Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

McDonald's says it will start using paper straws instead of plastic at all its locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland. And it plans to test sustainable alternatives to plastic straws in some restaurants in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe later this year.

A huge study on the possible health benefits of drinking alcohol will be completely shut down, because its credibility was compromised by frequent and early interactions between alcohol industry executives, scientists and government officials.

Jean Marie Rukundo did not accompany his wife to the clinic the first two times she gave birth. Here in rural Rwanda, that was considered the duty of another woman, like her sister. His main job was farming — though his wife farmed too. After work, Rukundo used to leave his hoe with her and then go play cards with men in the village. Meanwhile, his wife went home from the fields, gathered firewood and water, prepared dinner, cleaned dishes and cared for their children.

A painkiller prescription could become a ticket for medical marijuana in Illinois. Lawmakers there passed a bill making anyone with a prescription for opioids eligible for its medical cannabis program.

With this move, Illinois joins a growing number of states turning to legal cannabis in the fight against painkiller addiction.

"As we see the horrible damage inflicted by opioid use and misuse, it seems like a very low-cost and low-risk alternative," says state Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, Ill., and sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Person You Become.

About Janine Shepherd's TED Talk

Janine "the machine" Shepherd was a cross-country skier bound for Olympic greatness, when an accident left her paralyzed. She describes her struggle to redefine her identity beyond being an athlete.

About Janine Shepherd

The number of people graduating with nuclear engineering degrees has more than tripled since a low point in 2001, and many are passionate about their motivation.

"I'm here because I think I can save the world with nuclear power," Leslie Dewan told the crowd at a 2014 event as she pitched her company's design for a new kind of reactor.

Photo: Cristina Martinez and Francis Lam with the full spread
of barbacoa, salsa, and accompaniments at El Compadre.

The Andes hold the heart of Peruvian food

Jun 15, 2018

Photo: Fruit market in the streets of Cusco, a town in the Peruvian Andes.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

What do China, India, South Sudan and the United States have in common?

They are among the 92 countries where there is no national policy that allow dads to take paid time off work to care for their newborns.

According to a data analysis released on Thursday by UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency, almost two-thirds of the world's children under age 1 — nearly 90 million — live in countries where dads are not entitled by law to take paid paternity leave. In these countries, this policy is typically decided by employers.

The Fight Over Federal Land In The West

Jun 14, 2018

The federal government owns just under half of all the land in the West (check out the map and chart below for more). But a rollback is underway.

Earlier this year, the president reduced the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

It's been clear for many years that vitamin D helps keep bones strong, but studies have been inconclusive and conflicting about the vitamin's value in protecting against certain cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Amid an unceasing series of revelations about alleged ethical misconduct, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is rapidly losing support with influential Republican lawmakers and conservatives who, until now, have strongly backed Pruitt and the pro-fossil fuel deregulatory agenda he's implemented.

"Sometimes we take for granted that kids know how to wash dishes," says Susan Turgeson, president of the Association of Teacher Educators for family and consumer sciences. "I never thought I was going to have to explain, step by step, how to put the drain plug in, the amount of soap to be used."

Looking To History To Combat Wildfires

Jun 14, 2018

As at least half a dozen fires in Colorado force hundreds to evacuate, and have closed a national forest, some residents say they're shocked at how quickly the fire has spread. The speed of wildfires is actually something Colorado ecologists have been studying, and they say history may provide clues on how to slow it down.

Doc Willoughby on how to cook boniatos

Jun 14, 2018

Boniatos are what most of the world thinks of when it thinks of a sweet potato. While not quite as sweet as the yam type sweet potatoes we are used to in the United States, boniatos are nonetheless delicious and fun to cook for their own nutty flavors and texture. Francis Lam wanted to know more about this terrific tuber. Thankfully, his good friend Doc Willoughby is a huge fan of boniatos, so they two sat down to talk about it.

