Health and Fitness Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:43:06 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-us PTSD Raises Odds of Heart Attack and stroke in Women PTSD raises odds of heart attack and stroke in women PTSD Raises Odds of Heart Attack and Stroke in Women

Large study finds PTSD raises cardiovascular risk in women

Boston, MA ─(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015.  Women with elevated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) consistent with the clinical threshold for the disorder had 60% higher rates of having a heart attack or stroke compared with women who never experienced trauma, according to scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Results appear in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

In a survey of nearly 50,000 younger and middle-aged women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, 80% reported experiencing a traumatic event in their lives. More than half of this group (58%) reported no symptoms of PTSD. Those reporting symptoms of PTSD were split evenly between those with one to three symptoms and those with four or more symptoms, a commonly used clinical cut-off for PTSD.

Trauma exposure alone—that is, reporting trauma but no symptoms of PTSD—also increased risk for heart attack and stroke by nearly 50%. However, cardiovascular risk in women who experienced trauma with one to three symptoms of PTSD was unchanged.

Psychological Trauma, Physical Health

Behaviors like smoking and lack of physical activity and medical factors like hypertension and the use of antidepressants accounted for nearly half the association between PTSD and cardiovascular disease in women with four or more symptoms of PTSD, but less than 15% in women who reported trauma without PTSD.

“Posttraumatic stress is truly heartbreaking. Our findings suggest that the psychological impact of trauma is not limited to a woman’s emotional health but also affects her heart health,” says first author Jennifer Sumner, Epidemiology Merit Fellow at Columbia’s Mailman School and visiting scientist at Harvard Chan School.

While more research is needed, the authors say PTSD may disrupt physiological stress systems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the autonomic nervous system, in addition to leading to various unhealthy behaviors that may increase risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Takeaway

“Most women experience psychological trauma at some point in the their life, but few know that there could be serious long-term repercussions for physical health,” says senior author Karestan Koenen, professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School and the Harvard Chan School, whose earlier studies linked PTSD in women to diabetes and obesity.

“Our results provide further evidence that PTSD is not solely a mental health problem, but also increases risk of chronic disease,” continues Koenen. “The medical system needs to stop treating the mind and the body as if they are separate. Patients need access to integrated mental and physical health care.”

According to the authors, women who experienced trauma—even if they don’t have symptoms of PTSD—should talk to their doctor about their risk for cardiovascular disease and how to lower it.

“PTSD emerged as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in a sample of younger and middle-aged women all under the age of 65. This suggests that cardiovascular health and related risk factors should be assessed early in clinical settings,” says Sumner. Physical activity, diet, and drug treatments like aspirin and statins are known to lower risk for heart attack and stroke. It is not yet clear if treating PTSD can lower cardiovascular risk.

Women and PTSD

Unlike previous research, which has largely focused on men with PTSD related to combat, the new study looks at women and a wide range of traumas, from sexual and physical assault to surviving a natural disaster.

“PTSD is twice as common in women than in men, and women with PTSD are more likely to have severe and persistent symptoms,” says Koenen. “Likewise, women with cardiovascular disease are more likely to be hospitalized and die from a heart attack compared with men. For all these reasons, it’s critical that we understand how PTSD contributes to cardiovascular disease in women.”

Visit the Harvard Chan website for the latest newspress releases, and multimedia offerings.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:31:23 -0500
Cuba Becomes First Country to Halt Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis – UN Health Agency
PAHO-WHO have been working with partners in Cuba and other countries in the Americas to implement a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Photo: PAHO/WHO
GENEVA--(ENEWSPF)--30 June 2015 – Cuba has become the world’s first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, “a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation,” the World Health Organization announced today.

“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in a news release validating Cuba’s achievement.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said: “This is a celebration for Cuba and a celebration for children and families everywhere. It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children.”

Meanwhile, at present, an estimated 1.4 million women living with HIV become pregnant every year, and untreated, they have a 15-45 per cent chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding, according to WHO.

“However, that risk drops to just over 1 per cent if antiretroviral medicines are given to both mothers and children throughout the stages when infection can occur,” the health agency said.

