According to the Pew Research Center, 64 percent of American adults owned a smartphone in 2015, and that number is likely to continue growing. These people often use smartphones for important, life-affecting tasks such as banking, looking up real estate listings, finding job information, taking classes, or submitting a job application. In fact, Pew Research also reports that 62 percent of smartphone owners used their phone to find information about a health condition at least once in 2015. If that health condition was an urgent crisis, however, a smartphone user may choose an option that's quicker and easier than a browser search: vocally asking their phone a question. Smartphone voices such as Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana are made to provide quick answers, but when it comes to medical advice, they may not always be trustworthy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of the adult population in the U.S. is obese. This comes out to around 78.6 million people, all of which are at much higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and stroke. Because of these high risk factors, it's believed that obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S. This also means that there are millions of people who should be taking active steps to reduce their body weight if they aren't doing so already. Unfortunately, losing large amounts of weight can be an incredibly daunting task - so daunting, in fact, that it can prevent people from even making an attempt. However, a new study published this week in the medical journal Cell Metabolism could give many the hope they need to at least get started on the path to weight loss.
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collaborate to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The publication essentially serves as the U.S. government's official food and beverage recommendations for Americans, based on the most recent health research and evidence. The guidelines aim to help people maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic disease, while also providing educational institutions and healthcare providers with reliable dietary strategies and recommendations. They also help inform national health promotion programs, school lunches, food labels and various policies in many different industries and organizations. So, these Dietary Guidelines are extremely important for shaping what Americans eat and what they deem is healthy. The latest version, published last week, has some interesting surprises - and many health experts aren't happy.