Obesity In Children
Official: obesity risk to half of all children
"The [British] government has admitted for the first time that almost half of all children will be dangerously overweight by 2050 if drastic action is not taken to halt the growth in childhood obesity."
Jane Wardle says obesity rates
started to rise soon after 1984
- around the time of the rapid spread of microwave ownership. In 1980, 8% of women and 6% of men were classified as obese. By 2004
this had increased to 24% of men and women....Professor Wardle who is professor of
clinical psychology at University College London said: 'I looked at the figures showing
rates of obesity in the population over many years and it seem very clear it began between
1984 and 1987. So then we looked at what changes were
going on in the food and activity world at that time and one of the striking changes was
there were differences in the speed with which we could prepare a meal as a consequence of
the introduction of microwaves."
"The first citizens' jury will
meet this week to discuss youth and children's issues."
Gordon Brown appoints Tory advisers
Daily Telegraph, 3 September 2007
"A celebrity chef is in hot water
with parents after sparking a culinary row by saying that making
microwave food for children is an 'act of hate'. Instead
Raymond Blanc has argued that parents should take the time to cook their children fresh
food.... the National Family and Parenting Institute (NFPI) says knocking convenience food
is unfair on busy parents. However Mr Blanc stood by his comments made during his book
launch in Manchester earlier this week. 'Such food is full of additives and colourings and
has very little taste and very little nutritional value. An act of love is when you cook
for your children or your family,' he told Today. However, he accepted that the modern
fast pace of life left little time for parents to spend slaving away in the kitchen."
Chef sparks microwave meals row
BBC Online, 3 October 2001
Yet People Have More Leisure Time Than They Used To
have more leisure time than they used to. This is partly due
to technological progress. Less time is spent on household
chores because of various household durables which we now
take for granted. The Family Resources Survey found that in 1998-99, 93 percent of
Scottish households had a washing machine and 89 per cent had a deep freeze/freezer. Over three-quarters of Scottish households had a microwave oven and almost a quarter had a dishwasher (Table 10.12)."
2001 Scottish Social Statistics, Scottish Executive
In This Bulletin
Fast Food Or Fast Neurons?
How Often Do You Test
'Now They Tell Us'
The Full Impact Of Major Changes In Food Culture Can Take Decades To Surface
have been warned of the effects of food additives on their children's behaviour after new
research found a possible link to hyperactivity. A
Food Standards Agency (FSA) study of 300 random children found they behaved impulsively
and lost concentration after a drink containing additives.... The FAS has met
representatives of the UK food industry to talk about the study's implications, but food
safety campaigners say it has not gone far enough. Emma Hockridge, of the Soil
Association, said the FSA should be taking a leading role in addressing the issue by
undertaking initiatives to prevent the development of hyperactive disorders, through new
policies to limit food additives. The Food Commission called on food manufacturers to
voluntarily remove additives from their products.... Lead researcher Professor Jim
Stevenson said the study, published in the Lancet, showed that certain mixtures of
artificial food colours, alongside sodium benzoate, a preservative used in ice cream and
confectionary, were linked to increases in hyperactivity. He added: 'However, parents
should not think that simply taking these additives out of food will prevent hyperactive
disorders. We know that many other influences are at work but this at least is one a child
can avoid.' He said it was not possible to say which of the ingredients in the additives
cocktail affected the children."
Parents warned of additives link
BBC Online, 6 September 2007
is more than 30 years since an American scientist,
Ben Feingold, first suggested that artificial food colours and other additives caused
overactive, impulsive and inattentive behaviour in children; this sort of hyperactivity is
known to be a marker for later educational difficulties, especially problems with reading,
and antisocial behaviour.... Since Feingold's original work, behavioural problems among
schoolchildren have risen, as have diagnoses of attention deficit and hyperactivity
disorder (see graph).... Experts were asking yesterday why it had taken the authorities so
long to act and why they had not gone further to remove the additives from food....
....The global additives market is worth more than $25bn (£12.4bn) a year. It grew by
2.4% a year between 2001 and 2004, when the food industry says it was transforming itself,
and is growing rapidly."
After 30 years of debate, fears over children's food confirmed
Guardian, 6 September 2007
Did Microwave Ovens 'Spark' Obesity?
|BBC Online, 6 June 2007
Did microwaves 'spark' obesity?
Microwaves may be to blame for kick-starting the obesity epidemic, a UK scientist suggests.