And nearly 1 million pregnant women worldwide are infected with syphilis annually, which can result in early fetal loss and stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight infants and serious neonatal infections.

“However, simple, cost-effective screening and treatment options during pregnancy, such as penicillin, can eliminate most of these complications,” according to WHO.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO have been working with partners in Cuba and other countries in the Americas since 2010 to implement a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

“Cuba’s achievement today provides inspiration for other countries to advance towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis,” said PAHO Director Dr Carissa F. Etienne.

An international expert mission convened by PAHO/WHO visited Cuba in March 2015 to validate the progress toward the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Over five days, members visited health centres, laboratories, and government offices throughout the island, interviewing health officials and other key actors.

As treatment for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission is not 100% effective, elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem, according to WHO.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:25:30 -0500
State Court Blocks Florida Law That Forces Mandatory Delay, Additional Visits for Women Seeking Safe, Legal Abortion

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015.  A state court judge today blocked a recently passed Florida measure forcing a woman to wait at least 24 hours and make at least one additional trip before she is able to receive safe, legal abortion care.  The law—which was slated to take effect on July 1, 2015 and will remain blocked while the case proceeds--  fails to include any protections for a woman whose pregnancy threatens her health or a meaningful exception for survivors of rape, incest, or intimate partner violence.

“Women are fully capable of making thoughtful decisions about their lives, families, and health care, and this ruling will keep them from being second-guessed or delayed by politicians who presume to know better,” said Autumn Katz, staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We will continue to fight this demeaning law until the courts permanently strike it down and ensure no Florida woman is ever forced to wait for purely political reasons to get the health care she needs.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida, and Richard Johnson of Tallahassee challenged the unconstitutional measure earlier this month on behalf of Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center—a Gainesville reproductive health care provider—and Medical Students for Choice—an organization dedicated to making reproductive health care, including abortion, a part of standard medical education and residency training.

“The court has recognized that this law serves only to demean women and the choices they and their families make about their own medical care,” said Renée Paradis, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “This decision ensures that the right to privacy guaranteed to women by the Florida Constitution will be protected and allows women to receive the care they need while the courts hear our legal challenge to this unconstitutional law.”

“This decision supports the right of all women patients to make the healthcare decisions they feel are most appropriate for them and enables their physicians to support their decisions,” said Lois Backus, Executive Director of Medical Students for Choice.  “We are grateful for the court’s decision today.”

Waiting periods can create a variety of burdens on a woman who needs safe and legal abortion care—from stigmatizing women and abortion providers, to requiring additional trips to the clinic, which means additional travel time, transportation costs, child care, and time off work.  Women of color, low-income women, rural women, and women in abusive relationships already face challenges when they seek health care services, and waiting periods only increase these barriers.  Additionally, mandatory waiting periods can lead a woman to delay the abortion to later in pregnancy, which can increase the risks of the otherwise extremely safe procedure.

In a region devastated by similarly underhanded restrictions, Florida’s strong state constitutional protections have ensured the state serves as a safe haven for women from neighboring states seeking safe and legal abortion services.  From clinic shutdown laws—which have closed clinics in Texas and threaten to shutter abortion providers in LouisianaOklahoma, Mississippi, and Alabama—to outright bans on abortion, women in the South often face innumerable hurdles when trying to exercise their constitutional right to safe and legal abortion services. 

Harmful restrictions like these further underscore the need for the federal Women's Health Protection Act (S. 217/HR. 448)—a bill that would prohibit states like Florida from imposing unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive health care providers that apply to no similar medical care, interfere with women’s personal decision making, and block access to safe and legal abortion services.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:18:48 -0500
Nurses: Court Decision to Consider Attack on Public Unions Poses Threat to Public Health and Safety

Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015.  Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review of a case challenging the survival of public sector unions poses a significant threat to public health and safety and quality of life, warned National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses.

The Court agreed to review and act on an appeal of a Court of Appeals decision in its next session beginning in October. The case, Friedrichs v. CTA, involves a challenge supported by far right anti-union groups to the right of public unions to require all members who receive the benefits of representation, including higher wages and benefits, to pay union dues – with the ability to withhold payment for certain union political activity.

