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High School E-cigarette Use on the Rise


Electronic cigarettes, or "e-cigarette" use is becoming more popular among teens. Part of the reason for this increase may be due to the perception that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. While that may be true, many public health experts are concerned that e-cigarette use could become a gateway to higher rates of regular cigarette use, setting back the gains made in smoking reduction over the past couple of decades.

E-cigarette usage nearly doubles in U.S. high-schools: survey

This news story from Reuters Health talks about a new study that shows that use e-cigarettes, or "vaping," by high school seniors has jumped more than 20 percent in the past year. E-cigarette use by 10th graders jumped as well.


The study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported the increase was the largest year-over-year jump for any substance use ever measured for the past 44 years.

USDA Eases Up on Salt and Whole Grains

All in all, school lunches are healthier than a few years ago, but USDA officials say school administrators need more flexibility in meal planning, by allowing schools to bring back refined grains and high-sodium foods.

More salt, fewer whole grains: USDA eases school lunch nutrition rules

This news story published by National Public Radio describes the changes. Essentially, the USDA will only require schools to serve whole grain products half the time and the sodium restrictions have been removed.


The School Nutrition Association approves of the changes but the American Heart Association and several nutrition advocates urge schools to stay the course on the healthier offerings.

Water at Lunch May Help Kids with Weight Problems

Drinking water can help anyone lose weight when it replaces sugary beverages and a new study suggests increasing access to water at lunch time can help reduce the risk of obesity in students.

Serving water with school lunches could curb obesity, save billions

According to this University of Illinois press release, the researchers examined the results of a pilot program that was conducted in New York City between 2009 and 2013. Essentially, water dispensers were placed in school cafeterias. As a result, students' water intake tripled and there was a small risk of being overweight a year later.


Although it was just a small decrease in risk, adding inexpensive water dispensers in cafeterias could potentially save billions of dollars, say the authors.

Helping Others May Be Good for Your Brain

It's no secret that making the decision to help another person feels good. New research suggests helping other may have an actual biological affect on the brain. So while helping other people is good for them, it may be very good for us too.

How helping people affects your brain

This news story from Healthline describes a recent study done by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. The study team gave 45 participants the option to do something that benefited themselves, a charity, or a particular friend in need.


The researchers took brain scans of the participants and found that those who chose to help a particular person had increased activity in two reward centers in their brains as well as evidence of deceased activity in areas of the brain that inform the body's response to stress.

Kids Who Play More Than One Sport More Likely to Stay in Athletic Programs

A new study suggests that kids who dabble in several sports instead of specializing in one sport are more likely to still be participating in sports five years later. The idea that a kid has to focus on one sport to be successful may not be true.

To grow teen athletes, let kids try lots of sports

This Reuters Health news story describes the Canadian study. For their findings, the researchers asked kids about their participation in athletics when they were 10 or 11 years old and asked follow up questions for the next five years.


According to experts, specializing in a single sport too soon could increase the risk of emotional burn out and needs to be handled with care.

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    About the author
    Shereen Lehman
    Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.
    Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website and she, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies.
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