Thursday, January 31, 2008

It was a Colorful Conversation

Fantastic! It was hard for this debate not to be interesting. They were wise not to do the mudslinging, and instead articulate details of their various policies. Obama made good points about the characteristic of good Presidential judgement, was clear on an exit plan on Iraq, and probably scored points on his health plan and how to pay for it by closing tax gaps on the rich. Hillary at one point got a long applause when she quipped that another Clinton could clean up after after another Bush administration. She also impressed as she outlined her experience dealing with a wide range of national and international situations in which she helped people and groups, like women's rights in another country.

The debate was civil, still, they both had everyone holding their breath waiting for what would be spoken next. From tonight's debate, the status quo of support may just be the outcome. If there was an edge, Obama impressed most. As a politician who is not as experienced, as a policy promoter, he showed he could be detailed. His idea that the mindset of politicians needs to change so that the mistake of Iraq, and others like it, won't happen again, is a winning point for him. In an earlier post today I sort of joked that there could be a Vice President Clinton, and this very idea was tossed out as a question - either one can win and either can be Vice President.

What's Going on Here?

This is a shot from CNN of Republican candidates Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and John McCain at the debate last evening. Here are a few possible captions for the picture:

John, let me go. That guy made a pass at my wives.

McCain and Romney waltz as they both go after the gay vote.

Easy there Mitt, he described you as a Mormon, not moron.

Showdown between Obama and Hillary

Candidates will have to be very careful in tonight's Democratic Presidential Primary Debate. They will have to be careful not to appear as mudslingers, and school yard "he said/she said" choices. Obama has been doing well thus far but he needs to spend more time articulating policies that appeal to the electorate, which are mostly white in the U.S. He certainly has a huge black voter support as we saw in South Carolina, but it's interesting that his appeal is also high with the youngest voters, and least with the oldest generation. Younger voters seem to be more open to racial change at the top. His battle is still uphill, and if he avoids bitterness with Hillary, and instead gives people new/positive ideas to focus on, then his chances will increase. As well, in addition to the Kennedy endorsements, he received two days ago, other prominent people may endorse him, and hence, make his electability even greater.

Hillary may want to consider how she can steal more of the youth votes away. She has more appeal to whites than blacks, and women. She also has to be careful not to make allegations about Obama that are really misleading. Bill Clinton had done so last week about Obama. The immediate sound bite effect a negative messgage has, may have resonated with Hillary's potential supporters, but later, when political analysts dissected his message, it reflected negatively on the Clintons.

Tonight's debate begins at 9:30 Newfoundland time, and is on CNN. It's the last debate before what's been called in American politics as Super Tuesday. (Super Tuesday is February 5. 24 states will hold primaries or caucuses on this date, with 52 percent of all pledged Democratic Party delegates and 41 percent of the total Republican Party delegates at stake. Wikipedia) There will either be a first African-American or woman Democratic candidate for the presidential race in November. This is history in the making. If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, and becomes President, maybe he can really unite the party by introducing Vice-President Clinton.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why Winter is Good

The hassles and torments of winter are obvious, but look on the bright side. In summer after June 21, the days start to get shorter, but in winter the days get longer, since December 22. Snow is often beautiful, and certainly fun for kids, and outdoor enthusiasts, so therefore, the "fun" and social need is met, thus, happier, healthier people, and happy memories. Winter also presents plenty of photographic opportunities. There are many interesting ice and snow formations, glitter, blanketed forests, color contrasts, landscapes, the sky's the limit.

While it can be a little disappointing to see summer fade, at this time of year, summer is the reward that is coming, as our lingering winter eventually fades. During winter we are also at a low risk of getting skin cancers because we're covered with layers upon layers of cold shielding fabrics. There is more indoor time to do indoor things you like to do. There's probably many more positive things about winter that anybody can list. That's it for me, back to reading, writing, and checking out interesting places to visit and photograph in this province.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Obama Really Going after the Youth Vote

According to the news Barack Obama is getting more support from younger voters. It was a significant factor in the Iowa primary, and could again be the case in tomorrows South Carolina primary. But there are signs that he is going a bit too far in chasing the youth vote.