But the case goes far beyond permitting union members to opt out of dues for politics, going directly to the heart of everything the union does in the realm of collective bargaining.

If the Supreme Court overturns the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals public sector unions could be barred from requiring any dues payments from any members even while still being mandated, at considerable cost, to represent all members in bargaining for wages, health benefits, and other conditions of employment – in effect subsidizing free riders, says NNU.

That’s a considerable risk now that the Court has agreed to take up and rule on Friedrichs v. CTA. A decision on the case would come later in 2015 or in 2016.

“The intended effect,” warns NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN, “is to essentially bankrupt public sector unions, including many nurse unions that advocate for patient safety, by allowing members to enjoy all the privileges of union representation, including wage increases, health coverage, pensions upon their retirement, and improved working conditions, while avoiding any financial responsibility to help support the work done by their union on their behalf.”

“The architects of this move are the management-linked groups, funded by some of the wealthiest corporate interests in the U.S. whose goal is to eliminate the ability of workers to have a voice in the workplace or limit the ability of corporations to put profits ahead of worker rights, workplace rights, and in the case of nurses, patient health and safety,” Ross said.

Friedrichs v. CTA parallels the so-called “right to work” campaign by similar far right groups that have targeted unions in the private sector, and should be seen in the context of the broader attack on unions and worker’s rights that have resulted in a decline in union membership, stagnant wages for most workers, declining relative living standards, and a massive gap in income inequality, notes NNU.

With the growth of right to work legislative efforts, and an increase in the number or right to work states, research has documented the effect on income and living standards. For example, workers in right-to-work states earn on average 12 percent less than workers in non-right-to-work states. Median household income is also 12 percent less. 

"Right-to-work means lower pay, higher poverty rates, and much greater income disparity,” said Ross. “That’s the same reason why groups like supporters of Friedrichs v. CTA have targeted states like California that have avoided such anti-worker laws.”

Nurses are especially concerned with the impact of right-to-work laws on public health.

In, 20 of 24 key measures affecting public health and safety “right to work” states, rank lower on average in poverty rates children, infant morality, cardiovascular deaths, access to primary care physicians and mental health services, infectious disease control, occupational fatalities, and many other factors compiled by America’s Health Rankings.   

Weaker unions – the goal of anti-union groups from the Koch Brothers to corporate linked management law firms and consultants – also reduces the ability of workers through collective action to protect the public, and their own health and safety. For example, the rate of workplace deaths is 54 percent higher in right-to-work states, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data surveyed by the AFL-CIO.

“For nurses, weakened unions, whether in the public or private sector, means less ability to speak out against unsafe patient care conditions to employers or public agencies, exposing more patients to the risk of death or other health complications in a healthcare industry increasingly dominated by big corporate chains that put their profits and budget goals ahead of patient protections,” Ross said.

Action on Friedrichs v. CTA comes after two other recent cases, Harris v. Quinn and Knox v. Service Employees International Union, Local 1000, in which the Court began to rollback the rights of public unions and public workers. Those were likely test rulings for a broader decision that could come with Friedrichs v. CTA. 

If the Court does overturn the Appeals Court ruling  it would be reversing four decades of settled case law, notes NNU, going back to a case known as Abood v. Detroit Board of Education in 1977 in which the court firmly set in place the current system permitting individual workers to choose to opt out of dues payments for political activity, such as union spending on elections or candidates.

“Sadly, as this Court has demonstrated over and over, most notably in Citizens United and other court cases putting limits on corporate spending on elections, precedent has meant little on a Court dominated by conservative activists. For our patients and the public interest, let’s hope that is not repeated with Friedrichs v. CTA,” Ross concluded.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:14:29 -0500
Obama Administration Assists Communities in Building Local Food Systems to Foster Economic Growth

Investment Helps Improve Public Health and the Environment, Diversify Local Economy

WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015. Today, the Obama Administration invited communities to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing direct technical support to build strong local food systems as part of a community's emerging economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, public health, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to spur local economic growth and improve the quality of life for all residents.

