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Monday
Feb122018

Eating slower could help prevent obesity, researchers say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Speedy eaters might finish their food faster, but those calories might linger longer.

A new study published in the online journal BMJ Open suggests that eating speed could affect a person's weight.

A research team in Japan set out to analyze the effects of eating speed on obesity -- defined as BMI greater than 25 in Japan -- by asking over 59,000 Japanese men and women with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes to rate their own eating speed as fast, normal or slow.

The results showed that slower eating speeds were linked to reductions in obesity, BMI and waist circumference.

In addition to eating speed, the researchers found a few other eating habits people with obesity showed, such as frequently eating dinner within two hours of going to bed, snacking after dinner and skipping breakfast.

The data in this study is based on observed behaviors that had happened in the past, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about whether eating speed is a cause of obesity.

However, the authors said that controlling eating speed may be a means of regulating body weight and helping to prevent obesity.

A possible reason? Fast eaters may continue to eat even after they are full, even when their bodies have an adequate amount of calories, since the brain takes a little time to interpret chemical signals from the stomach that say "enough." The combined effect of eating quickly and overeating may contribute to weight gain.

So methods to help people reduce their eating speed, the authors conclude, could be an effective way to help prevent obesity and lower the many health risks, like diabetes, that come with it.

Jay-Sheree Allen is a family medicine resident physician at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and a resident at the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Feb122018

Trump budget sharply cuts White House office leading opioid crisis response, shifts funds to other agencies

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration's FY2019 budget released Monday requests more than $30 billion for drug control efforts, while at the same time proposing a sharp cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has been leading the fight in the opioid crisis.

The administration says it's shifting responsibility for spending on anti-drug programs to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services — and away from the White House office — so it can better focus on policy.

While the exact proposed cut was unclear, a report from Politico last month said the plan was to cut the ONDCP by 95 percent.

In October, President Donald Trump called the opioid epidemic “the worst drug crisis in American history,” and the ONDCP took the lead in coordinating the federal response across the government.

According to the new budget, the White House “drug czar’s” office is “charged with developing policies, objectives, and priorities for the National Drug Control Program.”

Last month, a spokesperson at ONDCP told ABC News, “This crisis remains a top priority for President Trump and his administration.”

Citing an estimate from the White House drug control office, the FY19 budget says that “more than $7 billion” is needed to confront the opioid crisis for “prevention, treatment, interdiction, international operations, and law enforcement across 14 Executive Branch Departments, the Federal Judiciary, and the District of Columbia.”

While the official budget recommends investing “$5 billion in new resources for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over the next five years, including $1 billion in 2019, to combat the opioid epidemic,” the budget appendix also recommends redirecting the ONDCP’s two main grant programs, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) grant and the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Act, to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

Despite that recommended funding, the proposed $68.4 billion budget for HHS is a 21 percent decrease from the previous fiscal year.

Defending the move, the White House says “This proposal will enable ONDCP to focus resources on its core mission: to reduce drug use and its consequences by leading and coordinating the development, implementation, and assessment of U.S. drug policy.”

Office of Management and Budget press secretary Meghan Burris reinforced the White House's decision, saying, "HIDTA and DFC management are resource intensive, forcing ONDCP to focus on administering grants, rather than what should be its primary mission of policy development, implementation and evaluation.”

"DOJ and HHS are both major grant management organizations that can look holistically at allocations across law enforcement and drug prevention and treatment resources,” she added.

Over the last year, the ONDCP has been operating without a permanent director. Richard Baum has served as acting director since March 2017. On Feb. 9, the president nominated Jim Carroll, who serves as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to John Kelly, to head the agency.

Despite the sharp cuts to the drug control office's budget, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement last week, “We have full confidence in Jim to lead ONDCP to make significant strides in combating the opioid crisis, reducing drug use, and coordinating U.S. drug policy.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Feb122018

Channel your inner Olympian with this workout from a Barry's Bootcamp trainer

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- You, too, can train like the Olympians competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Barry's Bootcamp trainer Erick Wilson devised a workout that incorporates moves used by athletes in the sports of the Winter Games, from curling to snowboarding, skiing and more.

