It’s World Blood Donor Day

Someone needs blood every 2 seconds.

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On average, 6.8M people in the U.S. donate blood each year. 38% are eligible, but less than 10% donate.

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One in 7 people entering a hospital needs blood.  One day, that may be you.

Your donation can save up to 3 lives.

Every year, on 14 June, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD). The event serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

 

Q: Why should I donate blood?

A: Safe blood saves lives and improves health.

Q: Who benefits from my blood donation(s)?

Blood transfusion is needed for:

women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and haemorrhage before, during or after childbirth;

children with severe anaemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition;

people with severe trauma following man-made and natural disasters;

and many complex medical and surgical procedures and concern patients.

It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease and is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with haemophilia.

Q: Why do I need to donate again if I already did?

There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.

Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.

Q: How often can I donate?  

Every 3 months.

Q: What can I do to help?

What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give often.

Blood is an important resource, both for planned treatments and urgent interventions. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.

Blood is also vital for treating the wounded during emergencies of all kinds (natural disasters, accidents, armed con icts, etc.) and has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and perinatal care.

A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products in suf cient quantity is a key component of an effective health system.

Ensuring safe and sufficient blood supplies requires the development of a nationally coordinated blood transfusion service based on voluntary non-remunerated blood donations. However, in many countries, blood services face the challenge of making suf cient blood available, while also ensuring its quality and safety.

The lives and health of millions of people are affected by emergencies every year.

In the last decade, disasters have caused more than 1 million deaths, with more than 250 million people being affected by emergencies every year.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, oods and storms create considerable needs for emergency health care, while at the same time, often destroying vital health facilities as well. Man-made disasters such as road accidents and armed con icts also generate substantial health care demands and the need for front-line treatment.

Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency health care.

Emergencies increase the demand for blood transfusion and make its delivery challenging and complex.

Adequate supply of blood during emergencies requires a well- organized blood service, and this can only be ensured by engaging the entire community and a blood donor population committed to voluntary unpaid blood donation throughout the year.

Every single person can play in helping others in emergency situations, by giving the valuable gift of blood.

It is important to give blood regularly, so that the blood stock is sufficient before an emergency arises. The World Health Organization’s goal is to:

  •  encourage all people to strengthen the emergency preparedness of health services in their community by donating blood;
  •    engage authorities in the establishment of effective national blood donor programmes with the capacity to respond promptly to the increase in blood demand during emergencies;
  •    promote the inclusion of blood transfusion services in national emergency preparedness and response activities;
  •   build wider public awareness of the need for committed, year-round blood donation, in order to maintain adequate supplies and achieve a national self-sufficiency of blood;
  • celebrate and thank individuals who donate blood regularly and to encourage young people to become new donors as well;
  •    promote international collaboration and to ensure worldwide dissemination of and consensus on the principles of voluntary non-remunerated donation, while increasing blood safety and availability.
  • The host country for the global event of World Blood Donor Day 2017 is Viet Nam through its National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT).
  • The Global event will be held in Hanoi on 14 June 2017
  • More visit: http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2017/en/

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Take a break today. Give blood. It only takes 15 minutes.

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Obesity or Greed Epidemic? by Maria Dorfner

It’s 2021 and this blog I wrote before blogs were even a thing back in 2005 still rings true. The question is where has all the funding to cure “The Obesity Epidemic” gone? Is anyone even keeping track of it. If one thing makes people MORE susceptible to poor outcomes from Covid or any other virus –it’s obesity.

Obesity isn’t about your size. It’s about body composition. Even thin people can have unhealthy fat surrounding their organs. Take your heart. Cardiovascular Disease ranks up there as the #1 killer of Americans.  What contributes to Cardiovascular Disease? Obesity.

The #1 Predictor of Your Health and Longevity is what you eat. Why haven’t Public Health Experts focused on this at the START of the Pandemic, when they had the undivided attention of people stuck at home WANTING to know what they could do to improve their overall health?

It’s been over a year from “15 days” and the ONLY MESSAGE to MILLIONS OF PEOPLE is wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds AND most importantly, get a vaccine.

