Fighting Obesity

first_imgThe University of Georgia has been awarded a two-year, $1.25 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to boost obesity prevention efforts in Georgia’s most affected rural counties, Calhoun and Taliaferro.UGA will work with county leaders and local stakeholders to improve nutrition and increase physical activity in projects called Healthier Together Calhoun and Healthier Together Taliaferro.Land-grant colleges and universities, located in states with counties with an adult obesity prevalence of over 40 percent, were able to apply for the special funding available through the CDC’s Programs to Reduce Obesity in High Obesity Areas.”To have a major impact on obesity, we must involve multiple sectors within communities – elected officials, churches, businesses, grocery stores and local health departments – and use multiple strategies,” said Marsha Davis, principal investigator of the project and associate dean of outreach and engagement at the UGA College of Public Health.The project will be led by the College of Public Health and UGA Cooperative Extension, an outreach unit of the university supported by specialists in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Additional partners include UGA’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a public service and outreach unit; local, district and state UGA Extension offices; local community organizations; and local, district and state public health departments.The primary goal of the project is to implement environmental changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity in places where children, youth and families spend their time. Proposed interventions involve working with schools, community organizations, local government and businesses to serve healthy food, sell healthy food, and create places to be physically active.”Obesity prevention needs to go beyond addressing individual behaviors. We must modify the environments in which we live that shape and support those behaviors,” Davis said. “We need to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.”These policy and environmental strategies will be bolstered by education and outreach services already in place in both counties and supported through UGA Extension including Georgia 4-H and Walk Georgia.”Health and wellness are major focus areas for UGA Extension programming and we in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are delighted to team up with the College of Public Health, the Fanning Institute and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences to address obesity,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean of UGA Extension. “Working together, we are all stronger and can better serve the citizens of Georgia.”The Fanning Institute, with its expertise in leadership development, training and education, will help facilitate the work of the community leaders and stakeholders to identify and support the programs promoting healthy eating and physical activity in their community.”We will engage leaders across all sectors of a community who can act to prevent obesity, help them evaluate their assets, and identify contributions they can make to create long-term, sustainable change for preventing obesity,” said Maritza Soto Keen, senior public service associate at the Fanning Institute.Obesity is one of the most daunting public health challenges facing Georgia. According to the 2015 State of Obesity Report by the Trust for Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Georgia ranked as the 19th most obese state in the U.S., with the 15th highest diabetes rate in the nation.”While our goal for this project is to decrease adult and childhood obesity in Calhoun and Taliaferro counties, 30 more rural counties in Georgia are confronting levels of obesity at or above 35 percent. We hope what we learn from this work will be a first step in addressing this issue statewide,” Davis said.last_img read more

We are losing our youths

first_imgDear Editor,My heart aches for the family and country as we lose another youth, another son, Rivaldo Williams, as a result of reckless crime caused by the menaces of society. It saddens me to learn of his tragic death, and the recent deaths of others just like him. I can only imagine what the respective families are feeling. What a horrible time for our youths, their families and the country as a whole. I honestly wish I could take away the pain.I pray that the family finds peace and comfort in the knowledge that he is now in the hands of God, and that he has received his eternal reward in Heaven.As an ardent and concerned member of society, a matter like this is a tremendous concern, and as such, I wish to draw the attention of the people of this country towards the increasing rate of rising youth crimes. From schools to their respective workplace, the crimes involving youths are increasing at a steady rate.This is not at all healthy for the development of our society and country, especially when the role of youths is to renew and refresh the current status of society. We need to understand that our youths are our greatest asset and as such, we as a people need to do everything possible to save them.The decline in moral character of youths is a cause of great concern. It is utterly disappointing to know that the crimes being committed by these youths are so horrifically cruel, barbaric and inhumane. It is really a sad state of affairs for our country.With a plethora of job opportunities available, I refuse to accept that there is a lack of job availability causing these youths to react in such barbaric behaviour. It is sad that they prefer such inhumane routes of gaining their income, rather than working for what they want. The most common misconception is that people assume someone becomes successful overnight. There is no fast track to success. This is not what people would want to hear but it is the truth.I believe that families, religious institutions, and the community have a direct impact on curbing the immature minds of our youths. They need to be taught to become more responsible in their actions, the people and environment they surround themselves in, as well as respecting the safety and protection of their fellow humankind.To the families and society that have lost their loved ones, all that I can say at this time is that I am terribly sorry that our political leaders do not seem to grasp the reality of crimes on youths and others, and the fact that we are losing our youths. No system has been created to give first-time offenders an opportunity to re-calibrate their lives.I have been talking about a creation of a boot camp for first-time offenders that will teach them trades, discipline – for example the drills without firearms, to create systems by which we find their skill set or personal strength so we can, as a nation, develop them and make them positive citizens of society.A mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s time for our political leaders to wake up and smell the coffee of reality because if these crimes are allowed unchecked, it will destroy the fabric of social mores.Sincerely,Roshan KhanChairman/FounderRK’s Guyana Security Serviceslast_img read more

