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Oct 07, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- OBESITY ALSO A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE

Much of the attention on U.S. obesity has centered on the health effects, but Dr. David Baron says it's also a mental health issue. "Many children, teens and adults who suffer with weight problems have emotional issues," says Baron, chair of the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. "They don't feel good about themselves or their condition." Baron says although poor diet, a lack of exercise, stress, busy lifestyles, and physical and emotional exhaustion often sabotage even the best intentions to lose weight, but he says people can achieve successful weight loss.


Trying to find healthy meals while traveling in the United States is the goal of the book "Healthy Highways: The Travelers' Guide to Healthy Eating." Food writers Nikki and David Goldbeck offer travelers 1,900 health-oriented eateries and natural food stores in all 50 states. Every listing is keyed to state maps and includes local directions from the nearest highway or main road. Among the choices are: innovative health-conscious restaurant chains, beachside and open air venues, vegetarian street carts, all-vegetarian hospital and university cafeterias, ethnic restaurants, clubs, and pubs and haute cuisine "tasting menus." The book is available in bookstores or natural food stores for $18.95 or from the publisher at (888) 804-8848.


Civil servants at the lower end of the employment scale in London were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Meena Kumari, of University College London, finds after an average follow-up time of 10.5 years, 4 percent of the participants -- 242 men and 119 women -- developed diabetes. The study finds the male British government workers in lower employment grades had almost three times the risk of developing diabetes. The women had a 70 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than participants in higher employment grades. "We have demonstrated that there is a social gradient in incidence of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged men and women in white-collar occupations," the authors write in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


The risk of acquiring HIV through a blood transfusion in the Unites States has been reduced to almost 1 in 900,000. Blood safety is always a concern but Hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers, or HBOCs, are an alternative to donor blood, according to findings published in Artificial Organs. In addition to minimizing blood-borne exposure to HIV and West Nile virus, HBOCs can be stored longer than the five-week shelf-life of human red blood cells, says study author Dr. A. G. Greenburg. If approved, HBOCs will help alleviate shortages in the donor blood supply, but they are not permanent substitutes because they don't stay in the circulation as long as red cells or contain clotting factors, Greenburg explains.

(EDITORS: For more information on OBESITY contact Vivica Aycox, (215)707-7790 or For 'HEALTHY HIGHWAYS,' Scott Anderson at (845) 679-5573. For DIABETES, Meena Kumari at For BLOOD, Sharon Agsalda at (781) 388-8507 or

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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