Author Archives: Mairead Donnard

Fast-Food Calorie Information is Ineffective

After a long and exhausting day, sometimes all I want is to consume a cheat meal. Most of the time I crave a burger and head to the McDonald’s downtown. As I read my options and finally pick which burger I want, I slowly move my gaze to locate the price. As I do this, I see a different, larger number that I was not looking for. . . the calories. Most of the time when I see the calories, I ignore them and still place my order. My action to continue ordering my unhealthy meal is consistent with the result of a recent survey.

According to HealthDay News, beginning next May fast food restaurants that have over 20 locations will have to list the calories next to each of their menu items nationwide. This is not the first time that restaurants have had to do this. In fact, since 2010 Philadelphia restaurants have already been forced to list this information next to their menu items. The point of listing the calories next to the food is to encourage individuals to make healthier options given that the United States is infamously known as being one of the most obese nations in the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 37 percent of U.S. adults are obese. Even more concerning is that 17 percent of U.S. teenagers are obese as well. It is likely that when teenagers are obese they will continue to live their unhealthy lifestyles as adults. Being Philadelphia is not the only major U.S. city to impose this law and the obesity rates still remain so large, Andrew Breck of NYU, along with his associates, interviewed a 1,400 consumers of fast food in Philadelphia and asked them if they noticed the calories next to menu items. The consensus of these consumers was that they did not notice it. This is concerning and in the best interest of the nation to employ different methods to hopefully empty other methods so that citizens are aware of the nutritional value of the food that they eat, but how can this be done?

I think that it would be best to perform a study and test different methods to make the nutritional information more noticeable to consumers by picking the best method. It would be best to perform a longitudinal experiment in order to track the individuals to identify if there is an improvement or decline in their health. Furthermore, a random sampling would be beneficial to this study in order to represent the population most accurately. The researchers of the study could employ different advertising techniques to see which one the participants of the study take more notice of. At the conclusion of the study, the advertising techniques utilized by the group that improves the most in health could then be taken to a larger scale. The alternative hypothesis of this study is that one of the advertising techniques will make the participants more aware of the food that they consume. On the contrary, the null hypothesis is that there will be no difference in both groups. I suspect that if this study were to occur, the alternative hypothesis would prove to be correct.

I think that it would be beneficial to the health of the nation to use better advertising techniques to assist in making the population more healthy. With this being said, it is likely that people will still continue to live their unhealthy lifestyles even if different techniques were utilized. To changes one’s lifestyle, that person must want it, it cannot be forced.


‘Yo-Yo’ Dieting is a Major No No

During prom season in high school, my best friend and I during the week of prom would go on an insane diet. Of course, after prom we would resume our ‘healthy’ diet of two lava cakes weekly. This is a form of “yo-yo” dieting or losing weight and then almost immediately gaining it back. This form of dieting is extremely popular but is unsurprisingly considered to be an extremely unhealthy way of losing weight. But just how unhealthy is it really?

According to a study, the type of people who are most likely to engage in “yo-yo” dieting are older women. Therefore, Dr. Somwail Rasla, along other associates, decided to test just how bad this form of dieting is on the cardiac health of older women. To determine whether or not Dr. Rasla and his associates were accurate in hypothesizing that cardiac health is negatively impacted from this form of dieting, they decided to create a longitudinal, observational study. To collect the most accurate results, the study consisted of 158,000 postmenopausal women whom were placed into groups categorized as the following:  stable weight, steady weight gain, maintained weight loss, or “yo-yo dieting”. These women were studied for eleven years and at the conclusion of the study, 2,500 women of the women who participated in “yo-yo” dieting died due to a variety of failure in cardiac health. The results of this study are credible given the length and number of participants involved. Although, the researchers stated that while there is a strong association between ‘yo-yo’ dieting and cardiac death, there is not a causal relationship between the two. Furthermore, it is important to note that some of these women could have died due to cardiac failure because of genetics, this in turn acts as a confounding variable.