In the picture he tries to convince this minor that change is needed.
( photo)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Tires are Good but Driver Behaviour Needs to Change

From experience, there is a better grip on the road with studded tires, than all-season radials. Unfortunately every single day, multiple times, some drivers are running red lights, speeding, weaving back and forth between lanes - like threading a needle, and not driving with appropriate care and patience for winter road conditions. Also, even when you get a green light, look both ways to make sure no one is coming through the intersection. Whether you're a re-tire-ee or not, don't forget to slow down.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Assessment of the Mother of all Debates

Last evening's Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards was a sizzler. This U.S. party nomination process is creating a unique, exciting, historical and optimistic time in American politics and in media.

The format of the debate was open and allowed flexibility on the part of quick and adept moderator Wolf Blitzer. The swiftly adaptable Blitzer adroitly responded to opportunities for explosive debate moments, which were sparked by accusations thrown by Obama and Clinton. It caused an anxious and patient John Edwards to wait longer to chime in but allowed the flexible rules to apply to all. This made for a live dramatic debate, which was skillfully facilitated by Blitzer.

The sparks were mainly between Hillary and Obama. Moderator Blitzer sensed the "famous debate moments" and allowed extra responses to jabs between the two during the episodes. Obama made a comment about Clinton serving as a Walmart corporate lawyer, and she fired back with a body shot, citing Obama's work for a slum landlord in Chicago, and also forcing Obama to rationalize his statements in which he called Ronald Reagan a transformer.

That exchange was heated, and John Edwards' temperature had risen as well while awaiting his turn to respond at one particular point. He made it known that "there is a third candidate in this debate," and brought the focus back on track to the original question that was asked.

After the debate some CNN political analysts declared that if there was a winner it might have been John Edwards.

This observer's observations:

This debate was a fantastic event! There were three winners. Each candidate performed impressively and probably reinforced the allegiance of already decided voters. There were no knock-outs, or even standing nine counts, but the first half of the debate sure had no dull moments.

South Carolina is significant for several reasons. One, because of the large African-American population, and the "dilemma" they may find themselves in, i.e., choosing between three very culturally relevant political options. The dilemma may be there because former president Bill Clinton was considered by many African-Americans to be the first "black president", as he had generally improved the fortune of African-Americans in the 1990s, including a significant rise in annual income level.

Hillary, the wife of this person, and presumably sharing the same attitude and hopes for blacks, is seen as being "black-friendly". Obama is already there, and friendly. He could inspire the highest ever level of goal achievement, and more political involvement among blacks. It would be huge, and a feel good and proud period, for African-Americans.

John Edwards was impressive because of his sincerity and conviction as he described his commitment to address equality, and poverty, two issues that are so very important to the African-American community in the U.S. He looked sincere, was convincing, and made the audience feel like he was their champion.

South Carolina is important as well because Edwards' chances of being a still viable contender will shrink further if he does poorly here. An Obama win, will keep him in the running, and an "equal" contender to Hillary. If he loses there, where 50% of the population is black, then that may be a psychological hit for Obama.

Having said that, South Carolina is not the whole U.S. and there are many other state caucuses coming up on Super Tuesday. Hillary still has an overall lead but Obama has closed the gap.

In last nights debate Hillary was strong, polished, quick, well prepared, competent, confident, and bright. She is no pushover. On the contrary, she has the value-added asset of much political experience, and probably a better-than-average coaching team with Bill Clinton in her corner. Her body language spoke strength and confidence.

Obama did well to fend off and explain most of the shots at him, but at times, he seemed a little hesitant as a public speaker.

At this point in the campaign, Hillary Clinton is looking the strongest.