Give this workout a try as you watch the world's best athletes compete for gold.

WHAT YOU NEED


No equipment needed. This is a workout that can be done at home and just requires your own body weight.

WORKOUT FOCUS

Olympics-inspired, high-intensity circuit workout.

"Winter Olympics sports are mainly focused on the lower body and core muscles. Quads and hamstrings are engaged throughout each event -- ice skating, snowboard, skiing etc," Wilson explained. "With that being said I took four exercises that imitate and focus mainly on the leg muscles then breaking it up with an upper body focus of pushups and core."

THE WORKOUT

Aim to do each exercise nonstop for 30 to 45 seconds, followed by a 10- to 15-second rest. Complete the circuit four times for a full-body workout in under 20 minutes.

Exercise 1:

Lateral skater jumps: Emulate skaters' and skiers' movements of side-to-side lateral jumps.

Exercise 2:
Split squats: Start with your left leg forward and right leg back, then switch to other side after 10 reps. This exercise and position of legs imitate the curling event. Focus on engaging the legs, staying in the lunge position and bringing the front knee all the way down.

Exercise 3:
Walk-out to pushup: Although the Winter Olympic events have a lot of lower body engagement, we can't disregard the upper body. Start in a standing position and slowly walk your hands out to a pushup (keeping your core tight), complete a pushup and then walk your hands back up to the standing position. For added intensity, complete two to three mountain climbers while in the pushup position.

Exercise 4:
Squat jump finisher: Start standing and squat low using your arms for momentum, slowing your hands down as you jump up in a constant motion. Make sure when you squat that your weight is in your heels and your knees are behind your toes.

ERICK'S WELLNESS TIPS

1. Focus on your breath. I’m sure the athletes at the Winter Olympics work on a lot of their breathing with the weather and the elevation they’re performing at.

The main focus with any workout is to always breathe and keep your form. You want to constantly breathe and constantly pump that oxygen into your muscles.

2. Do what you love. There is no secret method to working out and being healthy. Anything that you find enjoyable and that keeps you consistent is really the key. Working out itself is going to be hard, so if you can find something you enjoy and want to do every day, that’s the secret of working out. The easiest way of being consistent is to find something you’re happy doing.

3. Consistency in your diet is key. My favorite breakfast in the morning is half a cup of oatmeal with a little bit of cinnamon, a little scoop of almond butter or some almonds. Find little substitutions that you enjoy that are healthy. I always enjoy fruit so I can put blueberries and bananas on the oatmeal. Bananas have a lot of fiber and the oatmeal has a lot of carbs so you can burn that off during the workout and it gives you fuel.

 
Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb112018

Missing woman found alive in the woods after 36-hour search

Courtesy Ray Franklin(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- An Alabama woman who was missing for at least 36 hours after a car crash was miraculously found by rescuers Sunday morning, authorities and her family said.

Lisa Holman's vehicle was found wrecked Friday sometime after 9 p.m. off CR 36 between Bent Creek Drive and Brasher Road in Pelham, Alabama, just outside of Birmingham, Shelby County Sheriff's Office told ABC station WBMA-TV.

But the 45-year-old Shelby County woman was nowhere to be found.

That's when authorities and volunteer rescue teams launched a desperate search to find her.

Emergency responders even used a drone to help in the search.

Holman remained missing all day Saturday, though, and authorities had to suspend the search.

But Sunday morning, the Pelham Police Department released a statement saying she'd been found in the woods -- alive and well, but for some broken bones.

"While we are still working to piece together the events of the past few days, we do want to let you know Ms. Holman was alert when we found her, and she was able to walk out of the woods to medical professionals standing by to treat her," said Police Chief Larry Palmer.

Holman's family said in a statement that her toughness helped her fight through her injuries and stay alive.

"Her ability to withstand these injuries, the weather conditions, and the length of time in the woods is a testament to her resiliency," they said.

They also thanked everyone who chipped in trying to find her.

