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Consumer Reports Cites NHANES Research in Articles on Arsenic in Food, Juice

An in-depth report in the November 2012 issue of Consumer Reports relies extensively on data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The report, “Arsenic in your food,” exposes the presence of arsenic, a potent human carcinogen, in nearly every food product category—particularly rice and rice-based products such as baby food. The publication analyzed 2003–2010 NHANES urine samples collected from 3,633 participants ages 6 and over whose urine was tested for arsenic and who had reported what they had had to eat or drink from midnight to midnight the day before their examination. According to Consumer Reports, the analysis found that, on average, “people who reported eating one rice food item had total urinary arsenic levels 44 percent greater than those who had not, and people who reported consuming two or more rice products had levels 70 percent higher than those who had no rice.”

“Arsenic in your food” is a follow-up to a January 2012 Consumer Reports article, “Arsenic in your juice.” In that article, analysts used NHANES data to show that “study participants who reported drinking apple or grape juice had total urinary arsenic levels that were on average nearly 20 percent higher than those who didn’t.” Both articles called for federal action in setting limits on arsenic levels.

 

USA Today Highlights “Births: Preliminary Data for 2011” Report

A front page article in USA Today’s October 3, 2012, issue focused on the National Vital Statistics ReportBirths: Preliminary Data for 2011 ,” released the same day. The article, “Births in Teens, 20s Hit New Lows,” noted that the number of babies born to teenagers and some women in their 20s hit record lows in 2011, contrary to demographer expectations of a mini-baby boom. The article further stated that the data suggest a deeper and potentially longer-lasting change in birth patterns. The article also quoted report co-author Stephanie Ventura.

 

JAMA Article Analyzes NHANES Data to Link BPA and Childhood Obesity

An article in the September 19, 2012, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) draws on analysis of NHANES data in examining associations between urinary Bisphenol A (BPA) concentration and body mass outcomes in children. In the article, “Association Between Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Obesity Prevalence in Children and Adolescents,” the researchers examined 2,838 participants aged 6 through 19 years randomly selected for measurement of urinary BPA concentration in the 2003–2008 NHANES. The researchers concluded that, “[u]rinary BPA concentration was significantly associated with obesity in this cross-sectional study of children and adolescents,” although they did not rule out the possibility that obese children ingest food with higher BPA content or have greater adipose stores of BPA. BPA is a manufactured chemical found in canned food, polycarbonate-bottled liquids, and other consumer products, according to the article.

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