Health News – Food Pyramid http://www.foodpyramid.com Tue, 02 May 2017 10:19:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Reser’s Fine Foods Recall April 2016 http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/resers-fine-foods-recall-april-2016-12376/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/resers-fine-foods-recall-april-2016-12376/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 08:47:54 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=12376 Oregon based company Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc have recently issued a food recall. Reser’s Fine Foods, who manufactures and distributes fresh and frozen prepared foods, sent a press release announcing […]

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Oregon based company Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc have recently issued a food recall. Reser’s Fine Foods, who manufactures and distributes fresh and frozen prepared foods, sent a press release announcing a possible health risk for certain refrigerated salads.

The recall was issued due to a notification received from one of their suppliers who provides the ingredients used in the salads. It was stated in a press release that Listeria monocytogenes could be present in the products. It seems like the problem lies in a batch of onions used in the manufacturing process of the salads may carry the Listeria bacteria. The bacteria can cause serious problems in young children, elderly people, and pregnant woman.

A total of nineteen different products are affected by this recall and they are both retail products and foodservice products, which are used for commercial use. Some of the affected salads include:

  • Reser’s Deviled Egg Potato Salad
  • Reser’s Potato Salad
  • Reser’s Macaroni Salad
  • Stonemill Kitchens Classic Potato Salad
  • Safeway Deviled Egg Potato Salad
  • Safeway Classic Potato Salad
  • Safeway Tuna Salad
  • Walmart Redskin Potato Salad
  • Savemart Potato Salad
  • Sysco Elbow Macaroni Salad
  • Safeway Tuna Salad
  • FSA Potato Salad

Note that the above list is just the type of salad affected, you still need to check for the UPC code, its size, and expiration date. For that, you should visit FDA’s website for a complete list together with images of the products.

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If you are in the possession of any of the products from the FDA’s website, you are urged not to consume them. Instead discard them or claim a refund. For more details you should call 1-888-257-7913, which is the number to Reser’s Fine Foods Consumer Hotline.

This is not the first time Reser’s Fine Foods is recalling food due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. In December of 2015 a potato salad was recalled. Another incident was in 2013, where lots of products had to be recalled.

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Bumble Bee Tuna Recall March 2016 http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/bumble-bee-tuna-recall-march-2016-12366/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/bumble-bee-tuna-recall-march-2016-12366/#respond Thu, 17 Mar 2016 10:59:47 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=12366 For those who eat tuna, you may want to read this. California based Bumble Bee Foods did announce today that they are recalling three specific types of canned tuna. If […]

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For those who eat tuna, you may want to read this. California based Bumble Bee Foods did announce today that they are recalling three specific types of canned tuna. If you have bought “Chunk Light Tuna” with the following UPC codes you should be concerned:

1. Label UPC: 8660000020 – 5oz Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Water

2. Label UPC: 8660000021 – 5oz Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Oil

3. Label UPC: 8660000736 – 4 Pack of 5oz Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Water

If you have tuna with matching UPC codes, visit Bumble Bee’s website to see full  list of the specific can codes affected.

The tuna is being recalled voluntarily by Bumble Bee Foods. This is done because of some packaging deviations discovered in a co-pack facility, which is not own or operated by Bumble Bee Foods, LLC. The deviation seem to have been discovered in the sterilization of the tuna. This is an important part of the whole tuna processing. If the sterilization process is not done correctly, it could lead to serious health problems if the tuna is consumed. No reports of illnesses have yet been reported in connection with the related products.

bumble-bee-tuna-recall-march-2016

Bumble Bee Foods will in total recall 31,579 tuna cases. The tuna was produced last month and distributed nationwide. Bumble Bee, the FDA, and the co-packer is working closely together organizing the removal of the tuna from the stores. If you have bought any tuna with matching can codes that are being recalled, you are advised to throw them away. For reimbursement, you should retain the label and contact Bumble Bee’s Consumer Affairs team.

This is not the first time Bumble Bee Foods recalls tuna. In 2013, a voluntary recall was issued for “Chunk Light Tuna” and “Chunk White Albacore”.

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The Healthy People Program 2020 http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/the-healthy-people-program-2020-10555/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/the-healthy-people-program-2020-10555/#respond Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:24:50 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=10555 The organization “Healthy People” offers scientifically sound ten-year goals for improving the health and well-being of Americans. On December 20, 2010, the organization launched “Healthy People 2020,” an impressive yet […]

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healthy-people-2020The organization “Healthy People” offers scientifically sound ten-year goals for improving the health and well-being of Americans. On December 20, 2010, the organization launched “Healthy People 2020,” an impressive yet attainable, ten-year plan that is intended to improve the Nation’s health. “Healthy People 2020” is a multi-year program that incorporates scientific research with feedback from a variety of individuals and organizations. For the past thirty years, “Healthy People” has established benchmarks to help individuals monitor their long-term health-related progress.

