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News in Brief...

News in Brief...

BETHESDA, Md—The low-fat message isn’t reaching America’s children. A National Cancer Institute analysis finds that, on average, children consume 35% of their calories as fat and that this figures holds across age, sex, ethnic, and income categories.

“Poor dietary habits have been shown to increase adults’ risk for many diseases, including cancer,” said Susan Krebs-Smith, PhD. “Teaching kids to choose a well-balanced diet can be an important step toward their long-term health.”

Dr. Krebs-Smith, Kathryn A. Munoz, PhD, and colleagues at the NCI’s Applied Research Branch, analyzed data gathered in a 1981-1991 Agriculture Department survey of the food intake of 3,307 children ages 2 to 19.

The researchers found that the average fat consumption in these children was 35%, but concluded that 25% of that amount was fat that could be easily eliminated by substituting less fatty foods, such as skim milk for whole milk.

Smoking Banned in Federal Buildings

 WASHINGTON—Calling cigarette smoking “the single most significant public health problem facing our people today,” President Clinton has signed an executive order banning smoking in all interior spaces in Federal facilities under control of the executive branch. He also banned smoking in any outdoor areas in front of air intake ducts.

The order allows heads of federal agencies to go further and evaluate whether smoking should be restricted at doorways and in courtyards under executive branch control. The executive order will allow federal agencies to maintain smoking rooms if they are enclosed and are exhausted directly to the outside and away from air intake ducts.

Six Research Centers for Children’s Environmental Diseases to be Funded

WASHINGTON—Two federal organizations—the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences—will jointly fund six new research centers to study the possible environmental causes of children’s diseases. Six nonprofit institutions will be selected to set up and run the centers, which will receive a total of $10 million in the first year.

The centers will focus especially on respiratory diseases, including asthma and allergies; the role of environmental contaminants, such as lead and mercury, on intellectual development; and the impact on growth and development of exposure to pollutants before or after birth.

Buy a Stamp, Support Breast Cancer

WASHINGTON—Breast cancer survivors and research advocates won out over the US Postal Service, as Congress passed and the President signed legislation creating a special stamp to help fund research into the disease.

The Postal Service had opposed the stamp, in part because it feared the burden of many additional stamps being created to fund other worthy projects. The stamp will be available in about a year.

The stamp is to be priced no more than 8 cents above normal first class postage. It will be sold as an option, and the additional revenue generated will help fund breast cancer programs at the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense. The new law states that money from sales of the stamp will not replace current research funds but will be added to them to increase total funding.

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