Professor Jane Wardle says obesity rates started to rise soon after 1984 - around the time of the rapid spread of microwave ownership.
The mid-1980s also saw the first ready-meals appearing in shops.
It is one of three theories being debated at Cheltenham Science Festival - alongside the rise of the supermarket and the end of the Second World War.
In 1980, 8% of women and 6% of men were classified as obese.
By 2004 this had increased to 24% of men and women.
Children are also suffering from increased levels of obesity, with 16% of children aged two to 15 classed as obese in 2003 compared with 10-12% in 1995.
Experts blame diets high in fat and calories combined with reduced levels of physical activity.
It is often reported that previous generations had a higher calorie intake but were much more active and had physically demanding jobs.
The three experts taking part in the debate were asked to determine when the nation's waistline began to expand and what the trigger was.
Professor Wardle who is professor of clinical psychology at University College London said: "I looked at the figures showing rates of obesity in the population over many years and it seem very clear it began between 1984 and 1987.
"So then we looked at what changes were going on in the food and activity world at that time and one of the striking changes was there were differences in the speed with which we could prepare a meal as a consequence of the introduction of microwaves."
She added that food also became cheaper and ready meals began to appear on supermarket shelves.
"I'm not trying to demonise the microwave but it was emblematic of a change that took place in the 1980s in terms of the availability of food - a real change in the disincentives for eating."
Also taking part in the debate is Professor Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University in London argues that the introduction of the supermarket is to blame.
"Co-op introduced the supermarket retail format to Britain, heralding the late 20th century food revolution in which prices have tumbled, car use rocketed, physical activity plummeted and the NHS was born which picks up the pieces."
Professor Ken Fox, professor of exercise and health science at the University of Bristol says the current obesity epidemic can be tracked back to 1945 and the end of the Second World War.
"The end of the war saw technology starting to replace physical effort in both work and leisure."
Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum said all the theories could have contributed to rising levels of obesity and there was no one cause.
"Microwaves are a double-edged sword because they are also a very healthy way of cooking food and supermarkets sell healthy food if people choose to buy it."
He said the end of the Second World War could be important because of the end of rationing.
"We're the only generation where there's never been a shortage of food, so that's a major thing."
More Microwave Ovens
|Durable goods||Percentage of Scottish households with selected durable goods|
|Compact disc player||
Fast Food Or Fast Neurons?
Microwave Irradiation May Influence Brain Function And Obesity
"To clarify neuronal disturbance in the hypothalamus reflecting the
development of obesity in ventromedial hypothalamic
nucleus (VMH)-lesioned rats, we investigated the contents of neurotransmitters in the
hypothalamus after pretreatment by microwave
irradiation, contents of neurotransmitter
metabolites in third ventricle fluid and catecholamine contents in the adrenal gland.....
These results indicate that a disturbance of NE and
DA neurons in the hypothalamus is involved in the development of VMH lesion-induced
obesity. In addition, an increment of the activities
of NE and DA systems in the central nervous system as a whole and some irregularity in the
sympatho-adrenal system might contribute to VMH obesity."
Aspects of hypothalamic neuronal systems in VMH lesion-induced obese rats
Journal Of The Autonomic Nervous System, 1994 Aug; 48(3):213-9
How Often Do You
Your Microwave Oven For Radiation Leakage?
Technical Standards Set A Limit For
Microwave Oven Radiation Leakage
Properly Constructed And Maintained Ovens Should Not Leak High Levels Of Microwave Radiation
But How Many People Get Their Ovens Regularly Tested For Leakage?
we use our microwave oven for longer than about 30 seconds, our car's alarm goes off. Why?
The car is at least 20 metres away through two walls.