“Healthy People” use the following benchmarks to help people achieve their health-related goals:

  • Positive collaborative relationships with those who share common goals
  • Healthy support systems that encourage personal accountability and responsibility
  • Empowerment and the ability to make educated health decisions
  • The impact of prevention activities on the attainment of personal health-related goals

Vision

As an organization, “Healthy People” strives to help people make informed decisions about their health and well-being so that they can live long, healthy lives.

Mission

“Healthy People 2020” not only strives to identify universally-accepted health improvement objectives, it also educates the public on the importance of following and/or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is important to boost public awareness so that individuals know their options when it comes to their health and well-being. Individuals with medical conditions and/or disabilities need to know that they can improve their conditions by setting achievable goals.

Other “Healthy People 2020” goals include: helping individuals achieve realistic, measurable goals that can be applied at many different levels (locally, state-wide and nationally), encouraging different organizations, companies, groups and individuals to take an active role in reinforcing health-related policies, improving the most effective practices and refining evaluation, research and data collection methods.

Goals

The main goals of “Healthy People 2020” are: to help individuals avoid preventable diseases, injuries and/or disabilities that can shorten and/or reduce the quality of their lives, help all individuals have access to health prevention exams and tests, eliminate health-related discrimination, improve the health of everyone, create a healthy environment that supports healthy eating, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle and help individuals improve the quality of their lives through education, guidance and the willingness to embrace a healthier lifestyle through all of the various stages of life.

History

“Healthy People 2020” bases its program on the following objectives, goals and initiatives:

  • Health awareness and disease prevention (The 1979 Surgeon General’s report)
  • Raising nationwide awareness on health and preventing diseases (“Healthy People 1990”)
  • Promoting national health and disease prevention goals (“Healthy People 2000”)

New Developments

HealthyPeople.gov was recently awarded with the gold Web Health Award for providing quality online health resources for individuals and health professionals. Organizations were primarily judged on their ability to reach their target health audience and to provide quality online health-related information to individuals. “Healthy  People 2020” has also renewed its focus when it comes to recognizing, assessing, tracking and reducing healthcare inequalities.

Some of the new topics that the organization will be focusing on include: adolescent health, early childhood, middle childhood, blood disorders, blood safety, dementias, global health, quality of life and well-being, elderly, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health, sleep health, social health factors, health awareness and health-related infections.

Other new “Healthy People 2020” developments include:

  • “Healthy People 2020” Programs: The goal is to help others implement the program in their communities. “Healthy People 2020” strives to provide individuals with the resources that they need to start a program in the areas that they live in.
  • Evidence-Based Interventions: “Healthy People 2020” topics consist of: the U.S. preventive services: task force clinical preventive services, external web site policies, guides to community preventive services: external web site policies and quick guides to healthy living information for consumers (healthfinder.gov).
  • Social Media: “Healthy People 2020” uses the following social media communication tools: LinkedIn, Twitter and “Healthy People 2020” webinars.
  • Health Indicators: Health indicators suggest that health-related issues continue to be a leading topic. It is important that the public understands the importance disease prevention, healthcare and a healthy lifestyle. Health-related prevention exams and a healthy lifestyle can help improve the quality of an individual’s life. These indicators will be used over the next ten years to assess the health of Americans. The main purpose of “Healthy People 2020” is to help motivate people to take action and improve their health and well-being at the local, state and national levels.


Reference:
Health People. (2013). Home page. Retrieved from http://healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx

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Senate Ends Ban on Research into Organ Donations between HIV-Positive Individuals http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/senate-ends-ban-on-research-into-organ-donations-between-hiv-positive-individuals-10414/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/senate-ends-ban-on-research-into-organ-donations-between-hiv-positive-individuals-10414/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:00:44 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=10414 History was made Monday, June 17, 2013, as the Senate passed a bill to end the ban on research into organ donations between HIV-positive individuals. The bill was passed to […]

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History was made Monday, June 17, 2013, as the Senate passed a bill to end the ban on research into organ donations between HIV-positive individuals. The bill was passed to establish safeguards during research on organ donations between individuals with the ill-fated condition. The passing of this bill has been almost a year-long fought battle in Washington, D.C.

Senator Barbara Levy Boxer, a California Senator from the Democratic Party, along with Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Senator from the Republican Party, wrote and submitted the HOPE Act (HIV Organ Policy Equity Act) on February 14, 2013. The goal of the act is to entrust HIV-positive individuals the ability to freely donate their organs to other HIV-positive patients who need them. Before Monday, this medical procedure was prohibited by federal law. The ban was part of the Organ Transplants Amendment Act of 1988.

