Factbox: Mexicos obesity epidemic – Reuters


TEXCOCO, Mexico, June 16 (Reuters) – Mexican girls and boys, but especially girls, have seen their mean body mass index (BMI) rise at one of the steepest rates globally over the past 35 years, researchers at Imperial College London found after comparing data from 200 countries.

– Andrea Rodriguez, a researcher who studied the Mexico data, said in 1985 Mexican girls aged 19 had a mean BMI of 20.7 and ranked 155th among their peers. But by 2019, it had risen to 24.2 and ranked 19th.

– Boys of the same age group followed the same trend albeit much less dramatically. Rodriguez said their mean BMI of 22.4 ranked 41 worldwide in 1985, but rose to 24.2 and ranked 34th by 2019.

– Obesity is widespread among both Mexican children and adults, and worsening, 2018 government data showed.

– Meanwhile, diseases that scientists and government officials link to poor nutrition have sky-rocketed, straining Mexico’s health system.

– There were 8.6 million Mexicans aged 20 or older with diabetes, or 10.3% of that population, 2018 government data showed, an increase of more than one percentage point from six years earlier.

– Even more had high blood pressure – some 15.2 million adults, or 18.4%, an increase of almost two percentage points over the same six years. While the government evaluation does not cite reasons, health officials have blamed it on poor eating habits. Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell has called soft drinks “liquid poison.”

– In six years, the percentage of Mexicans aged 20 or older who were either obese or overweight increased by almost four percentage points to 75.2%; 39.1% were overweight and 36.1% obese.

– Among children up to the age of four, 8.2% were overweight. These rates increased steeply with age: 35.6% of Mexicans between ages five and 11, and 38.4% of those between 12 and 19 were identified as overweight.

– Obesity emerged as a major problem in Mexico after a trade deal with the United States and Canada in 1994 made cheap, unhealthy food easily available, substituting their traditional diet, researchers noted in a 2012 paper published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Carlos Jasso; editing by Diane Craft

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reddits Beloved No-Weights Workout Is Famous for a Reason


woman doing a split squat on a park bench

Photo: BigBlueStudio (Shutterstock)

It’s not easy to strength train without weights. Once you’re able to do full pushups by the dozens, for example, they’re training your endurance more than building your strength. And while moves like pull-ups provide more of a challenge, they’re often impossible for beginners. But there’s a workout that covers the whole spectrum, and it’s one of Reddit’s best kept fitness secrets: the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended Routine.

An important note on equipment: while this routine doesn’t require weights, it does include moves that call for a pull-up bar or a set of dip bars. Some folks solve for this by doing the routine at a park; you can also buy or improvise the equipment at home for a lot less than investing in a full home gym setup.

Why this Reddit routine is the best no-weights workout

The routine has been a classic among redditors for a while, and now there’s a video that walks you through the beginner and intermediate options. You can also read an extensive, written guide to the recommended routine, which lays out the basics:

  • The routine is intended to be done three days per week.
  • It’s a full body workout.
  • Instead of specific exercises, it includes categories of exercises. For each, you choose the exercise in that category that you can do for about 5 reps.

For example, the routine calls for a pull-up and a squat in its first pair of exercises (which are to be done as a superset). If you’re a beginner, your pull-up exercise might be scapular pulls, which involve hanging from the bar and contracting the muscles around your shoulder blades to raise your chest without bending your arms. As you advance, you’ll move on to exercises like negative pull-ups (in which you jump to the top of the bar and slowly lower yourself down) and regular pull-ups. Squats progress in a similar way: You can start by doing air squats with both legs, then progress to split squats, and eventually one-legged pistol squats, which are a lot more challenging.

Instead of adding weight as you get stronger, you’re changing the movement to make it more difficult. The end result for your body is similar to what you’d get from working out with heavy weights: you’ll get stronger, and your muscles can potentially get bigger and more defined (although that will also depend on your diet).

Here’s the video:

And here’s the basic structure of the workout:

  • Warm-up movements
  • Superset: pull-up and squat
  • Superset: dip and hinge
  • Superset: row and pushup
  • Superset: anti-extension, anti-rotation, and extension core exercises

The whole routine should take less than an hour once you get the hang of it. If you’d like a cheat sheet to help you follow along as you do the exercises, there’s one here. Don’t forget to read the full description at Reddit for more on rest times, how you can supplement with weights if you have access to them, and more.


