The physical properties of gel samples of varied hardness were examined and the intake quantity per mouthful investigated in healthy subjects for its effect on the swallowing characteristics, mastication method, and swallowing frequency. The samples were prepared from gelatin and an agar-derived gelling agent of varied molecular weight. The subjects, regardless of the quantity per mouthful of the sample, recognized the difference in such oral senses as stickiness and ease of swallowing. Gel samples, taken in small portions, that were soft, highly adhesive, and with a high tan δ value (viscosity element divided by elasticity element) were squashed between the tongue and palate by most of the subjects before swallowing, rather than masticated with the teeth. It was also found that the greater the adhesiveness, elasticity element G′ in the linear region, torque and viscosity element G″ in the non-linear region, the higher was the frequency of swallowing until the gel sample had been completely swallowed. The overall results demonstrate that humans alter the mastication method and frequency of swallowing until the food has been completely swallowed according to the physical properties of the food.
We examined whether excess iron supplementation to a low-protein diet (7% casein) caused oxidative damage, and whether an additional treatment of total body irradiation (TBI) enhanced this oxidative damage. A preliminary study showed that more than 1 week of feeding a low protein diet decreased plasma iron, increased liver non-heme iron, and also enhanced TBI-induced chromosomal damage in bone marrow. Based on these findings, mice were fed on the low-protein diet for 1 week and then on the same diet with and without excess iron (2.5% carbonyl iron) for an additional week, before being exposed to TBI (0.5Gy) or not. Iron supplementation significantly increased the non-heme iron and lipid peroxidation in the liver, but did not increase chromosomal damage in the bone marrow. Simultaneous treatment with TBI and iron supplementation did not influence the degree of chromosomal damage or lipid peroxidation due to each treatment. These findings indicate that excess iron supplementation with a low-protein diet did not induce chromosomal damage in the bone marrow, but did induce marked lipid peroxidation in the liver.
Targets have yet to be established for increasing the proportion of persons who read nutrition labels when dining out or purchasing food and for increasing the availability and selection of healthy menus in workplace cafeterias, restaurants, and food retailers as set out in Health Japan 21 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2000. The recommended contents of nutrition labels and the definition of healthy menus also have yet to be clearly defined. We conducted a questionnaire survey in May 2003 on 586 public health centers throughout Japan to identify how nutrition labeling and the availability of healthy menus was being promoted. The response rate was 72.4%. Nutrition labeling was being promoted at 78.9% of the public health centers, and the provision of healthy menus was being promoted at 55.8%. Many of these public health centers began these programs in or after 2000. The majority of the public health center recommendations included values for energy, salt content, fat and protein on nutrition labels. The definition of a healthy menu was determined in many cases by the public health center and administrative divisions as follows: 650kcal or less of energy, 16g or less of fat, 3.3g or less of salt, 200mg or more of calcium, 4mg or more of iron and 100g or more of vegetables. These results suggest that the responding public health centers are independently promoting nutrition labeling and the availability of healthy menus.
A food composition table was prepared for estimating the dietary composition of retort-packaged baby food to use in surveys on the dietary intake of infants. The food composition table was based on estimates by several registered dietitians of the ingredients and weight of food in retort-packaged baby food according to product photographs and the nutritional facts label on the packages. The data were prepared from 124 baby food products with high market share according to a point of sale database. The estimated weights of ingredients per 100g of baby food were 16-26g of rice or noodles, 6-9g of meat, fish, or hen's egg, and 19-32g of vegetables. These weights were less than those empirically recognized by the dietitians. This suggests that dietitians tend to over-estimate the weights of protein foods and vegetables which are the main ingredients in baby food. The estimated food composition of retort-pack-aged baby food was statistically classified into six types to provide a standardized tool for surveying the energy and 42 nutrients in infant food.
A screening technique is described identifying children with lifestyle-related diseases. A questionnaire survey of 1, 619 parents was conducted, and health training, including cooking and education on exercise, was given to 107 obese children. A relationship between the obesity level and blood index to the first stage of arteriosclerosis was recognized. Fourteen undesirable items indicated in the questionnaire were selected for inclusion in the final checklist. Another four items obtained in the previous study were also added to the checklist, these having been shown to be significantly correlated with the index to overweight and daily lifestyles. This enhanced checklist consisted of 18 items, each item being allotted points according to its graded level of significance to obesity, with the total score being set as 100 points. Evaluation criteria were based on the screening scores being correlated with blood disorders as certified by a blood test. The screening technique comprised the following three elements: the screening checklist composed of 18 items, the graded score, and the evaluation criteria. To refine this technique, a survey was conducted on 6, 385 school children, and another survey with a blood test was conducted on 107 obese children who provided informed consent. The results from these 6, 385 school children showed that 17 of the 18 checklist items and 15 items of the graded score were correlated with the need for a medical examination by the X2 test and multidimensional scaling. In respect of the evaluation criteria, a correct classification rate of approximately 70% was found between the result from the evaluation by screening and the logistic discriminant analysis of the result of the blood test on the 107 obese children. These results clearly confirm the suitability of this technique composed of three elements and also the validity of its application. A regional survey by this technique revealed that 274 children (4.3%) were screened among the population of 6, 385, and that 155 children (56.6% of the screened subjects; 2.4% of the total population) required medical examination. The proposed procedure for screening made it possible to identify those children who needed medical examination and health training. A consequence of this is that it can enhance a child's motivation to receive both through the parents. Moreover, the burden on the children and the cost of medical examination can be reduced by this technique, indicating its effectiveness and simplicity of application. This checklist can therefore help to identify those children in special need of a medical examination and healtheducation without the need for extensive testing. It follows from the result of this study on 6, 385 school children that the parents' awareness of their children's lifestyles has a great influence on such lifestyles. It is apparent that the parents need encouraging to be concerned about the health and lifestyle of their children.