The success of the bill is dependent on future research. If research shows that there are no risks for this kind of procedure to be done, it will no longer be a federal crime. The HOPE Act will establish a standard review process by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which has the medical expertise to perform research while evaluating transplant policies. The HHS secretary has the final authority to give the go-ahead on future medical transplantation procedures between HIV-infected donors and HIV-infected recipients.

Senator Coburn, who is also a medical doctor, publicly announced that the HOPE Act is an encouraging step forward for HIV-positive individuals who need organ transplants. Senator Boxer also made an inspiring public statement on the issue.

“I applaud the Senate for moving to end this outdated ban on research into organ donations between HIV-positive individuals,” Boxer said Monday. “This legislation offers hope for thousands of patients who are waiting for transplants by allowing scientists to research safe and effective ways to transplant these organs and save lives.”

A study published in the American Journal of Transplantation highlights the success of kidney transplantation from HIV-infected donors to HIV-infected recipients in South Africa. This success story was part of what drew many to the legislative ban in the United States. It raised justice and equity concerns among people. It also instigated debates among Senators as to whether it was right to withhold such benefits from HIV-infected patients.

Currently, the HOPE Act is a bipartisan bill recommended by both democrats and republicans. As the name implicitly connotes, it will bring hope to thousands of HIV-positive individuals currently on the active waiting list for organ transplant procedures.


References:
1. Human Rights Campaign. HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act. Human Rights Campaign; Updated June 18, 2013. Available From: http://www.hrc.org/laws-and-legislation/federal-legislation/hiv-organ-policy-equity-hope-act
2. Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Boxer, Coburn, Praise Senate Passage of the HOPE Act. June 18, 2013. Available From: http://www.boxer.senate.gov/en/press/releases/061813.cfm

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Sanofi’s New Four-Strain Flu Vaccine is approved by the FDA http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/sanofis-new-four-strain-flu-vaccine-is-approved-by-the-fda-10270/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/sanofis-new-four-strain-flu-vaccine-is-approved-by-the-fda-10270/#respond Tue, 11 Jun 2013 10:49:56 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=10270 Every year in the United States, influenza poses problems by causing approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the French Sanofi pharmaceutical company, has the broadest range of […]

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Every year in the United States, influenza poses problems by causing approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the French Sanofi pharmaceutical company, has the broadest range of available vaccines for 20 infectious diseases. On Monday, June 10, 2013, the company announced that its new four-strain influenza vaccine, Fluzone Quadrivalent, recently obtained its license from the FDA. The license was established for children 6 months of age and older, adolescents, and adults. The vaccine is the newest addition to the Fluzone family of influenza vaccines. The Fluzone vaccines are usually administered to more than 50 million people in the US every year.

The special fact about the new vaccine, Fluzone Quadrivalent, is that it will be the first intramuscular vaccine to give protection against four strains, two A strains and two B strains. Until this year, flu vaccines have only included one B strain. Since the 2001-2002 flu season, two influenza B types perpetrated into the general population infected with the virus. The Influenza B strain is very dangerous, as seen in recent years where up to 44% of pediatric deaths were ascribed to this strain. Therefore, scientists have been trying to come up with a vaccine with two B strains for additional protection. Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine will be the only one available for the most susceptible of children – 6 months of age.

The Vice President of the United States Scientific and Medical Affairs branch of Sanofi Pasteur, David Greenberg, MD, publicly stated, “Protection against the type B flu strain may be an especially important factor that healthcare providers consider when immunizing children since influenza B causes a substantial number of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in the pediatric population.”

Fluzone Quadrivalent will be available for the 2013-2014 influenza season. It will be administered through pre-filled syringes and single-dose vials. It will not contain any preservatives and will not be made with natural rubber latex.

Sanofi has also released safety information for the vaccine. Clinical studies were done nation-wide with the involvement of the Senders Pediatric Clinic in South Euclid, Ohio. The clinical studies, which compared the trivalent form to the new quadrivalent form, showed that the new vaccine was generally safe. However, the most common adverse effects of the vaccine include pain, redness and swelling at the vaccination site, myalgia (muscle ache), malaise, headache, and fever, especially in young children. Sanofi made sure to state that the vaccine does not protect all individuals, and also that the decision to administer the vaccine to any individual should be based on the weighted benefits and risks.

Last December, rival drugmaker, GlaxoSmithKline, won the FDA approval for the first four-strain vaccine, Fluarix Quadrivalent. However, the GSK vaccine was for children 3 years and older. Sanofi’s new vaccine is making waves because of the capacity of the vaccine to act in children as young as 6 months.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for all individuals aged 6 months of age and older in the United States.