People Can Be Devious Lab Rats (and Researchers)

first_imgHuman lab rats can fool human researchers, who in turn can fool the human public.  Honesty must be the only policy in science.Fraud by Lab RatsThe laugh is on psychologists who published a landmark longitudinal study in the 1990s about adolescent sexual attitudes.  Science Daily and Live Science reported that the “National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health” (nicknamed Add Health) was skewed by young pranksters who apparently lied on questionnaires about their sexual orientation, inflating the numbers of homosexuals and bisexuals from an expected one percent to 5-7 percent.  The psychologists were further surprised that large numbers of the self-reported nonheterosexuals reported going straight in the later years of the survey.  Surprised, the researchers published the results anyway.  Their “widely-cited” paper, based on 14,000 participants responding in four waves between 1994 and 2008, “led researchers, clinicians and policymakers to an inflated sense that gay youth are more suicidal, depressed and psychologically ill than are straight youth.”Only now are the researchers realizing that “they should have known something was amiss.”  It’s possible some of the adolescents didn’t understand the questions, but more likely, a follow-up study concluded, they were just joking, thinking it funny to pretend to be homosexual while answering the questions.  The report in Archives of Sexual Behavior is titled, “The Dubious Assessment of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Adolescents of Add Health.”  Because policymakers can be reluctant to question “scientific” results, “The possibility could have serious implications for a generation of researchers who study the data, and it may have broader implications for understanding teen love, health and sexuality, the researchers in the study say.”  The articles did not specifically mention any policies or laws enacted on the basis of the questionable data.Fraud by Lab ResearchersLast year saw the downfall of a number of psychologists caught fabricating and inflating their data.  Now, one geneticist is seeking a comeback after his humiliating downfall.  Science Insider says that Woo Suk Hwang, the Korean cloner who disgraced himself eight years ago with fraudulent papers about human embryonic stem cells (1/09/2006), is trying to redeem himself with his old specialty of cloning animals.  His scandal had caused some serious soul-searching by journals about scientific integrity (2/05/2006).  In Nature, David Cyranoski wrote more at length about Hwang’s redemption after “one of the most widely reported and universally disappointing cases of scientific fraud in history,” one his university president had called “an unwashable blemish on the whole scientific community as well as our country.”  How, then, can the blemish be washed?  Can the leopard change its spots?Hwang no longer works with human embryonic stem cells, but exercises his expertise with animal cloning.  He started, after all, as a veterinarian.  Still, he is a known liar.  He admitted to lying, but still maintains he really did create a line of hESCs.  He also blames his co-author for duping him.  He has spent no time in jail, despite a 3-year sentence (later reduced to 18 months, pending appeal).  Meanwhile, his lab, still staffed by some of his original colleagues during the scandal, is making good money cloning dogs and other animals – much of it supported with government grants.  The lab has published 40 peer-reviewed papers since the scandal.  “The fact that Hwang is being published in peer-reviewed journals is a sign that he is becoming accepted once more.”  His investors and colleagues seem to think that having been caught in such a high-profile scandal will keep him on best behavior, knowing he will be scrutinzed more carefully.  One partner was impressed with “how hard he works, and how passionate he is for science.”  Another scientist, though, is skeptical: “If you fabricated data once, how would one know that you will not do it again?”It is likely Hwang still feels the lure of fame for human therapeutic cloning.  The government has given him permission to work on human embryos – just not to clone them.  That hasn’t kept him from applying.  With hopes for redemption, the lure of fame, and enough ambiguity about some aspects of his retracted papers, will he once again be given trust by a public that sees this scientific hero as too high to fail?  More importantly, what’s the complaint about ethics of fraud in a field – human cloning – widely criticized by many ethicists as immoral?In passing, Cyranoski made this statement about the choice between human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC):Nevertheless, Woo Suk Hwang intends to return to human therapeutic cloning. But he may be trying to ride a wave that has already passed. A competing technology — induced pluripotency, discovered in 2006 — creates stem cells from adult cells, skirting the difficulty of sourcing human eggs and the controversy of embryo destruction. Even the announcement last year that a human stem-cell line had finally been created from a cloned embryo got a more muted reception than the carnival that greeted Hwang when he announced his now-discredited paper.In hindsight, it’s ironic that Hwang fell just months before the iPSC revolution.  Cyranoski’s words reinforce the theme that iPSCs appear to have rendered hESC work redundant if not irrelevant.  Since “therapeutic cloning” remains just as ethically controversial as before, one wonders why Hwang and others still pursue that path with such zeal.Update 1/22/14:  Nature published an editorial to correct a false impression some were getting from Cyranoski’s article that Hwang has been rehabilitated within the scientific community.  “Nothing could be further from the truth,” the editors say: nor should scientists rush to rehabilitate him.   The editors question the originality, impact, or scientific value of any of his work, and warn about Hwang’s apparent selfish motives to recover, an effort that some South Koreans seem too eager to accept for reasons of national pride.Update 1/29/14:  The whistleblower who alerted the media to the Hwang fraud told Nature about the threats and abuse he suffered as a result.  For daring to expose a South Korean star scientist, Young-Joon Ryu had to go into hiding six months with his wife.  It took years for him to find new employment, but he does not regret his decision.  “The Hwang case was a wake-up call for many journals to police [fraud] more seriously,” a European science publisher said, adding, “little has formally changed regarding the protection and encouragement of constructive whistle-blowing”.Consider the parallels to Kermit Gosnell, the late-term abortion monster.  He was condemned not for performing abortions per se, but for violating procedural rules in the manner he did it.  It appears that Hwang, who showed himself unworthy of trust, is being given trust once again after a wrist slap and a public show of indignation.  How terrible that he would lie and fake his data!  That he pressured women to donate eggs and experimented on fertilized human embryos is seen as a lesser offense.  A society that can tolerate unethical behavior in one sphere is not likely to repress it in another.When a preacher sins, he is usually out of the ministry for good.  It doesn’t mean he can’t earn a living some other way, but no longer can he be trusted to teach others how to live.  While we all love redemption stories, there are certain roles in society that demand higher accountability.  Science (like any scholarly pursuit) should be one of them.  A scientist who has betrayed a trust by fraud undermines any future credibility.  Let that person take up truck driving or cooking, assuming he or she can be trusted to deliver the goods honestly.  Notice once again that science is not a mechanical method.  It depends on the minds and hearts of fallible human beings, aspiring to ethical ideals that are timeless and universal, not made of matter in motion. 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Metta World Peace wants to see ‘proud Filipino’ son Jeron play for Gilas

