Improving New York Health: Reducing Sodium in our Diets

saltOne of the biggest impediments to improving New York health is the amount of sodium New Yorkers have in their diet. The problem is not just individuals, but food companies. And there is a lot that the market can do to substantially improve the potential of New Yorkers health by reducing sodium input into their foods.

Reducing sodium has huge health benefits. Knocks down the likelihood of high blood pressure, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks and the like. In addition, in a recent New York Times article, Thomas A. Farley pointed out that in America today, “according to best estimates, excess sodium is killing between 40,000 and 90,000 people and running up to $20 billion in medical costs a year.” So along with the improvement in New York health, reducing sodium would also indirectly result in an enhancement of the city’s finances – and indeed throughout the nation.

It can be done. Apparently sodium levels in fast food can vary a huge amount. For example, one slice of pizza can have anywhere between 370 and 730 milligrams – that’s a wide range. It’s just a case of getting food manufacturers on board. This is the first step. Once there is a reduction in the amount of salt in people’s food, individuals’ desire for the salt also drops.

This is not a new issue for New Yorkers or any Americans. But the question becomes quite political when one asks how much should the state be involved? Do we want a situation in which the Mayor for example, is determining our soda input?

Still, New York City is doing relatively well vis-à-vis the salt reduction campaign. Since 2010, its health department has been working via the National Salt Reduction Initiative (a conglomeration of 90+ health departments and organizations) to try to encourage food companies to cut sodium of their own will, based on what the UK has been doing over the last few years. Today, 21 companies (including Kraft) have joined in, by adding less sodium in basic products such as canned beans. So it’s starting.

If there is a move to seriously reduce sodium in processed foods in America, hopefully this will have a direct impact on enhanced health throughout the nation, bringing long-term benefits to those at greatest risk of hypertension, etc.

Mysterious Illness Continues to Plague NY Teens

The mysterious illness, which includes a tic, twitching, fainting spells and verbal outbursts, has now spread to affect 14 girls and one boy from Le Roy NY High School. Environmentalist Erin Brockovich has now launched her own investigation.


New York Organization Provides Answers on Health Care Reforms

As questions regarding health care reform abound, the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, based in New York, is offering answers.

Bombarded with questions on a daily basis, the organization has launched a campaign aimed at educating and proving the public with helpful information on the topic.

Representing hospitals throughout Long Island, the council’s campaign will be using their website as well as various social media veins, said Wendy Darwell, a member of the organization.

She continued, stating that the campaign aims to help patients make informed health care decisions based on their individual situations under the Affordable Health Care Act.

A council spokesperson added that the council has no intention of commenting on the political aspects of the reform, and hopes merely to help people adjust to the new policies and procedures.

Mysterious Medical Disorders Affects 12 High School Girls

Twelve teens from Le Roy Junior Senior High School in upstate New York have been experiencing an unusual, rather mysterious medical condition. The female students’ symptoms include stuttering, verbal outbursts and uncontrollable twitching movements, which health officials say are consistent with “conversion disorder.”

A pediatric neurologist Dr. Jennifer McVige is working with a number of the affected students at the DENT Neurologic Institute. She explained: “Conversion disorder is a physical manifestation of physiological symptoms where there is traditionally some kind of stress or multiple stressors that provoke a physical reaction within the body.” McVige was careful to stress that the symptoms, however, are real. “This is unconscious. It is not done purposefully.”

Officials have confirmed that the school conducted mold and air quality tests, but have yet to find an environmental cause for the strange illness. The school’s website broadcasted a statement, saying: “The medical and environmental investigations have not uncovered any evidence that would link the neurological symptoms to anything in the environment or of an infectious nature.”

The case is still being investigated, as is the medical condition.

New York City Baby’s Life Expectancy: Mayor Michael Bloomberg

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the life expectancy of a New York City baby born in 2009 has increased to 80.6 years. In 2000, the expectancy was 77.6, and today’s national rate is 78.2 years.

Mayor Bloomberg publicized the figures in a statement alongside Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. During his statement, the mayor also cited New York’s health interventions, which include anti-smoking campaigns and strengthened testing and treatment for HIV.

He added that the life expectancy for New Yorkers in their forties has increased by two and a half years, to age 82, between years 2000 and 2009.

