes are being blamed.Staff at the Womens Refuge have noticed an increase in mainly male teenagers domestically abusing their family members – and it seems mothers are the first to cop it.Additional staff have had to be recruited due to increased demands like this at the refuge.Spokeswoman Julie McCloy says the increase has been over the past two years.“Perhaps what we’ve seen is just that accumulation of stress and maybe see young people who have grown up in a difficult or abusive environment and you add that extra stress to it, they don’t know how to handle their emotions.”Ms McCloy says it’s a worrying trend.“Over probably about 25 percent of the police reports we get there’ll be incidents where a young person is involved as a perpetrator of violence so that’s significant.”She says the youngest they’ve seen was 14-years-old.They’re not expecting the boom to drop off anytime soon.http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/wellington/news/regch/1804940486-worrying-trend-amongst-christchurch-teens
The Football Association of Ireland has handed chief executive John Delaney a vote of confidence in the wake of controversy surrounding him singing an Irish republican ballad. President Tony Fitzgerald said the FAI is “happy to bring the matter to a close” after Delaney apologised. Delaney found himself in hot water after a video surfaced online of him singing ‘Joe McDonnell’, a song about a provisional IRA member who died in prison in 1981. “I am not somebody who supports violence at all. ”When you sing a song like that, you don’t believe in every word that is in the song. I sing a large number of songs, maybe five or six different ones. It’s normally done in a private way when there is a sing-song. It’s a typically Irish thing we do. We sing songs amongst our group and you expect it to be kept to the group. ”In fact over a large number of years I have been working closely on cross-border initiatives in football to break down barriers. I am just not a violent person. My grandfather fought in the Civil War and he also fought in the War of Independence. I have always said I have a nationalist background. ”Unfortunately, on occasions people use camera phones in a sly way and try to tape it – people who are not in your company – and they try to make it something bigger than it is. ”What I will say is that if the song offends anybody, of course I’m sorry. It is not in my nature to want to offend people. It was something I have sung or had sang in my presence in the past.” Delaney went on to say that the Ireland team have often joined in singing of similar songs going back to Jack Charlton’s time in charge, such as ‘Sean South from Garryowen’ which is about another IRA member. He added: ”I’ll give you an example. ‘Sean South from Garryowen’ has been sung on the Irish team bus for years, from the Jack Charlton era, right up to the current era. ”If people want to tape these things in what I would call a sly way, and then try to make them public, it is wrong. But I do accept that if I have upset anybody here, I’m sorry. ”Many of us have a nationalist background but are non-violent and sing songs but don’t believe in all of the lyrics.” Press Association But Fitzgerald backed Delaney to see out his recently-extended contract that now runs until 2020, effectively scotching any talk of the CEO departing his post. “Following recent coverage of the cyber bullying of his partner Emma and the fact that John has publicly apologised if he offended anyone for singing the nationalist song in question, we are happy to bring the matter to a close,” said Fitzgerald in an FAI statement. “The Board is more than pleased with the way John Delaney is running the Association. He has done an enormous amount for Irish football. In the past year alone the winning of EURO 2020 bid for Dublin adds to a number of very important developments he has helped oversee during his tenure. “We recently awarded him a contract extension to 2020 and he is fully deserving of that.” The timing of the video of Delaney’s singing proved highly embarrassing to the FAI, with the Republic of Ireland taking on England in Dublin in June. England boss Roy Hodgson was also forced to apologise after fans sang ‘No Surrender’ during their match against Scotland at Celtic Park. Delaney apologised on Tuesday, but also defended himself against the heaviest criticism he had received. Delaney told RTE 2fm: ”First of all, ‘Joe McDonnell’ is a song that has been sung in my presence and I have chipped in on a number of occasions in the past.