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But too little salt may also cause health problems, report authors add
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
TUESDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) — Most Americans should consume less salt, but too little salt can also cause health problems for some, a new report says.
The problem is that there is scant evidence for determining exactly how much salt is too much and how little is too little, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee that penned the report, which was released Tuesday.
“Studies have looked at efforts to lower excessive salt intake, but raised questions about harm from too little salt,” explained IOM committee chair Dr. Brian Strom, a professor of public health and preventive medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
So, although the report supports current U.S. dietary guidelines on salt consumption, it does not determine whether those suggested limits could or should be lower.
“Unfortunately, the message is a mixed message, which is deliberate on our part and reflects the mixed data,” Strom said. “We clearly support that, in general, eating too much salt is harmful. [But] we are raising questions about the harm from too little salt.”
The right balance of salt, however, isn’t known. “As a committee, we did not provide a target range of what the right amount should be,” Strom said.
Specifically, the committee looked at the amount of salt recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which say most people aged 14 to 50 should limit their daily salt intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg).
However, for more than 50 percent of Americans — those aged 51 or older, blacks and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease — those same guidelines say that salt intake should be limited to 1,500 mg a day.
“Most Americans come nowhere near the low end of salt consumption,” Strom noted.
Despite efforts by the public health community to get people to use less salt, most Americans still consume an average of 3,400 mg or more of salt a day. That is about 1.5 teaspoons of salt, according to the IOM committee.
Only about 11 percent of the salt people eat comes from the salt shaker, added IOM committee member Dr. Joachim Ix, an associate professor of medicine at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System in California.
“The lion’s share of salt that’s consumed is in the food people are taking in already. A large part of that is in processed foods and foods eaten outside of the home,” Ix noted.
Another expert agreed.
“We usually think of sodium as table salt,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “But many foods are unexpectedly high in sodium, including sweets, breads and cereals,” she noted.
You probably take some life skills for granted, like knowing when to wake up for work or take your medicines, and how to balance your checkbook. Yet to a teen with ADHD, those tasks can become huge hurdles.
Kids with ADHD tend to be much slower than their peers to learn how to organize, plan, and prioritize, says Cindy Goldrich, EdM, ACAC. She is a certified ADHD coach and parenting specialist with PTS Coaching in Long Island, N.Y.
Kids and teens with ADHD know what they need to do. They just have trouble doing it.
“This is not a challenge of intelligence, this is a challenge of performance,” Goldrich says. “They need more structure and more skill support.”
With college or a first job on the horizon, here are seven life skills you need to start teaching your child today.
You may have gotten used to doing everything for your teen. Break that habit.
“The teen years need to involve a gradual shift of responsibility to the teen,” says Kathleen Nadeau, PhD. She is a clinical psychologist and director of the Chesapeake ADHD Center of Maryland.
Let your child start doing things for herself now, like doing the laundry, cooking dinner, or setting her own dentist and haircut appointments. She’ll need those skills in a few years when she’s out on her own.
2. Time Management
Kids with ADHD have a false sense of time. “They don’t always accurately judge how long things should take,” Goldrich says.
During middle or high school you make sure he finishes his homework. Once he gets to college, you won’t be there to do that.
Goldrich recommends teaching time management skills with a timer. Figure out how long it takes your child to finish each assignment. Then, break up the total time into chunks.
“Set the timer for 20 minutes and take a 5-minute break. Do that a few times and then take a longer break,” Goldrich says.
Use the timer on your smartphone to help him remember other tasks, such as when to wake up for school, take a shower, and eat lunch.
Resist the temptation to pick up the piles of clothes, books, and other messes in your child’s room.
“If you keep organizing their room, they will not learn what works and what doesn’t,” Goldrich says.
Find a system that works for your child, such as bins or a bucket to hold their school supplies and shelves for their books.
Nadeau suggests keeping a “launching pad,” a spot to put things kids regularly use, such as their keys and phone, if they have one.
(Reuters) – Airlines should charge obese passengers more, a Norwegian economist has suggested, arguing that “pay as you weigh” pricing would bring health, financial and environmental dividends.
Bharat Bhatta, an associate professor at Sogn og Fjordane University College, said that airlines should follow other transport sectors and charge by space and weight.
“To the degree that passengers lose weight and therefore reduce fares, the savings that result are net benefits to the passengers,” Bhatta wrote this week in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.
“As a plane of a given make and model can accommodate more lightweight passengers, it may also reward airlines” and reduce the use of environmentally costly fuel.
Bhatta put together three models for what he called “pay as you weigh airline pricing.”
The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed. It would set a rate for pounds (kg) per passenger so that someone weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) would pay half the fare of 260-pound (118-kg) person.
A second model would use a fixed base rate, with an extra charge for heavier passengers to cover the extra costs. Under this option, every passenger would have a different fare.
Bhatta’s preferred option was the third, where the same fare would be charged if a passenger was of average weight. A discount or extra charge would be used if the passenger was above or below a certain limit.