In addition to the hope generated by potentially electing a first black president, there is another sign of black influence and presence in this election process. Maybe it's just my perception but there seems to be more media exposure for African-American political experts.

It is because there is a black top two front runner, Barack Obama, that there appears to be plenty of black political analysts, on CNN at least. This is a great thing to see because it hints of equality, and it shows on the faces of the experts themselves. It also allows viewers to become familiar with opinions from more black academics and pundits.

How far Obama will go remains to be seen, but for now, "what can be", is generating hope.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bisphenol A Dangers were Known before 2003

* Update - Jan. 22. This issue has been broadcast on CBC's Here & Now Monday & Tuesday. It is good to see it becoming more public knowledge. Evening news broadcasts could easily devote a section of their hour long formats to health news/consumer alerts or health education.

You really have to question all plastics, and can liners, or avoid them as much as possible. Check the number at the bottom of bottles and avoid # 7 bottles for sure!

Even five years ago, there were already 40 studies that polycarbonate plastics containing Bisphenol A (BHA) were dangerous. In 2003, it was known that exposure to low amounts of BHA caused genetic defects in mice. In fact, in a major study by Dr. Patricia Hunt & colleagues, mice drank from old baby bottles, that leached (BPA) into their systems. Damage occurred in the egg cells of female mice. Hunt explained, "so when the cells divide, their chromosomes don't line up...In humans, this results in spontaneous abortion, birth defects, or mental retardation."

Other experts were quoted in the same article mentioned above. Biologist Frederick S. von Saal has studied BPA for many years, and had this to add:

In a recent study, fetal umbilical blood shows higher BPA levels than we generated in mice. Human exposure levels are already high. The horrifying thing is that it looks as though these effects in the Hunt study happen at lower doses than what is actually found in human fetal blood - umbilical cord blood.

What about other plastic compounds? Another plastic compound called Antimony, used in PET bottles, has been and is being studied for its potential hazardous effects. How many others are unsafe, and are years aways from garnering the danger status of BPA?

There are food containers of every shape and size that millions use all their lives. Bisphenol A, and any other plastic compound may very well have contributed to a variety of health problems, including prostate enlargement and cancer, and breast cancer because it has been seeping into food and liquid.

The bottling industry has carried out their own studies, and guess what, they have not found any harmful effects from BPA, despite 90% of 150 independent studies which says otherwise. I guess that unless you want to be fired, industry sponsored research designs will have predictable outcomes.

Previous Bisphenol A posts

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Parents Beware: Baby Bottles & Canned Baby Food Contain Toxic Ingredient - Bisphenol A

Plastic baby bottles and canned baby food contain a substance that is listed as toxic. It can leach out and be subsequently ingested by infants and any user of containers with that compound.

Here's a big reason to be aware of this:
Bisphenol A is used in polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy linings of cans, including those for almost all types of infant formula. Because BPA can mimic estrogen, many researchers suspect it is a factor in health trends linked to sex hormone imbalances, such as prostate and breast cancer. (see rest of Globe article below)

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical compound used in a wide range of consumer products and is classed by the Government of Canada as a hormone disruptor. (see Bisphenol A Fact Sheet here)

Bisphenol A has been getting a lot of attention in the last year particularly because it's been linked with breast and prostate cancer. I posted last year when it made the news then. Recently an article appeared in the Globe, which I have saved (the online version at the Globe is only available if you purchase it).

Parents can reduce child exposure by avoiding food and beverage containers made of polycarbonate plastic (often identified by the number 7 in the recycling symbol) and by avoiding plastic-lined (white-coloured) canned foods.

Here's the whole article from this Globe & Mail site:

Bisphenol A most harmful to infants, study says


From Friday's Globe and Mail

January 11, 2008 at 3:58 AM EST

A new U.S. study on the plastic compound bisphenol A indicates that the chemical may be far more dangerous for young children than for adults.

