Insight News

Thursday
Nov 27th

Health

National AIDS Fund Applauds Release of National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS)

Pledges to Continue Leadership Role in Mobilizing the Private Sector In
Response to NHAS’ “Increasing Access To Care” Pillar


Last week’s release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) by the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) demonstrates the dedication and commitment of the Obama administration to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. The three pillars of the NHAS -- Reducing Incidence, Increasing Access to Care and Reducing Health Disparities – offer a blueprint for an effective response to the disease domestically, and an opportunity for all of us in the corporate, philanthropic and HIV communities to come together to establish clear goals and measurable outcomes to affect real change.
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Want to lose weight? Start walking now

It may sound simple, but walking is the single most-effective form of exercise to achieve heart health, plus it has the lowest drop-out rate of any activity, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). And, to make it easier for Minnesotans to take that first step, exercise physiologist Jenna Johnson says the AHA is offering tips via a website, www.StartWalkingNow.org. She claims that, almost immediately, people will notice changes if they begin a walking program.

"If people have not been very active, they are going to see some benefits right away. Even the day of the first walk you are going to feel better at the end of the walk. Taking a break at the end, you are going to feel more relaxed, more comfortable, but people will see benefits fairly quickly."
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Recycling plastic sandwich bags and wrap

Recycling plastic sandwich bags and wrapDear EarthTalk: Where do you recycle plastic stuff like sandwich bags, Saran wrap and plastic grocery store wrappers? Can they just go in with other plastics in the recycling bin? There never seems to be any information available about this. -- Renee La-Fountaine, Lake Hughes, CA

The reason you don’t hear much about recycling these types of plastic films is that most municipalities don’t take back items intended to wrap food. One exception may be sandwich bags, which are made from easy-to-recycle polyethylene, as long as any hard (i.e. “Ziploc”) components are removed and they are rinsed free of any food debris or stains.
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Weed killer cautions.

Weed killer cautions.Dear EarthTalk: Within my lawn I have over 100 citrus, mango and avocado trees. When I use Scott’s Bonus S Weed and Feed, am I feeding my new fruit any poison? Will the weed killer be taken up by the fruit? -- Richard Weissman, Miami, FL

In short, yes and yes: You will jeopardize the health of your fruit trees and your yard in general if you use such products. Scott’s Bonus S Weed and Feed, as well as many other “weed-and-feed” fertilizers (Vigero, Sam’s, etc.), contain the harsh chemical herbicide atrazine, which excels at terminating fast-growing weeds like dandelions and crabgrass but can also kill other desirable plants and trees and damage your entire yard as toxin-carrying root systems stretch underground in every corner and beyond.
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Building a "green economy."

Building a Dear EarthTalk: What does it mean when one uses the phrase, “building a green economy?” I’ve heard it repeated a few times lately and would like to have a better understanding of the concept.
-- Rosie Chang, Islip, NY


The phrase “building a green economy” means different things to different people, but in general it refers to encouraging economic development that prioritizes sustainability—that is, working with nature and not against it in the quest to meet peoples’ needs and wants—instead of disregarding environmental concerns in the process of growing the economy. The primary way governments around the world are trying to “green” their own economies today is by increasing investment in—and, by extension, creating jobs in—industries on the cutting edge of non-polluting renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind power.
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Which fish are safe to eat to avoid mercury?

Which fish are safe to eat to avoid mercury?Dear EarthTalk: I always thought eating fish was healthy, but now I’m concerned about mercury in tuna and other fish. Are there any fish that are still safe to eat? -- Brit Brundage, Fairfield, CT

You should be concerned about contaminants in certain fish, including some kinds of tuna. The non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recommends minimizing consumption of albacore (white) tuna, a large fish that accumulates moderate amounts of mercury in its fatty tissue. But other kinds of (smaller) tuna, such as skipjack (usually canned as “light”), which accumulates a third the amount of mercury as albacore, are OK to eat in moderation, though consumption by those under age seven should be limited.
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Sustainable sugar: An oxymoron?

Sustainable sugar: An oxymoron?Dear EarthTalk: I am a bartender in Sacramento and I would love to be able to use some sort of locally made or sustainable version of sugar. What’s out there? -- Ryan Seng, via e-mail

It sure would be nice if we could obtain all of our food and drink items from local sources, but sugar provides an excellent example of why such a desire may remain a pipe dream in the United States for a long time to come. The sugar we consume that is produced domestically comes from sugar cane grown in Hawaii and the Southeast and sugar beet from the Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest, California and elsewhere. However, it is likely milled and refined hundreds if not thousands of miles from where it is harvested, and then shipped all over the country—causing untold greenhouse gas emissions—in various sized packages for our consumption in our coffee, on our cereal and, for some of us, in our cocktails.
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