It’s because they profit when you are obese and then chronically sick as a result. They will use Media to advertise all that fast food to you and serve it to you cheap.  If they can get you obese sooner –in childhood –well then they ill have a customer for their sick care sooner.

Have you ever seen what foods are served in food pantries to the most vulnerable? Highly processed foods with high sodium, junk food, sugar and sweets.  Have you ever looked inside a vending machine inside a Hospital Waiting Room?

Filled with soda and junk food.  It’s as if they don’t read the “health” studies OR are the studies really done to find out how to make people sick and then do THAT? Taxpayers shouldn’t be funding studies used to harm them instead of help them prevent and avoid illness.

None of what has been done by health experts and government officials since the pandemic began address underlying conditions, which are truly at the heart of poor health outcomes. If the virus and all its variants aren’t going away –public health experts need to be focused on educating millions of people about what they CAN do to improve their health.

PREVENTION isn’t covered by Health Insurance, which needs to change.  Purchasing healthy foods, gym memberships or any other tool that improves your daily habits SHOULD indeed be covered to either prevent or reverse obesity, which would prevent or reverse CHRONIC ILLNESS.

Today, we have Health Insurance that covers TREATMENT of diseases AFTER you’re already sick.

Physicians who have caught on to this paradox are already beginning to refer to the Healthcare System as The Sickcare System.  Our healthcare workers aren’t immune from  stress, unhealthy eating habits, lack of time for exercise and  burnout.  In fact, almost half of them report burnout and wanting to quit.

That’s unacceptable today. If the world has learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that HEALTH comes FIRST and that your mental health is most definitely tied to your physical health.

I have been shouting that for decades. The money is there to solve these problems. It’s time reallocate these funds to real life solutions, instead of simply treating things after it’s too late.

The following is the original blog written in 2005. Obesity in children and adults has risen since then.
Consequently, the States with the highest deaths from Cardiovascular Disease are also seeing the worst outcomes from Covid during this time.

The real problem isn’t the unvaccinated. It’s their underlying conditions, which aren’t being addressed until they show up in the hospital. Then, it’s marked as a death from Covid.


Today, as some docs want to regulate toxic sugar I’m reminded of a blog I wrote on this day in 2005:

June 4, 2005 – Every day we are bombarded with media messages about the “obesity epidemic“.  The AP puts a new story on its wires and TV news writers end up rewriting the wire copy for broadcast, so the propaganda ends up in our living rooms.

Who is distributing the Press Release? What is their motive? What have they got to gain by scaring the public into believing we’ve all got one foot in the grave? Turns out, a lot of folks have a lot of money to gain.

In 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO), officially declared obesity a disease. You can’t declare something a disease unless it’s widespread and statistics back it up.

Recently, we have seen how the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) admitted inflating those numbers. The CDC was able to receive about $40 million dollars a year allocated towards obesity based on their previous numbers.

In 1993, a study by McGinnis & William Foege, M.D. published in JAMA estimated that the most prominent contributors to mortality in the U.S. were, in order, tobacco, diet and activity patterns, alcohol, microbial agents, toxic agents and firearms with “dietary patterns and sedentary lifestyle being the most common source of unnecessary death and disease among Americans“.

That was 19 years ago, yet we keep getting told the same information as if it’s new.

They want us to believe that obesity has surpassed tobacco deaths. Maybe the people who quit smoking started eating.  Although, the alarming number of deaths due to obesity that Foege quoted back then were the same wrong numbers derived from the CDC.

Obesity programs are funded primarily by the National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention. There’s that word “disease” again. The budget? $747,472,000.

Turns out, a lot of folks want to get their hands on that money under the guise of conducting “obesity research”. The Medicaid Obesity Treatment Act of ’01 required medicare prescription drug coverage to cover drugs medically necessary to cover obesity.

By declaring obesity a disease many unhealthy strategies for weight loss (stomach stapling, liposuction, diet pills, body wraps, herbal remedies, etc.) might become warranted. Doctors could justifiably use these treatments and feel confident that they are improving the client’s health simply by decreasing his or her weight.