Fresh fish can be prepared in many wonderful ways. However, for retaining the quality and texture of freshness, one of the best ways using it to make ceviche. This no-cook method for presenting fish is popular in Peru, where it is seen almost as an introduction to the country's coastal cuisine. The dish is light, acidic and easy to make. Keith Dresser is executive food editor at Cook's Illustrated, where he leads the recipe development process. He talked with Managing Producer Sally Swift about the process and ingredients for making ceviche.

The number of people dying by suicide in the United States has risen by about 30 percent in the past two decades. And while the majority of suicide-related deaths today are among boys and men, a study published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics finds that the number of girls and women taking their own lives is rising.

Ask just about anybody, and you'll probably hear that a healthy diet is one full of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and fish — what's called Mediterranean diet. A lot of research has suggested people who eat this way tend to be healthier, but it's been harder to prove whether that is because of the diet or some other factor.

Scientists have completed the most exhaustive assessment of changes in Antarctica's ice sheet to date. And they found that it's melting faster than they thought.

Ice losses totaling 3 trillion tonnes (or more than 3.3 trillion tons) since 1992 have caused global sea levels to rise by 7.6 mm, nearly one third of an inch, according to a study published in Nature on Wednesday.

The state of Massachusetts is taking a new step in the fight against the opioid epidemic, filing a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma that also names the OxyContin maker's executives. The suit alleges the company and 16 of its current and former directors misled doctors and patients about the risks of its opioid-based pain medications.

It was one of Donald Trump's first acts as President: a Jan. 23, 2017 executive order that cuts off U.S. support to foreign groups unless they promise not to "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning." This includes providing patients with referrals or information about the procedure, even if those activities are funded by non-U.S. government sources.

Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has adopted a variant of the "Mexico City policy" — so called after the city where it was first announced. And every Democratic successor has reversed it.

This spring, millions of Americans worried that salad was no longer safe to eat: The U.S. was hit by the largest E. coli outbreak in a decade, with 172 people in 32 states sickened by contaminated romaine lettuce. Eighty-nine of those individuals were hospitalized, and at least five died.

"Oh my God, we dropped her!" Sandra Snipes said she heard the nursing home aides yell as she fell to the floor.

She landed on her right side where her hip had recently been replaced. She cried out in pain.

A hospital clinician later discovered her hip was dislocated.

That was not the only injury Snipes, then 61, said she suffered in 2011 at Richmond Pines Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Hamlet, N.C. Nurses allegedly had been injecting her twice a day with a potent blood thinner despite written instructions to stop.

Public opinion on abortion rights is often framed as a binary choice between two political positions, but a closer look at new polling data from Gallup reveals more nuance.

While a majority of Americans support legalized abortion in early pregnancy, most oppose it in the later stages, according to the survey.

The Splendid Table honors Anthony Bourdain

Jun 13, 2018

The world is still dealing with the emotional shock it has felt since learning last week of the death of Anthony Bourdain. We at The Splendid Table wanted to offer our own tribute to Tony. We produced a special episode that was released on June 14, 2108 in which we hear from both host Francis Lam and retired host Lynne Rossetto Kasper, who'd interviewed Tony many times over the years. The show also features a special 2004 interview from our archives, one in which Lynne interviews Tony Bourdain alongside his friend and colleague Chef Thomas Keller.

If you take Prilosec or Zantac for acid reflux, a beta blocker for high blood pressure, or Xanax for anxiety, you may be increasing your risk of depression.

More than 200 common medications sold in the U.S. include depression as a potential side effect. Sometimes, the risk stems from taking several drugs at the same time. Now, a new study finds people who take these medicines are, in fact, more likely to be depressed.

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A Trump administration effort to shift family planning funding away from organizations that offer comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion, could cripple federal efforts to stop a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S., some public health officials fear.

"This is the perfect storm, and it comes at absolutely the worst time," says Daniel Daltry, program chief of the HIV/AIDS, STD and Viral Hepatitis Program at the Vermont Department of Health.

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