The Girl Scouts this year launched a pilot program to have some councils sell gluten-free chocolate chip shortbread cookies. Stewart Goodbody of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. said the organization asked a company that makes its cookies to consider a gluten-free one because of the many food allergies affecting children and adults. The gluten-free cookies are made with rice and tapioca flour.
More fresh, local fruits and vegetables are being added to lunchroom menus at thousands of schools across the U.S. in a bid to curb rising obesity rates and promote healthier eating habits. Fifteen school systems are working with the Department of Agriculture to strengthen the farm-to-school programs.
U.S. and British researchers who reviewed study data said diet and exercise should be the first choice in treating obese children, while weight-loss surgery should be a last resort due to the potential risks and the lack of evidence for long-term safety and efficacy. They also said drug treatment should be used rarely and only among the most severely obese.
A study found pregnant women who took 4,000 international units of vitamin D daily in their second and third trimesters were not harmed and had one-half the rate of complications, such as gestational diabetes and preterm birth, as women who took 400 IU. Researchers said based on the data, they recommend pregnant women take the larger amount, which is about 10 times the current recommendation.
IBM is starting a multiyear research initiative that seeks to find ways to boost human health by integrating and analyzing information from various sources to simulate cause-and-effect relationships. Called SPLASH, the project initially will consolidate and examine data to simulate the impact of exercise and eating habits, socio-economic status, and other factors on childhood obesity.