Local food sales topped $11.7 billion in 2014 according to industry estimates, underscoring the economic benefit that a local food system can offer a community.

“EPA is pleased to support the Local Foods, Local Places with our many partners,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We know new development has a big impact on our air quality and water quality and on human health. Supporting farmers markets, community gardens and other food-related enterprises in established neighborhoods can help protect the environment, improve health and create jobs and new business opportunity. It’s a win for everyone.”

This is the second year of the Local Foods, Local Places program. In 2014, 26 rural and urban communities participated in the program to create year-round, downtown markets featuring foods from local farmers; establish retail outlets to help revitalize small-town main streets; build centrally located community kitchens or food hubs to aggregate and market local foods; support business incubators to help entrepreneurs start food-related businesses on main streets; enhance public spaces for people to walk or bicycle to farmers markets and local restaurants; assist schoolchildren to grow their own food and make healthy local food accessible to families, including via SNAP benefits; and develop community gardens in walkable, transit-accessible places.

Technical support teams through Local Foods, Local Places helped Osceola, Arkansas (population 7,700) develop a new health foods cooking curriculum for the local school district, create a plan for a new downtown farmers market and implement infrastructure improvement efforts; guided North Little Rock, Arkansas (population 62,000) to enhance the livability of an emerging neighborhood though a new food hub; and worked with Wheeling, West Virginia (population 28,000) to revitalize underused property into a community orchard, multi-use food facility, and a mobile market.

Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership between USDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DoT), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). The effort is part of the White House Rural Council’s “Rural Impact” effort to improve quality of life and upward mobility for kids and families in rural and tribal communities. Together, the agencies are investing $800,000 to support this round of assistance. Application guidelines and deadlines are available on line.

More information about Local Foods, Local Places:



]]> (Rosemary Piser) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:55:15 -0500
HHS Study Finds Early Dialysis Saved Lives Following Hurricane Sandy

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015. People with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who receive dialysis in advance of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, are significantly less likely to need an emergency department visit or hospitalization in the week following the disaster and less likely to die within 30 days after the disaster, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study published Friday in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

The study found that receiving early dialysis was associated with 20 percent lower odds of having an emergency department visit or 21 percent lower odds of a hospitalization in the week of the storm, and 28 percent lower odds of death 30 days after the storm.

“Every disaster holds the potential to impact health and often disproportionately affect people who are medically vulnerable, including people who require dialysis,” explained Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response and one of the study’s authors. “This study provides the first evidence that receiving early dialysis in advance of potential disasters helps protect health and saves lives for dialysis patients and suggests that early dialysis should become a standard practice and protective measure.”

Dialysis patients’ lives depend on receiving multiple dialysis treatments each week. Disasters, particularly those with prolonged power outage and water restrictions, can cause facility closures and disrupt treatment schedules. Early dialysis in advance of a storm’s landfall helps protect patients while their facilities recover and reopen.

HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) conducted the study in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) using Medicare fee-for-service data for 13,836 patients who received dialysis across the State of New Jersey and New York City, the areas most impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The data was provided in a way that protected personally identifiable information and individual patient privacy.

Researchers sought to determine if early dialysis reduced the odds of a dialysis patient having an adverse outcome that included an emergency department visit or hospitalization in the week of the storm and death 30 days after the storm. Before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, 60 percent of ESRD patients received early treatment in 70 percent of the facilities in the impacted area.

“This study is part of a growing movement in the research community to provide scientific evidence to help patients, doctors, and community officials make decisions about how best to safeguard health from the impacts of disasters,” Dr. Lurie said. “The study also affirms the importance of dialysis facilities being fully prepared for disasters.”

The authors recommended that dialysis facilities conduct disaster drills to test emergency and communications plans and assess the staff’s ability to coordinate early dialysis in advance of an emergency. Drills also help determine their patients’ ability to understand, implement and arrive for treatment and identify potential gaps in facility and patient personal preparedness.