The finding has been submitted to Health Canada for its current safety review of BPA, and bolsters the case for limiting bisphenol A exposure in infants, who lack the capacity that adults have to detoxify it.

Bisphenol A is used in polycarbonate baby bottles and the epoxy linings of cans, including those for almost all types of infant formula. Because BPA can mimic estrogen, many researchers suspect it is a factor in health trends linked to sex hormone imbalances, such as prostate and breast cancer.

In the new study, researchers found that neonatal mice exposed to trace amounts of bisphenol A, either orally or through injection, ended up with similar amounts of the chemical in their blood because they do not have high amounts of the liver enzyme that breaks it down into an inactive form.

Young rodents don't fully develop the capacity to make the enzyme until they are weaned, a trait they share with humans. By contrast, adult rodents fed BPA have been found to rapidly clear it from their bodies using the enzymes.

Similar experiments are not done on babies for ethical reasons, but given the similarity of biological processes among mammals, many scientists consider the results applicable to humans.

The research study is expected to be issued next week by the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology.

The finding is "extremely scary," said Dr. Frederick vom Saal, a professor in the biological sciences department of the University of Missouri, and a member of the team that conducted the study.

Dr. vom Saal is a leading authority on BPA, and he contended that formula and polycarbonate baby bottles expose children to worrisome amounts of the synthetic estrogen. "You are significantly dosing your baby with bisphenol A every day and every time the baby is consuming food," he said.

Health Canada said in a statement to The Globe and Mail yesterday that "it is too early for us to state whether we have a concern or not with infant formula or baby bottles which contain BPA."

But two major formula makers - Nestle Canada and Mead Johnson Nutritionals - dismissed the concerns.

"Health Canada, as well as other international authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have approved the use of BPA in food packaging," Nestle Canada said in an e-mail statement.

"The preponderance of valid scientific literature right now upholds the position that BPA and the levels found in the food chain of humans is absolutely safe," said Gail Wood, spokeswoman for Evansville, Ind., based Mead Johnson. She also discounted the significance for humans of research on mice.

Based on a preliminary risk assessment in 2006, Health Canada said that bisphenol A was a chemical for which it had a "predisposition to conclude toxic." It is expected to issue a formal evaluation by May.

The study also contradicts a major contention on the safety of bisphenol A advanced by chemical manufacturers. Many of the nearly 200 studies finding severe health effects from bisphenol A exposure have been done by injecting young or pregnant rodents with the chemical.

The American Chemistry Council, an Arlington, Va., trade group for major BPA manufacturers, has argued that injection study results aren't applicable to humans because people are thought to have most of their exposures from oral sources, such as food, subject to rapid metabolizing by liver enzymes. Delivering BPA by injection bypasses this detoxification process and may cause health effects that wouldn't occur by ingesting the chemical, according to the industry's view.

However, the new research indicates that both oral and injection approaches are equally valid for experiments during fetal and neonatal development.

Health Canada said it hasn't yet decided whether to accept or reject the industry's position on the dosing controversy.

The council did not respond to a request for comment on the new research.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Health Check: Good for the Food Industry, not for People

The misleading continues with the Health Check symbol. Yesterday a CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) printed an online article called "Checking up on Health Check". The article is about how Health Check gives it's endorsement to foods that can make you seriously sick. For example, it said that the Health Check symbol has been allowed to go on iGor Chocolate Muffins for kids -

the muffins are almost one third sugar (mentioned on Dr. Yoni Freedhoff's blog in May of last year). Freedhoff is an obesity specialist, critic of the Health Check program, and Canada's Food Guide.

I posted in November about this deceitful symbol, and information from the blog of Dr. Freehoff. He has been exposing what the Health Check program has been allowing for their approval. Freedhoff says,

Parents will think, ‘This is great, I’m going to give these to my kids.’ Basically, they’re just shoveling sugar into their mouths.

