Health Buzz: Second Hantavirus Death at Yosemite

So long, sloppy Joe: what’s cooking at school; spend five minutes meditating in a garden

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Two Yosemite Visitors Die From Rodent-Borne Disease 

A second person has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease after visiting Yosemite National Park. People who have visited the park since June should seek immediate medical attention if they have symptoms indicative of hantavirus, officials said Monday. In addition to the two people who died, a third person was confirmed to have the illness, and a fourth is suspected to be infected. All four stayed at the park's popular Curry Village in June, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hantavirus symptoms, which appear one to six weeks after exposure, include fever, headache, and muscle aches, and can quickly progress into difficulty breathing. The disease is contracted by coming into contact with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents—specifically, deer mice. 

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  • So Long, Sloppy Joe: What's Cooking At School 

    Thirteen years ago on Saturday Night Live, Chris Farley donned a grotesque apron-and-hairnet getup and pranced around on stage—in the way that only Chris Farley could—while Adam Sandler sang what would become a crowd favorite: "Lunchlady Land." "Served some reheated Salisbury steak, with a little slice of love. Got no clue what the chicken pot pie is made of," went the tune. The absurdity of the sketch drove home the point: school lunch is gross. 

    This fall, that stereotype may get squashed. For the first time in 15 years, school lunches must meet new federal nutrition standards that limit calories and sodium and mandate more servings of fruit and vegetables. Why now? Childhood obesity levels have reached epic proportions. One-third of American children are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diseases usually reserved for adulthood, such as type 2 diabetes. Schools, meanwhile, feed a lot of kids. Some 32 million partake in the National School Lunch Program, a subsidized service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Consider that kids get up to half of their calories in school, and many kids look to school for the bulk of their food supply. One in every five American kids struggles with hunger, according to Share Our Strength, a nonprofit focused on ending child hunger. Poor nutrition can not only lead to obesity—through sporadic intake of processed foods—it also begets poor school performance and behavior. What's more, at least one-quarter of 17- to 24-year-olds are too fat to enlist in the military, says the U.S. Department of Defense. [Read more: So Long, Sloppy Joe: What's Cooking At School]

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    • Got Five Minutes? Meditate in a Garden 

      Raise your hand if your days are a whirlwind (mine just went up). Meals mostly occurring in meetings? Personal time, if you even have time for it, turbo-charged with a million things to do? Travel lost its glamour years ago? And exercise means power hour at the gym, if you're even able to squeeze it in? Are the results from this busy lifestyle already showing up at your doctor's office in a test result that's a little too high, or maybe in just a general ennui you might be starting to feel? 

      I have wonderful, welcome, easy-to-use news for you, writes U.S. News blogger Daron (Farmer D) Joffe. There is a way to slow down, be fully present, and find your healthy center again, and it's as close as your backyard or even corporate garden (if you're lucky enough to have one). You don't even have to get involved in building, planting, and tending that garden unless, of course, you can't help yourself once you start to see the benefits from being out there. Let's just start with using time in the garden as a quick (I promise!) moving meditation, and see how it grows (so to speak). [Read more: Got Five Minutes? Meditate in a Garden

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      • Angela Haupt is a health reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at ahaupt@usnews.com.