 


References:
1. New Four-Strain Influenza Vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur Now Licensed by FDA for Broad Age Range of Children and Adults. Sanofi Pasteur Multimedia Press Release Website. http://www.multivu.com/mnr/61694-sanofi-pasteur-fluzone-quadrivalent-influenza-virus-vaccine-fda-approval
2. U.S Food and Drug Administration. Fluarix Quadrivalent [Internet]. Updated 2013 Mar 11. Available from: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm342391.htm

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The Global Health Risks of the Recent Bird Flu Outbreak in China http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/the-global-health-risks-of-the-recent-bird-flu-outbreak-in-china-10125/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/the-global-health-risks-of-the-recent-bird-flu-outbreak-in-china-10125/#respond Tue, 28 May 2013 08:00:55 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=10125 The H7N9 strain of the recent bird flu virus outbreak in China is an entirely new phenomenon. Just like other bird flu incidents in the past, it has appeared for […]

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The H7N9 strain of the recent bird flu virus outbreak in China is an entirely new phenomenon. Just like other bird flu incidents in the past, it has appeared for the first time in humans and poses a considerable global health threat to the human population. Scientists and researchers all over the world are currently trying to act fast to determine a way to stop this from potentially spreading, although no human-to-human cases have been reported yet.

The H7N9 virus is a type of the bird flu virus (also known as avian influenza virus). Since it was reported, more than 131 victims have been identified, and sadly 36 deaths have been documented as of May 16, 2013. Most cases were as a result of people being in contact with poultry, although the latest research shows that there is a possibility that this might spread between humans since it has been shown to spread between ferrets in direct contact with each other.¹

Immediate Health Concerns:

The H7N9 strain of the bird flu virus has been reported to cause a range of conditions from conjunctivitis (an influenza-related condition that is not complicated) and upper respiratory tract disease all the way to multi-organ failure and pneumonia (extremely complicated conditions).²

The first two patients reported with the disease died from refractory hypoxemia and the third patient died from septic shock.2 The three patients were hospitalized from first to last at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, the Shanghai Centers for Disease and Control, and the Anhui CDC.

The H7N9 strain of the bird flu virus is an immediate concern because there is currently no vaccine available as it is completely new. Also, the strains from the patients identified with this virus were isolated and genome sequencing was performed, resulting in an analysis that showed the RNA amino acid sites were evolving and undergoing reassortment within the human population.

Although the number of cases are decreasing due to the closure of many live poultry markets in China, there is still the immediate concern of possible human-to-human contract of the disease in the case of the development of the strain into something more harmful.

Global Health Risks:

The amino acid substitutions of the H7N9 strain of the bird flu virus is a global health concern because out of all the former bird flu cases, this strain has a greater potential to infect mammals due to its ability to be transformed and mutated inside the human body.

A second global health risk is that there is low detectability due to the fact that this virus has not caused severe disease in poultry.³ This limits the ability of scientists and researchers to find out if the virus is in a group of live birds, and this further increases the global threat of the virus in the future.

The third and most important global health risk is the threat of a pandemic, which is an epidemic that is geographically wide-spread, occurring throughout a region and possibly throughout the entire world.

 

References:
1. Brown E. H7N9 Bird Flu can pass Between Mammals, Researchers Find [Internet]. Los Angeles Times; 2013 May 23. Available from: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-bird-flu-h7n9-research-ferrets-webby-20130523,0,1212299.story
2. Rongbao Gao, Bin Cao, Yunwen Hu, et al. Human Infection with a Novel Avian-Origin Influenza A (H7N9 Virus). The New England Journal of Medicine. 2013 May 16. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7281/
3. WHO Risk Assessment. Human Infections with Avian Influenza A(H7N9 Virus). 2013 May 10. Available from: http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/influenza_h7n9/RiskAssessment_H7N9_10May13.pdf

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New Trends in Nutrition: Helping Others Help Themselves http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/new-trends-in-nutrition-helping-others-help-themselves-9918/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/new-trends-in-nutrition-helping-others-help-themselves-9918/#respond Thu, 27 Dec 2012 14:12:53 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=9918 Those that live in need Before and after the 2012 presidential elections there has inevitably been a lot of talk about the overall condition of the economy. Politicians are asked […]

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Those that live in need

Before and after the 2012 presidential elections there has inevitably been a lot of talk about the overall condition of the economy. Politicians are asked daily what they intend to do to help struggling Americans out of the slump of unemployment. What strategies will the President implement to help Americans living at or below the poverty line raise their standard of living?

While there are a lot of questions being raised in the media concerning poverty during campaign season, one aspect that remains constant no matter the political arena is the threat of hunger amongst the poor.