Patients must understand how to request early dialysis and how to use emergency renal diet options to manage treatment delays. They also need to know how to seek care at pre-identified alternate dialysis facilities, which requires patients to be prepared to bring copies of their dialysis treatment plan and a list of their current medications when seeking treatment at an alternative facility or, as a last resort, in a hospital emergency department.

The study is part of a broader effort by the ASPR to help the nation become better prepared to address the needs of other at-risk populations, including children and medically vulnerable residents, during disasters.

HHS is the principal federal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. These services include Medicare programs and health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery programs. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of amendments to the Social Security Act that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

ASPR leads HHS’ efforts to prepare the nation to respond and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security.

To learn more about ASPR and about preparedness, response and recovery from the health impacts of disasters, visit the HHS public health and medical emergency website,



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:39:44 -0500
Report: U.S. Pro Sports Shifting to More Sustainable Game Day Food

Green Sports Alliance and NRDC release first-of-its-kind study on concessionaires and venues providing fans with local, healthy fare

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015 – Leading professional sports venues that serve all major leagues are now promoting more sustainable food options to fans, according to a new report by the Green Sports Alliance (GSA) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Champions of Game Day Food” features 20 venues spanning North America that are serving healthier food choices and adopting more sustainable food practices behind the scenes to help advance smarter environmental practices throughout our food system.

“Prioritizing sustainability in sports stadiums and arenas can have ripple effects well beyond the venue gates,” said Gabriel Krenza, NRDC Strategic Food Advisor and report co-author. “By modeling smart food practices, these iconic sports teams are showing real leadership that is influencing their millions of fans as well as the important food providers that supply their concession stands.” 

The report highlights a broad set of more sustainable activities across sports venue food practices, including planning menus with seasonal and local fare, sourcing third-party certified sustainable food and beverage, using energy- and water-efficient kitchen equipment, donating unsold food, and diverting waste from landfills through composting. The results include more local, organic, antibiotic-free, vegetarian and vegan menu options; more recyclable and compostable utensils and packaging; and reduced waste by feeding those in need and producing valuable compost, among other enhancements. 

“We are seeing the start of a significant cultural and marketplace shift towards environmentally intelligent food at sports venues,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, co-founder and president of the Green Sports Alliance. “Greener food service programs have helped venues improve operational efficiency, feed those in need, and better cater to varied dietary preferences. The game day fan experience is changing for the better as a result.”

Key findings from the 20 professional sports venues featured in the report include:

17 venues provide organic food options.

18 venues source food from local farms.

Five venues have on-site gardens.

14 venues serve antibiotic-free meats.

14 venues compost food waste.

Seven venues use compostable serviceware.

Report highlights include:

St. Louis Rams: 100 percent antibiotic-free, humanely raised, and grass-fed beef hot dogs and burgers are served at Edward Jones Dome to Rams fans.

Florida Marlins: Approximately 10,000 pounds of unused prepared food at Marlins Park is donated to local senior homes annually to feed those in need.

New York Yankees: 278 compost bins at Yankees Stadium help fans compost ballpark-wide, advancing the Yankees’ zero waste goals.

Dallas Cowboys: AT&T Stadium sources its USDA-certified organic produce from nearby Paul Quinn College’s student-run farm.

Seattle Mariners: 100 percent of all beef and pork served at Safeco Field is raised without antibiotics or hormones.

San Francisco Giants: AT&T Park features vegetarian and vegan meal options in every concession area, earning the ballpark first place in PETA’s 2014 Vegetarian Friendly MLB Stadium Rankings.

Philadelphia 76ers/Flyers: Nearly 100 percent of serviceware at Wells Fargo Center is compostable.

Sonoma Raceway, Host of NASCAR: The raceway was the first North American racetrack to plant a two-acre organic garden onsite and uses a herd of nearly 3,500 milking sheep to mow the raceway lawns without any industrial equipment.

Tampa Bay Lightning: 125 hydroponic garden towers grow one acre of organic food onsite at Amalie Arena to feed Lightning players and fans.

San Francisco 49ers: 30 percent of all Levi’s Stadium produce is USDA-certified organic and more than 20 percent of the menu is vegetarian.