The information from this study is certainly informative, but what can you do to stop ‘yo-yo’ dieting now? According to Weight Watchers, to begin keep a log of your meals daily. In addition, consume meals that are more balanced in order to stay full longer therefore being more satisfied. An example of a typical balanced meal can be seen below. Moreover, the researchers of the study stated that to not fret when the scale has a weight that is not to your liking. Rather than crash dieting, it is important to eat balanced food and work out whenever possible. These simple steps can not only extend your life, but live a fuller one too.



Boots and Bunions

It is that time of year again. . . winter. For many this is a dreadful time. Beach days at the Jersey Shore are replaced with bundling up in layers and staying in until forced to take dreadful steps outside. In preparation for those brutally cold walks (especially here in State College) it also means that you definitely switched over from open-toed flip-flops to close-toed snow boots. I know I did. For this reason, I found it especially concerning to see an article about bunions and snow boots. Not only am I being forced (by the weather) to wear these heavy boots, but they might also cause bunions too?

According to Robert Preidt, winter shoes have a causal relationship in causing bunions. For those unaware, a bunion is a bony bump that forms at the joint of the big toe. The only way to completely get rid of a bunion is through surgery, other than that there are only treatments. Bunions form from winter shoes because many winter shoes are narrow, therefore when the big toe rubs against the material of the shoe, inflammation occurs. To prevent this, it is important to purchase shoes that are considered wide for your foot. Moreover, one can purchase padding for shoes in order to decrease irritation.

Perhaps you do indeed get a bunion this winter, how can you determine the best remedy to treat your bunion? There are numerous treatments but I am only going to focus on two of the non-surgical treatments. The Cleveland Clinic advises that to remedy the pain of a bunion, a person purchase either a gel-filled pad or a shoe insert, but which one is best? To answer this question, one could perform an experimental study. A large group of participants with bunions could be randomly assigned. One half of the participants with a gel-filled pad and the other half the shoe inserts. Then the participants could live a week with these remedies and keep a log of how they feel at the end of each day in terms of pain from one to five (five being most painful). At the end of the trial the participants would then be questioned about whether or not they felt that they remedy they were assigned was effective or not and an average of the scores could be tallied. This in turn could help determine which is a better, non-surgical remedy. Of course, confounding variables in this particular study can be identified. For instance, if a person has a serious bunion that should actually be surgically removed, they might rate the remedy they were assigned poorly. The null hypothesis of this theoretical study is that there will be no difference in each of the two types of remedy. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that there is a difference and one of the remedies is better than the other. Since there are many remedies to bunions, I suspect that if this study were to actually take place, there would not be a statistically significant result from this study and the null hypothesis would prove to be correct.

All in all, the true cure that would be most significant in relieving bunion pain is surgery. With this being said, it is important to make sure this upcoming winter you purchase the right shoe for your foot to ensure you never have to deal with the pain of developing a bunion. To do this, research winter boots before you purchase them.


Tobacco Flavors: Worse Than They Seem

When Andrew polled the class about whether or not the majority smoked cigarettes, the results did not surprise me. Most of the class had stated that they did not smoke. It seems like smoking cigarettes has become rather passé for the millennial generation. It has lost popularity since the results of many observational studies over decades denounce tobacco products and enforce, through sometimes graphic evidence, the devastating impact they have on the human body. With this being said, it shocked me when I read a headline that the popularity of tobacco was picking up again with the younger generation. Why was this so?


Tobacco flavors have an appeal to the younger generation. Young people see the flavors and immediately assume that this flavored tobacco is less harmful. Obviously, we know that this is an inaccurate assumption. With this being said, researchers at the University of North Carolina decided to see if these flavors actually had an appeal amongst the younger generation. The University reviewed forty past studies in the United States to see the opinions of people about non-menthol flavors. Li-Ling Huang, a study author, said that they were able to conclude that when young people were asked about tobacco flavors, the young people said that flavors have an appeal as they seem significantly less harmful than traditional tobacco. Being that these flavors are promoting the intake of tobacco, U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided to ban flavored tobacco cigarettes in 2009, although this did not include menthol-and-tobacco-flavored cigarettes. There still remains no ban on flavored cigarillos, cigars, hookahs or e-cigarettes in the United States.

