Health Buzz: Peanut Butter Plant Problems and Other Health News

7 mistaken attitudes that can impede weight loss; what parents need to know about vaccine safety.

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Inspections Found Problems at Peanut Butter Plant Tied to Salmonella Outbreak

State inspection reports from 2006 to 2008 show that the Georgia peanut butter plant tied to the current salmonella outbreak had sanitation problems with dirt and grease buildup, unmarked containers containing chemicals, and gaps in doors that were big enough for rodents, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Federal officials consider the Blakely, Ga., plant to be the sole source of the salmonella outbreak. Georgia's Agriculture Department performed inspections of the plant an average of two times per year; the state considered the problems to be minor, though a food safety advocate told the Journal-Constitution that the issues were cause for concern. The inspections identified areas where the plant wasn't compliant with regulations intended to prevent food contamination.The recent salmonella outbreak may be the scariest one yet because it involves peanut butter and peanut paste that manufacturers bought by the tanker-load and mixed into hundreds of products on supermarket shelves. During last year's highest-profile salmonella outbreak—which was initially attributed to tomatoes but turned out to be caused by jalapeño peppers—food safety experts said that cooking is the only sure bet to foil salmonella.

Addressing Attitudes That May Be Impeding Weight Loss

Nutritionists are often unimpressed by studies showing that a given diet works for weight loss. After all, if you stick to a diet that restricts calories, you're going to drop pounds in the short term. The hard part is keeping it off, and that's where diets fail. Judith Beck, director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research, says that's not surprising, given that so many people haven't been taught the mental skills necessary to sustain changes in their eating and exercise habits. In The Complete Beck Diet for Life, she applies the tenets of cognitive therapy to weight loss. Cognitive therapy focuses on solving the problem in the here and now rather than delving into the past to understand its roots. The premise is that people have incorrect thoughts and beliefs that need to be altered in order to eliminate the problem, such as these 7 mistaken attitudes that may be impeding weight loss.How to manage your weight is a popular topic among many people, even Oprah Winfrey, who dedicated a few episodes of her talk show to discussing her recent weight gain. Also, the notion of "good food" is expanding in some circles to include not just nutritional value but other considerations, such as the environment and animal welfare. Some diets promote health, including the Mediterranean diet, Asian diet, Latin American diet, and vegetarian diets.

What Parents Need to Know About the Latest Vaccine News

In an era when vaccines are heavily scrutinized, two pieces of vaccine news may have parents thinking about how and when to vaccinate their kids. News that meningitis has killed one Minnesota child and sickened four others has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remind parents to get their children vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae type b. The Hib vaccine, as it is commonly known, can prevent some cases of meningitis, pneumonia, epiglottitis (severe throat infection), and other serious infections. Also, a new study funded by the CDC and published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics affirms that vaccines containing the mercury compound thimerosal do not seem to harm kids. In 2003, researchers evaluated the development of more than 1,400 children who were vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough) a decade earlier with vaccines containing two different amounts of thimerosal. The researchers found no significant association between the vaccines and developmental problems.U.S. News explains what parents need to know about the latest vaccine safety research. Last year, the National Institutes of Health put out a call for vaccine research. Doctors who take a flexible approach to vaccinations recently came under fire in an article published in the journal Pediatrics .