New trends in serving

Organizations established to help fight hunger have existed for years on both a national and international level. More often than not, these groups are heavily focused on obtaining donations from the public in order to fund their relief efforts. Profits earned through donations are used to buy food products that are handed out directly to those in need. Similarly, organizations end up relying on government grants to help provide for the less fortunate.

Within individual communities, you can often find establishments such as food kitchens and homeless shelters that regularly offer a limited number of meals on a first come, first serve basis. Food pantries and religious organizations appeal to the public for generous donations to stock their shelves, while high schools and elementary schools host fundraisers and food drives on an annual basis.

While these efforts and organizations all stem from a desire to help, they may be more so temporary fixes to what often turns out to be a long term problem. In an effort to find solutions that are more sustainable in the long-run, some organizations are branching out in new directions.

Helping others help themselves

There is a new effort being launched within the world of charity-outreach that is forging an innovative path. The ultimate goal of these helpful endeavors is to establish facilities and organizations that ultimately allow the hungry to feed themselves. This is meant to be two-fold in its end results. The hope is that by creating a system which provides long-term and self-sufficient provisions; you are able to offer the hungry an opportunity to pull themselves up into a better life with dignity.

The problem with traditional outreach programs lies in their temporary nature. While it is absolutely beneficial to feed the hungry for a day, how much more effective would it be to establish a system that allows the hungry to eat for days on end? What these new organizations are striving for is not to provide a free meal ticket, but to provide a lifestyle that allows people to improve their futures and fill their stomachs by their own hand for the long-term.

Hidden Harvest

Even in the middle of an economic crisis, Americans are fortunate enough to have to deal with excess in some very specific areas of production. One organization is taking advantage of this situation and using it to benefit the hungry. Based out of Coachella, California, Hidden Harvest coins them a produce recovery program.

With the hopes of helping those dealing with poverty, while simultaneously utilizing what others view as ‘waste,’ Hidden Harvest aims to provide nutritious meals and sustainable jobs for families in need.

Every year, the end of harvest season means thousands of pounds of excess produce left in the fields for farmers. Produce may be abandoned because they are not cosmetically acceptable, over produced, or there is simply no market demand for such a high quantity. Hidden Harvest employs low-income farmers to collect these leftover goods and then distributes them at no cost to over 60 local agencies.

In addition to providing low income families employment opportunities, this organization believes in the value of production itself. They work to provide seeds, water and garden space for families to produce their own food sources which will be a continuous source of nutrition.

Celebrity efforts

These budding organizations are not without their celebrity counterparts. Working under the slogan “Everyone is welcome at our table,” star performer Jon Bon Jovi has ventured into the world of sustainable charities with the opening of his soul kitchen. An off shoot of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the soul kitchen functions as a community restaurant where menus are priceless…..literally.

Soul Kitchen is a restaurant that caters to those who cannot afford their own meals. Customers are invited to come in and are seated on a first come, first serve basis at community friendly tables. While there are no prices listed on the menu, customers are welcome to either donate what they can, or volunteer their services in return for a meal voucher.
Soul Kitchen goes beyond simply providing meals and strives to deliver nutritious dinners as well. When possible, the organization states they will offer organic meals. It is yet another new umbrella idea that many sustainable charities are undertaking; the belief that just because a person lives below the poverty level, does not mean they don’t deserve healthy and nutritious meals.

Reaching out to the new generation

While there is a tendency to think of the adult population when considering the implications of hunger in the U.S, it’s important to note that children are also standing in lines at soup kitchens across the nation. By reaching out to underprivileged children today, charity founders are hoping to make big changes tomorrow.

Feeding Children Better Fund is one such charity that aims to feed and sustain hungry children in the United States through a three step process. They strive to provide schools with nutritious after-school meals improve distribution of wholesome food to local food banks and raise public awareness. If hungry children are given the chance at a better future, than they will be able to carry those healthy lessons and habits into the future with them.

New trends and bright horizons

While these are only a few of the many new efforts in the field of sustainable charity-work, efforts to feed the hungry in efficient and long-lasting ways are on the rise. With a new focus on long-term delivery, independent contribution and nutrition, organizations across the nation are making big strides in the fight to end hunger in the healthiest way possible. Do you think a “Helping others help themselves” outlook is going to be effective in the long run?

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Medical Television Nation http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/medical-television-nation-9911/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/medical-television-nation-9911/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2012 09:50:57 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=9911 According to the 2010 U.S. census bureau, which released their most recent numbers in September of 2011, nearly 17% of Americans are living without health insurance. As employment statistics continue […]

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According to the 2010 U.S. census bureau, which released their most recent numbers in September of 2011, nearly 17% of Americans are living without health insurance. As employment statistics continue to waiver, the number of those without coverage appears to be on the rise.