One of the flavored tobacco products that has yet to be banned is the hookah. For those unaware, a hookah is a water pipe with a smoke chamber. Being that a hookah lacks a filter, it is significantly worse than smoking cigarettes. In fact, according to the Health and Prevention Services at George Washington University, one smoking session of hookah is equivalent to approximately 40 to 400 cigarettes. Since hookahs contain the same toxic chemicals that are in cigarettes, they cause the same health issues of cigarettes but at a greater magnitude. Some of which include: cardiovascular disease, cancers, and birth issues. Therefore, hookah has a causal relationship with these health issues.

I found it to be perplexing that people who choose to smoke hookah typically associate the hookah as being less dangerous than cigarettes. So why are hookahs more popular than cigarettes? To test this one could get a large group of millennials who already use tobacco products, all of which with similar health backgrounds. One group could be given flavored cigarettes, while the other group could use hookah. After each session the participants could be reviewed and questioned for one week to learn how they felt after each session and whether they were satisfied or not. At the conclusion of the study, all of the participants could then undergo a physical and be shown side-by-side analyses about the differences between the detrimental health effects of cigarettes and hookahs. The hypothesis of this study is that after reviewing just how bad a week’s worth of using these tobacco products, the participants will seek methods to quit. On the contrary the null hypothesis is that the participants will have no reaction to the negative health issues resulting from the study. Given that most human beings typically choose the options that will ultimately make them better off, it is likely that these participants will seek methods to quit this habits. Moreover, the hookah smokers will likely see just how bad the hookah actually is, especially in comparison to the already deadly cigarette.

While Andrew’s poll does indeed bring to light that many millennials are no longer smoking traditional cigarettes, flavored tobacco products are making a deadly comeback. While it is appealing to have something flavored either cherry or cotton candy, one should evaluate the health risks and avoid it, for not only themselves but also the people they surround themselves with.


The Health Benefits of Alcohol (In Moderation)

When I was younger, my grandfather would always have one glass of wine with his dinner. Being a child, I never really questioned it but as I grew older, general curiosity settled in. One day I asked him why he always had a glass of wine with dinner to which he gave the most simplistic response: “because it’s good for me”. Being that I was approximately eight years old at the time and still believed that everything told to me was undoubtedly a fact, I believed him and never questioned it again. With this being said, today with the background knowledge my education has provided me about the negative impacts of consuming alcohol, I wondered what the positive benefits of consuming alcohol are.

According to Robert Preidt, there is a positive correlation in health benefits associated with consuming a light to moderate amount of alcohol. More specifically, light to moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial in reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke. For those who are unaware, an ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke and occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is obstructed. On the contrary, while Preidt reports that there is a positive correlation in reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke, there is zero benefits associated with little to moderate alcohol consumption for hemorrhagic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain bursts, this type of stroke is significantly less likely to occur. Although, interestingly enough high consumption of alcohol increases the chances of both strokes.

The hypothesis that light to moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the chances of having an ischemic stroke is a result of twenty-five studies performed in England and Sweden. These studies reveal that consumption of two drinks a day is beneficial to reducing the chances of having an ischemic stroke. One of the scientists of these studies, Susanna Larsson, stated that this study revealed that the chances of suffering from hemorrhagic strokes increased following heavy drinking (a positive correlation). Another study author stated that the type of stroke that an individual might experience could be a result of the particular affect alcohol has on that person’s body. All in all, the researchers concluded that while there is a strong association between alcohol and strokes, the two do not have a causal relationship. The assumed hypothesis of experiment is that the consumption of light to moderate amounts of alcohol daily is likely to reduce the chances of an individual having an ischemic stroke, while overconsumption of alcohol increases chances of experiencing a stroke. This hypothesis, based on the studies, is proven to be correct. Moreover, due to the fact that the conclusion is based on twenty-five studies, the results are deemed to be accurate. It is important to note that other variants, such as age and current state of health, were not disclosed. This information could impact just how accurate the results of the study are. Furthermore, this type of information could potentially explain any potential confounding variables in this study.

