Health Roundup

November 16, 2010

By Staff

State bans Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks

The state has banned “blackout in a can” caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Washington State Liquor Control Board members OK’d the emergency ban Nov. 10, after nine underage Central Washington University students had to be hospitalized after consuming the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.

The statewide ban takes effect Nov. 17 and remains in effect for 120 days as the state formulates a permanent ban.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna commended the Liquor Control Board for the decision.

“These drinks are heavily marketed to youth, with fruity flavors and large quantities of stimulants to mask the high levels of alcohol,” he said in a statement. “This dangerous combination results in too many youth drinking way too much, way too fast — and waking up in local hospitals with alcohol poisoning. Known as ‘blackout in a can,’ these beverages present too many health risks to remain in the marketplace.”

In 2007, McKenna and fellow attorneys general spearheaded a nationwide effort to ban the beverages. The next year, the group asked the nation’s largest brewers — Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors — to remove stimulant-infused alcoholic beverages from the market. The companies agreed.

The federal Food and Drug Administration could rule on alcoholic energy drinks soon.

Contest aims to honor caregivers

In celebration of National Family Caregiver Month in November, Synergy HomeCare — a national home care provider with a branch in Issaquah — has launched a nationwide outreach program to support family caregivers.

The project aims to build community, strengthen families and promote care-giving education.

The education portion of the program is open to everyone, and includes eight free hours of online classes about information, such as keeping proper health records, using assistive devices and ensuring effective care practices.

Synergy HomeCare also provides family caregivers with a strong emotional support system. By submitting a story to the Arms Around Family Caregivers blog, anyone can nominate a family caregiver in his or her life for the Pillar of Strength Award, a national recognition of selfless efforts and 40 hours of respite care, courtesy of Synergy HomeCare.

The blog post with the most unique comments will receive the award. The blog is open for nominations until Nov. 30. The winner will be announced Jan. 30.

Avoid sugar-loaded drinks as holiday season arrives

Thanksgiving and the December holidays mean temptations abound.

During the holiday season, children and adults usually consume more candy and desserts.

Few parents realize the risk sugar-loaded beverages — such as soda, sports beverages, energy drinks and sweetened fruit drinks — pose for kids.

Public Health — Seattle & King County hopes to raise awareness about sugar-loaded beverages with a new online resource and video posted here.

The risks include contributing to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and high blood pressure. Each year, King County spends $500 million for costs related to obesity.

During the holiday season, public health officials encourage parents to give their kids fewer sugary drinks. Instead, pick low-fat milk or water.

New Alzheimer’s support group forms

Caring for someone with memory loss? Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support groups provide a consistent and caring place for people to learn, share and gain emotional support from others who are also on a unique journey of providing care to a person with dementia.

A free information and support group for care partners, family members and friends of individuals with dementia is from 6:30-8 p.m. the second Thursday of each month starting in December at Faith United Methodist Church, 3924 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E.

To learn more, call group facilitator Barbara Swasey at 486-7621.

Isabella, Alexander rank as state’s most popular baby names

If it’s a girl, she’s Isabella. If it’s a boy, he’s Alexander.

The names ranked as the most popular baby names in Washington for 2009, birth data released by the state Department of Health shows.

The agency ranked the top 100 names, from Isabella and Alexander at No. 1 to Isabel and Lincoln at No. 100. Find the complete list here.

The state started tracking baby names and other birth-related data in 1980.

The most common name for a girl born in 1980: Jennifer. The top choice for boys: Michael.

Michael has appeared in the top 10 every year except for the past three years. Jennifer remained in the top 10 for the ’80s but slipped down the list to No. 97 last year.

Births in the state decreased last year, after gradually increasing every year since 2002, as fewer women of childbearing age — 15 to 44 — have babies. The result: About 1,000 fewer babies were born in 2009 — 89,242 compared to 90,270 during the previous year. The birth rate dipped to 13.4 percent last year — a 2.2 percent decrease from 13.7 percent in the prior year.

Get free respite care at EADS

Elder and Adult Day Services offers free respite care through the Destinations program from 1-4 p.m. the third Saturday of each month starting Nov. 20 at its Bellevue location, 12831 N.E. 21st Place. Call 765-2317.

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