Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Don't Play Politics with our Children's Health PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Friday, 30 May 2014 09:28

By Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman


Politics should never trump sound policy, particularly when it comes to our kids.


Four years ago, Congress, in a strong bipartisan effort, committed to America’s children that they would enjoy healthier and more nutritious meals at school. Sadly, just as we are beginning to see the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 succeed, some in Congress want to step back from that commitment.


Now is not the time to backpedal on a healthier future for our kids. Two-thirds of adults and one-third of American children are overweight or obese. The cost of treating obesity-related illnesses is $190.2 billion per year, dragging down our economy and increasing budget deficits. If nothing changes, this generation of children will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.

Thanks to HHFKA, parents, teachers, school nutrition professionals, doctors, nutritionists and USDA have implemented science-based nutrition standards based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that make the school environment healthier for millions of American children.

Replacing fat-, sugar- and sodium-laden meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods at school should be a no-brainer. Access to nutritious meals reduces the risk of diet-related health problems and gives our kids a fair shot at a healthier, more productive future.

It is outrageous, then, that certain members of Congress are now attempting to undo the progress we’ve made since the passage of the law.

Our nation's schools and schoolchildren are thriving under the new standards. School lunch revenue is up. A recent Harvard study showed that, thanks to the new standards, kids are now eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit at lunch—astounding progress in just two years. Some predicted kids would reject healthy food and throw more food away, but the same study showed the critics were wrong.

These changes haven't happened overnight. USDA has listened carefully to schools and provided time, flexibility, guidance and additional funding where needed. As a result, more than 90 percent of schools across the country are now meeting the standards. Kids are eating healthier in those schools because of it.  There's no reason to turn back the clock now.

Yet, some in Washington want the power to overrule experts and decide for themselves what goes on the lunch tray of school children. Our position is that pediatricians know better than politicians what's healthy for our kids.

It will take persistence and strong leadership by families, schools, states and USDA to ensure continued success in the fight for a healthier next generation. We stand ready for the challenge and we expect our Congressional leaders to do the same. Anything less would be a betrayal to our nation’s children.

3 Simple Things You Can Do Today to Feel Better Tomorrow PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 30 May 2014 08:54

Doctor Outlines Easy Changes That Can Vastly Improve Health, Happiness and Well-Being

“Imagine you’re a spider with just one leg,” says Dr. Frank King.

“You put forth immense effort to try to haul yourself around and not only does it wear you out, it’s frustrating and you don’t get far.” King is a chiropractor and doctor of naturopathy specializing in homeopathic remedies, and author of The Healing Revolution (

“It gets a bit easier with two legs and easier still with four legs. But it’s not till you have all eight legs that you can really dance.”

Dr. King explains that the eight legs represent Eight Essentials we need for optimum mental, physical and spiritual health: Empowering your human spirit; Water; Nutrition; Fitness; Sleep; Nature; Relationships; and Hands On Techniques (touch).

“It would be overwhelming and self-defeating to look at all eight areas and think, ‘I have to make significant changes in every area immediately!” Dr. King says. “You don’t have to and who could? I know from my experience with countless patients and friends, and even in my own life, that you can see immediate results by making a few small changes at a time.”

Dr. King describes three that are easy to make and will have you feeling better quickly.

•  Drink half your body weight in ounces of spring or well water every day.
If you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water (about 9 cups).

“Many of us walk around dehydrated without realizing it and that can have a significant effect on our health and how we feel,” Dr. King says. Dehydrated bodies trap toxins and encourage water retention – a natural defense against the chronic “drought.”

“Our bodies need the steady flow of pure, spring or well water. If you don’t like the taste, try mixing up to a teaspoon of sea salt into a quart of water,” he says.

A simple test for dehydration: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for three seconds. When you release, if the ridge from the pinch remains for more than a second, you’re probably dehydrated.

•  Take at least a few minutes every day to connect with nature.Nature brings perpetual revitalization and ongoing renewal, especially when experienced through multiple senses:  the smell of freshly turned earth or evergreens in the woods; the touch of cool stream water on your face or feet; the sight of birds on the wing and budding blooms.

“These are not just pleasant little gifts to experience – we need them for restoration, renewal, revival and rehabilitation,” Dr. King says. “The more disconnected we become from the Earth, the more we inhibit our body’s natural ability to heal.”

•  Take a brisk, 10- to 20-minute walk every day. Walking is the simplest, most natural form of exercise. You might walk a nature trail, walk to the store instead of driving or take your pet for a stroll.

“Three brisk 10-minute walks a day are as effective at lowering blood pressure as one 30-minute walk,” Dr. King says, citing an Arizona State University study.

“Outdoor walking is preferable to walking on a treadmill or other machine, since the uneven surfaces and changing directions of natural walking will engage more muscles and tendons.”

Swing each arm in synchronization with the opposite foot to strengthen your cross-crawl functionality and mind-body balance.

About Dr. Frank King

Dr. Frank King is a chiropractor, doctor of naturopathy, and founder and president of King Bio, an FDA-registered pharmaceutical manufacturing company dedicated to education, research, development, manufacture and distribution of safe and natural homeopathic medicines for people and pets. Dr. King is also the author of,The Healing Revolution: Eight Essentials to Awaken Abundant Life Naturally!( A fourth-generation farmer, Dr. King raises yak, camel, boar, wisent and American bison sold under the Carolina Bison brand. He is a member of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States.

Gov. Branstad announces formal signings for the Medical Cannabidiol Act, HIV transmission bill and environmental testing services and motorsport regulation bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:13

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced he will hold formal signings on Friday, May 30, 2014, for the Medical Cannabidiol Act, HIV transmission bill and environmental testing services and motorsport regulation bill.