While they may not be the first group to come to your mind when this topic comes up, television networks have most definitely taken notice of and honed in on this decline.

The rise of televised medical advice

Television shows that feature doctors addressing America are not a new phenomenon. Dr. Phil has been on the air assisting viewers with their psychological complexities for the past 10 years. Dr. Mehmet Oz was a regular in our homes as a spot on the Oprah show for five years before venturing out on his own path in 2009. The newest addition to the daytime advice column is ‘The Doctors.’ This set includes four physicians featured as experts in their particular fields who are there to address any and all audience and viewer questions and concerns.

It seems they’ve always been around, but only recently has the fan based surrounding these medical advice shows risen to a new level of intensity. Major morning shows such as Today and Good Morning America have jumped on the bandwagon and now regularly host dietary and health experts to address viewer concerns. Viewer numbers are steady and rising as people flock to these shows and the networks happily provide. So why the increased demand for televised medical advice?

Free health advice

While there are many possible reasons, one could potentially be the correlation between the dispensing of free medical advice in a time where so many are struggling for health coverage. Low income families that can’t afford premiums need only tune in during the week for help they would otherwise be opening their wallets for.

Personal medical relationships

While these shows would definitely benefit those who don’t have the time or income to handle health insurance; there is an interactive aspect to these programs that also appeals to mass audiences. Beyond just tuning in at a certain time and day Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and The Doctors provide websites with “personalized” features.

Audience members have the option of contributing to blogs, submitting questions directly to the host or participating in health challenges with other viewers. It’s very possible that this sort of platform creates a feeling of ‘personalized’ care that people feel they are lacking when they visit their own physicians. Where many people feel like nothing more than a number at the doctor’s office; they are provided an avenue for direct access to a physician 24/7 through medical show websites.

Flexibility and up-to-date information

While making an appointment with a doctor usually necessitates scheduling in advance, these medical advice shows provide the American people with new information on a daily basis and consistently promise new, cutting-edge information. There is no waiting around because viewers know exactly when to expect updates—network time slots are set in stone. There is an overriding sense of immediate satisfaction in this system. It ultimately corresponds well to a society that has come to expect instant access to information with the explosion of mobile and digital media on the market.

The audience

There is never a lack of concerns being addressed on these shows, so who exactly is watching diligently enough to ask the questions that keep the show on air? As stated above, it could be assumed that because these shows dispense so much advice, lower income families without health coverage might be the primary beneficiaries. However, it’s important to step back and ask ourselves if this is even possible.

Members of low income families are most likely either working multiple jobs to handle bills, or possibly working towards moving out of unemployment. In cases like these, would these individuals realistically have the time or finances to stop what they are doing in the middle of the day and attentively watch medical experts hand out advice? While television shows like these would benefit low-income families, they may be more suited for middle-class America given their daytime viewing hours. As a side note, in order to participate in online discussion forums the shows provide, an individual or family would have to have access to the appropriate technology and communication sources. This is not something that is financially feasible for every single American household.

Trends and Fads

While medical advice shows definitely have the upper hand over office physicians in being able to visit “patients” in their homes daily, it’s important to look at the quality of information being provided. Those who love Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and similar programs will say that they are not only interesting shows, they are modern and informative. The other side of the argument is that these shows are profiting on trends, fads and mass hysteria. With concerns over obesity, food-born- illnesses and other diseases on the rise, many are tuning into these programs looking for answers and leaving with more concerns than before. It seems logical that in order to pull viewers in, a network would need to provide something worth worry about in order to provide necessary answers. If this is true, do these shows really provide helpful public health information, or are they simply playing on audience fears to increase ratings?

What happens to your actual physician?

Where TV provides information in the comfort and convenience of the publics’ own home, there is always going to be something to be said about meeting one on one with your degree certified physician in an office. The risk that is often presented when it comes to medical programming occurs when individuals forfeit trips to the doctor for serious conditions and rely solely upon Dr. Television. When weighing the benefits of receiving televised advice over personal medical attention, do the conveniences outweigh the risk?

Possibilities on the Horizon—your turn to weigh in

Modern medical advice shows are gaining momentum on multiple networks and all signs point to the possibility that they are here to stay. In the wake of their growing influence, do you think that these shows have the ability to benefit those who don’t have health insurance in a tough economy; or are they simply pawns to the networks looking for a pay day at the expense of public fear?

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Helping Hands in Health Care http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/helping-hands-in-health-care-9779/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/helping-hands-in-health-care-9779/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2012 09:28:17 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=9779 Health care initiatives for those in need? While it may seem overly simplistic, one of the basic needs of every human being is the capacity to heal from sickness. So […]

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Health care initiatives for those in need?

