Saturday, April 02, 2005


Kids are always going to want sweet things and parents are always going to give them stuff they want

Think Sesame Street's Cookie Monster and think ... broccoli? In a fit of drastic behavior modification, the cookie-addicted bundle of fur is declaring that cookies are, in fact, only a "sometime food." With any luck, the PBS kids show is onto something significant as it opens its 36th season next week: a new way to tackle childhood obesity affecting even preschoolers.

And growing fast. Wednesday, the new annual Index of Child Well-Being showed childhood obesity tripled to almost 17% in 2004 from 1975. The New England Journal of Medicine says about 10% of kids under 5 were overweight in 2000, a doubling in 30 years.

Sesame Street has taken note. While some cartoon characters - in Nickelodeon's LazyTown, for example - already encourage exercise, Sesame Street is going further by teaching healthy eating, active play and plenty of rest along with ABCs and 123s. Regulars Big Bird, Elmo and others are being joined by new vegetable Muppets. They'll encourage kids to "eat your colors," play the "healthy foods name game" and sing The Mango Tango. And they'll tackle one of the most painful repercussions of obesity in kids: teasing and bullying.

More here


And this is the behaviour that many schools are now preaching to kids

A rare rare venereal disease, a bacterial infection of the anus and genitalia, is now "a significant" problem European homosexual men, a specialist journal has reported. The disease, Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), is caused by an invasive strain of chlamydia. Previously known only as a rare disease in poor countries, LGV was first reported in Europe in 2003, when an outbreak was detected among 100 gay men in Rotterdam, the April issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections reported. But LGV was now "a signficant problem" among homosexuals in Europe, the journal reported.

Outbreaks have occurred in Belgium, Germany, France and Sweden. And in January, the first 24 cases were reported in Britain, mostly from sexual health clinics in London, a tally that had risen to 34 by mid-February. Other cases have been recorded in the US - in New York, San Francisco and Atlanta. The British patients were all gay men, 17 of whom also had the AIDS virus. Four were also infected with hepatitis C. "It is likely that LGV has been present for some time in MSM (men who have sex with men) in the UK, with many cases going undiagnosed," the journal reported.

LGV is believed to be spread by unprotected anal sex, anal fisting and the shared use of sex toys. Symptoms include anal ulcers; rectal inflammation, pain and bleeding; constipation; abdominal pain; and sometimes a fever. A three-week course of antibiotics is usually sufficient to treat the infection. But if the primary ulcer goes untreated, chronic infection can follow, which can cause skin pouches, abscesses and a narrowing of the anus – an anal stricture – that may need surgery, the London-based journal reported.


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