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U.S. 'diabetes belt' is identified
March 7th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

U.S. 'diabetes belt' is identified

Back in the 1960s, U.S.  health officials pinpointed the geographic area where the most strokes occurred, defining it as  the "stroke belt" to better understand the causes of that medical condition.  Now in April's issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers have been able to identify a "diabetes belt"  of 644 counties in 15 U.S. states. Located primarily in the southeastern part of the country, the belt defines where diabetes care and prevention are most needed.

“Identifying a diabetes belt by counties allows community leaders to identify regions most in need of efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes and to manage existing cases of the disease,” said lead investigator Dr. Lawrence E. Barker of the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. “Although many risk factors for type 2 diabetes can’t be changed, others can. Community design that promotes physical activity, along with improved access to healthy food, can encourage the healthy lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

How well are you managing your diabetes? Take this test

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Toll of teen eating disorders described
March 7th, 2011
05:14 PM ET

Toll of teen eating disorders described

Eating disorders are more prevalent in teens than previously thought, and the effect on their lives can be devastating, according to a study published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study examined the prevalence of eating disorders and similar behaviors in 10,123 teens between age 13 and 18 from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement. About 0.3% had anorexia, 0.9% developed bulimia and 1.6% experienced binge eating disorder in their lives.

Many teens had behaviors that mimic eating disorders.  This means they may have serious eating behaviors, but their symptoms do not meet all the criteria to fit the diagnosis for anorexia or bulimia as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual for mental health disorders.

This study found 0.8% of the participants had symptoms that came close to anorexia and 2.5% had symptoms resembling binge eating disorder. FULL POST


Cartoon characters alter kids' taste in cereal
March 7th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Cartoon characters alter kids' taste in cereal

Cartoon characters attracting kids to unhealthy cereal is nothing new, but a new report says the characters can actually influence the kids' perception of taste.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communications developed four make-believe cereal boxes – two marked "Healthy Bits," and two marked "Sugar Bits."

One box of Healthy Bits and one box of Sugar Bits each featured the penguins from the movie "Happy Feet," and children were asked to try the cereals.

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Mediterranean diet cuts heart, diabetes risk factors
March 7th, 2011
04:17 PM ET

Mediterranean diet cuts heart, diabetes risk factors

By now, you've probably heard all the buzz about the Mediterranean diet, or perhaps you've tried it. Aside from helping to prevent the metabolic syndrome- a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes- a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says, the diet can have positive global effects on the individual risk factors: low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and a high blood sugar rate, as seen by your doctor through a blood test. In addition, waist size is a risk factor- a waist more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men is of concern.

The syndrome is present when someone has three of those five risk factors.

"[The study is] one of the first studies that evaluated the role of Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome, and revealed a beneficial association- quite a big influence, taking into account that the Mediterranean diet is a non-pharmacological mean," said study author Demosthenes Panagiotakos, from the Department of Science of Dietetics-Nutrition at Harokopio University of Athens in Greece.

Take this test to see how well you're managing your diabetes FULL POST


March 7th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

How can I get my underweight toddler to eat?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Asked by Pruth, Wood-Ridge, New Jersey

I have a 3½-year-old daughter who weighs 26 pounds. She does not eat by herself and when I feed her, eats very little. She gets tired easily and remains very cranky. How can I encourage her to eat?

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Filed under: Children's Health • Healthy Eating

March 7th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Pregnant women: Secondhand smoke can harm your unborn baby

Even if you don't smoke when you're pregnant, just being around smokers, can increase the risk of harming your future baby, according to a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Researchers found exposure to secondhand smoke increased a non-smoking pregnant woman's chances of having a stillborn by 23 percent, and increased the risk of delivering a baby with birth defects by 13 percent.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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