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Food For Naught

Scott LaFee on

Children are increasingly getting the majority of their daily calories from ultraprocessed foods high in sugar, salt and trans fat, says a new report. In 2000, data on daily food intake estimated ultraprocessed foods constituted 61% of children's caloric consumption. In 2018, the latest data available, it had risen to 67%.

The rise in ultraprocessed foods -- think ready-to-heat or -eat items or sugary sweets and drinks -- was higher among Black and Mexican American youth than white youth.

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer

For unknown reasons, colorectal cancer rates are rising in people under the age of 50, while overall cases are declining. A new Nurses Health Study may offer one possible reason: Researchers found a link between vitamin D and diagnoses of colorectal cancer and its precursors: polyps discovered during colonoscopies.

Higher total vitamin D intake was associated with significantly reduced risk of early-onset colorectal cancer and colon polyps. There wasn't a similar link after age 50, and the association was stronger for dietary vitamin D, primarily dairy, than supplements.

Note: The study was observational, which can't determine cause and effect, and most participants in the study were white and female, so results may differ in other demographics.

 

Body of Knowledge

The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45% when a person looks at something pleasing. "Are your eyes dilated or are you just happy to see me?"

Get Me That, Stat!

Even before the pandemic, significant portions of the U.S. public were in fair or poor health. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey in 2019 found that 1 in 5 of those living in nonurban areas and 1 in 7 of those in urban areas described their health as being fair or poor. These trends worsened with age, with nearly 1 in 4 people above the age of 40 in nonmetropolitan areas reporting poor health.

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