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Jul 25, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- COLLEGE DINING HALLS CONTRIBUTE TO 'FRESHMAN 15'

Buffet-style dining at colleges accounts for some of the infamous "freshman 15" pounds new students tend to add to their waistlines. "Significant weight gain during the first semester of college is a real phenomenon, with breakfast and lunch at all-you-can-eat dining facilities accounting for 20 percent of the weight gain," said David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell University. Levitsky and a former student also found Cornell freshmen gain an average of 4.2 pounds in their first 12 weeks on campus. Sixty Cornell freshmen participated in the study. On average, they weighed in each week 0.3 pounds heavier than the week before. It might not seem like much, but it is nearly 11 times more than expected and almost 20 times more than the average weight gain of an American adult. The 0.3 pounds per week could have "enormous cumulative consequences on weight," Levitsky said.


Researchers found some cigarettes have 10 to 20 times more 'free-base' nicotine -- the form thought to be most addictive -- than previously thought. They analyzed the smoke of popular cigarette brands and "found big differences in the percentages of free-base nicotine among 11 commercial cigarette brands," said James Pankow, professor of environmental and biomolecular systems at Oregon Health and Science University. Percentages of free-base nicotine ranged from 1 percent in a few puffs to 36 percent for a specialty brand. The leading brand of king-sized filter cigarettes, Marlboro, checked in with about 10 percent free-base nicotine, Pankow said. Nicotine addiction expert Dr. Neal Benowitz of the University of California, San Francisco, noted the research is a good springboard for future studies into the addictiveness of different cigarette brands. The results were published in the online edition of the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.


People with large pupils, previously not considered good candidates for laser eye surgergy, can now undergo the procedure with better results, a new study shows. The research evaluated the expansion of the laser treatment zone on the underlying layers of the cornea. By using a larger zone, surgeons can avoid inducing night vision disturbances such as haloes and glares, often experienced by patients with large pupils. For the study, 352 eyes of 185 patients underwent the new LASIK technique to correct their nearsightedness or nearsightedness with astigmatism. Among those with nearsightedness, nearly 56 percent achieved 20/20 vision or better. Among those with nearsightedness with astigmatism, nearly 62 percent had these results. Dr. Boxer Wachler, a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center, said about 50 percent of LASIK patients have large pupils and would benefit from surgeons using a larger treatment zone.


In a new report, the Food and Drug Administration has detailed progress toward improving the nation's food security. According to the report, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of examinations of imported food, raising the number of inspections to 62,000 so far this year compared with 12,000 in all of 2001. "Americans need to feel secure that the food they eat is safe and healthy," Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said. On the same day the FDA report was released, Thompson announced $5 million in funding to support the development of new ways to protect the nation's food supply. The FDA plans to spend some of the funds to improve detection of chemical, biological and radiological agents in foods.

(Editors: For more information on BINGE EATING, contact Susan Lang at 607-255-3613 or For NICOTINE, Mike MacRae at 503-748-1042 or For LASIK, media relations at 415-561-8534 or For FDA, the agency's press office at 301-827-6242)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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