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Special Populations

New York Public Schools Trim the Meat

If the influx of no-beef burgers into supermarkets hasn’t convinced you that plant-based eating has gone mainstream, then perhaps Monday’s fare at New York City school cafeterias will. Starting this fall, more than 1 million students enrolled in the city’s public school system are only finding vegetarian breakfast and lunch options in cafeterias as part of the Meatless Monday campaign, says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Processed Food Linked to Weight Gain

Over the past several decades, fast-food and processed/packaged foods made with cheap ingredients like white flour and salt have come to dominate the American diet. While an established link between eating too much junk food and obesity has been made, there is still a need for more research to suss out the reasons why.

Soda Tax: Drink Pop, Pay More

Love sodas or loathe them, it’s becoming harder to ignore the impact that a “soda tax” can have on consumption rates. A tax of 1.5 cents per ounce of sugary drinks sold in Philadelphia, implemented in 2017, resulted in a 51% drop in sales compared with the previous year, although that figure was partially offset by a rise in sales in neighboring no-tax towns, according to research published in JAMA.

Teen Rebels Turn Away From Junk Food

We’ve long known that junk food marketing shapes the way our youth eat. After all, on any given day teenagers are exposed to a lot more advertisements for candy bars and soda than, say, cauliflower. Such is the power of food marketing on the growing brain. Now, a study in the April 2019 issue of Nature Human Behaviour has found that tapping into the rebellious inclinations of teenagers may get them to eat more salads.

Indoor Cycling: Safe for Prenatal?

You’re helping participants get set up on their bikes in your 6 p.m. cycling class when someone taps you lightly on the shoulder: Is it okay to ride if she’s pregnant? To your knowledge, you’ve never had a pregnant participant in class, and you don’t know how to respond.

Women Need Protein, Too

For years we’ve heard that people who regularly lift weights can benefit from eating higher amounts of protein than the general population. There’s just one glaring problem. Most of the research behind this advice was conducted on men, with little focus on women. Now, a study in the April 2019 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has shed light on the specific protein needs of this understudied demographic.

Evening Cardio Training and Hypertension

In another clinical trial examining the impact of time of day on training effects, researchers found that cycling at moderate intensity for 45 minutes three times per week in the evening decreased clinical and ambulatory blood pressure in 50 middle-aged sedentary men with hypertension more than either morning training or stretching (the control group).

Cycling Workstations and Productivity

Your clients likely include deskbound workers who feel they can’t exercise. Well, maybe they can! A recent research review found that cycling as you work at your desk may be a good way to avoid the hazards of office inactivity while simultaneously improving productivity.

Can Digital Multitasking Increase Overeating?

You may want to review your digital device usage. New research shows that people who mindlessly switch between a smartphone and a tablet or other digital devices are likely to have an increased susceptibility to food temptations and lack of self-control, potentially leading to weight gain. Researchers from three American universities conducted the inquiry to examine whether links exist between obesity and use of digital devices.

Playing Team Sports Fights Depression in Boys

Participation in team sports not only helps children improve fitness and social skills; it’s also linked with development of the hippocampus region of the brain, according to research published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (2019; doi:10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.01.011). In adults, lower hippocampal volume has been associated with depression for some time.

Prolonged Sitting May Undo Exercise Benefits

Here’s some less-than-good news for your weekend warrior clients. New findings from a small study suggest that sitting throughout the day may alter the typical metabolic benefits of a bout of exercise. Whether sitting for endless hours daily is hazardous to our health because we’re not exercising or whether the health risks of sitting may be counteracted by exercise are questions to which scientists continue to tease out answers. University of Texas at Austin researchers designed a study to shed some light.

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