Pharmaceutical companies would be able to market their quick fix pills and quacks could promote radical diets that promote fast weight loss. It must be emphasized that the effect of these treatments would only be temporary since they don’t address long-term behavior change, such as lifetime physical activity and improved dietary habits. In addition, even if weight loss is achieved and maintained there is no guarantee that it will be accompanied with health benefits.

It’s bureaucracy growing in inverse proportion to its effectiveness. It can justify more government taxing under the guise of “tax policy as a social engineering tool”. There are so many special interest groups that want us to buy into the obesity epidemic under their insatiable search for funding. When the truly obese do not respond to their efforts — then they go after the mainstream. More numbers enables them to justify their perpetual fundraising efforts.

The so-called obesity epidemic brings in revenue. In order for these organizations to keep the money rolling in they have to expand the nationwide guilt trip and falsify numbers. The motive is money. Plain and simple.

Foundations redirect their funding when a new disease pops up. Millions of dollars in grants have been awarded under the “obesity epidemic” war. There’s some obese person out there somewhere who seriously needs help and doesn’t have money, but that person probably never gets help.

If these foundations really want to help people, why not make the grant application open to the obese individuals instead of research institutions and organizations that keep getting grants merely to reinforce that a problem exists. That would cost less and help more.

Long-term diet and exercise modifications are the only effective lifestyle changes that affect obesity. It doesn’t take billions of dollars to make people aware of that. Yes, some people have a genetic predisposition towards obesity, but even they can make changes in their eating and activity level.

Stop lowering the threshold for who is considered obese, so that more and more people fall into a category so companies can sell more drugs to them. So far, adults, children, elderly and even newborn babies have been included in this ever-expanding “Greed” epidemic.

A lot of wallets expand along with waistlines, and consumers need to be wary of studies and research reports that keep reinforcing the same ol’, same ‘ol with a new twist. The new twist is usually a result of some people sitting in a room saying, “We have to figure out to get more money” from this.

How does telling you you’re fat get them more money? Because then you go to the doctor and ask for help. He recommends drugs or surgery. Fast food? The government puts another “sin tax” on it. What’s next? A “sin tax” for computers and televisions because after all, they do contribute to inactivity. Let’s not forget the lawyers who benefitted from tobacco settlements who would love to go after another big industry as well.

[by Maria Dorfner, NewsMD Communications, originally posted on a blog Saturday, June 04, 2005 @ 7:45 PM

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2012 UPDATE – 7 years later.  The headlines as predicted want to include MORE PEOPLE in this “epidemic”. More people. More money.   The headline should be:  Obe$ity Greed Epidemic Much Worse Than Americans Believe.

Study: American Obesity Epidemic Much Worse Than CDC Believes

The traditional measures of obesity are inadequate, according to a new report

April 2, 2012 RSS Feed Print

The American obesity epidemic might be much worse than many experts believe because of the limitations of the Body Mass Index, which is the most popular number used to diagnose the condition…

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Pets are included now.

Statistics tell us there is no change in this epidemic.

A recent article I read by Pope in the New York Times backs this up.  It’s not because there are a lack of medications.  I begin to wonder if all these pills are merely placebos.  The side effects that kill tells me that’s not the case.  At least not in a few batches.

Here’s a link to all the pharmaceutical drugs available to treat obesity. http://www.drugs.com/condition/obesity.html

There is also an organization called Obesity in America.  The website is www.obesityinamerica.org.  It was created to educate, legislate and reverse obesity. It will also feed information to reporters. That’s enough sugar-coated sweetness to make one obese.

There are people who require medical intervention.  They need to be the focus here.   I cry if I watch The Biggest Loser.  I can feel their pain.  I often wonder why God didn’t create bodies that stayed exactly the same no matter how you eat.  Why do people have to suffer over how their bodies look or how they perceive their bodies to look?  Why is it so hard to lose and so easy to gain?

Being thin doesn’t make you immune to stress and challenges either.  It’s easy to blame extra weight for every problem in your life. When that extra weight is gone –it gets harder because when you discover the problems are still there you begin to feel even worse. Only now you can’t comfort yourself with ring dings.  It’s a vicious cycle.  You absolutely have to have new coping mechanisms and habits to deal with any triggers that made you reach for comfort food in the past.

