WeightWatchers launches weight loss app for kids

Launched in the US by WeightWatchers (WW), Kurbo is a weight loss app aimed at kids aged 8-17 years old. WW states the app is “uniquely designed to give kids, teens and families the tools and inspiration to adopt healthy habits”. WW has come under fire with criticism from nutritionists and some parents calling for a boycott of the app. One of many criticisms is the inclusion of ‘success’ stories along with before and after photos of children as young as 8 and their testimonials. Sadly, the science-base of the programme provided by Stanford Children’s Health is rooted in the US government’s MyPlate, which is contributing to the epidemic of obesity and chronic diseases. This was a perfect opportunity for WW to be innovative and design a system promoting healthy eating and lifestyles that boosts young people’s confidence. Instead they’ve chosen to create a system likely to drive disordered eating and years of yo-yo dieting contributing to disease development due to metabolic dysfunction.

Burden of obesity cancers shifts to young people

Despite the growing and vociferous body-positive lobby, being obese is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer. A new study published in JAMA Network by the University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, shows that between 2000-2016 the burden of obesity-related cancer has shifted to younger age groups. Using data from the US Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results 18 (SEER18) database, researchers found an increase in the absolute number of obesity related cancers in those aged 20-49 years compared to a decrease in those aged over 65. Urgent action is needed from governments and health authorities to move from a system of sick care to one that promotes upstream health optimisation and true disease prevention. Public and private health concerns cannot afford to turn a blind eye to obesity-related disease to spare some citizens’ blushes. Physiology is physiology and carrying extra weight creates health consequences.

Monsanto’s secret tactics revealed

Baum Hedland Law has released additional documents as part of its ongoing legal battles against Monsanto. The new papers further reveal the shocking extent to which the Monsanto propaganda machine used and abused science to influence regulators and EPA officials, orchestrated attacks against the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), how they worked to discredit critics and activists and hide the known damages to health of Roundup.

Western diet drives evolution of virulent bacteria

Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute publishing in Nature Genetics have found that the bacteria, Clostridium difficile, a leading cause of antibiotic-resistant diarrhoea worldwide, is evolving and adapting in response to human activities, diets and cleaning strategies into two separate species. One of the new species has adapted to feed on sugar-rich western style diets allowing it to specialise to evade commonly used hospital disinfectants and easily spread in hospitals. However, C. Diff can exist harmlessly in the gut of those with a healthy gut microbiome because it is kept under control by the variety of other commensal species. Support your gut health by following the ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines and reduce your risk microbial related health challenge.

AHA recommends Omega 3 fatty acids

A new American Heart Association Science Advisory has endorsed the use of omega 3 fatty acids as a ‘safe and effective’ way to reduce high triglyceride levels. The Advisory recommends a dose of 4 g/d of prescription omega-3 fatty acids alongside the use of diet and lifestyle changes. The acknowledgement of the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in dealing with chronic disease is a step forward. With omega 6:3 ratios in Western diets typically 20:1 or even higher than pre-industrial diets, there is still a long way to go in addressing fatty acid imbalance. Maintaining the correct ratio of essential fatty acids is integral to reducing inflammation, the basis of chronic disease, and maintaining cellular and brain health.

Fluoride exposure while pregnant affects children’s IQ

A new study from a collaboration of Canadian researchers published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that consuming fluoridated tap water whilst pregnant can affect a child’s IQ by the age of 3-4. For every 1 mg increase in the daily intake of fluoride there was an average decrease in IQ of 3.66 points. Boys were found to be worse affected with a 4.49 decrease in IQ score. The new study adds to concerns over the routine mass-medication of municipal water with fluoride and the impact to health.

Vaping linked to pulmonary disease

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched an investigation into the role of vaping and the development of severe lung illness in adolescents and young adults. Despite little research on the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping, health authorities have been quick to promote their use as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. New research published in Radiology raises serious concerns over such claims with its findings that just one vaping session has a sudden and immediate effect on the body’s blood vessels and blood flow. As with traditional smoking, is it going to take another 30-years to establish a causal relationship between vaping and harms to health before something is done? Once again, with so many tobacco companies now invested in the vaping market, it’s going to be a case of profits over people. Education of harms is going to be so important in allowing citizens to make empowered health choices.