The Health Check program process requires food companies to submit an application that has certain criteria. There is a one time evaluation of not more than $750, and upon approval, a licencing fee of up to $3625 for one product. If a company has 14 or more products the licencing fee can be from $16,500 to $49,500. So it amounts to a tidy income of close to $3 million a year for the Health Check program.

In the meantime they have approved over 1200 products, many have dangerous levels of sodium, refined white flour, sugar, and more red meat than is recommended. According to Dr. Freedhoff, these ingredients are major factors in type 2 diabetes, heart and stroke problems, and metabolic syndrome.

A good piece of advice is to educate yourself about what amounts of sodium, sugar, carbs, fats, etc. are recommended, and read the nutrition label anyway. The symbol's purpose is supposedly to be concerned with consumer health, but it can't be trusted.

Before long you will probably see it on other future products like MacDonald's MacClonewich or the Double Twin Cheese Burgers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

VOCM Question of the Day Results Questionable

Are you satisfied with Tom Rideout's action on his controversial expense claims?

You'll be amazed at the poll results. It appears that the "No" voters (30%) are mainly the ones to make comments on that page. Have a read. The quantity of "No" comments certainly don't reflect the 70% "Yes" votes. That poll is completely absurb.

Many online polls display a notice explaining that if you have already voted, you cannot vote again on that particular poll. There is at least one way around this. A user can clear their internet browsers cookies, so that it looks like your computer has not voted before. You can then do this all day, and vote as often as you like. It invalidates online polls.

Strange results on VOCM's polls have appeared before. There seems to be many more responses to government related polls, specifically as it pertains to public support for something government related. Would make an interesting tv news item.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It Just Occurred to Me

  • It's 11 a.m. and gas prices haven't budged all day
  • Only 346 shopping days till Christmas - must alert radio stations
  • The dddddaaaaayyyyyssss are getting longer
  • Summer is just around the corner, then go left for a few hundred miles, take a right for 200 more, go up a long dirt road hill, and there it is
  • The magazine Hot Water Boiler Monthly is not as exciting as it used to be
  • If you've bought an acoustic synthesizer lately, chances are you've been had
  • The same goes for the 1945 antique laptop
  • If a high tech online company sets up and hires locals in a rural coastal community, the sea entrance to the port ought to be called eBay
  • Did you know you can have a Ph.D. in just weeks? And based on your life experience? Think I have the inside scoop on this. If interested I can forward you the remarkable information I received dozens of times by email. A friend just graduated with a Ph.D (Hobbles)
  • Most Hindus prefer reincarnation milk in their tea
  • The race for the White House is going to be, black or white

Thursday, January 10, 2008

GOP Ron Paul says U.S. Policies Played Underlying Role in 911

He's not a current front runner but Ron Paul is interesting. The 72 year old Republican candidate made some seldom heard comments to Jay Leno on the Tonight Show several nights ago. He said something that is not repeated a lot by mainstream media, that the U.S. is somewhat responsible for 911 occurring.

Our policies have a lot to do with it. The motives for the terrorists' actions are related to the fact that we occupy their countries.. We used our CIA to install the Shah in Iran

That is a very different point of view from the regular platitudes of most politicians who continually repeat that the U.S. is the greatest nation in the world. A boring refrain like this is uttered and broadcasted so often, yet it is not some new statement or attitude. On the contrary a statement like the one from Ron Paul, is saying, "we the U.S. are not perfect, and should change our attitude, acknowledge our responsibility in world conflict, and not try to maintain the status quo of foreign nation occupation."

The Republican candidacy race has several familiar contenders - veteran, and veteran politician John McCain, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and for many, actor Fred Thompson. Canadians have also been repeatedly familiarized with contenders Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul is apparently getting very high web traffic, and has raised a huge amount of campaign money. There are many more state primaries to come and we'll see if his growing popularity translates into significant voter support.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Obama vs. Hillary in New Hampshire

Over the past weekend Barack Obama's support in New Hampshire surged ahead of Hillary Clinton by 9%, 39 to 30% respectively. They were neck and neck up to the the day of the Iowa results. With his historic win in Iowa, and the much lauded follow-up victory speech that night, it appears that trend to prefer Obama over Hillary has spread to New Hampshire.

Losing was a shock to the potential first woman President, but if she loses in tonight's primary, then she will have to really change strategy to become the "comeback kid". Yesterday, we saw Hillary showing some emotion, it may have marked a transition of strategy to show her human side. Her remarks gave the impression that she views the other candidates as ones who could send the country in a backwards direction.

While it is dramatic and exciting to witness the possible crowning of America's first black President, Obama has to be careful not to make any mistakes, missteps, and continue working on weaknesses in policies where he is now criticized. John Edwards proposes that his own health plan will include all Americans getting health coverage, while Obama's still leaves out 19 million. On Iraq, Obama has said he will have all the troops out of Iraq by next year. That is wonderful, but there are questions about the timing of it. Will Iraq be ready and will insurgents see this as a time to really take over?

Right now things are looking good for an Obama win in New Hampshire. It will be a further boost to his campaign, and make him the horse to catch even more so. The vote outcome will show whether voters had been merely fickle in the latest poll, or whether they are truly decided in his favor. There's much mistrust in government and politicians, but the race itself is interesting to watch.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Fossil Fools Gold - Atlantic Lotto's New Game

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is introducing a new game called Fossil Fools Gold. It was bound to happen, as the price of gas is expected to reach at least $1.50 a litre by this summer. In just a few years, the cost of filling a home fuel tank has doubled, and the outlook is as dark as the precious black gold itself. In this new game, there is a better chance of winning than government lowering gas tax. See prize details below.

* A full tank will be no more than 800 litres of home heating oil
* In the event of multiple winners, the top prize shall be divided accordingly, e.g., 1 in ON, 1 in BC, winners will get 400 litres each.

** This is a vehicle gas tank, and not more than 60 litres.

Also coming soon

Here's a typical prize payout

So don't be a fossil fool - play the game, or reduce consumption. Either way, you can win.

Friday, January 04, 2008

An Historic Win for Obama, Hint at Political and Racial Attitude Change in U.S.

Think of some local underdog, who is competing in a national competition, and imagine him or her winning the contest. There is a natural sense of excitement when following their rising star. Then as a key contest in the tournament is won by your dark horse contestant, your excitement grows, and you start to think, 'could this person win the whole contest?'

This must be how Americans, particularly African Americans, feel right now.

It has to be an incredible time of optimism for not only African Americans, but all Americans, and outside observers, that a positive and changing political attitude is evolving in the U.S.

The history of African-Americans is well known, they were inhumanly treated for 100s of years, and ostracized by society even after anti-racist laws were passed. The psychological injuries had been lingering on the "black" psyche, and has inhibited their potentialities for far too long. Now, Barack Obama is becoming more real as a presidential candidate.

The Iowa caucus vote is considered an important gauge at this point in the long drawn out party nomination process. The process is at a point where a "leader" is considered to be crowned now.

This is a major historic night for Black America. In the state of Iowa with 95% of the population made up of white voters, Barack Obama beat his nearest rival, John Edwards by 8%, and the former favorite, Hillary Clinton, by 9%. American political analysts on CNN's live coverage expressed the significance of this. It reflects a changing attitude among the Iowa electorate. Obama even got the largest proportion of the women's vote, and not Hillary. This is considered a major boost for the Obama campaign, and the hopes of black America. Clinton had a majority of the black support, but after this, Obama may appeal to more of the black vote. It was also interesting that more younger voters supported Obama, and fewer of the oldest age voters.

Following the results where Obama had been declared the winner, he gave a memorable, passionate speech, which was repeated by the top CNN correspondents. The combination of his win, and follow-up inspritioal speech might have the effect of committing more New Hampshire voters to Obama.