The following bill signings are open to credentialed members of the press:

Friday, May 30, 2014 


2:05 p.m. Gov. Branstad signs environmental testing services and motorsport regulation bill

Governor’s Formal Office

State Capitol

Des Moines, IA


2:15 p.m. Gov. Branstad signs HIV transmission bill

Governor’s Formal Office

State Capitol

Des Moines, IA


2:30 p.m. Gov. Branstad signs the Medical Cannabidiol Act

1st Floor Rotunda

State Capitol

Des Moines, IA


The bills and their summaries can be found below:

Senate File 2364 an Act relating to state regulatory matters by exempting from sales tax the furnishing of certain environmental testing services, modifying the registration and regulation of motorsports recreational vehicles, recreational vehicle operators, and recreational vehicle cargo, and including fees, penalties, and effective date provisions.

Senate File 2297: an Act relating to the criminal transmission of a contagious or infectious disease, providing penalties, and including effective date provision.

Senate File 2360: an Act creating the Medical Cannabidiol Act and providing penalties.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Pediatrician and School Nutrition Director to Host Media Call on Need to Protect Child Nutrition Standards PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:09
WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014- TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Dr. Robert Murray, the President-Elect of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Donna West, a child nutrition manager at Brownwood Elementary School in Scottsboro, AL will host a media call to discuss the need to protect the childhood nutrition standards that are helping provide kids with more fruits and vegetables. They will discuss the healthcare implications of childhood obesity, which has doubled during the past 30 years.

According to Cornell University researchers, the estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion, or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States.  A separate Duke University study indicates that childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
1 p.m. EDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,  Dr. Robert Murray, the President-Elect of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Donna West, a child nutrition manager at Brownwood Elementary School in Scottsboro, AL will host a media call to discuss the need to protect the childhood nutrition standards that are helping provide kids with more fruits and vegetables.     

Robots in the Operating Room PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 14:24

‘A Robot Operated on My Hernia’
Tarpon Springs Surgeon Debunks This & Other Myths About Robots in the O.R.

Robotics-assisted surgery has become enormously popular, with physicians around the world performing 1.5 million procedures – from hysterectomies to heart valve repairs – in 2011.

“But myths and misconceptions about robots in the operating room still abound,” says physician Dr. Keith Chisholm, MD, a Board Certified General Surgeon on staff at Florida Hospital North Pinellas, (

“One is that the robot performs the surgery – ‘a robot operated on my hernia,’ ” says Dr. Chisholm. “Technically, it’s not a robot because it can’t perform surgery without someone controlling it – it’s actually computer-assisted surgery. The surgeon guides all of the movements using finger-manipulated controls.”

He and other robotics surgeons use the da Vinci Surgical System, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for minimally invasive surgeries in 2000. Nine years later, the da Vinci was being used in 80 percent of surgeries to remove cancerous prostates, according to its maker, Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

“The benefits of robotics-assisted surgery are numerous”, says Dr. Chisholm, who performs several different procedures using da Vinci and became the first Pinellas-Pasco physician to use it for a single-incision cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal).

“The robotic arms hold miniaturized surgical instruments, so we can get in through very small incisions,” he says. “That means there’s less chance of infection, less pain, much less scarring and a quicker recovery time. Because the arms have ‘wrists’ that can rotate more than 360 degrees, we have far more maneuverability than we do with laparoscopic surgery, and we can get into hard-to-reach areas.”

“One of the robotic arms holds a magnified 3D high-definition camera, which gives us a much better view of the surgical site than we would have with just our own two eyes.”

In a 2013 FDA survey, surgeons experienced with da Vinci said their patients have less bleeding, fewer complications, much quicker recovery times and less time in the hospital – 24 hours on average. Interestingly, those who used da Vinci to remove advanced cancer in the tonsils region of the throat said half of their patients were able to avoid chemotherapy.

What are some other myths and misconceptions?

•  Myth: Robotics-assisted surgery costs much more than traditional surgery.
A study published in July 2013 found that half of the minimally invasive procedures reviewed, including robotics-assisted and laparoscopic surgeries, cost insurance providers less than the same surgeries performed in the traditional manner. Four of the six minimally invasive surgeries also resulted in fewer lost work days – sometimes several weeks fewer.

“The robotics technology is expensive and the whole surgical team has to be trained, which can add to the cost,” says Dr. Chisholm. “But there’s also a tremendous savings compared with traditional surgery because the patient is out of the hospital more quickly and there are fewer complications.”

(Study conducted by University of Pennsylvania health economist Andrew J. Epstein and published in JAMA Surgery.)

•  Myth: Robotics-assisted surgery is riskier than traditional surgeries.
Any surgery has certain risks, but in many ways, robotics-assisted surgeries have fewer overall, Dr. Chisholm says.

“Many times, the robotics-assisted procedures can be done much more quickly, so there’s less risk simply because the duration of the procedure is shorter,” he says. “You also have the smaller incisions, less bleeding, etc. that reduce the risks.”

In addition, the Tampa Bay area is fortunate to have the cutting-edge 2-year-old Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) operated by the University of South Florida.

“Our surgical teams have easy access to training, practice with simulators and continuing education, so we’re extremely well-prepared,” Dr. Chisholm says.

About Dr. Keith Chisholm

Dr. Keith Chisholm graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Medical School and went on to residency training at the University of Florida, becoming an assistant adjunct professor and attending surgeon at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla. He’s believed to have performed the first laparoscopic colon resection in the UF surgical department. From laparoscopy to robotics-assisted surgery was a natural advance for Chisholm, who has a private practice in Trinity, Fla., and is among the robotics-certified surgeons with privileges at Florida Hospital North Pinellas, (

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