Walmart launches low-priced private label analog insulin – Reuters


CHICAGO (Reuters) – Walmart said on Tuesday that it will start selling private-label analog insulin this week at a deep discount to branded insulin vials and pens, as it seeks to drive growth at its healthcare business.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Walmart is seen on shopping trolleys at their store in Sao Paulo, Brazil February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

The product, ReliOn NovoLog, is a rapid-acting analog insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes. It will require a prescription from a physician. More than two decades ago, Walmart launched a human insulin private label brand called ReliOn that costs $24.99 a vial.

The world’s largest retailer said its more than 3 million customers with diabetes could save between 58% and 75% off the cash price of branded analog insulin products, or up to $101 per branded vial or $251 per package of branded FlexPen.

Analog insulin tends to be more effective and easier to administer than the older, human insulin.

About one in 10 Americans have diabetes, or roughly 34 million people. The vast majority have type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition linked to genetics, along with weight gain and inactivity. Diet and exercise can help manage the disease, but some patients also need insulin or other medication.

Alternatively, about 1.2 million people have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that requires lifelong insulin injections after the pancreas stops producing a sufficient amount.

For years, patients, consumer advocates and U.S. lawmakers have complained about the high list prices for insulin and the significant out-of-pocket costs borne by patients.

Walmart, which is working with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, said its products were intended for use by patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has for years strategically lowered consumer prices for generic drugs, undercutting branded products sold by other retailers.

In 2006, Walmart began selling some generic drugs for $4 per monthly prescription – a tactic soon adopted by a number of pharmacy operators.

Reporting by Richa Naidu; Additional reporting by Chad Terhune in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates

INSIGHT-From Nigeria to Brazil halo crops reap pandemic profits – Reuters


  • COVID-19 boosts consumption of ginger, acai and turmeric
  • Prices climb as demand outstrips supply

KADUNA, Nigeria, June 2 (Reuters) – In a flowing cream hijab, Karima M. Imam walks through her fields in scrubland in northern Nigeria as workers harvest a gnarled brown root that has turned gold since COVID struck: ginger.

“If I had the capital, I’d plant more. People are looking for ginger now, and there is not enough,” she said at her five hectare farm on the outskirts of Kaduna.

As the pandemic rages, people around the world have sought to guard against illness by turning to so-called halo foods. While scientists have dismissed many claims on social media about how superfoods can fend off the virus, their positive role as part of a healthy diet is widely acknowledged.

As demand for halo foods surges, prices for ginger in Nigeria and acai berries in Brazil have leapt while exports of Indian turmeric and Chinese garlic have jumped in the past year.

“The demand for ginger is high because they are using it as medicine,” Imam said, adding that during the lockdown she boiled ginger with turmeric and garlic to take as a remedy.

Increasingly health conscious consumers have given an already buoyant global spice market a further boost during the pandemic, heightening investor interest in the sector.

Singapore’s Olam International (OLAM.SI) completed the purchase of major U.S. spice manufacturer Olde Thompson last month while Norway’s Orkla (ORK.OL) took a controlling stake in Indian spice exporter Eastern Condiments in March.

In Nigeria, a 50 kg bag of ginger, which can help the body ward off germs and is used as a cold remedy, now sells for 15,000 naira ($39), up from 4,000 to 6,000 naira two years ago.

Thanks to the ginger rush, Imam has been able to start building a new house in nearby Millennium City, with a small warehouse attached so she can store and sell fresh ginger, which goes for more than when it has been cut and dried.

Prices began rising last year but since January they have taken off due to pandemic-related demand, said Florence Edwards, national president of the Ginger Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.

She said there had been demand from all over the world, citing India, China and Europe among popular markets.


There has also been a surge in demand for acai, a fruit rich in antioxidants hyped as a superfood. The Amazonian state of Para in Brazil is the world’s largest producing region.

Paulo Lobato, a 52-year-old producer and trader of acai in Para, has had to hold back part of his crop for long-standing clients, with supplies unable to keep pace with soaring demand.

Prices were 53% higher in April compared with the same period last year at 4.14 reais (78 cents) per kg, according to the state’s export federation CIN/Fiepa.

“I’ve been working with acai for the past 32 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Lobato said. “During the pandemic people just went nuts.”

Para is responsible for more than 90% of Brazil’s production of acai, which thrives in its wet soil and constant heat.

Freshly washed ginger plant bulbs are seen at a market in Kaduna, Nigeria. April 30, 2021. Picture taken April 30, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The purple round fruit is mostly produced by families, with cooperatives organising harvests. Lobato has 20 families working in his farms with whom he shares half of the proceeds.