While Preidt’s report is an example of a positive association between the consumption of alcohol and health benefits, it is important to notes the negatives as well. According to Harvard, even though alcohol is beneficial for cardiovascular health, there is still a dark side. For one, alcohol increases the chances of breast cancer. This statistic results from six studies with a total of over 320,000 women. Furthermore, genes play a role in whether or not alcohol consumption is good for an individual. Studies show that individuals who have relatives with alcoholism are more likely to develop it too. This information serves to point out that like most things in life, there are risks and benefits in engaging in any particular activity. It is important to know one’s personal health to ensure that something is right for them and weigh the costs and benefits. The discussion of alcohol intake is no exception to this rule. To conclude, all things are good in moderation.


Parents and Phones

As young adults in the 21st century, I think that we can all relate to just how distracting cell phones are. I know that I find my cell phone to be most distracting in class. It is easy to become bored and checking my phone seems to satisfy that need to be entertained. Just as I, and many other students find cell phones to be a major distraction, a new study reports that parents are becoming distracted by their devices from parenting.

Dr. Jenny Radesky, a professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics, conducted interviews of 35 families and learned that the use of cellphones at home had begun to negatively impact family life. Therefore, Radesky and her colleagues decided to perform a study. The participants of the study included: 22 mothers, nine fathers, and four grandmothers. Radesky had all of the participants watch over kids of varied ages from toddlers to young children. After watching the children, the participants had stated that they enjoyed the use of cell phones while watching thecellphones children as they felt as if it alleviated the boredom associated with watching children. For these participants, the cell phones acted as a source of entertainment. While the phones acted as a distraction, participants found that they paid less attention to the children. Furthermore, they found that the cell phones impacted their mood. Hence, if a participant had seen bad news on their phone, they would not be in a good mood around the children thus creating a negative environment.

The null hypothesis of this study is that the use of cell phones would have no impact in how the participants interacted with the children. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that the use of cell phones would have an impact on how the participants interacted with the children. The alternative hypothesis proved to be correct in this observational study as the participants found that they paid less attention to the children who they were supposed to be watching and the use of cell phones impacted their mood.

All in all, just how cell phones pose as a distraction for students in classrooms (like me), they are also a distraction to parents too. To avoid this, one must show self-control and not allow technology to get in the way of relationships. It is important to live in the moment, and not through a screen.



How to Remedy Homesickness

Picture this scenario: you are walking to class, thinking about how you can manage your time today to not only fit in studying for a test you have in two days, but also a paper that is due by the end of the week. It stresses you out and then you see it. . . a labrador retriever puppy. You take a break from stressing out to play with the dog. Suddenly, everything does not seem so bad and you continue your day with a more positive and healthier state of mind. This scenario that I have created is one that I have experienced more than once. This same sense of relief that I experience when I encounter a dog on my way to class is reportedly experienced by first-year college students who feel homesick.

Cute playful Yellow Labrador Retriever puppy, 8 weeks old, in play-bow


In order to determine whether or not there is a positive causal relationship between first-year college students who are homesick and interact with dogs, Dr. John Tyler Binfet conducted an experimental study. In this study, a total group of 44 first-year college students who felt homesick were randomly split into two groups: a control group and an experimental group. The null hypothesis of this experiment is that there would be no difference between the experimental group and the control group. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that there would be a significant difference between the control group and the experimental group as the experimental group is expected to be positively impacted with the weekly interaction of puppies and the control group’s homesickness should continue to worsen. The experimental group attended eight weekly 45 minute sessions in which they interacted with dogs. At the conclusion of the eight week study, the experimental group stated that they were significantly more satisfied with their college experience having interacted with the dogs weekly. On the contrary, the control group continued to become even more homesick.

To conclude, the alternative hypothesis proved to be correct as there was a significant difference between the experimental group and the control group. The experimental groups’ positive reaction to the weekly interactions with puppies can serve as a reliable example about how to remedy homesickness, but does not necessarily serve as a “cure” being that this experiment was done using only 44 volunteers in total. In addition, not all people like dogs so this remedy will not act as a panacea for all first-year college students experiencing homesickness. With this being said, homesick or not, I would love to have weekly interactions with dogs just to relieve stress!