San Diego Padres: 100 percent of used cooking oil at Petco Park is recycled and donated as biodiesel to support local public transportation and school buses.

The social and environmental benefits of these practices are wide-ranging, including improving water quality, reducing chemical use, protecting soil health, and cutting carbon pollution. Additionally, 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is wasted, while one in six Americans do not know where they will acquire their next meal. Sports teams’ efforts to cut waste and donate unsold food are helping to tackle this critical problem.

“Changing the menus at sports venues, which collectively serve hundreds of millions of people each year, offers an influential platform that can educate consumers and the marketplace about healthier food and stronger food systems,” said report co-author Alice Henly, Director of Programs at the Green Sports Alliance and Resource Specialist at NRDC. “There is a growing trend towards more efficient and environmentally intelligent practices across the supply chain of game day food. The powerful examples in this report provide successful models that all food providers should emulate.”

To read the report, go to:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play. The nonprofit does so by inspiring sports leagues, teams, venues, their partners, and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals, and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members represent nearly 300 sports teams and venues from 20 different sports leagues and 14 countries. Visit, follow us on Twitter at @SportsAlliance and join the global conversation at #GreenSports.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:37:24 -0500
UN Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America & Sierra Club Launch Why We Care Youth to Amplify Young Voices on Critical Importance of International Reproductive Health and Contraception

First-ever contest gives emerging leaders a platform to share their personal stories about reproductive health and rights as part of growing movement

Washington, DC –(ENEWSPF)—June 30, 2015. The United Nations Foundation’s Universal Access Project, in partnership with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Sierra Club, announced the first-ever Why We Care Youth contest today. Why We Care Youth serves as a platform for young people living in the U.S. to share what access to reproductive health and contraception has personally meant to them, and why U.S. policymakers should care about expanding access around the world.

Young people aged 18-25 can share their story and enter the contest in three ways: through a brief written piece, through a photo essay, or through a short video. Winning entries will be chosen in each category, and the three winners will get to attend events around the UN General Assembly in New York. Participants can submit entries through until August 17th. Winners will be announced on August 25th. 

There are few decisions more personal – or more critical – than whether or when to have a child. But for some, it’s not a decision at all. In the U.S., attacks on access to contraception have made headlines. And around the world, there are approximately 225 million girls and women who want to delay pregnancy, but aren’t using modern contraceptives. Unintended pregnancies can result in girls dropping out of school, being unable to pursue an income, and in some cases, facing complications that result in long-term disability or even death.

But with increased funding from the U.S. and other donors, we have the power to change this reality for girls and women. Fortunately, there is growing momentum around this issue, as leaders around the world – including young people – speak out on the critical importance of contraception to their own lives and to other pressing global development issues. 

“We have heard over and over from young Americans that access to family planning matters to them – and they believe it should be a universal right for all. Everyone has a different reason for caring about family planning, but one thing is clear: No matter where you live, if you can’t plan your family, you can’t plan your life. That’s why it’s important that we launch this contest, so that young people can share their own stories, and raise their voices for the needs and rights of individuals around the world,” said Seema Jalan, Senior Director of the UN Foundation’s Universal Access Project. 

"Young people today recognize that being able to decide whether and when to have children is one of the single greatest factors in their ability to get an education, stay in school, and pursue a career," said Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "Yet attacks on access continue, at home and abroad. Why We Care Youth is a powerful platform for young people -- the largest generation ever -- to share what access to reproductive health and contraception has meant to them, and why U.S. policymakers should care about not only ensuring access to birth control in the U.S., but expanding access around the world."

“Healthy people and a healthy planet go hand in hand. To guarantee both, we must ensure that women are educated, empowered, and have the tools they need to plan their families. A woman's level of access to affordable contraceptives is innately tied to her ability to adapt to a changing climate, the opportunity to attend school impacts community resource management and economic vitality. That’s why this contest is so important. By raising our voices for women around the world, we can help make life better and safer for all women and we can help our planet, too” said A. Tianna Scozzaro, Director of the Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Program. 