Acai is part of the Amazonian culinary tradition, eaten as a side dish with fried fish and typically as part of lunch and dinner. As export demand has risen, however, the fruit has become harder to find at local markets.

“The local consumers are the first to be hit,” said Florence Serra, from Brazil’s food supply and statistics agency Conab. “Some people would go to the street fair and find none.”


Like ginger, garlic has components that can help the body fend off bugs and it too is in demand. China exported 2.18 million tonnes of garlic bulbs in 2020, up 30% from the year before, customs data shows, with major customers including Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Demand for the spice turmeric, which can help in the treatment of conditions involving pain and inflammation, has also received a pandemic boost.

Indian exports of turmeric jumped 36% in 2020 to a record 181,664 tonnes and shipments have carried on rising in 2021, climbing 10% in the first two months of the year to 24,813 tonnes, according to data compiled by India’s trade ministry.

“The concept of immunity boosters is very much influential these days not only in India but across the globe and turmeric is a natural immunity booster,” said Abhijeet Banerjee, a spices analyst at Indian financial services company Religare (RELG.NS).

“The government and Ayurveda practitioners recommend consuming some amount of turmeric daily for better post-COVID management,” he said, referring to traditional Indian medicine.

Turmeric futures have risen more than 30% so far in 2021 and hit a five-year peak of 9,522 Indian rupees ($130) per 100 kg in March.

Farmers such as Ravindra Dere, who cultivates turmeric on two acres in the western state of Maharashtra, are happy.

“After many years, we are making decent profit. I hope prices will remain firm,” he said.

Back in Kaduna in Nigeria, Hebile Abu sees no end to the ginger rush. He’s the commercial manager for a company that facilities loans, fertilisers and tractors for a cooperative of about 1,500 small farms – and then markets their crops.

“However many tonnes you have, they will buy it,” he said. “People come for it and they cannot get it.”

($1 = 381.0000 naira)

($1 = 73.3090 Indian rupees)

($1 = 5.3157 reais)

Reporting by Libby George in Kaduna, Nigeria, Sabrina Valle in Rio de Janeiro and Nigel Hunt in London; Additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Editing by Veronica Brown and David Clarke

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Lloyd leaves the critics behind on road to fourth Games – Reuters


Jun 16, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; USA captain forward Carli Lloyd (10) heads a ball toward the goal against Nigeria during a U.S. Women’s National Team Summer Series international friendly soccer match at Q2 Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

June 25 (Reuters) – After two World Cup titles, a pair of Olympic golds and a roster spot secured for her fourth Summer Games, there is seemingly little that Carli Lloyd can’t do.

In a recent Zoom interview with Reuters, her list of talents included troubleshooting a reporter’s malfunctioning microphone, after navigating more than a year’s worth of remote media calls in the excruciating wait for the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

“I can add it to my resume,” said Lloyd, 38, the multifaceted forward who has come to embody the U.S. women’s national soccer team since she scored the gold medal-winning goal in 2008, enjoying an unprecedented, age-defying career.

“(From an) explosive standpoint, a strength standpoint, this is the best I’ve ever felt,” said Lloyd.

“I still have the same hunger, the same motivation the same determination. But yeah, I’ve come a long way from 2008, that’s for sure.”

The path hasn’t always been easy, after well-documented frustration with former national team head coach Jill Ellis, who slotted her into a “super sub” role for the Stars and Stripes’ successful 2019 World Cup, a snub Lloyd said was based on her age and not her ability.

“I was already being written off,” said Lloyd.

“I didn’t want people to sit here and feed off of this nonsense – that wasn’t true – that I’m too old, I can’t play 90 minutes, because here we are. I’m almost 39 years old and I’m playing 90 minutes.”

It was a trial that prompted a personal ethos: “Be so good they can’t ignore you”.

Sidelined for most of 2020 with injury, Lloyd became the oldest player to score a goal for the four-time World Cup winners this month, and credits some of her longevity with diet, promoting – in the case of new sponsor Gone Rogue Protein Snacks quite literally – a high-protein approach to fuelling.

“Everything (is) syncing up now,” said Lloyd. “Everything that I have been working on, my preparation, it’s all coming and now it’s just the mindset.”

After 302 international caps – the third most of any women’s soccer player – she knows the road ahead is shorter than the one behind her.

“It’s not going to be a physical thing for me to eventually retire – which, you know, maybe would be an easier thing,” said Lloyd. “It’s going to come down to a life decision.”

Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

French restaurant serves up food of the future: insects – Reuters


PARIS, May 31 (Reuters) – Laurent Veyet’s tasting menu is not for the faint-hearted, but may point to the future of feeding a booming world population – there is a prawn salad with yellow mealworm, crunchy insects on a bed of vegetables and chocolate-coated grasshoppers.

As sun bathed the outdoor restaurant terraces in Paris, Veyet’s ornate dishes were winning approving nods and murmurs of satisfaction from his adventurous clientele.

“It’s the ideal dish for first-timers,” the Parisian chef said, preparing a serving of pasta made with mealworm flour, sweet potato and sauteed insect larvae. “There are some really interesting flavours. Not many people could say they don’t like that.”

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in January deemed the mealworm fit for human consumption and in May approved its sale on the market. The agency has fielded more than a dozen other applications for insect-based food products, including crickets and locusts.

Mealworm, and insects more generally, could offer a sustainable and low carbon-emission food source for the future.

Dining with his two daughters, Soheil Ayari gave his endorsement: “I feel like I am in a traditional restaurant except the concept behind what I’m eating is different. And honestly, the tastes are very similar (to regular food).”

Ayari’s young daughter was equally positive: “It’s environmentally friendly and what’s more, it’s good.”

Veyet grows his mealworm on site, feeding them porridge oats and vegetables. While the mealworm may look like an unappetizing maggot, it is in fact the larvae of the darkling beetle, rich in protein, fat and fibre.

A versatile ingredient, the mealworm can be used whole in curries or salads, or ground to make flour for pasta, biscuits or bread.

“Insects are nutritious,” said Stefan De Keersmaecker, a health and food safety spokesman at the European Commission. “They can really help us switch to a more healthy and sustainable diet and food system.”

For Veyet, the challenge is two-fold: winning over public opinion and learning how to match the insects’ taste with other foods.

“You have to find the right flavours, the right accompaniments. All that is fascinating, any chef will tell you the same,” he said.

Editing by Richard Lough and Janet Lawrence

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Novo Nordisk semaglutide gets U.S. FDA approval for obesity treatment – Reuters


Flags are seen outside Novo Nordisk headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, February 5, 2020. REUTERS/Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

June 4 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk’s (NOVOb.CO) once-weekly semaglutide drug as a treatment for obesity, a condition that affects nearly 70% of American adults.

The drugmaker said it was expecting to launch the drug, which would be sold under the brand name Wegovy, in the United States later in June 2021.

The regulatory nod is a big win for Novo, which has seen its core insulin business suffer from tough competition, prompting it to turn toward newer diabetes and obesity drugs to revive growth.

Novo’s revenue growth has been driven by sales of its newer GLP-1 products, which imitate an intestinal hormone that stimulates insulin production, lowers appetite and increases feelings of fullness in patients.

“There is a huge, huge unmet need here,” Doug Langa, Novo’s executive vice president for North America operations, told Reuters on Thursday, ahead of the FDA’s decision.

Langa hopes the improved efficacy of semaglutide will help Novo grow the market further, particularly by convincing more doctors to prescribe the drug while also getting more insurers to include it in their coverage.

Novo, the first to introduce GLP-1 drugs on the obesity market, could benefit from more rivals entering the field to help brand obesity drug treatment among general practitioners.

The FDA approved a dosage of 2.4 milligram semaglutide as a treatment for adults with obesity as an adjunct to physical exercise and reduced-calorie diet, Novo said.

The under-the-skin injection is the first drug to be approved for chronic weight management in adults with general obesity or who are overweight since 2014, the FDA said. (https://bit.ly/34OdzdH)

Novo is gearing up for the launch of semaglutide with around 350 to 400 sales representatives ready to sell the product, Langa said, but he declined to disclose how much Novo expected to spend on marketing.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard in Copenhagen; Editing by Anil D’Silva

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Meat-free diet may lower severe disease risk; no serious problems found with AstraZeneca shot in Scotland – Reuters


The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

June 9 (Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

COVID-19 severity linked with diet

People on meat-free diets had lower odds of contracting moderate to severe COVID-19, according to a six-country study published on Monday in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. Plant-based diets were tied to a 73% lower risk of severe disease, researchers found in a survey of 2,884 healthcare providers who cared for COVID-19 patients. Combining those on a plant-based diet and people who also ate fish but no meat, researchers found 59% lower odds of severe disease. The study cannot prove that specific diets protected against severe COVID-19, and diet did not appear to lower the risk of becoming infected. But plant-based diets are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are important for healthy immune systems, the researchers noted, and fish provide vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Healthy eating, however, has been problematic during the pandemic, according to two presentations this week during a virtual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition. Consumption of healthy foods such as vegetables and whole grains declined, according to researchers who compared the diets of more than 2,000 Americans before and during the pandemic. In a separate study, researchers who collected dietary data in June 2020 for 3,916 U.S. adults found many had increased their consumption of unhealthy snacks, desserts and sugary drinks during the pandemic. “Individuals may need help to avoid making these dietary changes permanent,” said Dr. Sohyun Park of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coauthor of the latter study. (https://bit.ly/3g91dUc; https://bit.ly/3xfox8t; https://bit.ly/3zhcSYz)

