Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.
Big Soda Funded Almost 100 Health Groups
The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo sponsored 96 medical and health organizations, which might have influenced the health groups’ stance on nutritional policy, according to a new paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “We were surprised to see that many of these health groups taking Big Soda money were silent on public policies to reduce soda consumption, such as soda taxes,” says co-author Dr. Michael Siegel, professor of community health sciences in the Boston University School of Public Health. “Clearly, the soda companies are using sponsorship of medical and health organizations to promote their public image, mute the support of these organizations for policies like soda taxes that would decrease soda consumption, and in the long run, to increase soda consumption,” he said. (CNN)
Lower Back Pain? Yoga as Good as Physical Therapy — and Cheaper Too
Weekly yoga classes are as effective as physical therapy (PT) in reducing chronic lower back pain, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting at the American Academy of Pain Management. Bonus: Yoga is way more cost-effective. “There are yoga classes that cost $10 or $15 a week,” says Dr. Robert Bonakdar of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, adding that yoga “can be transitioned into a home practice.” (Medscape)
Omega-3 Levels in Farmed Salmon Have Plummeted
Levels of omega-3 fatty acids in farmed salmon have halved in the past five years, according to researchers at Stirling University in Scotland. Stirling researcher Dr. Matthew Sprague says the British government might have to change its nutritional advice: “At the moment, they are advising to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily. But the advice of one portion of oily fish really should now be two portions at least.” (BBC)
Lobbying for Cleaner Personal Care Products
The U.S. government needs to do a much better job regulating the many chemicals that are allowed in personal care products. So says Gregg Renfrew, the founder and chief executive behind Beautycounter, a start-up that offers squeaky-clean personal care products. Renfrew, along with others, is urging Congress to tighten up the regulation of ingredients allowed in personal care products. The federal laws that govern those ingredients have not been significantly updated since 1938. “Consumers are demanding cleaner and safer products, but we still have this law from almost 100 years ago,” says Bryan McGannon, policy director of the American Sustainable Business Council. (The New York Times)
Who Beats the US on Paid Parental Leave? Basically Everyone.
What do New Guinea, Suriname, and the United States have in common? They are some of the only countries out of the 193 countries in the United Nations that do not have a national paid parental leave law. “The U.S. is absolutely the only high-income country that doesn’t, and as you can tell by the numbers, overwhelmingly the world provides it,” says Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA. “The world not only provides paid maternity leave, but they provide adequate paid paternity leave.” (NPR)
Is Big Pharma Behind ADHD Overdiagnosis?
“ADHD itself is not an epidemic—ADHD misdiagnosis is an epidemic.” So says Alan Schwarz, author of the new book, ADHD Nation, in this thought-provoking interview about the surge in American children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and put on powerful drugs. The culprit, according to Schwarz, is the pharmaceutical industry: “The pharmaceutical industry has massive financial incentive to produce drugs that address medical needs….there’s nothing wrong with their making a product people want. The problem, in the ADHD world and others—particularly psychiatric—is that the companies hijacked the entire field. It corralled all the top researchers and doctors in the field and paid them five, six, even seven-figures apiece to conduct studies all written in the same key: ADHD is more widespread and dangerous than anyone knows, the drugs work wonderfully and with almost no side effects, and that if you don’t diagnose and medicate a child, he or she will be doomed to academic and social failure, crash their car, get venereal disease and more.” (Scientific American)
Can Protective Bacteria in the Vagina Guard Against Common Infection?
Lactobacillus bacteria has long been thought to keep vaginas healthy, but, as it turns out, they are not all created equal. Specifically, L. crispatus is a type of Lactobacillus bacteria that can help ward off bacterial vaginosis, an infection that is marked by a foul-smelling odor and discharge. “For some researchers, L. crispatus is emerging as the vagina’s superhero,” notes The Atlantic. “It not only pumps out the best mix of two different types of lactic acid to keep the vagina inhospitable to other bugs, but it also fortifies a woman’s vaginal mucus to trap and keep at bay HIV and other pathogens.” (The Atlantic)