May 20, 2015
The U.S. is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t offer paid family leave, according to a United Nations report. Currently, the federal law allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The issue is getting some political attention.
A Mother’s Day tribute. Watch John Oliver defend paid family leave during his show on Mother’s Day. “In America, there is nothing that we wouldn’t do for moms,” he says, “except for one major thing.”
A global force for good. In an effort to retain talented women, this week Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will propose doubling the amount of paid maternity leave so that sailors and Marines can take up to 12 weeks.
Why are moms better than dads at baby talk? According to one theory, “The basic idea is that moms provide the link to the domestic, more intimate type of talk, while dads provide the link to the outside world. In that sense, moms and dads provide different kinds of experiences that give kids more comprehensive exposure to what kinds of language they need in the real world.”
In a study of 37 pairs of twins, researchers found that one of the reasons mosquitos are more attracted to some people than others is genetic. “Twins that were identical were very similar in their level of attractiveness to mosquitoes, and twins that were [not identical] were very different in their level of attractiveness.” This suggests that genetics may control the trait for being attractive or unattractive to mosquitoes.
Speaking of moms, mine said the reason mosquitoes bite is because I’m sweet.
Following the Disney measles outbreak earlier this year, lawmakers in California introduced legislation that would require children to receive mandatory vaccines before starting school. Only those who have a medical reason can opt out. In April, the bill passed the state health committee and in May, the state Senate. If enacted into law, California will be one of three states (including Mississippi and West Virginia) without a personal belief vaccine exemption.
A needle-exchange program started in April for Scott County residents is distributing clean and collecting used syringes. Although Indiana bans needle exchanges, Gov. Mike Pence authorized a short-term program to address the outbreak.
In food news.
GMO label option. Likely due to consumer demand, the U.S. Agriculture Department has developed a new government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The certification is the first of its kind, would be voluntary, and companies would have to pay for it.
It’s glowing. Kraft Mac & Cheese as you know it is about to change. Under pressure from “healthier” competitors and customer concerns, the company is removing artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from the blue box. It may also lose its fluorescent orange glow.
Confession. I try to limit processed foods, but I love Kraft mac & cheese. I ate a whole box for dinner last Sunday. By myself.
Six teaspoons. The World Health Organization now recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day for the average adult. If you start to look at ingredients, you will see that there is sugar in almost all processed foods. One container of Yoplait’s original strawberry yogurt would take up your entire recommended daily allowance.
Fed up. A really interesting documentary about the state of the American diet and its impact on our health. In short, sugar is bad. It encourages viewers to complete a 10 day no sugar challenge. Join me.
A great read.
Overkill. Dr. Atul Gawande’s latest on unnecessary medical care in the U.S. and how it can harm our health. “The medical system had done what it so often does: performed tests, unnecessarily, to reveal problems that aren’t quite problems to then be fixed, unnecessarily, at great expense and no little risk. Meanwhile, we avoid taking adequate care of the biggest problems that people face—problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, or any number of less technologically intensive conditions.”
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