"Needless to say, the last two days have been very emotional for our family," the statement read. "Lisa's rescue Sunday morning was definitely an answered prayer.

"We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the coordinated effort provided by the Pelham Police Department, Pelham Fire Department, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office," it continued. "They led this rescue mission not only with determined tenacity, but also with true compassion."

The family thanked the hundreds of volunteers -- some of whom found Holman Sunday morning -- for their efforts, too.

"A true community effort and genuine concern for one of our own," Pelham Police told ABC News. "One man literally gave her the shoes off his feet to walk out while he walked out barefoot."

Police were still investigating, trying to determine what happened to Holman.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb112018

Labels on 'toddler drinks' may be misleading customers, study says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- So-called toddler drinks are a growing category of beverages for young ones, but their labels may be misleading customers about their nutrition and health benefits.

A study published Monday in the journal Preventive Medicine noted that the drinks -- marketed for children 9 to 36 months who are transitioning from breast or formula feeding to solid foods -- are not recommended by medical experts and provide "no advantage" over whole milk and a nutritionally adequate diet, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“Our study builds on previous research demonstrating that manufacturers' marketing practices may undermine the diets of very young children,” said the study’s lead author Jennifer L. Pomeranz, J.D., MPH, in a press release.

Most toddler drinks are typically composed of powdered milk, corn syrup solids or other added caloric sweeteners, and vegetable oil, according to the study, conducted by researchers at the NYU College of Global Public Health and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. They contain more sodium and less protein than whole cow's milk.

Researchers also said that the drinks' labeling makes them look like infant formulas, which are subject to more oversight by U.S. food label laws and regulations. The study recommended the Food and Drug Administration "provide guidance or propose regulations to ensure the appropriate labeling of toddler drinks," according to the press release.

Two first-time mothers and three nannies at a Mommy and Me class in Manhattan had never heard of "toddler drinks" when asked by ABC News, but when shown labels of three popular brands of toddler drinks next to the same company’s formula, they acknowledged the labels were very similar.

However, manufacturers of the toddler drinks maintain the beverages are "safe."

“Formula manufacturers take great pride in offering safe, innovative products based on current advancements in the scientific understanding of infant and toddler nutrition,” said Mardi Mountford, president of the Infant Nutrition Council of America, an association of manufacturers and marketers of formulated nutrition products.

Mountford continued: “Parents and healthcare professionals should have safe, science-supported, and nutritious options to choose from when selecting appropriate foods for their families and patients. Milk-based toddler drinks can contribute significantly to nutritional intake of older infants and young children.”

What parents feed their infants and toddlers during the transition from exclusive breastfeeding or infant formula to the family diet of solid foods is critical for establishing healthy dietary preferences and preventing obesity in children, according to the study.

If parents are turning to toddler drinks because they fear their child isn’t getting enough nutrition, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that parents concerned about picky eating or missing nutrients use a multivitamin instead of toddler drinks.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb102018

Bride honors late father who died from cancer at wedding by using his funeral flowers as confetti 

Courtesy Kait Olidis(NEW YORK) -- One bride who wanted to remember her late father found a way to incorporate him during her big day.

Kait Olidis dried flowers from her father Jim's funeral and then used them as confetti at her wedding to longtime boyfriend, Benett Hallas.

After being diagnosed with stage IV lung and brain cancer back in October 2014, Jim Olidis passed away five months later. He was 56.

Kait Olidis, 28, told ABC News that after his passing, "in the back of my mind" she thought about how he wouldn't be able to walk her down the aisle.

"Growing up -- for everyone -- having your dad walk you down the aisle is a pretty big moment, and that was something that he and I would be missing out on," she continued. "Knowing that he’s not going to be there, that ... was really hard for me to wrap my head around."

Luckily for the bride, when her boyfriend of nine years proposed to her, she thought to all of those dried roses she and her mother dried out after her father's funeral. She had the perfect way to include them in her wedding -- by making it confetti.

"Roses were one of my husband’s favorite flowers," Kait Olidis' mother Cathy told ABC News. "And there were just so many flowers [after the funeral], roses in particular."