While it may seem overly simplistic, one of the basic needs of every human being is the capacity to heal from sickness. So what is a person to do when they fall ill and they can’t afford simple treatment? This is the question that a significant percentage of the population is dealing with in 2012. Unemployment remains unsettlingly high and as a result, many Americans find themselves in the difficult situation of not being able to afford healthcare for themselves or their families.

While the welfare system has been set up to accommodate low-income families, not everybody qualifies. Some applicants for federal aid either surpass the qualifying income guidelines by pennies, while others still cannot provide enough financial history to be considered eligible at all.

Health care options

For individuals and families that find themselves in healthcare limbo, many communities offer helpful resources. For those that do not qualifying for federal help and cannot afford independent health coverage, there are facilities and programs that offer several options.

Free clinics and state-funded health centers are a major part of most communities. While they are accessible, there is undeniably a stigma that surrounds such outreach projects. There is a sense that while these facilities offer free or affordable care, they may not offer the best quality. The assumption is at times that low income families do not deserve the same quality of health care as those that can afford personal insurance.

There is also a tendency for these clinics and programs to be under-promoted. Where a major health care center would have the funds for marketing and advertising teams, smaller free clinics depend on their funds, donations and volunteers to stay afloat. Unfortunately, this means that families who could benefit from their services may not even be aware they exist in the first place.

A new type of care

So how do we break this cycle of belief that those who can’t afford great health care don’t deserve it? The answer may lie in several new initiatives. Instead of creating facilities that aim to just hand-out health care, several new organizations are immerging that are built on the belief that effective healthcare is that which helps a person physically and in terms of their quality of life as well.

These programs thrive by giving low income families the chance to not only receive quality health care, but continue making an effort to move out of poverty.

Economic problems are hardly ever single-pronged issues. It’s not a stretch to say that when a family finds themselves in the position of not being able to financially sustain themselves, several factors have led to them ending up in that position. In a similar vein, health care is not a simple one-time fix. It is a service that a family will need to have access to over an extended period of time for several different reasons. Program coordinators, volunteers and charitable patrons have recognized this and are stepping up to the plate in an effort to find sustainable solutions within the field of healthcare.

Parker Family Health Care Center

Supported by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and located in Red Bank, New Jersey; the Parker Family Health Care Center is a free health care facility that runs entirely on volunteer services. They opened their doors in 2000, and to date, serve upwards of 8,600 patients made up of adults and children alike.

While the services they provide are free of charge, the facility demands a high level of dignity, confidentiality and professionalism by setting strict requirements and lofty goals.

The center aims to help those who are in the process of learning to help themselves. This being said, all patients must provide proof that they are residents of Monmouth County and be willing to participate in continuing health education. Eligibility is based on the 2011 Federal Poverty levels and families are only eligible for services if their income is under 300% of that level. In addition, families cannot be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid if they are going to receive services.

The center survives on the goodwill of hundreds of volunteers as well as generous donations. Physicians from multiple specialties donate their time and services daily for the good of those in need. The Parker Family Health Center uses 91 cents of every dollar donated towards patient health care, and do not receive government funding of any sort. While promoting dignified independence for their patients, this system runs itself on the same values.

Boston Health Care for the Homeless

Sometimes it takes more than just a single facility to reach those who need help. At Boston Health care for the homeless, volunteers, physicians and staff have made an enormous and integrated effort to reach those who can’t afford help. Under the umbrella of Boston Health Care, this organization reaches out to those in need through several different teams. These teams currently consist of a family team, HIV team, street team, shelter team, primary care physicians, respite care professionals and behavioral health team members.

The idea behind specialized services for low-income families and the homeless is allowing vulnerable patients to receive care with dignity and also lend a hand to other organizations that are working on quality life-improvement issues.
When Boston Health Care for the Homeless physicians and volunteers take the time to visit patients on-site at homeless shelters, those shelters are able to better focus on the task of rehabilitation and overall costs can be cut. In this way, a model of integrated, free health care can benefit the suffering and those who are working to improve their quality of life.

Ways to contribute

While many organizations are taking dramatic steps towards creating new, sustainable and affordable health care for those who need it most, they cannot do it alone. For those who wish to contribute to affordable and dignified health care opportunities there are always ways to give. Each facility mentioned above offers opportunities for individuals to either donate funds online, or volunteer their time. With the demand for health care soaring in the wake of economic struggle, each and every offer of assistance is valuable and appreciated.

Do you know of any unique efforts being made by free health care facilities to offer help in more effective ways? If you do, let us know!

