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Health News

New York City Bans Extra-Large Pop

Last fall, New York City banned the sale of extra-large servings of pop and other sugary drinks in restaurants and movie theatres.

They did it to help fight the problem of obesity in the city.

The ban, which is set to begin on March 12, 2013, was proposed by New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and approved by the New York City Board of Health in September 2012.

Under the new rule, businesses that have food-service licences – such as restaurants, theatres, delis, fast-food places, hot dog stands and sports stadiums – would not be allowed to sell pop in containers larger than 16 ounces.

People would still be able to buy supersized drinks at convenience stores, vending machines and some newsstands.

Proposed food label from OMA
Health News

Ontario Doctors Call For Strong Action To Help Children Maintain A Healthy Weight

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) wants the government to put higher taxes on junk food.

Doctors say that higher costs would make it harder for children to buy junk food.

They also want high fat and sugary foods that have little nutritional value, to have more information and even warnings on the packaging.

And they want less junk food advertising, especially targeting children.

These are just three strong actions doctors say will help children eat less junk food, keep their weight at a healthy level and live a longer life.

The Ontario Medical Association said that over the years strong actions like extra taxes and scary pictures on cigarette packages have helped to reduce smoking from 50 per cent, in the 1960s, to as low as 20 per cent in Canada today.

Doctors say this kind of action can help in the same way with junk food.

Medicine
Health News

Pharmacists In Ontario To Have An Increased Role

When you’re sick, you go to the doctor.

She may give you a prescription for some medicine—for example, eye drops.

If you live in Ontario, you’d then go to a drug store and give that prescription to the pharmacist, who would “fill your prescription” – in other words, make up the eye drops and sell them to you.

As it is now, if you run out of your prescription eye drops and need more you would likely have to go back to your doctor to get another prescription.

This week the Ontario government announced a new plan that gives the pharmacist an expanded role in healthcare.

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Health News

McDonald’s Posting Calorie Counts In U.S. Restaurants

A typical, active kid should probably eat about 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day to stay healthy. (The exact number depends on a person’s gender, age and daily exercise level.)

But let’s say, 1,900.

Now let’s say that kid decides to buy her lunch at McDonald’s; maybe have a Big Mac and large fries.

Starting this week in the U.S., McDonald’s restaurants will show the calorie counts of each of their menu items—right up on the big menu board at the front of the restaurant.

Underpass Park
Health Kids News

Gloomy Underpass Transformed Into Awesome Kids’ Park

An “underpass” is a road or a tunnel that goes beneath another road. Toronto has some dark and gloomy underpasses.

Dark and gloomy, that is, until this summer.

That’s when an organization called Waterfront Toronto built something incredible.

Where there used to be garbage and weeds, there is now a fun playground with a safe, rubbery floor, a skateboard and scooter park and a basketball court.

There are also swings, climbers, a teeter-totter and benches for people to relax on.

Underpass Park covers 2.5 acres underneath three on- and off-ramps that lead to the DVP in East Toronto.

Before the park was built, Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford said he wasn’t sure the space could be transformed.

But when he came to open the park on Aug. 2, he loved it.

Mike Holmes
Health Kids News

Mike Holmes To Help Rebuild High Park Children’s Castle

The people who are rebuilding the High Park castle are getting some high-profile help.

Mike Holmes is a celebrity contractor. A contractor is someone who is skilled at the kinds of jobs needed to build or renovate homes. Contractors hire and oversee all of the work—for instance, electrical, plumbing, carpentry and design work.

Holmes became famous for his motto, “make it right.” On his TV show, he rescues homeowners from renovations that have gone wrong and he brings in workers who fix the house properly and “make it right.”

Holmes also does a lot of charity work. On one of his TV shows, he helps people in New Orleans whose houses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Now he’s lending a hand to help rebuild the children’s play castle in the High Park neighbourhood of Toronto, Ont. Much of the wooden structure was destroyed by a fire last March.

Nutella
Health Kids News

Nutella Is Not A Health Food

The company that makes Nutella, a spread made from chocolate and hazelnuts, has agreed to give refunds to people who bought the product because they thought it was good for them.

Four women in the United States sued the company, Ferrero U.S.A., Inc., because they said it made misleading claims about the product. Television commercials for Nutella describe it as part of a balanced breakfast, along with toast, milk and fruit.

The women said they bought Nutella because they believed it was a healthy food to give their families. Then they found out that the spread contains large amounts of sugar and fat. Eating too much fat and sugar can contribute to obesity – being overweight — which is not good for your health.

Health News

Raising Awareness About Prader-Willi Syndrome

Dante’s dad wants people to know about Prader-Willi Syndrome.

People with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) feel hungry all the time. That’s hard for most of us to imagine. We’re used to eating a meal and then feeling full for about two hours.

But kids with Prader-Willi don’t feel full. After they’ve eaten, they want to eat again. But of course if they do that, they’ll eat too much—not just three meals a day. That can lead to obesity—being overweight—which can lead to health problems.

Dante, who is now seven-and-a-half, was born with PWS. His dad, Keegan Johnson, wants to make people aware of the condition in order to raise money for research and, eventually, a cure.

The Gairdner Award
Health News Science

Canadian Awards Predict Nobel Prize Winners

The Gairdner Foundation recently announced the winners of its 2012 awards.

The Canada Gairdner Awards are given to people who have made a new scientific discovery to combat disease or ease human suffering. It is one of the most important medical awards in the world.

As the Gairdner website puts it, “we’re dedicated to recognizing the world’s most creative and accomplished biomedical scientists.” Biomedical scientists work in medicine and biology (the study of living organisms).

The late James A. Gairdner established the Gairdner Foundation in 1957. Since then, 300 awards have been given. Seventy-three of those award winners have gone on to win a Nobel Prize in either medicine or chemistry.

The awards are selected by Canadians, but they are given to scientists throughout the world.

This year’s seven award winners include three people who broke through mysteries of the human circadian clock, the internal mechanism that controls our sleep and wakefulness, body temperature, and many other functions.

chocolate; image: Nieuw, Wikimedia Commons
Health Lighter News Science

Chocolate May Be Good For Your Heart

Chocolate – eaten in moderation – may actually be good for you, according to a new study.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that people who ate small amounts of dark chocolate instead of other high-fat treats, had slight improvements in the health of their heart.

For some participants, their blood pressure came down slightly. Some people had lower insulin levels.

The researchers, at the Norwich Medical School in the UK, studied more than 1,000 people. They asked people to eat chocolate (or not eat chocolate) and then they monitored them to check for changes in their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a type of waxy fat; too much of it can cause damage to the heart.