"We just decided, let’s just pull all the petals off and we just put them in boxes ... just to store them for the time being," Cathy Olidis, 58, added.

And although the two considered throwing the dried petals down the aisle, Kait Olidis instead chose to throw them in the air. Photos of the thrown flowers at their wedding ceremony recently went viral on Facebook.

It was a perfect idea, her mother said.

"When you think about it, all of those flowers were sent to Jim’s funeral from the love of family and friends," she explained, "and now that same love got thrown back at them."

Last August when Kait Olidis and Hallas, 32, walked down the aisle at Inn On The Twenty in Ontario, Canada, in front of 100 guests, they were constantly reminded of Kait Olidis' father.

After her mother walked her down the aisle, Cathy Olidis sat next to an empty chair reserved for her late husband. Along with the confetti, the bouquets and boutonnieres also included flowers from Jim Olidis' funeral two years earlier.

"As hard as it was the whole day, it was kind of comforting in some respect too," Kait Olidis said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb102018

Teacher on life support as worst flu outbreak in years engulfs US

iStock/Thinkstock(MULLIN, Texas) -- A special education teacher in Texas is reportedly on life support after contracting both strains of influenza, as the worst flu season in years engulfs the United States.

 Crystal Whitley, who teaches in Mullin, got the flu shot in October after giving birth to her son, family members told ABC affiliate WFAA.

But she caught both the H3N2 and H1N1 flu strains two weeks ago. Then she came down with pneumonia in both lungs and contracted MRSA, a bacterial infection that's become resistant to many of the antibiotics.

Now, Whitley is on life support at Baylor University Medical Center, according to WFAA.

"She's making all of this progress, but [doctors] keep telling us she is still very ill. She is still critical, and she is still on life support," Whitley's mother, Mary O’Connor, told WFAA. "I asked them yesterday, and I said, 'I know you don't know for sure, but what are we looking at?' They said, 'It's probably going to be months.'"

The nationwide flu outbreak is shaping up to be the worst on record, and federal health officials say they can't predict when the deadly epidemic will end.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a grim report on Friday, revealing that at least 63 children have died from influenza for the 2017-2018 season so far. Ten of them died in the past week alone.

"I wish there was better news this week, but almost everything we're looking at is bad news," Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a news conference Friday.

Schuchat said the nation is now in the eleventh week of the 2017-2018 flu season, and nearly all states remain rife with the virus, except for Oregon and Hawaii. The H3N2 flu strain is infecting the most patients.

"We recognize that this issue is personal to so many families and that there is a lot of fear and alarm," she said. "Flu is incredibly difficult to predict, and we don't know if we've hit a peak. We could see more weeks of increased flu activity."

Meanwhile, health officials on Saturday confirmed the third pediatric death of the 2017-2018 flu season in New York City.

"The tragic death of a child due to the flu is a reminder of the devastating effects this illness can have on people of all ages," the New York City Health Department said in a statement to ABC News. "The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot. We urge parents to protect themselves and their families by getting this potentially life-saving vaccine today."

There were six influenza-associated pediatric deaths in New York City out of 106 nationally for the 2016-2017 flu season, according to the city's health department.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's still not too late to get a flu shot. The federal health agency also recommended people 65 years or older receive a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb102018

Heartbroken mom to send Valentine's Day letter to Trump, urging more funding for opioid crisis

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A heartbroken mother whose son died of a heroin overdose is hoping a Valentine's Day letter about him to President Trump will "warm" his heart and urge the federal government to do more about the crisis.

Sue Kruczek, whose son, Nick, died when he was 20 years old, plans to send the letter to the president Saturday, hoping it makes it to his desk by the holiday.

"We’re hoping to touch his heart, warm his heart a little, through our broken hearts," Kruczek, referring to other parents who have lost children to drugs, told WTNH in Connecticut.

Kruczek said her son was a promising hockey player in high school. But after a teammate gave him a pill to help him relax, Nick never played another game sober again, she said.

Nick died five years later of a drug overdose.