first_imgJeron Artest plays for FilAm Sports. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—Metta World Peace himself has said it—his son Jeron Artest wants to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas.The former Los Angeles Laker is in the Philippines to watch his son compete in the 2019 NBTC Nationals with FilAm Sports.ADVERTISEMENT Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants MOST READ Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Metta World Peace at a press conference during the NBTC National Finals at Mall of Asia Arena. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOArtest, now 18, applied for a Philippine passport in 2017 when he was 16 and he’s already eligible to represent the country in Fiba-sanctioned tournaments or even the Olympics.World Peace, though, has one lesson for his son.“He has to earn it, I tell him that all the time,” said World Peace who revealed that his son was getting scholarship offers not just because of basketball but because of Artest’s scholastic traits.“He started coding when he was 13, invested in Tesla when he was 12 or 13 while also investing in AMD, which is a semiconductor company, and when he was like 13 or 14 he coded a game called Jeronimo but he stopped coding because he had to play basketball,” said World Peace who exuded the aura of a proud father.World Peace added that Artest had the skills to become a professional golfer while also becoming a promising DJ, but basketball and schoolwork were his son’s passions.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon eventcenter_img SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Google Philippines names new country director For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other Chot Reyes underscores importance of tune-up games for Gilas’ World Cup bid Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss The former Defensive Player of the Year of the NBA added that Artest has yet to decide if he’s going to pursue in Stanford or UC-Berkeley while also thinking about pursuing Finance or Design in other universities.“The key thing I want Filipino kids to take away is that if you put your mind to something you could do absolutely anything you want,” said World Peace. “Jeron is not only wanting to build his basketball brand out here in the Philippines, he also wants to inspire kids by education.” View comments Artest has received multiple scholarship offers from different schools like St. John’s, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, Princeton, and even Ivy League university Yale but the prospect of suiting up for the Philippine national basketball team is always a goal for the doggy guard.“He really wants to play for the Philippines and he’d love to play in the Olympics one day,” said World Peace Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsWorld Peace added that Artest’s desire to wear the tricolor stems from his love of his mother Jennifer and grandmother Winny.“My son is so proud to be Filipino, he loves his Lola Winnie and he’s just extremely proud and I’m proud of him for not forgetting where he came from,” said World Peace. “That’s my son, I love him to death and he’s so proud.”last_img read more