 

 

References:
www.parkerfamilyhealthcenter.org
www.jonbonjovisoulfoundation.org

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Breakfast And Lunch Programs 101 http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/breakfast-and-lunch-programs-101-9772/ http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-news/breakfast-and-lunch-programs-101-9772/#respond Sun, 14 Oct 2012 18:42:24 +0000 http://www.foodpyramid.com/?p=9772 Where education meets hunger Feeding America, the United State’s largest hunger-relief charity, released findings indicating that approximately 28.8 million Americans lived in homes that were not sufficiently fed in 2010. […]

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Where education meets hunger

Feeding America, the United State’s largest hunger-relief charity, released findings indicating that approximately 28.8 million Americans lived in homes that were not sufficiently fed in 2010. These are considered by some to be astonishing statistics given that we live in a developed country where opportunity is reported to be amongst the best in the world. Unfortunately these statistics don’t apply to only self-sufficient adults. Within many of these households are children who are suffering the consequences of poverty alongside their parents. In fact, the organization estimates that 16.2 million children in the United States are living in food-insecure families.

While hunger is a burden in and of itself, these children face the added pressure of not only attending, but keeping up with other children their age in the classroom. Imagine how much more difficult it would be to focus on learning with an empty stomach. Not only is there a physical barrier separating these children from others, but social stigma plays a giant role as well.

While younger children may not understand the implications yet, older elementary children certainly feel a sense of shame when they cannot afford the food that other children can at lunchtime. It is an unjust consequence of living at or below the poverty line, and one that many organizations are stepping in to eliminate for children.

Providing equal opportunities

So how do we go about providing for those children who cannot afford the same nutritional luxuries that others can? In response to the growing number of children who need daily provisions, the government established The National School Lunch Program. This is a federal program that works with each individual state and their respective organizations to establish a standard in school lunch programs. It is an attempt to provide necessary equality with dignity. Participating low-income children are guaranteed a daily meal that will keep them up to speed with those around them and provide for their nutritional needs.

According to the official government count, the program now operates in more than 101,000 public and private schools as well as residential childcare facilities across the nation. According to the most recent statistics, the program provided low-cost or free nutritionally balanced lunches to over 31 million school children each day in 2010.

How does it work?

When schools and organizations across the country work in cooperation with The National School Lunch Program, they are provided with cash subsidies for every meal they serve. Under the terms of the program they are required to serve USDA approved foods. While the program was set up with low-income families in mind, it is not an exclusive endeavor.
Any child that attends school is welcome to a meal, however, children from families that live at or below 130% the poverty level, are able to obtain free meals. Other lunches are provided at a drastically reduced cost.
After school snacks are also a perk within the program. Within the stipulations of this benefit, participating schools can offer reduced cost snacks when the last bell rings. If the percentage of low-income students is significant enough, they may even be able to offer free snacks.

Are all lunches created equal?

The initial program was launched with an overwhelming urgency to feed hungry school children and provide those meals with a sense of dignity. As childhood obesity in America has noticeably increased over the past several years, the focus on these school lunch programs has shifted. There is a new demand for not only providing low-cost or free school lunches, but providing fresh and nutritious meals daily as well.

Americans are starting to recognize just how far-reaching the issue of low-income family hunger can be. It is easy to assume that those who need to be looked after the most vigilantly are elementary-age children who do not know how to care for themselves. While this is true, it does not take into consideration high school students who may be living in equally difficult home situations.

Answering the call

To address the concerns of childhood obesity and age gaps within school-age benefit programs, significant change have been and are continuing to be made. The National School Lunch Program altered its requirements to include children up through the age of 18. This opens up the benefits of basic daily meals and snacks to older students who may be silently suffering as well.
As recently as January of 2012, Michelle Obama announced her intention to make school lunch programs one of her primary focuses in an attempt to fight childhood obesity. Some of the new requirements enforce

  • Increased offerings of whole grain-rich foods
  • Mandatory fruits and vegetable weekly
  • Fat- free or low- fat milk offerings
  • Calorie counts that vary by age.

What about breakfast?

Often considered the most important meal of the day, those same children that aren’t getting lunch are most likely skipping their morning meal as well. That being said, there are several state-sponsored programs that offer a variety of before-school breakfast programs low-income children can attend.

One useful resource schools and child care facilities can utilize is The Lunch Box program. A non-profit organization founded by Ann Cooper, The Lunch Box offers many resources and tools to ensure that all children are provided with healthy and nutritious meals at school. One area the organization promotes is the growth of breakfast programs. Through The Lunch Box, educational facilities are able to apply for grants that would allow them to open before-school breakfast programs.

While there are questions at many school board meetings about whether or not teachers should be required to provide breakfast in addition to academic instruction; the organization runs on the belief that every child deserves a morning meal. Participation varies depending on state regulations, but The Lunch Box actively accepts applications and is in the business of helping schools get programs up and running. In light of these new changes and promotion of before-school programs, do you think the emphasis on healthy and accessible meals in schools will make a difference in the long-run?

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