Fast Food Getting Even More Unhealthy

Watch what you eat. Especially fast food.

Last month, we asked: Is U.S. Food Safe? Today, we note fast food getting even more unhealthy. That’s somewhat hard to grasp because: (1) Fast food has always been high in calories and less-than-optimal ingredients. (2) There has been such a push in recent years for healthier food. (3) There are many critics of fast food.

New Research Shows Fast Food Getting Even More Unhealthy

Amazingly, Niall McCarthy reports for Statista that:

“Across the United States, 93.3 million people were obese in 2015-2016. While 36.6 percent of the country’s adults consumed fast food on a given day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has now found that the size of calorie account of fast food has been increasing steadily since the mid-1980s.”

 
“The researchers studied 1,787 mains, sides, and desserts at 10 popular fast food chains from 1986 to 2016. The restaurants involved were Arby’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, Jack in the Box, KFC, Long John Silver’s, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s.”

Check out the study highlights in the following Statista infographic.

Fast Food Getting Even More Unhealthy

 

Social Interactions and Our Health

How others affect our health

Jo Bibby, reporting for the UK’s Our Health, asked “How do our family, friends and community influence our health?”

“Going beyond the simple premise that human interactions are good for us and necessary to our wellbeing, this infographic shows how these relationships provide the foundations necessary for a healthy life.”

* “Feeling supported by others – and how this makes us feel about ourselves, our sense of agency and what we believe is possible – is evidently essential for our wellbeing. And it isn’t simply about having people who care for us. Just as important for our self-esteem is our own opportunity to care for and support others.”

* “Beyond our immediate relationships, our connections within and across the communities we are part of – where we live, where we learn, where we work – are all critical to feeling included and valued. Studies have shown that feelings of belonging and trust in others were the strongest predictor of mental wellbeing after controlling for physical health problems.

* “Acting on these feelings of inclusion – coming together with others in our communities to volunteer or participate in collective activities – enhances our sense of purpose and shared identity. It also improves our coping ability during times of stress.”

* “From community participation comes community empowerment. A flourishing society requires people to feel a sense of control and collective voice that can enable them to influence positive change. Community empowerment is increasingly being shown to be a route to addressing health inequalities.”

Social Interactions and Our Health
 

Giving Back to Whom?

Picking the best nonprofits!

If you want to do volunteer work or donate money, how do you determine which organizations are excellent? And which should we avoid?

One objective source for information on nonprofits is Charity Navigator:

“Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of nonprofit financial documents. We’ve used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America’s best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.”

“Specifically, Charity Navigator’s rating system examines two broad areas of a charity’s performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency. Our ratings show givers how efficiently we believe a charity will use their support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time and their level of commitment to good governance, best practices and openness with information.”

Here is an example of a Charity Navigator review, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Click the chart to see the full rating of Lustgarten.

Giving Back to Whom?

 

Is U.S. Food Safe?

Be sure to visit FoodSafety.gov

Over the years, there have been many food recalls in the United States. Click the image to see recent U.S. food recalls and to access the links on the Web site. Then, read below.

Is U.S. Food Safe?

Is U.S. Food Safe?

Consider the infographic below. And read the comments from Niall McCarthy, writing for Statista:

“In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. It was supposed to regulate how foods are grown, harvested, and processed. Furthermore, it gave the FDA mandatory recall authority, something it had been trying to get for years. Despite passing that law, the U.S. is still experiencing hundreds of food recalls every year, many of which are extremely serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans contracts a foodborne illness every year.” 

“The volume of food recalls can provide an insight into food safety standards in different countries. A recent analysis by U.S. PIRG shows that the total number of recalls in the U.S. fell between 2017 and 2018. Even though that might seem like good news, the long term trends are far less positive. Recalls of meat and poultry rose 66 percent between 2013 and 2018. In an even more troubling development, the most hazardous Class I recalls of meat and poultry are up 83 percent since 2013. Class I refers to food that presents serious health risks such as containing botulinal toxins or undeclared allergens.” 

Is U.S. Food Safe?
 

Insights on Health Literacy

It’s essential to become more health literate.

In the United States, how much do people know and understand about various health issues? For many, the answer is unfortunately not much.

Consider a few of the highlights from the report “America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information.” Click the image to access the full report.

Insights on Health Literacy

In general:

“Health literacy — the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions — is essential to promote healthy people and communities. Health care institutions and public health systems play a critical role in health literacy, because they can make it easier or more difficult for people to find and use health information and services. For the first time, there are national data that demonstrate currently available health information is too difficult for average Americans to use to make health decisions.”

“Limited health literacy isn’t a disease that makes itself easily visible. In fact, you can’t tell by looking. Health literacy depends on the context. Even people with strong literacy skills can face health literacy challenges, such as when: They are not familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work. People have to interpret numbers or risks to make a health care decision. They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared or confused. They have complex conditions that require complicated self-care.”

Key findings and policy implications of the first-ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) findings include:

Only 12 percent of U.S. adults had proficient health literacy“Over a third of U.S. adults — 77 million people — have difficulty with common health tasks, such as following directions on a prescription drug label or adhering to a childhood immunization schedule using a standard chart.”

“Limited health literacy affects adults in all racial and ethnic groups. The proportion of adults with basic or below basic health literacy ranges from 28 percent of white adults to 65 percent of Hispanic adults.”

“Although half of adults without a high school education had below basic health literacy skills, even high school and college graduates can have limited health literacy.

Compared to privately insured adults, both publicly insured and uninsured adults had lower health literacy skills.”

All adults, regardless of their health literacy skills, were more likely to get health information from radio/television, friends/family, and health professionals than from print media.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

Here are two weather-related infographics.

The current cold wave can have a dramatic effect on our health. PLEASE be smart. And best wishes to those dealing with sub-zero temperatures today.

In this post, we present two infographics: one for handling the current cold wave and the other for being prepared for a future cold weather event.

From BabaMail: “As the cold weather begins to set in, our bodies must prepare themselves for the harsh winter ahead. Here are a few of the reasons that we are more prone to illness during the colder months, and tips on how to protect our bodies in lieu of these changes. Read on to find out how to keep your immune system strong against the winter chill.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

From VNA Health Group: “Every year, winter weather takes its toll on our homes, puts people’s lives at risk, and causes delays in travel. Getting ready for winter will ensure that you’re one step ahead of Old Man Winter’s fury. Prepare yourself and your loved ones by sharing these winter safety tips with your friends and family.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold