4 Food Truths and Myths Go Head-to-Head

In our information-loaded world, it’s difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t—especially when it comes to food choices.

In many case, people are basing their assumptions on either pure myth or the latest diet fad. A perfect example is: Gluten is bad for you. Listening to these ever-changing “rules,” however, can be risky.

“Food myths are dangerous because they can deprive you of the benefits of a healthy diet,” says Tara Gidus, MS, R.D., who’s the team dietician for basketball’s Orlando Magic.

The following are a few myths that deserve to be debunked:

Guidelines for Making Kids’ “Screen Time” Meaningful

It’s a fact: Children today are surrounded by all types of digital media from a very young age. Educators, parents and caregivers are left with the task of navigating through a multitude of handheld games, toys and online resources while debating the value of these different options.

Fortunately, research shows that computers can play a positive role in the education of children. Benefits include language, literacy and social development as well as the improvement of important problem-solving skills.

Experts and researchers in early childhood development offer the following guidelines for  computer use by youngsters:

Online Education Puts Nurses on the Right Track

<b>Online Education Puts Nurses on the Right Track</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The United States doesn’t have enough nurses, and the nursing shortage will only get worse. Due to new health care legislation, an estimated 32 million Americans will enter the health care system by 2014 — according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the national nursing shortage will increase 29 percent by 2020.

Many Americans want to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) but are turned away. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, schools turned down more than 54,000 qualified applications to professional nursing programs in 2009. The reason? Program capacity is too low due to a lack of nurse educators.

But some nurses are advancing their training through self-paced, online education programs like those offered through The College Network and its partner institutions.

Online programs provide nurses with the ability to earn a valuable BSN while continuing to work full time in their current nursing job, gaining valuable hands-on experience while also providing for their families.

Advantages of online BSN programs include:

1. Self-paced education. Those with significant work experience might be out of practice when it comes to studying in a traditional school environment. Companies like The College Network ease the transition by allowing adult learners to take their time or move more rapidly through their courses than would be possible in a classroom setting.

2. Ability to work and study simultaneously. Students can take courses and study on their own timeline. Without needing to take off work, drive to campus and sit in a classroom each week, students can earn their degree while working full time and keeping family commitments.

3. No waiting lists. A nurse who wants to earn a degree at a traditional college is often placed on a waiting list until a spot becomes available. In the two to three years it can take to get to the top of a waiting list to start a program, that student could have completed the entire program from an online education provider.

To learn more about The College Network’s programs for nurses, visit www.collegenetwork.com/nursingPR.

Nurses Find Three Advantages in Online Education

The United States doesn’t have enough nurses, and the nursing shortage will only get worse. Due to new health care legislation, an estimated 32 million Americans will enter the health care system by 2014 – according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the national nursing shortage will increase 29 percent by 2020.

Many Americans want to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) but are turned away. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, schools turned down more than 54,000 qualified applications to professional nursing programs in 2009. The reason? Program capacity is too low due to a lack of nurse educators.

Cosmetology Offers Domestic Violence Victims New Path

<b>Cosmetology Offers Domestic Violence Victims New Path</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many women who suffer from domestic violence feel powerless to remove themselves from abusive relationships because they are financially dependent on their abuser. This leads many to stay in an unhealthy or even dangerous environment.

Empire Beauty Schools, one of the nation’s largest systems of cosmetology schools, has created an educational assistance program to help these women. The Empire Gives Back Endowment Program allots money for clients of domestic violence relief organizations across the country. The endowment will provide up to $3,000 towards attending any Empire Education Group beauty school. The goal of the fund is to help abuse victims afford a cosmetology education, which can mean a path to financial independence.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of cosmetology is projected to grow 20 percent between 2008 and 2018. And aside from its healthy job outlook, cosmetology has proven to be an answer for mothers who need a flexible job schedule that will allow for their childcare needs.

“Domestic violence affects one out of every four women, and that includes our clients and even our Empire family,” says Franklin K. Schoeneman, CEO and Chairman of Empire Education Group. “Thanks to our endowment program, students have come to us from many of the women’s shelters we support around the country, and we have witnessed first-hand how the opportunity for a cosmetology career can change a life.”

Empire is not the only organization to embrace the concept that cosmetology can be a solution for women who desperately need a lifeline. Beyoncé Knowles just opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House, a drug and alcohol addiction-recovery center in New York. Knowles, whose mother once ran her own salon, said that she felt like the program needed something that was geared towards women.

Career assistance is only one way the salon industry helps in the fight against domestic violence. Hairstylists often share intimate client relationships, allowing them to notice signs of abuse that others may miss. Women usually see their hairdressers regularly, building trust over time, and sometimes feel more comfortable confiding in their hairdresser than family members or friends. Empire educates students on how to inform abused clients about where to get help.

“We’ve worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Office on Violence Against Women to launch our Empire Gives Back awareness and fundraising program, and we are hopeful that our new endowment program will be a path to a new career and, hopefully, a new life for women in need,” said Schoeneman.

To learn more, visit www.empiregivesback.com.

Recognizing and Treating Alcohol Problems

<b>Recognizing and Treating Alcohol Problems</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – While some 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, only one in eight receives treatment. Poor diagnosis may play a role in people being undertreated, but there are a growing number of tools to help people assess and understand whether they have alcohol problems.

One of the latest tools is a new government Web site called “Rethinking Drinking,” which, through a 20-question assessment, is designed to determine whether your drinking patterns are safe, risky or harmful.

Launched and supported by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) division, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) web site features a self-assessment test that is completely confidential and anonymous.

Medications for Alcohol Dependence

The Food & Drug Administration has approved medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence which offer treatment options in addition to traditional 12-step and counseling programs. Rethinking Drinking provides key facts about medications for alcohol dependence:

* Newer medications can make it easier to quit drinking.

* Newer medications don’t make you sick if you do drink.

* None of these medications is addictive.

* Medications can be combined with support groups or alcohol counseling.

Traditionally, approaches to overcome alcoholism have not included medications. Government statistics show that 75 percent of people receiving traditional approaches for alcohol dependence relapse to heavy drinking within the first year of beginning treatment.

New Guidelines Include Medications

Last year, the HHS issued best-practice guidelines for the treatment of alcohol dependence. These guidelines include for the first time the recommendation to consider the two most recent FDA-approved medications for alcohol dependence, naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension and acamprosate calcium.

One of the newly added medications in the HHS guidelines is an extended-release injection taken once a month. Pill medications have been successful for some patients. However, in cases where a patient may be challenged to reliably take a daily pill, an extended-release injection that is given once a month can be a helpful treatment option.

To find a physician in your area, go to www.alcoholanswers.org/local. For online self assessment, go to www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov.

Should Food Waste Go Down the Drain?

<b>Should Food Waste Go Down the Drain?</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans hoping to live “greener” lives often tackle the kitchen first — after all, separating the recyclables seems easy enough. But proper waste disposal can be more complicated than tossing cans in a blue box.

What’s the best way to get rid of table scraps? Should the food waste go in the trash bag? The compost pile? Or down the kitchen sink?

Putting food waste in the trash means it will be trucked to a landfill. Trucking food to landfills generates diesel fumes and emissions. And as food decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas.

Composting is a good option but not always practical for people who live in high-rise buildings or in colder climates. Plus, experts advise against composting certain types of food, like meat and dairy.

Numerous independent studies show using a garbage disposer is an environmentally responsible option. More than half of American kitchens have a disposer. On average, they cost less than 50 cents a year in electricity to operate and account for less than one percent of a household’s total water consumption. Recent advances in disposer technology, including the InSinkErator Evolution Series, make it possible to discard virtually any kind of food waste without concern about clogs or loud noises.

Once food waste enters wastewater treatment plants, it can be recycled into methane and used as a renewable source of power for the plant. Also, many wastewater treatment plants can process food waste into bio-solids, which can be used as fertilizer.

Here are some surprising facts about food waste:

* The average U.S. family of four produces about 2,000 pounds of food waste each year.

* According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the third largest category of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the U.S., accounting for about 13 percent of MSW material.

* Americans throw away more than 25 percent of the food we prepare, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Those scraps are 70 percent water, which makes it easy for disposers to pulverize waste and send it through sewage pipes.

For more information on how grinding food waste in a food waste disposer is environmentally responsible, visit www.insinkerator.com/green.

Are You Replacing Your Air Filter Too Often?

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – For years, experts including the Environmental Protection Agency told motorists to change their car’s engine air filter frequently for maximum fuel economy. However, a recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy found that air filter condition has no significant effect on the fuel economy of modern fuel-injected engines.

Automakers used to recommended air filter replacement at regular mileage intervals, but that practice failed to take into account the wide variety of real-world driving conditions. Two months driving in a dusty rural environment can cause the same amount of air filter restriction as a full year of vehicle use in a relatively clean urban setting.

Today, most automakers recommend that the air filter be inspected regularly, but replaced only when needed. More frequent replacement wastes money without improving fuel economy.

How do you know when a filter needs replacement? Visible dirt on the filter surface is not a good indicator. Instead, remove the filter and hold it up to a 100 watt light bulb. If light passes easily through more than half of the filter, it can be returned to service.

The light test only works with conventional pleated paper air filters. Some cars have extended-life factory filters with dense filtering media that are highly effective but do not allow light to shine through. Replace these filters at the mileage interval specified by the manufacturer.

A few vehicles, primarily pickup trucks, have a filter service indicator on the air filter housing. Check the indicator at each oil change, and replace the filter when the indicator says it is time to do so.

For non-do-it-yourselfers, the certified technicians at more than 8,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America will be happy to help with air filter inspection and replacement, along with any other automotive maintenance and repair needs you may have. AAA Approved shops can be identified by the Approved Auto Repair sign, or by searching online at www.AAA.com/repair.

John Nielsen joined the AAA executive management team in 1998 as national director of the Approved Auto Repair network. Nielsen has 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has held an ASE Master Automotive Technician certification, authored the book “Making Sense of Car Care,” given testimony to the state and national legislatures, and now serves as Editor in Chief of AAA’s new car and truck reviews. He is a regular guest on radio and TV shows throughout the country.

Technology and Tots – Guidelines for Making “Screen Time” Meaningful

<b>Technology and Tots – Guidelines for Making “Screen Time” Meaningful</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – It’s a fact: children today are surrounded by all types of digital media from a very young age. Educators, parents and caregivers are left with the task of navigating through a multitude of handheld games, toys and online resources while debating the value of these different options.

Fortunately, research shows that computers can have important benefits for even young children, including language development, literacy development, social development and the development of important problem-solving skills. Here are some guidelines for the use of computers based on both current research in child development and the professional opinions of early childhood educators:

* Stick to a firm time limit for computer use. Recommended time for preschoolers (3-5 years) is 20-30 minutes per day.

* Computers should supplement — and not replace — activities and materials such as art, books, music, outdoor exploration, experimenting with writing materials, dramatic play and socializing with other children.

* Guide and be on hand to help your child, answer questions and interact with your child as she works on the computer.

* Look for online games, resources and Web sites with educational value.

One spot to visit for educational content is PBS KIDS Island (www.readytolearnreading.org), which provides free research-based reading games and activities for children, parents, caregivers and teachers to use at home or in the classroom. PBS KIDS Island takes place in a virtual world, where children build an online island by playing games that feature beloved PBS KIDS television characters from award-winning shows, including Sesame Street, Super WHY!, WordWorld, Martha Speaks and Between the Lions. Games allow players to build and practice the critical skills needed to learn to read, like rhyming and letter identification. Parents and teachers are able to access children’s accounts to see how far their children have progressed in the game.

The site is an outgrowth of PBS KIDS Raising Readers, a multi-faceted initiative that focuses on using media to help children ages two to eight build reading skills. The initiative is funded in part by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, part of a cooperative agreement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), PBS and The Ready To Learn Partnership. For more information, visit www.readytolearnreading.org.

Retaining Women in the IT Industry

<b>Retaining Women in the IT Industry</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Despite improving economic data pointing to a global recovery, unemployment remains at the highest levels since 1983. For those looking for work today, risk has become an important criteria in their decision-making.

One industry that is considered to be relatively recession-proof and actually growing is information technology (IT). For example, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, technology job opportunities are projected to grow at a faster rate than jobs in all other professional sectors, or up to 25 percent over the next decade.

However, IT still has a long way to go when it comes to its hiring practices, especially with regard to women. According to the National Center for Women and IT, the number of women in IT is the lowest since the 1980s. Meanwhile, the percentage of jobs held by women in almost all other sciences has increased significantly. Furthermore, women already employed in IT are leaving at an alarming rate: 56 percent of women leave at the mid-level point.

“Technical women value professional development above all else, yet many IT companies don’t foster career advancement programs, says Telle Whitney, president and CEO, Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI). “Companies should invest in career development practices as well as provide mentoring and networking opportunities for women, which could also help achieve greater gender balance in the workplace and encourage women to stay in more senior roles.

Some companies, such as CA, Inc., recognize the need to support and retain women in IT. Today, approximately one-third of CA’s total workforce is female, which compares favorably with the technology industry average. CA sponsors various programs designed to mentor women and help them to network with each other. CA also partners with ABI and participates in the annual Women Leadership Conference in New York.