Child Obesity Rates Fall in NYC

The obesity rate in schools throughout New York has fallen 5.5% over the past five years, thanks to the city-instituted programs to encourage healthy eating habits and physical activity.

According to a study, the percentage of obese children from kindergarten through 8th grade dropped to 20.7% over this past school year. According to city officials, the drop is due to programs working to remove deep-fried foods and sugary drinks from cafeterias, adding low fat milk and salad bars to the menu, as well as to limit junk food-selling fundraisers.

“The tide of the obesity epidemic is beginning to ebb,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Thomas Farley. “We see this as validation that our public health efforts to address the obesity epidemic are beginning to work.”

Santa Project Party and Auction Supports United Cerebral Palsy of New York City

Last Wednesday, Bier International hosted the Santa Project Party & Auction in support of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. UCP of NYC is one of the most established non-profits in the US. It helps both children and adults with disabilities throughout the city, serving more than 14,000 individuals and family members.

UCP of NYC delivers programs and services all year round, and the proceeds from the Santa Project Party and Auction help to fund equipment requests, aid and even holiday gifts cards for children with disabilities in all of the non-profit’s programs.

The event’s silent auction featured numerous luxury goods and services up for bid, such as two nights at the SOHO Grand, several tickets to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, fashion items, gift certificates for NYC restaurants and electronics. The guest list included both professionals and celebrity guests including Mike Woods, Isiah Whitlock, Jose Salvador, Richie Rich, Brian Keane, Josh Folan and many others.


New York’s New Medicaid Care System

New York is now working to alter the care system for nearly 1 million people on Medicaid through the federal health care reform called Health Homes.

According to the reform, patient care focuses on the case itself, and organized through a network which will include hospitals, mental health organizations, health plans, community-based institutions, addiction disorder providers and health centers.A care manager will be elected to manage these numerous services.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it was no small feat for his staff to organize such a program in such little time. Agencies throughout the state have pooled resources to provide information and eduction to the public, as well as to health home applicants.

New York Health Comissioner Dr. Thomas Farley Launches Ad Campaign

According to the New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, a new ad campaign will be hitting the streets of the Big Apple within the month. The ad aims to expose people to the dangers of drinking soda and other sugary drinks on a regular basis. Drinking one soda every day is like consuming a fifty pound bag of sugar annually. Drinks such as these can lead to diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, arthritis and even some forms of cancer.

According to Farley, sugary drinks are the most common source of added sugar to a child’s diet, increasing the obesity risk dramatically with each serving. The New York ad campaign will include a YouTube video showing how far a person would need to walk to burn off the calories from a single drink, as well as bilingual posters which will strengthen the message.

Middle-Aged Women and Moderate Exercise

Women across the globe, and especially in the Big Apple, have been hearing about the physical and emotional benefits of exercise non-stop, and many attempt to incorporate a fitness regime into their schedules. Why, then, is it so hard to stay committed?

According to a new study, middle-aged women are more likely to stick with an exercise routine at a moderate intensity, as opposed to those who push their limits.

255 women between the ages 40 and 60 were recruited for research. The women were told to do either moderate or vigorous exercise for a limited amount of time, during which volunteers monitored their reactions. Women who participated in moderate exercise were twice as energized and confident that they’d be able to exercise in the future. In comparison, the women who had undergone intense exercise were more anxious and depressed as a result of their work outs.

“Exercise makes you feel better, but it is going to be more pleasant when performed at moderate intensity as compared to vigorous, especially when you have been previously inactive or may be overweight,” explained Dr. Steriani Elavsky of Penn State University. She continued, stating that it is important for women to monitor their intensity levels.

Some moderate-intensity exercises include brisk walking, ballroom or line dancing, biking, canoeing, general gardening, baseball, softball, volleyball and water aerobics. Recommended activities are those that would “allow you to talk in short sentences while doing them, but would not allow you to sing,” said Elavsky.

She added, “The effects we observed were large and moderate intensity is sufficient, in fact, it is optimal. We also hope that clinicians will realize the importance of considering the proper exercise intensity when making recommendations about exercise. Moderate intensity exercise should be recommended for patients who are not meeting physical activity guidelines, or those who may be decondition, overweight or obese.”