For more information, and to view sample entries and full contest rules and regulations, please visit 


About The United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit

About Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With nearly 750 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

For more than 40 years, Planned Parenthood Global, the international arm of PPFA, has been working overseas to ensure that women, men, and young people in some of the world’s most neglected areas have access to the health care they need to control their bodies and their futures. By partnering with local advocates, medical service providers, and youth leaders and helping to build sustainable networks and organizations, we find innovative ways to deliver critical services and fight for more inclusive laws and policies. 

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Campaign Name:  Global Population & Environment



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:21:39 -0500
Big Food and Chemical Corporations Spend Millions to Attack Organic

Report exposes growth in front groups and PR spin to win over skeptical consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)—June 30, 2015. In response to skyrocketing growth in organic and non-GMO food sales, food and agrochemical companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years on stealth communications campaigns designed to defend industrial agriculture, sway opinion leaders and win over skeptical consumers, according to a new report by Friends of the Earth released today.

The report, “Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Food,” documents unprecedented levels of spending from front groups, trade associations, anti-GMO labeling campaigns, federal check-off programs and vast corporate marketing budgets aimed at defusing public concern about the risks of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and undermining the reputation of organic food.

“The food industry is using a host of covert communication tactics to shape public opinion without most people realizing the stories are being shaped behind-the-scenes to promote corporate interests,” said Anna Lappé, a national bestselling author and founder of the Real Food Media Project, which works with public interest organizations around the country on popular education about food, farming and sustainability. “Our goal with this report is to inspire journalists, opinion leaders, policy makers and the public to bring increased scrutiny to the food industry’s messages and messengers.”

In the last four years alone, food and agrochemical corporations have set up six new front groups that often appear as independent experts in the media, but are in fact made up of industry or PR professionals that are pushing coordinated industry messages designed to defend industry profits and win critical national policy battles on GMO labeling, pesticides and antibiotic use in animal agriculture.

“This onslaught of industry-sponsored spin is aimed at stemming the growing tide of consumers seeking healthier food produced without GMOs, toxic pesticides or routine antibiotics,” said Kari Hamerschlag, senior program manager at Friends of the Earth. “Rather than spending so much money on PR defending unhealthy and unsustainable food production, these companies should invest in meeting the growing demand for food that is good for people and the environment.”

Key findings include:

Big food and chemical companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars from 2009 to 2011 to manipulate the public conversation about our food.

14 front groups -- often appearing in the media as independent sources -- spent $125 million during that time frame to push coordinated messages that serve industrial agriculture interests. These include groups like the U.S. Farmers and Rancher’s Alliance, whose partners include Monsanto, DuPont, Dow and Syngenta.

Covert PR tactics these groups are using include efforts to disparage “organic moms,” the growth of “native advertising” disguised to look like real news, stealth engagement on social media and the use of third-party allies to foster an echo chamber for industry talking points.

Coordinated messages pushed by a range of seemingly independent spokespeople are making their way from PR firms to the pages of leading media outlets. The report details and debunks five of these key messages, including “organic food isn’t worth the money” and “GMOs are needed to feed the world.

“To have an honest conversation about the future of our food system, it’s crucial for consumers and news producers to understand the alarming extent of industry influence on media coverage and to do what we can to make sure we’re hearing the real story, not spin,” said Stacy Malkan, co-author of the report and co-director of consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know. The report, “Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Food,” can be found at The report includes a detailed summary of industry trade and front groups’ activities, board members and spending.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:36:31 -0500
Center for Reproductive Rights: Supreme Court Steps In to Protect Abortion Access in Texas

Nation’s highest court blocks 5th Circuit ruling that would have shuttered all but 9 clinics in the state

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--June 29, 2015.  In a 5-4 order, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to suspend a recent ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which threatened to shutter all but nine abortion clinics in the state—ensuring harmful provisions of Texas’ clinic shutdown law will remain blocked while Texas health care providers ask the nation’s highest court to review the case. 

Today’s order comes ten days after Texas health care providers—represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights—asked the Supreme Court to block the June 9 ruling after the Fifth Circuit refused to do so late in the day on June 19.  This is the second time in eight months that the nation’s highest court has stepped in to block Texas’ clinic shutdown law from taking effect.

