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expert-perspectives

U of M expert: The evidence is in (again). Vaccines are safe

In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published fraudulent evidence blaming the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination as the cause of autism in young children, prompting parents around the world to stop vaccinating their children. Despite the fact the paper was retracted, the damage was done and the anti-vaccine movement is still prevalent today.

CNN recently addressed the issue of vaccination refusal, and stated once again that children should be vaccinated. Period.

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news-and-notes

How to stay healthy while fasting

With the Muslim observance of Ramadan beginning this Saturday, Health Talk thought it’d be a great time to address best practices for staying safe and healthy during periods of fasting.

For health tips to follow during the next month’s sunup to sundown abstinence from food, Health Talk turned to Community-University Health Care Center medical director Roli Dwivedi, M.D. Not only does Dwivedi educate fellow health care professionals in care modifications for Ramadan, she also sees Ramadan-observing patients in clinic.

Here’s what Dwivedi had to say:

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research-and-clinical-trials

Alarming number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans struggle accessing enough food

As many as 1 in 4 men and women who served in the U.S. military during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have difficulties accessing sufficient food, found new research from the University of Minnesota.

The study indicates limited or uncertain access to adequate food is a prevalent problem among the newest U.S. veterans, a previously unknown facet of the financial hardships affecting veterans.

“We found that 27 percent of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have consistent access to sufficient food,” said lead author Rachel Widome, Ph.D., in University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “That’s drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.”

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research-and-clinical-trials

Active lifestyle: Good for the body and the brain

University of Minnesota researchers have good news for young adults who lead an active lifestyle: By staying active today, you may actually be preserving your memory and thinking skills in middle age.

The findings are most important for the young adults on the low and moderate end of fitness; the people with higher levels of fitness are already doing it right.

“Many studies show the benefits to the brain of good heart health,” said study author David R. Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes.”

Jacobs emphasizes that for those on the lower end of fitness, cardio fitness activities themselves may even not be needed; just moving around in daily life and staying active can improve your future outlook.

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nutrition

Taking a deeper dive into the latest CDC obesity data

Given the intense volume of media coverage this week around the CDC’s latest report on obesity in the U.S., many in the public now know that obesity rates among children aged two to five have fallen over the last decade, a key takeaway from the report.

The media’s interpretation and coverage of that particular point has varied widely; some headlines celebrated the shift as a positive as others focused on the statistic as a lone bright spot among otherwise unchanging obesity rates. As is often the case, perusing multiple media stories – even around the same issue – can generate a feeling of “OK, what’s really going on?”

According to Simone French, Ph.D., a University of Minnesota epidemiologist and obesity prevention expert, a deeper dive into the study is critical for a thorough understanding of what the study actually tells us about obesity trends in the U.S. She points out that where some may see stalled obesity rates as a negative, the flat rates could actually be viewed as a sign of progress.

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expert-perspectives

The potential dangers of dramatic weight loss

It’s a sad reality, but our society remains quick to judge others deemed “too skinny” or “too fat.”

Outside of perhaps high school hallways, nowhere is societal judgment more prevalent than on social media where the weight of celebrities is debated endlessly and jokes about the weight of others are posted with reckless abandon.

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