Ever since, Kruczek has been deeply involved in the war against opioids. She was crucial in Connecticut’s seven-day cap on opioid prescriptions.

Now, she wants the federal government to step up and allocate more funding.

"We need that funding to help all those out there who are struggling desperately before they become a number like my son," she said.

Kruczek believes a Valentine's Day letter to the president will help her cause. The letter, which includes a picture of Nick, describes how friendly and athletic he was.

"I had a great kid who had great friends," the letter begins. "As a freshman, he was the starting center on his varsity hockey team."

Kruczek doesn't think she's alone. She believes there are scores of other broken-hearted parents who will also send love letters to the president.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could flood the president's desk with all our beautiful children’s faces and pictures and send a message?" she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb092018

Flu outbreak has killed at least 63 children: CDC officials

Jeffrey Hamilton/iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The nationwide flu outbreak could be the worst on record, federal health officials said Friday while releasing a grim report that at least 63 children have died from influenza.

Officials conceded that they can't predict when the epidemic will end.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said 10 children have died from influenza in the past week alone.

"I wish there was better news this week, but almost everything we're looking at is bad news," Schuchat said at a news conference.

She said the flu remains widespread in nearly all states, except for Oregon and Hawaii. The H3N2 flu strain is infecting the most people, according to the CDC.

Schuchat said the country is now in the eleventh week of the 2017-2018 flu season. While the past five flu seasons have lasted 11 to 20 weeks, she could not say how how many more weeks the current
season will run.

"It's difficult to predict, and we don't know," Schuchat said.

Outpatient and emergency room visits remain high with flu cases, and the rate of hospitalizations is at the highest since the CDC began tracking the flu 10 years ago, she said.

The CDC weekly influenza report shows that 17,101 laboratory-confirmed cases have led to hospitalizations between Oct. 1, 2017, and Feb. 3.

Flu infection rates are rising higher than those in any year since 2009, when the swine flu pandemic hit the country, according to the CDC. Flu cases are on track to surpass the 2014-2015 season,
the worst on record when 710,000 people were hospitalized in the United States and 148 children died.

"We recognize that this issue is personal to so many families and that there is a lot of fear and alarm," Schuchat said. "Flu is incredibly difficult to predict, and we don't know if we've hit a
peak. We could see more weeks of increased flu activity."

With no predictable end in sight for the influenza season, the CDC advised Americans that it's not too late to get a flu shot. The agency also recommended people 65 years or old get a pneumococcal
pneumonia vaccination.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb092018

Kate Walsh shares self-care regimen after undergoing surgery to remove brain tumor

Tommaso Boddi/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's been nearly three years since former "Grey’s Anatomy" and "Private Practice" star Kate Walsh had to face her own health scare.

The actress told Cosmopolitan magazine last year that she had a benign tumor in her brain removed in 2015.

Now Walsh, 50, is prioritizing herself and encouraging other women to prioritize their health.

"You can never talk too much about how important it is for women to be proactive about their health," she told ABC News.

She was one of the many women -- along with Melissa Joan Hart, Tatyana Ali, and "The Bachelorette" star Rachel Lindsay -- to walk the catwalk at this year's Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection.

Held Thursday night inside New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, the American Heart Association's fashion show, which helps raise awareness for how heart disease affects women, kicked off New York
Fashion Week.

Walsh said that now her trick to self-care involves lots and lots of water.

"I walk around with this giant water bottle," the actress said. "It's a half-gallon. So if I make it through one of these a day, I'm doing great."

Walsh added that her water at times includes apple cider vinegar, lemons and astragalus root, which is considered by some to be an anti-aging and stress-reducing herb.

"I'm always keeping inflammation low," she explained of her additions.

Along with keeping a diet high in good fats and protein -- "tons of veggies," she said -- Walsh loves walking. In fact, it's one of the reasons why she moved back to New York, she said.

But just because she's focused on her health doesn't mean she doesn't splurge sometimes.

"I'm not going to stay away from my potato chips and by the way I love regular Doritos," she gushed. "I like the orange powder."

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