Food insecurity — lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life — is a serious and growing problem among the older adult population. About eight to 10 million people over age 65 struggle to find, pay for, prepare, or consume a nutritious, varied, balanced diet.
It’s a challenge that is expected to worsen as our population ages and socioeconomic disparities increase. Continue reading
Some of the most difficult research to make sense of comes from nutrition science. It is difficult, expensive and labor-intensive to conduct randomized controlled trials in nutrition, in part because they require randomizing what people eat and then ensuring they eat what they’re supposed to – no more and no less.
Even when such trials are finished (often at in-patient labs), the populations are usually small and somewhat homogenous, thus reducing the generalizability and overall clinical utility of results. Continue reading
Anyone who has covered medical research for a while knows how fraught it can be to report on vitamin supplements and “wonder” foods with antioxidants and other substances aside from FDA-regulated drugs.
Since the FDA does not regulate these products with the same guidelines and stringency as it does pharmaceuticals and medical devices, it can be harder to find solid data about them. Further, studies on them are frequently funded by supplement companies or food organizations with a vested interest in their effectiveness or benefits. In an additional complication, there’s a mythology surrounding vitamins that promotes two main ideas: the supplements almost always are beneficial, and even if they aren’t, can’t hurt anyway. Continue reading
Winners of the 2016 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards included science journalist Christie Aschwanden of FiveThirtyEight, who received the Silver Award in the online category for a three-part series that every health journalist would do well to read, reread and bookmark.
We previously praised how well she described p-hacking, study biases and other important concepts in understanding research for the first story, “Science Isn’t Broken.” Her second piece, “You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition,” was mentioned in a John Oliver show that we also featured. It used the absurdity of a link found in one study between eating cabbage and having an innie belly button to illustrate potential problems in observational studies about nutrition. Continue reading
Photo: Alyssa Bogesian, The GW HatchetVolunteer Justin Archangel helps stock shelves at George Washington University’s food pantry, The Store, which opened Oct. 1.
Attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C. costs $68,625 a year, or $274,500 for the four years it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, underscoring its reputation, as The Washington Post recently wrote, “as a pricey school for rich kids.”
However, this month the university in the heart of the nation’s capital opened a food pantry to help the growing number of students on its campus who struggle to afford both higher education and food, an essential component of good health and an area that often underscores the health divide. Continue reading
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDCPrevalence of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State and Territory
Obesity in older adults is a very real and growing challenge. Since 1991, there’s been a steady increase in obesity rates among both men and women in the 55 and older age bracket.
In just one year (from 2013 to 2014), a Gallup poll found that the greatest increase in obesity was among the 65-plus age group (from 26.3 to 27.9 percent). A small annual increase can result in a lot of extra pounds over the years. This likely will put the health system under additional strain as baby boomers age into Medicare and as people live longer with weight-related chronic disease. Continue reading