No serious problems with AstraZeneca vaccine in Scotland

A study of side effects from AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland found only an association with a largely harmless bleeding condition and no link to the potentially deadly venous clotting in the brain, known as CVST, which has caused concern in Europe and led to pauses in its use. Researchers who tracked 5.4 million people in Scotland found roughly one additional case of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) per 100,000 people after the first AstraZeneca shot. ITP is a treatable condition of low platelet count and has not caused any deaths among the 1.7 million recipients of the vaccine in the study, the authors reported on Wednesday in Nature Medicine. Due to the rarity of CVST, the Scottish study may have been too small to allow for any conclusions, coauthor Aziz Sheikh of the University of Edinburgh told a media briefing. “The overall message is just the rarity of these outcomes,” said Sheikh. “This is reassuring data.” (https://go.nature.com/3crKglC; https://go.nature.com/356SUBI; https://reut.rs/3gkG48m)

Aspirin does not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Aspirin did not improve survival or reduce disease severity in a study of nearly 15,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Researchers had hoped that because aspirin helps reduce blood clots in other diseases, it might be helpful in COVID-19 patients who are at a higher risk for clotting issues. Patients randomly assigned to receive 150 milligrams of aspirin once a day did have fewer blood clots, but no lower risk of becoming sicker and requiring mechanical ventilation or better odds of being alive after 28 days. And they had a higher risk of major bleeding complications, a not uncommon issue with aspirin therapy. They did have slightly better odds of getting out of the hospital alive, researchers reported on medRxiv on Tuesday ahead of peer review. But “this does not seem to be sufficient to justify its widespread use for patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Peter Horby of the University of Oxford, co-chief investigator of the trial. (https://bit.ly/3cu4fQx; https://reut.rs/3gnY9SO)

COVID-19 control policies still needed in warm weather

In the absence of lockdowns and social distancing, weather and crowding have the biggest impact on COVID-19 spread, a new study found. But even if virus transmission tends to be somewhat lower in warmer conditions, summer weather “cannot be considered a substitute for mitigation policies,” because population density matters more than temperature, according to the report from Imperial College London published on Wednesday in PNAS. Warmer regions should not expect to ease mobility restrictions before colder regions, especially because “warmer regions tend to have higher population densities – for example, the population in Florida is more densely packed than in Minnesota,” coauthor Will Pearse said in a statement. Lockdowns have stronger effects than either temperature or population density, his team reported. Because temperature changes have a much smaller effect on transmission than policy interventions, “while people remain unvaccinated, governments mustn’t drop policies like lockdowns and social distancing just because a seasonal change means the weather is warming up,” said coauthor Dr. Tom Smith. The study also suggests “that lower autumn and winter temperatures may lead to the virus spreading more easily in the absence of policy interventions or behavioral changes.” (https://bit.ly/3vedKKk)

Open https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

Reporting by Nancy Lapid, Megan Brooks, Ludwig Burger, and Vishwadha Chander; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

CEO Secrets: My billion-pound company has no office


When it comes to the practicalities of working while physically apart, Hopin takes advantage of cloud-based, collaborative software: Microsoft Teams, Slack, video-messaging platform Loom, Figma (for design work) and Notion (which allows you to share information in Wiki notes).

The internet is losing it over the Karen trailer and you can see why


If you saw Jordan Peele trending on Twitter, it’s not what you think.

A trailer for the movie Karen, from writer and director Coke Daniels, is giving the internet strong Diet Get Out vibes that have Peele trending for creating such an incredible movie that others try to recreate to this day.

Karen is about the titular entitled racist (Taryn Manning) who makes it her mission to drive out the Black couple that moves in next door (Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke). The trailer is a crash course in headline-making racism with subtlety to spare (again, it’s called Karen), all packaged into the kind of horror film many Americans don’t need help imagining. 

Karen does not yet have a release date but was just picked up for distribution. You can rent or buy Get Out wherever you rent movies online.