Monday, May 25, 2015         

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It is estimated that about 1 out of 3 pregnant women in the U.S. are at least marginally iodine deficient. It is not so clear how marginal iodine deficiency in the mother affects brain development of the fetus during pregnancy and in the infant during breast-feeding.

Individual nutrients are too often overly simplified as having one or two functions in the body. This is even the case in many nutrition and medical textbooks. A lack of awareness of the multiple functions of a nutrient can result in serious health problems that actually have an easy fix.

The recent tropical cyclone devastation in Vanuatu demonstrated the vulnerability of living on islands. With Hawaii being the most geographically isolated islands in the world, clearly we are vulnerable to similar natural disasters.

Last week University of Hawaii President David Lassner signed an executive policy regarding sustainability. This student-initiated policy shows that sustainability is more than a fad and that the university has set a number of significant goals, including carbon neutrality by 2050 and a commitment to sustainability at all levels of operations and education.

About every five years, the U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services revise their dietary guidelines for Americans. The document affects everything from school lunch decisions to health advice from your doctor.

Most of us think we know what's good for us. The messages to eat more fruits and vegetables and consume foods with antioxidants are found in every form of media on a daily basis.

Ginger is grown commercially in Hawaii, especially on the Big Island and Kauai. Certain microclimates in the islands are ideal for growing some of the world's highest-quality ginger. In addition to its culinary uses, there is a great deal of interest in its potential health benefits.

The year 2014 included important health-related discoveries that challenged health-promotion dogma. Some of these breakthroughs represent new twists on things, and others reflect the maturing of a significant body of research that cannot be ignored.

We were lucky to get another interview with Santa this year. The "jolly old soul" had some recommendations for promoting good cheer throughout the year and gave them to us as suggested New Year's resolutions.

This column is a request for all present and future parents to help their children strive for a healthy body, but not at the expense of their self-esteem. An increasing number of young adults are dissatisfied with their bodies.

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