On “The Biggest Loser” people are led to believe that once they lose the weight, they will be happy.   Many of these people actually look into the camera and exclaim, “I’m SO happy now!”   Happiness doesn’t work like that.  You could be happy obese.  Obesity doesn’t make you unhappy.   Happiness does not rely on external factors.   Once you attach it to an external factor –it will crash because things do not stay the same. They change. Look at nature if you want to understand how this works.  If you can change, yet stay the same –you will be happy.   Your habits result from your beliefs.

Establishing good habits from childhood is so important.  Habits are things we do automatically.  When I was a kid, we ran outside to play after school.  They will tell you being poor or being stressed will make you a fat kid. That is baloney.

Bikeriding was big after school. So was jogging, touch football, tag or stoopball right on the steps. And I played tennis with Rob Bonomolo in grade school. We learned how from watching “Hart to Hart” on television. Jump rope was big after lunch in the lunchroom. Susan Favola, Lorelei Donofrio and I made sure to cover the entire alphabet while jumping.

What belief system did we have then? We associated being outdoors with freedom. Freedom from homework (presumably that was done before you ran outside), freedom from sitting in a stuffy classroom, freedom from work, freedom from carrying heavy books, freedom from wearing a uniform.

We could dump our way too heavy book bags, get into comfortable clothing and run free.

Think about that feeling. Close your eyes. Fresh air. Running. Not a worry in the world. We weren’t sitting staring at screens. We were active outdoors. Flying free. Like birds.

Wrong photo.  Those birds are sedentary.  You get the picture.   Visualize flying ones.
If the economy were as it is right now when I was growing up and my Dad was out of a job –I would still run outside and play, even more.

You don’t need Big Brother telling you you have a disease and you’re part of an epidemic that is bigger than HIV (it’s not).

Maybe if the government focused on fixing the economy, as much as they focus on fixing your waistline, the stress would go away for the unemployed, underemployed, single mothers, single fathers, uninsured and kids.

It’s not an epidemic.  Thinking that releases the exact kind of stressful hormones  you don’t want in your body.  Remain calm.  It’s your private health. Take care of it one day at a time.

Make good choices.  Stay positive.   You are going to be okay.  Lifestyle changes and changing your daily habits one day at a time, until it becomes your long-term habits is what will change your health for the better. Preventing disease is something these organizations will NOT profit from –but you will.

Again, you need to educate yourself about healthy habits, healthy foods and daily exercise. Some people will say it’s genetics and they can’t help it. If you know you have a genetic predisposition for obesity, you have a warning. You know that if you don’t do something different, you will have the same outcome as a family member. You can make lifestyle changes that will and can improve your outcome.

I keep repeating 25% of your health is determined by genetics. 75% is lifestyle. Change your lifestyle and you can change your outcome.

Otherwise, others will continue to profit from your illness. It  will also make you more susceptible to other illnesses.

Look up how to reverse (insert whatever) naturally, and you will find a lot of information that for years has been called “quackery” because as I stated –no one can profit from you being healthy.

What’s All the Hookah About?

The last time I was in the suburbs, I saw a smoke-filled place with a large sign that read, HOOKAH.  The sign to the right of the entrance said, MUST BE 21 TO ENTER.  

My friend’s 17-year-old son said, “All my friends are in there.”  His friends are 17-years-old.  I asked what it was and he said, “It’s smoke, but it’s not smoke. It’s safe. It’s like inhaling water.”

Oh REALLY?  Looks strange.  Bunch of kids.  What a racket, I think. 

When I get home I look it up.  As suspected, it’s not healthy at all.  It’s not like inhaling water.  Time to educate kids and their parents, as these lounges are popping up everywhere.  

Kids spend about $12.00 to smoke and they sell alcohol in these lounges.  Of course, the alcohol isn’t to be served to a minor, but then how is the whole place filled with kids? 

It’s amazing how NYC goes through so much trouble to ban cigarettes –yet these lung damaging dens are permitted.

FACT:  Recent studies have found that smoking from a hookah is just as dangerous as smoking a cigarette.

