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Nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured. The first year of cancer treatment costs Americans $2.3 billion in time lost to travel, and waiting for and receiving treatment. We get hammered with so much bad news daily that it's fair to wonder why we should get out of bed.
Thank God for New York City. Last December it became the nation's first major city to drastically limit PHVOs (how's that for a snickerdoodle of an acronymn?) at its 20,000-plus restaurants.
PHVO stands for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a major source of trans fat, which has been associated with heightening the risk of coronary heart disease. Fresno County has a one of the state's highest death rates from coronary artery disease, ranking among the 10 worst of the state's 58 counties. French fries, taco shells, donuts, cookies, pies, hamburger buns and pancake mix are traditional sources of artificial trans fat, which occurs naturally in dairy and meat products in small amounts.
In the interests of full disclosure, I'm a native New Yorker and should note that a bunch of cities, food makers and restaurants are voluntarily phasing out this gunk. And not everyone thinks government ought to decide what's on the menu. "If someone wants to suck down a gallon of Crisco, what do I care?" a Portland, Oregon restaurant owner said.
I see New York City's 18-month trans fat phaseout as good news. McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner says whatever the burger-meisters come up with for New York will also be rolled out around the country.
Two years ago I got a glimpse of my heart arteries, courtesy of an angiogram at the Fresno Heart Hospital. Fortunately, things looked good. Avoiding trans fat and phasing in new habits -- perhaps with the help of Community's new employee wellness program -- limit the amount of bad news I'll create for myself.
For more info on partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, check out www.bantransfat.com