Global Obesity Straining the Earth's Resources
The weight of the world is in: If the entire human population stepped on a scale, it would show 316 million tons, or 632 billion pounds. About 16.5 million tons of that amount is due to excess weight, according to data from the United Nations and World Health Organization. That works out to as many as 242 million extra people of normal weight, or the entire population of Indonesia. Though North America accounts for only 6 percent of the world's population, it's responsible for 34 percent of its obesity-related mass. The average weight of an adult anywhere in the world, for example, is 137 pounds, but in the U.S., it's 178 pounds. Asia, meanwhile, is home to 61 percent of the world's population, but accounts for only 13 percent of the world's excess weight. Global fatness is a serious issue because it jeopardizes the world's food security and environmental resources, the researchers say. "When people think about environmental sustainability, they immediately focus on population," study author Ian Roberts, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told BBC News. "Actually, when it comes down to it—it's not how many mouths there are to feed, it's how much flesh there is on the planet."
6 Symptoms You Shouldn't Self-Treat
Watching Grey's Anatomy won't help you heal yourself, though it may make you happy. While it's fine to self-treat symptoms such as a runny nose or a mild headache, others require a health professional's attention. And a phone consult isn't always enough: Your doctor may need to see you. For instance, if you're having symptoms for the first time and are unsure why, consider scheduling a visit with your healthcare provider. And if you're experiencing familiar symptoms, you may still need medical advice, especially if the problems stick around.
"I certainly understand a patient wanting to just get some information over the phone. But a description over the phone doesn't always tell us what's going on," says Randy Wexler, a physician and associate professor of family medicine at Ohio State University. Read on to get information about common symptoms you shouldn't self-treat—even though a quick trip to the drug store can be very, very tempting.
1. Heartburn. You're starting to pop antacids like candy, and that's a problem. If you have heartburn twice a week or more and have been taking antacids or heartburn medications for more than two weeks, see your doctor, advises the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). You could have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more serious form of acid reflux that can cause complications like ulcers and cancer if left untreated. [Read more: 6 Symptoms You Shouldn't Self-Treat]
Internet Safety: Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online
We have arrived at the season that can inspire considerable joy and fear. Yay! You can take that family vacation. Yelp! Your kids are always around—and seeking entertainment. You may be asking yourself: How in the heck am I going to occupy my offspring all summer long? And, egads! How can I keep them out of trouble?
For many American kids, summer vacation means more time spent online. Appropriately, June marks National Internet Safety Month, which has a range of groups rolling out advice to empower parents and kids in the virtual world.
First, a little perspective. Internet use comes with risks, but they may not be the ones you imagine. The fear of sexual predators online, for example, may be inflated. Among the 50,000 arrests made in child molestation cases in 2009, only 850, or less than 2 percent of them, involved offenders who met the victim online, says David Finkelho, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. It's possible, he argues, that the Internet has enabled more intervention of such crimes. In any case, the vast majority of sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by acquaintances or family members of the victim. "Far greater concerns are things like cyberbullying," oversharing, spending excessive time online, and easy access to mature material, says Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, an international nonprofit that works to make Internet use safer for kids and families. [Read more: Internet Safety: Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online]
Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.