“The justices have preserved Texas women’s few remaining options for safe and legal abortion care for the moment. Now it’s time to put a stop to these clinic shutdown laws once and for all,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.  “Our Constitution rightly protects women from laws that would create barriers to safe and legal abortion care, but Texas politicians have tried to sneak around the Constitution with sham regulations designed to close clinics’ doors.  The Supreme Court has affirmed time and again that a woman has a constitutionally protected right to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and we are confident the justices will make clear once again that the constitutional protections for safe and legal abortion are real.”

“We’re relieved that the high court has, once again, prevented anti-choice politicians from pushing safe and affordable abortion care entirely out of reach for Texas women.  We at Whole Woman’s Health know that reproductive care is not some political bargaining chip—that’s part of why we’re fighting this. With today’s ruling, we remain hopeful that the justice system too will stand with Texas woman and Whole Woman’s Health," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder, president, and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health.”

Major medical groups oppose the types of restrictions found in Texas’ clinic shutdown law.  The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) submitted a joint amicus brief opposing the law, stating that “H.B. 2 does not serve the health of women in Texas but instead jeopardizes women’s health by restricting access to abortion providers.”  Medical experts confirm that legal abortion care in the U.S. is extremely safe, and that laws like Texas’ would do nothing to make it safer.  Meanwhile, real problems concerning women’s health in Texas, especially the state’s skyrocketing death rate for women in pregnancy and childbirth, continue to go unaddressed by Texas politicians.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to access abortion. More than 20 years ago today, the Supreme Court made this clear in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which it ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution limits a state's right to interfere with a person’s “most basic decisions about family and parenthood”--including the decision to obtain an abortion.  On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in the U.S., finding that state bans on same-sex marriage and refusing to recognize legal marriages obtained in other states was a clear violation of both the due process and equal protection rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.  

Clinic shutdown laws have swept the South in recent years, threatening to further devastate abortion access in a region already facing limited availability of reproductive health care services.  The last abortion clinic in Mississippi is awaiting a decision on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will review its state’s clinic shutdown law and trial concluded in the challenge to Louisiana’s clinic shutdown law today.

June 9th Ruling 

The Fifth Circuit’s June 9 decision allowed the state’s requirement that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same hospital-like building standards as an ambulatory surgical center (ASC) to go into effect on July 1 for nearly all clinics in the state—a measure that amounts to a multi-million dollar tax on abortion services and would close all but nine abortion providers in the state.  While the court partially enjoined the ASC requirement as applied to the last clinic in the Rio Grande Valley, its injunction is narrow and may be of limited benefit to the clinic and the women it serves.

The ruling also reverses the lower court’s injunction blocking the state’s admitting privileges requirement except as applied to a single doctor.  This provision has already forced approximately half the state’s abortion clinics to close their doors. 

The court ruled that women in El Paso—who will face a round-trip of over a thousand miles to obtain an abortion in Texas—could travel to neighboring state New Mexico – where there are no ASC or admitting privileges requirements – to access their constitutional right to safe and legal abortion.

Case History:  Whole Woman’s Health v Cole (formerly Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey)

On August 29, 2014 a federal district blocked two of the most harmful restriction of Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB2):  the ambulatory surgical center requirement and the admitting privileges requirement.  On October 2, 2014, the Fifth Circuit allowed the ASC requirement to immediately take effect by staying the lower court’s injunction.  For 12 days, all but seven reproductive health care facilities in the state were prevented from offering safe and legal abortion services—until October 14, 2014, when the United State Supreme Court responded to an emergency application by Texas health care providers and reinstated the injunction in large part, allowing many of the previously closed clinics to reopen their doors.

The clinics and physicians in this challenge are represented by Stephanie Toti and David Brown of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a team of attorneys from the law firm Morrison & Foerster led by J. Alexander Lawrence, and Austin attorneys Jan Soifer and Patrick O’Connell of the law firm O’Connell & Soifer.



]]> (Press Release) Health and Fitness Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:52:28 -0500