Parents and Allergies

This past weekend I decided to go home for parents’ weekend. When I got in the car I asked my mom what was new. Amongst other things, she told me that just this past week, after serving my little sister pasta in a marinara sauce she had broken out in hives. Because of this one time incident, my mom decided that our entire family was allergic to marinara sauce and no one else could have it anymore. Obviously I told her that this was irrational and that she must take into consideration other variables, such as the spices in the marinara. To briefly sum up this story, my mom now believes that the entire family is allergic to marinara sauce and wants us all to avoid it (which I can tell you right now is not going to happen, I love spaghetti). With this being said, this story brings to the light the fact that according to a new study, a majority of parents believe that when their child is allergic to something, they too are affected with that allergy. Is this logical reasoning or are parents coming to crass, irrational conclusions?



A recent study conducted by Dr. Rachel Robinson reveals that when parents state that they too have the same allergies as their children, they are incorrect. Robinson received 2,500 parents whose children have food allergies. Prior to the study, the parents were asked they had a food allergy and 14 percent of them said they did. After the study was complete, it was revealed that 28 percent of the parents actually had a food allergy.

This study did provide reliable results, but I think it could have been done better in order to produce even better results. In my opinion, I think that an even better study that could be done would be an observational study with a larger group of parents with different financial backgrounds. Financial backgrounds could potentially impact the results of this study as while one family can afford to cut out a specific type of food from their diet, another family may not be financially capable of doing this. Therefore, a study conducted from a more diverse and larger group could produce results that would be more reliable and applicable to a greater audience.

To conclude, Dr. Robinson’s findings are seemingly logical. I do not think that a second experiment is necessary, but rather another study could further affirm Dr. Robinson’s study. It is logical to think that parent and child will share the same allergies given that there is a 50 percent chance of the child inheriting the same allergies as one parent. With this being said, this is not always the case. All in all, it is probably best that if a child has an allergy the family stay away from that particular thing.

Is Daycare Unhealthy?

Who else went to a daycare as a kid? I went to daycare and loved it! I loved running around and playing with my friends. When I reflect on my daycare experience I never think of the meals I ate, rather the creative games my friends and I would create. With this being said, daycare was definitely a good childhood experience. For this reason, it surprises me that today, claims have been made stating that daycare encourages weight gain in kids due to the lack of strict regulations by states regarding diet and exercise at child care facilities. Without thinking too much about this, I initially thought how is this so? While at daycare, a child spends most of the day remaining active and running around chasing one another. If anything, I think that daycare actually assists in keeping kids in good shape. Therefore I decided to research more into this topic1792.

Dr. Inyang Isong performed a study with approximately 10,700 U.S. children who all have diverse backgrounds. Isong stated that she and her associates tried to control the different factors that might act as confounding variables in this observational study in order to produce the most reliable results. Such variables included: child’s race and gender, parents’ financial status, etc. The null hypothesis of this study is that daycare does not encourage weight gain in children. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that after studying the children, there was a weight gain amongst children who attended daycare in comparison to those children who did not attend daycare. Isong and her colleagues found that the null hypothesis proved to be correct. With this being said, this observational study is not definitive and for better results, a double-blind, controlled experiment could randomly assign groups of children to daycare or to home care.

Based on this study, one could argue that the study did not necessarily put the thought that child obesity is furthered when children attend daycare to rest. A rational person could conclude that children exert a great deal of physical activity at day care through being surrounded by other kids. In addition, children do not spend a lot of time eating while at daycare, as they are typically more eager to play with their friends, which promotes healthy social development. While this is obviously not the case for all children, and it is likely that some kids are becoming obese through attending day care, but this same argument can be made for children who receive home care as they are not interacting with other children. All in all, one can conclude based on this study and rationalization, there is not a causal relationship between daycare and weight gain children, rather it is situational and will vary amongst different children. I personally think that daycare assists in ensuring that children are socially and physically fit, but what do you think?


Why You Might Be Experiencing a Weight Loss Plateau

At one point in time, almost everyone can attest to going on a diet. When I think of the word diet, the first word that comes to mind is hunger. This is because when I am on a diet, I always feel hungry. The only thing I am thinking is either “when is my next meal?” or “what am I going to consume at that next meal?”. It is safe to say that when it comes to diets, I am the worst at following them and generally steer clear of them because when I am on a diet, I feel as if my appetite actually increases.  