Most of the people think hookah smoking as a safer alternative to other forms of smoking because the hookah smoke is filtered through water before it is inhaled.

FACT:  Hookah smoking involves more nicotine than cigarette smoking because of the massive volume of smoke, smokers inhale during hookah smoking.
Is Hookah Smoking Safe?

There is a strong belief that the water in the hookah filters out all the “bad stuff” in the tobacco smoke, but it’s completely a nuisance.

FACT:  A study done by the World Health Organization showed that one hookah session of a mere few hours can deliver as much smoke into your lungs as 100 cigarettes.

FACT:  Hookah smokers get more smoke than cigarette smokers, and here’s an answer to this question:

Cigarette smoke is uncomfortably hot if a smoker inhales it deeply. Hookah smoke has been cooled by its passage through the water. The smoker has to inhale hard to pull the smoke through the hookah.   By this the hookah smoke goes deep to the lungs. In to the duration of a typical hookah session, the smoke deposits in huge volumes into the lungs.

What the Study say about Hookah Smoking ?

  • Research indicate that hookah smoking can be even more harmful to health than cigarette smoking.
  • Hookah smoke has a higher level of heavy metals and carbon monoxide than cigarette smoke, because of the charcoal which is burned on top of the tobacco mixture.
  • A 45 minutes of hookah smoking is equivalent to smoking 50 tobacco cigarettes.
  • It was found that smoking hookah for 45 minutes means consuming tar equivalent in 20 tobacco cigarettes.
  • The amount of cellular chromosomal damage produced inside the mouth in hookah smoking is the same as that seen in cigarette smoking.
  • The WHO advisory note states that “water-pipe smokers inhale more smoke resulting in more exposure to cancer causing chemicals and hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide. … Water-pipe smokers and secondhand smokers are at risk for the same kinds of diseases as are caused by cigarette smoking, including cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and adverse effects during pregnancy.”

What is the bottom line for hookah smokers who think it as a better substitute to cigarette smoking?

Almost every method of making smoking safer is a mere nonsense. There is only one way to totally reduce the chances of fatal diseases caused by smoking, is to quit smoking completely.

What Hookah Smoking Does To Your Health?

The American Lung Association (ALA) identifies hookah smoking as a major health risk. The following are the health risks of hookah smoking:

  • Lung cancer, oral cancer
  • Gastric and esophageal carcinoma
  • Impaired pulmonary function
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced fertility
  • Low birth weight of the babies
  • Hepatitis or herpes (caused due to the sharing of hookah among smokers)

A cigarette may last for about 5 minutes, but a normal hookah session would last for 30 minutes. According to a study, a single hookah session may deliver the following:

  • 36 times the tar produced by cigarette
  • 1.7 times the nicotine produced by cigarette
  • 8.3 times the carbon monoxide produced by cigarette
  • 1 hour of hookah session can deliver 50 liters of smoke whereas a single cigarette delivers only 0.5 liters of smoke

What are the Dangers Of Sharing In Hookah Smoking?

Hookah smokers can use their own mouthpiece while smoking the hookah communally. However, sometimes it so happens that they share the mouthpiece.

FACT:  Sharing of the single mouthpiece can spread diseases such as herpes, hepatitis, tuberculosis.
Hookah Smoking
Hookah smoking is not a harmless form of smoking. It can be as dangerous as cigarettes. The long-term consequence of hookah smoking would be increased dependency. Some youngsters, who innocently try hookah as a safe means of smoking, can get addicted. They can further switch to cigarettes as they can be carried around easily. All this proves that hookah smoking cannot be dismissed as safe alternative. Hence, it always helps to stay away from a hookah.

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From Richard Hurt, M.D.

Hookah smoking is not safer than cigarette smoking. Also known as narghile, shisha and goza, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose. Specially made tobacco is heated, and the smoke passes through water and is then drawn through a rubber hose to a mouthpiece. The tobacco is no less toxic in a hookah pipe, and the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic ingredients in the tobacco smoke. Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session, which can last as long as 60 minutes.

