ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
The Raw Food Diet
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Air Pollution Exposure May Slow Fetal Growth
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
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Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- When the New York City Health Department mandated that city restaurants change their menus to restrict trans fats, known to be a health hazard, the action was greeted with resistance and grumbling.

"There were the usual 'nanny state' comments," said Dr. Lynn Silver, assistant commissioner of the department's Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control.

Initially, the campaign was voluntary, Silver said. "But after one year, there was no change," she said, so public health officials decided to make the ban mandatory.

In December 2006, the city required that artificial trans fats be phased out of restaurant food, and the mandate was in full effect by November 2008. Silver and colleagues from the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report on the effort in the July 21 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

And they deem it a success. Total saturated fat and trans fat in French fries, for instance, decreased by more than 50 percent in New York City restaurants, according to the report. Overall, the health officials found, the use of trans fats for frying, baking or cooking and in spreads declined from 50 percent to less than 2 percent.

Consumers didn't seem to mind. "It became clear that trans fats were being successfully replaced, and no one noticed the difference," Silver said. "Foods tasted just as good, and diners are healthier."

Trans fats were often used, she said, because they last longer than traditional vegetable oil, but "there was nothing terribly delicious about trans fat."

Trans fats, also call partially hydrogenated oils, are made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. The fats are commonly found in French fries, doughnuts and baked goods, as well as margarine and shortening.

The problem with trans fats, Silver and her colleagues wrote in their report, is that increasing intake by just 2 percent can increase the risk for a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem by as much as 23 percent. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels.

Restaurants' fears that diners would protest or the ban would affect business didn't happen, Silver said, and the good news for restaurant patrons is that they don't have to guess about what they're eating as much as they once did.

Silver said the idea seems to be catching on, too. At least 13 jurisdictions, including California, have adopted similar laws since New York's took effect, she said.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted in an editorial accompanying the report that Tiburon, a small community north of San Francisco, actually restricted trans fats in its 18 restaurants as early as 2003.

"The scientific rationale for eliminating exposure to artificial trans fatty acids in foods is rock solid," she wrote. Not only do they not have health benefits, but they are harmful, she said.

Though some experts have called for federal intervention to restrict trans fats, Gerberding said that idea "seems premature," but she doesn't rule it out for the future. Among other actions, she said, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could enhance educational efforts to inform consumers about the risk.

Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and a past president of the American Dietetic Association, said that banning fats is not enough.

"While mandatory elimination of trans fats can help reduce intake, consumer understanding about healthy food choices is essential," Diekman said. Healthful eating is a joint responsibility, she said, shared by food processors, providers, health-care professionals and consumers.

Silver took it a step further. She compared the trans fat restriction to an earlier public health decision to remove lead from paint, now known to be a health hazard, especially for children.

And once those health risks were known, she said, "you really wouldn't ask a parent to choose a paint with lead or without."

SOURCES: Lynn Silver, M.D., M.P.H., assistant commissioner, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Department of Health, New York City; Connie Diekman, M.Ed., R.D., director, university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis; July 21, 2009, Annals of Internal Medicine