The inside of the microwave is a little corroded and the car has a remote central locking/alarm system. Certain car
alarms, such as those fitted to recent Mazda 6, Toyota Rav4 and Mitsubishi Shogun models,
transmit a continuous signal at 2.45 gigahertz at powers of up to 500 milliwatts. The
microwaves are picked up by sensors inside the vehicle, which detect changes in intensity
to signal the presence of intruders. Microwave ovens also operate at 2.45 GHz. While the
power radiated within the oven is typically in the range 600 to 800 watts, the amount
radiated outside the appliance will typically be less than a watt. When your oven is in
operation, the microwaves reaching your car may be powerful enough to trigger the sensors
inside it, which the alarm system interprets as a disturbance within the vehicle. It is
possible to set a car alarm so that the internal signal generator is disabled. You might also want to have your microwave oven serviced in case
there is a serious leak of radiation. If your
microwave has damaged shielding the radiated power could be higher than the values
New Scientist, 3 February 2007
"All ovens must have a label stating
that they meet the safety standard. In addition, FDA requires that all ovens have a label
explaining precautions for use. This requirement may be dropped if the manufacturer has
proven that the oven will not exceed the allowable leakage limit even if used under the
conditions cautioned against on the label. To make sure the standard is met, FDA tests
microwave ovens in commercial establishments, dealer and distributor premises,
manufacturing plants, and its own laboratories. FDA also evaluates manufacturers'
radiation testing and quality control programs. Although FDA believes the standard assures
that microwave ovens do not present any radiation hazard, the Agency continues to reassess
its adequacy as new information becomes available. Much research is under way on
microwaves and how they might affect the human body. It is known that microwave radiation
can heat body tissue the same way it heats food. Exposure to high levels of microwaves can
cause a painful burn. The lens of the eye is particularly sensitive to intense heat, and
exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause cataracts. Likewise, the testes are very
sensitive to changes in temperature. Accidental exposure to high levels of microwave
energy can alter or kill sperm, producing temporary sterility. But these types of injuries
- burns, cataracts, temporary sterility - can only be caused by exposure to large amounts
of microwave radiation, much more than the 5mW limit
for microwave oven leakage. Less is known about what happens to people exposed to
low levels of microwaves. Controlled, long-term studies involving large numbers of people
have not been conducted to assess the impact of low level microwave energy on humans. Much research has been done with experimental animals, but it is
difficult to translate the effects of microwaves on animals to possible effects on humans.
For one thing, there are differences in the way animals and humans absorb microwaves. For
another, experimental conditions can't exactly simulate the conditions under which people
use microwave ovens. However, these studies do help us better understand the possible
effects of radiation. The fact that many scientific
questions about exposure to low-levels of microwaves are not yet answered require FDA to
continue to enforcement of radiation protection requirements.... There is little cause for concern about excess microwaves leaking
from ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals
are damaged. In FDA's experience, most ovens tested
show little or no detectable microwave leakage. If there is some problem and you believe
your oven might be leaking excessive microwaves, contact the oven manufacturer, a
microwave oven service organization, your state health department, or the nearest FDA
office. A word of caution about the microwave testing
devices being sold to consumers: FDA has tested a number of these devices and found them
generally inaccurate and unreliable. If used, they
should be relied on only for a very approximate reading. The sophisticated testing devices
used by public health authorities to measure oven leakage are far more accurate and are
periodically tested and calibrated."
Microwave Oven Radiation
United States Food And Drug Administration, 14 July 2006
"When used according to manufacturers'
instructions, microwave ovens are safe and convenient for heating and cooking a variety of
foods. However, several precautions need to be taken, specifically with regards to
potential exposure to microwaves. The design of microwave ovens ensures that the
microwaves are contained within the oven and can only be present when the oven is switched
on and the door is shut. Leakage around and through the glass door is limited by design to
a level well below that recommended by international standards. However, microwave leakage
could still occur around damaged, dirty or modified microwave ovens. It is therefore important that the oven is maintained in good
condition. Users should check that the door closes
properly and that the safety interlock devices, fitted to the door to prevent microwaves
from being generated while it is open, work correctly. The
door seals should be kept clean and there should be no visible signs of damage to the
seals or the outer casing of the oven."
Electromagnetic fields & public health: Microwave ovens
World Health Organisation Fact Sheet, February 2005
"Microwave ovens are being used
increasingly for industrial purposes, for catering and in the home. They are more
economical than conventional ovens - and have many other advantages too. The microwaves
penetrate about half to two inches into the food. However, that the electromagnetic field
intensities employed are potentially dangerous and precautions are essential to limit any leakage to a
biologically safe value (less than l0mW/cm2). To prove and demonstrate the safety
effectiveness of the design and manufacture of microwave ovens, and to check that this
effectiveness is maintained, periodical checks with a
suitable electromagnetic leakage monitor are recommended. The Department has microwave leakage detector available specifically for
this purpose. A simple hand-held instrument, it enables checks to be made in situ at the
door and inspection cover seals, oven cavities and from the unit used to generate the
microwave power. It is important you regularly check
the microwave seals to prevent a build up of dirt which may prevent the door closing
Microwave Leakage Detection
States of Jersey, 2007
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