A general reason why people find difficulty following diets is because at a certain point, they reach a plateau in which they no longer losing weight, which can be discouraging. One type of person who is likely to fit under this category of people who must follow diets are people who develop Type 2 Diabetes. With this being said, it is not only overweight people who are likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes as it is a genetic disease too, but it is a fact that a large portion of people with this type of diabetes are generally overweight.

For those unfamiliar with Type 2 Diabetes, here is a visual that can offer further assistance in understanding it:



As I talked about in the beginning, I know that when I go on a diet, I find myself craving more food than usual. Therefore, it is not surprising that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) actually performed an experimental study to determine whether there was a positive correlation between weight loss and an increase in appetite. To figure out whether or not this is a causal relationship the NIDDK performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial strictly with individuals who have Type 2 Diabetes. The decision to only have participants with Type 2 Diabetes assists in the results of this experimental study as it is a uniform type of person being studied and people with Type 2 Diabetes are generally overweight. In this year long trial, there were 242 participants, of which 153 received canagliflozin, a medication that is used to lower blood sugar levels for people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. The null hypothesis for this study is that there would be no difference in the weight between the individuals who received canagliflozin with those who did not. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis was that the people who received canagliflozin would increase caloric intake, ultimately increasing the chance of experiencing a discouraging weight loss plateau.

This study proved the alternative hypothesis to be correct in that as people lost weight, their appetite continued to increase leading to a weight loss plateau. This plateau logically encourages people to discontinue diets and go back to unhealthy lifestyles. For those who need to stick by a diet and get over this weight loss plateau, it is wise to possibly join a weight loss program, such as Weight Watchers, to receive assistance from other people who are dealing with the same struggle. In addition, it is best keep a balanced diet filled with variety. All in all, this conclusion explains that it is not that I feel like my appetite is increasing when I go on a diet, as my appetite actually is increasing.

Is a Sugar Tax Effective?

In my previous blog, I discussed about how it is best for children to be limited to no more than twenty-five grams of sugar a day. Such a change will not only act as a preventative measure for childhood obesity, but will also ensure that these children grow up with healthy diets and continue to live healthy lifestyles as adults. So, what happens to those kids who are not brought up with a healthy diet? In today’s world, these now adults typically face major health issues. These health issues have become so serious that many governments are actually trying to step in and stop them. The number one way that these governments are trying to create healthy citizens is through imposing a sugar tax.


One country who decided to place a sugar tax (on beverages) is Mexico. In fact, according to Meera Senthilingam for CNN, this sugar tax actually proved to be successful as sales on sugary beverages fell by 6% and sales of beverages such as water increased by 4%. While Mexico saw success in this tax, other countries, like Denmark, did not. The people of Denmark would travel through country borders in order to purchase their sugary beverages. It is the overall opinion that the imposement of the sugar tax is not effective. One could propose that this type of conclusion was made through an observational study of the countries.

While it seems like a good idea for governments to impose a sugar tax for the welfare of its’ citizens, it does not seem like a good idea to me. People need to realize on their own the negative impacts of consuming excessive amounts of sugar. Instead of imposing a tax, governments should talk more about why the excessive consumption of sugar is so bad for the health of citizens. For example, many people who consume a great deal of sugary substances tend to develop Type II Diabetes. With the excessive consumption of sugar, the pancreas creates more insulin but cannot continue to keep up with it and the body’s blood glucose is not able to remain at an average level. Sugar causes the resistance of insulin therefore people who consume sugary beverages tend to get Type II Diabetes as they have an over 80% chance of developing it. I believe that if governments were able to relay this type of information to its’ citizens, the impact would have a great impact.



Limiting Sugar Consumption for Children

As children, who did not love having a big bowl of cereal in the morning? I know I loved it. My favorite cereal was cocoa puffs and to add just a little more chocolate, as if there was not enough, I would use chocolate milk rather than regular milk. While this tasted incredible, I can now reflect back on this meal as an adult, whose metabolism has significantly slowed down, and recognize that such a meal is extremely unhealthy. Just on breakfast alone, I was consuming over thirty grams of sugar. Not to mention the rest of the meals that I would consume throughout the day.


