Best Global Green Brands 2014

health matters

The Pursuit of Health: Apple Dives Deep Into Data with Mayo Clinic, Epic Systems

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 3, 2014 01:33 PM

Apple's new OS X and programming language weren't the only stars at Monday's Worldwide Developer Conference. In fact, 12 apps and their developers were honored at the event as winners of Apple's Design Awards for their exceptional app design and functionality. 

But those apps, including Day One, Leo's Fortune and Blek, may have some competition come next year's awards. During the opening day of WWDC 2014, Apple announced its new HealthKit app and a partnership with Mayo Clinic, among others. The new tracking platform will collect and store health data from compatible third-party apps like Mayo's so users can access information in one place. 

"HealthKit provides a single place that applications can contribute to a composite profile of your activity and health," announced Apple's Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi.

For instance, he added, HealthKit can notify the Mayo Clinic app so that the app could then "be able to check whether that reading is in that patients’ personalized healthcare parameters threshold. And if not, it can contact the hospital proactively, notify a doctor, and that doctor can reach back to that patient, providing more timely care.” The new Mayo app is leaps and bounds ahead of the brand's current limited app offerings for patients.Continue reading...

health matters

Activists Reel In Huge Retailers That Promise Not to Sell GMO Salmon

Posted by Dale Buss on March 7, 2014 10:58 AM

Instead of pressing retailers to remove a GMO food from their shelves, activists are trying to head off genetically-engineered salmon at the river mouth by getting retailers to commit not to sell a biotech-altered fish even before it's commercially available.

So far, Kroger, Safeway, Target, Trader Joe's, H-E-B and other major food retailers have pledged not to sell a GMO salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies even though it looks like the FDA is about to approve its sale in what would be the federal government's first clearance to a genetically-modified animal for human consumption.

The largest grocer in the US, Walmart, hasn't weighed in yet, and its size can often tip the balance in such matters.Continue reading...

health matters

Four Years Later, FLOTUS' Let's Move Turns Focus to Food Marketing in Schools

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 26, 2014 03:11 PM

In celebration of the fourth anniversary of her Let's Move movement, First Lady Michelle Obama is pressing forward on her ambitions to curb junk food marketing to kids. In an announcement with US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Obama introduced a proposal to ban advertising of sodas and unhealthy snacks in public schools. 

"Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food," Obama said at a White House event, according to NBC. 

Vilsack said the new rules eliminate marketing for products that can’t be sold in schools. "If you can't sell it, you ought not to be able to market it," noting that companies spend $149 million a year marketing food and drinks to kids in public schools.

According to the FCC, the heaviest marketers are candy and snack food manufacturers and beverage companies and fast-food chains, offering enticements like coupons for pizza for reading books. Still, only two states, California and Connecticut, have banned sodas and junk food from public schools, the former in 2005 and the latter in 2006.Continue reading...

health matters

FDA May Cut Down on Drug Side-Effects Listings, Since No One Reads Them Anyway

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2014 05:45 PM

Drug commercials that go on endlessly about potential side effects are pretty easy to lampoon. “Do not take this product if you are uneasy with lockjaw,” Steve Martin wrote in The New Yorker back in 1998 in his beautifully constructed satire, Side Effects. “Do not be near a ringing telephone that works at 900 MHz or you will be very dead, very fast.”

Left wondering if anyone is actually listening to the potentional life-saving fast-talk or fine print, the FDA is surveying consumers on whether they should loosen up the rules requiring drug companies to include the exhaustive lists. 

According to the New York Daily News, current research says that many patients, especially older ones, pay no attention to warning labels. In addition, research from Kansas State and Michigan State University shows that some warning labels don’t get the attention that they should be getting. That inattention is estimated to create millions of medication errors annually.Continue reading...

health matters

CVS Snuffs Out Tobacco Sales in Bold Step to Solidify its Health Care Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2014 01:51 PM

If the idea of a pharmacy is to help people get better, CVS no longer could go along with the fact that it sold decidedly unhealthy tobacco products. So America's second-largest pharmacy chain by size has announced that it will become the first nationwide drugstore to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products.

The action of going cold turkey will cost CVS an estimated $2 billion in annual revenue (out of a total of $123 billion) when it goes into effect in October, but it also is a significant move in the direction of authenticity and consistency for a brand that—like most drugstore chains—has been intensely repositioning itself as a broad-based health products and services provider, not just a pill dispensary.

“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said CVS CEO Larry J. Merlo to the New York Times. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting."Continue reading...

health matters

P&G, Coke Vow to Cut Down on Questionable Chemicals

Posted by Dale Buss on January 29, 2014 03:52 PM

Two CPG giants are taking steps back from problematic chemicals. In the case of P&G, eliminating phosphates from detergents sold in developing markets cuts an acknowledged environmental threat. But while Coca-Cola has been reducing levels of 4-MI caramel coloring in drinks, there's far from a scientific consensus whether that's necessary.

P&G eliminated phosphates from its Tide brand and other detergents sold in the US in the early Nineties in a voluntary commitment because the chemical promotes algae growth and harms water quality, and later the company—which controls about 80 percent of the global detergent trade—did the same in Europe.

Now, P&G has said that within two years it will eliminate phosphates from detergents sold in other markets, mainly the developing world where there typically aren't regulations limiting phosphates in detergents.Continue reading...

health matters

Adidas, Gap Speak Out Against Claims That Clothing is Tainted with Chemicals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 20, 2014 02:38 PM

Adidas, Gap, Disney and Burberry are rebutting claims made by Greenpeace that chemical levels in their children's apparel products exceeded legal limits. 

The major brands have questioned the scientific basis of the report, called "A Little Story About the Monsters In Your Closet," which was published by Greenpeace East Asia after the environmental group reportedly purchased and tested dozens of articles of kids' clothing from major brands. According to the group's claims, some of the apparel contained higher chemical levels than those found in adult clothing, citing a high risk since young children often chew on their clothes. 

According to the South China Morning Post, Gap refuted the group's claims, saying the chemical levels were barely detectable. "For example, the allowable amount of phthalates for childcare articles and toys is 0.1 percent and the maximum concentration of phthalates they found in Gap clothing was 0.004 percent of the garment," the company said. Adidas said the report was "selective" and the company will seek third-party verification.Continue reading...

health matters

Wearable Health Gadgets Off To a Running Start at CES

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 6, 2014 04:47 PM

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is off and running in its first full day of exhibitions, and one trend has already emerged as a major influencer: wearable health. 

Indeed, in a year that is sure to bring countless developments in the world of wearable technologies, brands at CES are particularly focused on the strong health-tech market that includes front-runners like Nike's FuelBand and FitBit. 

"We've seen dramatic growth in this category," Karen Chupka, SVP international CES and corporate business strategy, told USA Today. "In 2013, we had 169 companies showing in the digital health and fitness category. This year, we have 215." Industry analysts estimate that wearables in general will reach upwards of a $30 billion market by 2018, up from $10 billion in 2013. 

At this year's show, more sophisticated sensor technology has spawned a new wave of heart rate monitors, GPS watches and foot pods that will propel consumers into a whole new level of fitness and health awareness. Here's a sample of some of the products that have debuted in the space so far:Continue reading...

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