Nutritionists and consumer advocates say shoppers are confused by an onslaught of functional-food products claiming to have health benefits, and federal regulators are taking action against companies that make exaggerated or suspicious marketing statements. The FDA has a list of health claims backed up by science, but regulators say they struggle to monitor this booming market.
A U.K. study in Nature Genetics found that the KLF14 gene, previously linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels, acts as a main control for genes associated with obesity, insulin and glucose levels and other metabolic traits. Experts said targeting the KLF14 gene could help improve treatments for obesity-related conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Seventy-three percent of 616 women said they make efforts to keep a healthy diet, exercise regularly and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, while 26% reported they make little to no effort to have a healthy lifestyle, researchers said. The Wellness Scorecard study also found that 58% of women avoid less healthful foods, such as those rich in cholesterol and fats, but about 35% of them reported eating more of such foods than they should.
Researchers said a four-year program in a middle school in Ann Arbor, Mich., that aimed to promote healthy foods and regular exercise, among other goals, helped improve cholesterol levels and the average resting heart rate of children. The program will be extended to almost 20 middle schools in the state, the researchers said.
A report from the California HealthCare Foundation and Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project finds U.S. consumers increasingly are tapping the Internet to monitor their own health. Of the 3,001 surveyed adults, 27% of Internet users have sought online information about health symptoms, diet, weight and exercise routines, while 24% have perused online reviews on medications.