While research about hookah smoking is still emerging, evidence shows that it poses many dangers:

  • Hookah smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds, including tar, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). In fact, hookah smokers are exposed to more carbon monoxide and smoke than are cigarette smokers.
  • As with cigarette smoking, hookah smoking is linked to lung and oral cancers, heart disease and other serious illnesses.
  • Hookah smoking delivers about the same amount of nicotine as cigarette smoking does, possibly leading to tobacco dependence.
  • Hookah smoke poses dangers associated with secondhand smoke.
  • Hookah smoking by pregnant women can result in low birth weight babies.
  • Hookah pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be cleaned properly, risking the spread of infectious diseases.

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A harmful form of tobacco use, known as the hookah or water pipe, may be spreading among youth in the United States according to researchers from the University of California, San Diego’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and San Diego State University.  In April of 2011, they released a report that hookah use among teens in San Diego county rivals use of cigarettes.   This trend is emerging even as cigarette smoking among high school students is on the decline nationally.  

The team of researchers examined patterns of use, risk perception, and psychosocial risk factors among users, former users, and nonusers of hookah at three San Diego high schools.  The paper, “Determinants of Hookah Use among High School Students,” was published in the April edition of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

Wael Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, associate professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine is the team’s senior author and a research expert in the field of tobacco control.

“Our study suggests that hookah smoking is taking hold in some high school-aged students at a rate higher than previously reported, which is rather alarming as an emerging public health problem,” said Al-Delaimy. “Our data show that inaccurate perception about hookah harmfulness, its social acceptability, and presence of hookah lounges in residential areas, is driving the higher use among the teens in our study.”


 
More than a quarter of the surveyed students (26.1 percent) reported they have tried hookah, and 10.9percent smoked hookah in the past month, which is comparable to the percentage of high school students in this study population who smoked cigarettes in the past month (11 percent).  Furthermore, close to one third of hookah users have no intention of quitting this habit. 

“Understanding the hookah habits of teens is important because a person’s tobacco use pattern – whether or not, and how often – is usually established by age 18,” said Al-Delaimy.

“Hookah use is related to diseases, including coronary heart disease, adverse pulmonary effects and cancers of the lung, mouth and bladder.  Hookah smoke also contains many of the same carcinogens and heavy metals as cigarette smoke; longer hookah smoking sessions, combined with increased smoke volume, makes it potentially more dangerous than cigarettes.” 

Joshua Smith, PhD, from Al-Delaimy’s laboratory, surveyed 689 students from three high schools within San Diego County and found more than half of the students first learned about hookah from friends (50.3 percent) and another 20.9 percent learned about it when they saw a nearby hookah lounge.  

“The concern here is that the students surveyed believed hookah use to be more socially acceptable than cigarettes, and friends seem to be introducing this habit to others.  They also believe it is less harmful than cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco, which has not been reported previously among high school students,” said Smith.

Researchers recommend that the legality of hookah lounges in California and other states be addressed, adding that the banning of one product (cigarettes) with the legality of another (hookah) may suggest an element of reduced risk associated.   

“Policy makers and the tobacco research community should reassess priorities for this age group and address the growing hookah epidemic through continued research, media messaging, and restrictions on hookah lounges,” said Al-Delaimy. 

In addition to Al-Delaimy, the research team includes Joshua Smith, PhD, MPH, UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Tomas E. Novotny, MD, MPH, San Diego State University; Steven D. Edland, PhD, UCSD Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Richard Hostetter, PhD, San Diego State University; and Suzanne P. Lindsay, PhD, MSW, MPH, San Diego State University. 

Media Contact: Kim Edwards, 619-543-6163, kedwards@ucsd.edu

The bottom line is stay away from Hookah. 

 

Israeli Law Bans Underweight Models in Ads

As someone who specializes in health, I am in favor of the Israeli law. How wonderful that Adi Barkan, a top Israeli modeling agent proposed the law.

I have been to fashion shows in NYC where I was so uncomfortable watching corpses try to walk down the runway –I wanted to walk out. 

Yet, I applaud at the end of the show instead of being outraged. 

Outraged at the unhealthy images being promoted, which send the wrong message to men and women through its distortion of body image.  If the fashion industry doesn’t change, consumers need to stop buying whatever they sell.