That would lead to three kinds of fares – high, average and low, Bhatta said.
Airlines have grappled for years with how to deal with larger passengers as waistlines have steadily expanded. Such carriers as Air France and Southwest Airlines allow overweight passengers to buy extra seats and get a refund on them.
Asked about charging heavier passengers extra, Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said: “We have our own policies in place and don’t anticipate changing those.”
United Air Lines Inc requires passengers who cannot fit comfortably into a single seat to buy another one. A spokeswoman said the carrier would not discuss “future pricing.”
About two-thirds of U.S. adults are obese or overweight.
In a 2010 online survey for the travel website Skyscanner (www.skyscanner.net), 76 percent of travelers said airlines should charge overweight passengers more if they needed an extra seat.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; editing by Andrew Hay)
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Eight Former Directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration, As Well As Other Assorted Big Names Associated With National Drug Policy, Are Turning Up the Heat on Attorney General Eric Holder to Crack Down on Colorado and Washington for Legalizing Marijuana Last Fall.
Even the United Nations is getting into the act. A U.N.based agency, the International Narcotics Control Board, claimed this week that the Obama administration will violate treaties if it doesn’t take action to stop the two states from forging a new marijuana policy.
So far, Holder continues to say the administration is close to announcing its policy, but is not quite there. On Wednesday, for example, he told a Senate panel his department was “still considering” how to proceed.
We hope Holder and his advisers take a deep breath and consider the source of these increasingly shrill attempts to persuade Washington to try to reverse the will of Colorado and Washington voters – and then ignore them.
Is it really surprising that former leaders of the war on drugs want to perpetuate their legacy rather than see another approach aimed at suppressing the black market in marijuana take root?
As Holder knows, the federal government cannot force states to enforce federal pot laws – so like it or not, the drug’s possession will likely remain legal here and in Washington unless, in a colossal waste of resources, DEA agents are ordered to target recreational possession. However, the president himself has already said prosecuting recreational users is not a “top priority.”
So whether a U.N. agency likes it or not, legalization is not going away. No treaty trumps our federal system.
Meanwhile, the big question is what attitude the federal government will take toward growing and selling marijuana commercially – activities the DEA could readily shut down.
That’s what the former DEA chiefs want, of course, and in a letter this week to senators they asked, “Why isn’t the Department of Justice enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in Colorado and Washington?”
Let’s hope Holder understands that it’s no small matter for the federal government to trample on state prerogatives when the consensus that once supported the nation’s drug laws has utterly broken down. He should let Colorado and Washington implement their laws in the coming months just as their voters intended.
CHICAGO (AP) — Eight former Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs say the federal government needs to act now or it might lose the chance to nullify Colorado and Washington’s laws legalizing recreational marijuana use.
The onetime DEA heads are issuing joint statements Tuesday saying the Obama administration has reacted too slowly and should immediately sue to force the states to rescind the legislation.
The Associated Press received an advance copy of the statement Monday.
One of the former DEA administrators, Peter Bensinger, told the AP that the more time goes by, the harder it’ll be to stop the two states. Marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Bensinger, who lives in the Chicago area, said not acting forthrightly to sue the states might create “a domino effect” in which other states follow suit.
“My fear is that the Justice Department will do what they are doing now: do nothing and say nothing,” said Bensinger. “If they don’t act now, these laws will be fully implemented in a matter of months.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a meeting of state attorneys general last week that he is still reviewing the laws but that his review is winding down. Asked Monday for a comment on the criticism from the former DEA administrators, Holder spokeswoman Allison Price would only say, “The Department of Justice is in the process of reviewing those initiatives.”
The department’s review has been under way since shortly after last fall’s elections. It could sue to block the states from issuing licenses to marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, on the grounds that doing so conflicts with federal drug law. Alternatively, Holder could decide not to mount a court challenge.
The ex-DEA heads are issuing the statements though the Florida-based Save Our Society from Drugs, a national group lobbying against legalization. One of the group’s spokesmen is based in Chicago.
The former DEA administrators are Bensinger, John Bartels, Robert Bonner, Thomas Constantine, Asa Hutchinson, John Lawn, Donnie Marshall and Francis Mullen. They served for both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Holder is scheduled to appear Wednesday before a U.S. Senate judiciary committee hearing. The former DEA chiefs want senators to question Holder on the legalization issue.
Advocates of legalization have welcomed Colorado and Washington’s new laws, arguing that criminalizing drugs creates serious though unintended social problems. The ex-DEA heads say they disagree with that view.
After votes last fall, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana’s recreational use — putting federal authorities in a quandary over how, or whether, to respond.
Washington state officials responsible for creating a regulated marijuana system have said they are moving forward with a timetable of issuing producer licenses by August.
Bensinger — who served as DEA administrator under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan — said the supremacy of federal law over state law when it comes to drug laws isn’t in doubt.
“This is a no brainer,” he said. “It is outrageous that a lawsuit hasn’t been filed in federal court yet.”
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