Such a diet is not realistic for a young child. According to Jacqueline Howard, The American Heart Association stated that it is unhealthy for a child to consume more than twenty-five grams of sugar per day. To further Howard’s argument, she cites an associate professor of pediatrics who discusses the risks to cardiovascular health children will face as adults if they continue to consume a diet full of sugar. One of these risks includes weight gain which could potentially lead to obesity. It is no secret that obesity is major problem in America today. In 2010, 35% of Americans were considered to be obese. This is extremely concerning as that is a rather large number of people who weigh over 200 pounds. To prevent the population from continuing to live unhealthy lifestyles, it should be instilled in parents that their children should not be consuming more than twenty-five grams of sugar a day. If a child is brought up with this diet restriction, it is rational to assume that the child will not become obese as an adult.

Perhaps if someone wanted to confirm that children who eat twenty-five grams of sugar or less a day, they could perform an experiment. As we discussed in class, an experiment is when a scientist assigns treatments to different groups. One group of children could be the experimental group and consume twenty-five grams of sugar or less a day until they are adults, while the other group could be the placebo group and consume greater than twenty-five grams of sugar a day. This study will either prove or disprove The American Heart Association’s statement that children should consume no more than twenty-five grams per day. With this being said, I think that it is logical to assume that is is better for children to not consume great quantities of sugar.


Cocoa Puffs

The Politics of Pneumonia


With the presidential election coming up in a few months, it is impossible to turn on the news and not see a headline relating to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Whether they are talking about policies they plan on implementing upon their election, or even if they are just visiting a family member, these two are being discussed nonstop. It is no surprise then how much press Hillary Clinton has received this past weekend when she became sick during a 9/11 commemoration ceremony and was forced to leave early. In the past few months, Clinton’s health has been a major topic of discussion given her past health records, like her coughing fits on the campaign trail. Many fear that she is not in good health and will not be able to serve as Commander-in-chief (Howard).

After Clinton abruptly left the commemoration ceremony, she was able to recuperate at her daughter’s apartment in New York City and returned appearing normal to bystanders. Although, everything was not as it seemed. Later on, Clinton’s physician made a statement informing the public that the former Secretary had come down with a case of pneumonia. Pneumonia is a bacterial lung infection that can last for up to three weeks. The type of person who is likely to catch pneumonia is either a young child or elderly adult. For elderly adults, the healing process can take longer. While this infection is easily treatable with antibiotics, it should be treated seriously as many people die each year from pneumonia, predominantly older patients. One catches pneumonia through the typical ways in which an illness is spread: coughing and sneezing. In addition, one with a poor immune system and bad health habits is more likely to become infected (American Lung Association).


So what exactly does this mean for Hillary Clinton, does she have poor health habits? Is she physically unfit for such a prestigious position? Not necessarily. As we have covered in class, causation does not equal correlation. Even though Clinton has experienced poor health in the past and is considered elderly (over 65), these variables do not mean that those are the reasons that she became ill. For example, a staff member within close proximity of her could have infected her. In addition, being the public figure that she is, the general public with whom she greets every day could have infected her. In other words, a third confounding variable could have taken part in Clinton contracting pneumonia. Therefore, while it should be taken into account the health of each candidate running for president, this illness should not prove to be detrimental to Clinton’s campaign.



Hillary Clinton Rally


Science: Cool but Complex

Hi, my name is Mairead and I am a freshman from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Currently, I am in the Division of Undergraduate Studies but I hope to transfer into the Smeal School of Business.

I decided to take this course for two reasons. The first being that this course fulfills part of the general education science requirement. The second, and most important reason, is that I think that this course will be able to teach me more about science without getting into complicated specifics. As a result of this, I think that this course will allow me to have a greater appreciation of science.

I am not planning on becoming a science major because I have never excelled in any science class I have taken. In addition, I have not found myself interested in any science class. With this being said, I have found myself to be interested in certain topics covered in science classes such as astronomy. For example, I love reading articles like this. It is so cool to read about space since it is so large, complex, and mostly