Sharing an article I wrote in 2006, which is still relevant.

Eating Disorders: Maybe It’s Time for a Little Political Correctness by Maria Dorfner

Recently, I began questioning the usage of the term eating disorders. It used to be referred to as anorexia. The term has since expanded to include not just anorexia, but bulimia, compulsive eating, binge-eating and exercise addiction or as Dr. Margo Maine, a clinical psychologist and author of the book, Body Wars: Making Peace With Womens’ Bodies calls it “excess-ersize”.

I understand the reasoning behind creating a broader term, but I don’t understand attaching the word “disorder” to any of these illnesses considering the sensitive psychological component which exists with them.

By this I mean the negative self-talk and shame which these persons struggle to overcome. Recovery includes avoiding circumstances or environments where negative self beliefs about themselves are triggered. Yet, the very word “disorder”, the label slapped on them by the medical community, conjures up instant images of something negative.

I heard something on the radio this morning which prompted my thoughts on this matter. It was another female celebrity being accused of having an eating disorder and adamantly denying it. It got me thinking that the term “eating disorder” screams, “There is something wrong with you!”

I don’t know anyone that would respond positively when told there must be something wrong with you. Telling someone, “I think you have an eating disorder” sounds more like a harsh accusation than a heartfelt concern for a friend, loved one or significant other. Accusations cause defensiveness, denial and shame.

This can lead people who may need help to isolate themselves from the accusations, feel added shame and not seek treatment. I’m not saying all these celebrities have an eating disorder, but some clearly have bones jetting out from their rib cage and collarbone while boasting about staying in shape with their personal trainer.

Eating disorders are complex and the fashion industry and media are already bombarding young girls, boys and adults with distorted images of what their body should look like. Skinny jeans are back and whereas a size 6 used to be thin, now it’s a size 00. I can only imagine where it will go from here. Size Sub 0 perhaps. If jeans came with warning labels that would be the time to add one, such as Warning: Attempting to squeeze into these jeans could cause an eating disorder.

Recent studies suggest there is a genetic and environmental component which predisposes certain individuals to eating disorders. They have what is referred to as a vulnerable personality which is highly sensitive to the environment or what are clinically called triggers. The odds for recovery get stacked against them when the outside environment is bombarded with them.

Supermarkets and News Stands showing bikini-clad unhealthy images are pervasive, so you don’t have to go far to be exposed to them. Then, when someone achieves this look, they are told they have a disorder. It’s psychologically confusing. When we learned cigarettes cause cancer, the television and print ads with the macho, attractive Marlboro man on a horse stopped. It took awhile, but common sense prevailed. Hopefully, the fashion and media industry will take note that there is a correlation between their mixed messages and behavior.

Change could begin within the medical community as well. No one would dream of calling fat people fat anymore. It may be time the term “eating disorder” be revisited. Most celebs would readily admit to alcohol or drug dependence, but mention an eating “disorder” and all the defenses go up. Who wants to admit to having a disorder? The very word has a stigma to it, and serves only to reinforce or trigger the negative beliefs that are already a part of the eating disorder struggle.

The insensitivity doesn’t end there as the same people who would never dream of saying, “You’re so fat” to someone who is obese or deemed obese by whatever the latest Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator dictates– thinks nothing of saying, “You’re so skinny” to someone who may be suffering from an eating “disorder”.

I don’t profess to know what eating disorders should be called instead. But maybe an open dialogue is needed with clinicians, educators and patients about this topic and whether the term is psychologically detrimental to recovery or to reaching out to friends, family or significant others who may be suffering.

It would be interesting to ask patients how the term makes them feel. I’m thinking the majority of them will say, “It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me — like I’m defective.”

A google search on disorders pulls up an A to Z laundry list that makes your head spin — 204,000,000 hits — so eating disorders are not alone in their defective label. Yet, I don’t know too many other illnesses that can be triggered by a term being used to describe it.

It seems counterproductive to want to help people while potentially unwittingly causing them harm. It may be time for the fashion industry and media to think about the triggering images and mixed messages they distribute, and for the medical community to place a kinder and gentler label on this illness.