For the Republicans Mike Huckabee, who has been gathering steam in the last three weeks, won the Iowa caucus. He is seen to be like the "co-worker you worked with, rather than the employer who laid you off." The most dramatic is the story in the Democratic leadership nomination race. At this moment, Barack Obama is in the drivers seat and Iowa is a significant win. Americans must be getting more excited after last nights landmark dramatic win in Iowa.

What Archie Bunker said about Jackie Robinson in baseball, could be true for Barack Obama, that "he changed the whole complexion of the game."


St. John's, proudly known as "The oldest city in North America", has a thriving, bursting economy, and lately, is known to have a bursting obesity rate of 36.4%, the highest among Canadian cities.

A University of Alberta researcher found that the rate is related to the proportion of fast-food outlets in the region. The Atlantic region had the highest in comparison to other Canadian regions.

In Quebec city the obesity rate is 17.3% and the # of fast-food outlets per 10,000 residents is 1.97. In St. John's the # of fast-food outlets per 10,000 is 3.54.

There are 100,646 residents in St. John's proper (1/5 of NL's population), and 181,113 (nearly 2/5 of NL's population) residents in the St. John's metro area (City of St. John's).     The following table is from the CTV story

That's a large proportion of people, and, potential health problems related to obesity. This is a concern, most importantly for personal health, but also for the health care system - it's medical staff and infrastructure, and the provinces health care budget.

While this study compared cities, there is no reason to believe that other areas of NL would have better rates.

Various factors are associated with Atlantic Canada's higher rate - socio-economic factors, weather, cost of healthier foods, and quite possibly an inadequate amount of education about the dangers in many foods. It would be an interesting idea to make more room in school curriculums for food and nutrition education, reinforced by healthier food choices in schools. (NL has the highest teenage obesity rate in the country as well)

Food and our body's food processing system is in a way like an engine, or a plumbing system. If you put harmful oils, pollutants, grease, and junk into it, the system can clog, and need to be cleansed (angioplasted, or snaked).

It's not easy to change eating patterns .. boy, it's not easy, but the more we learn about bad foods, and how it can affect our direct health and daily being, the better decisions we can make on what food we want our bodies to process.

This earlier blog post has information that was released a few months back on the relationship between cancer and weight. Another warns of dangerous sodium levels in food, and here is an analysis of Dr. Yoni Freedhoff's exposure of the misleading Health Check symbol.

Food and health education is a big part of individual health, and the health care system. Our province, schools, health and any individual or organization can promote more informed citizens to make healthy choices.

In the first half of the 1900s and before, people in Newfoundland and Labrador, did much more physical work than todays computer age workers. There wasn't much nutritional information going around, but people did eat plenty of organic food, which many grew themselves. Of course, there was lots of fat in meat, or salt meats, but people, perhaps unknowingly, were exercising as they worked, and burned off calories.

The province, and St. John's can help people by encouraging more physical activity. The trail system around the town and Mount Pearl is a great place for walkers, and more can be done.

Ottawa has the Rideau Canal where 1000s of people skate. The city is lucky to have a 7 km canal maintained in the winter for skaters. We have unsupervised ponds but there is a real threat of drownings. A public skating rink would be great for St. John's - a shallow water rink where families can go for general skating.

Unfortunately there are now few areas of the city where such a rink could be placed, as commerce is the first priority it appears. What little practical space is left for such an endeavor should be frozen (pun intended), and assessed to determine how the area could either just simply be flooded in the winter, or an actual open air rink with rink boards, benches, etc., could be constructed.

Winter is difficult for getting around. Sidewalks at the best of winters are hidden beneath tons of snow. It's not possible to keep them cleared constantly like during the last week's four major snowfalls. The city has been doing a fine job of keeping roadways cleared so far. However, better sidewalk clearing than has been witnessed in past years, needs to happen. It would mean safer streets, safe people, and importantly, contribute to lowering risk of obesity.