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Health Highlights: Dec. 8, 2007

The three main classes of drugs used in this triple therapy are nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and protease inhibitors. The therapy is considered to have failed when the drugs can no longer suppress replication of the HIV virus,AFPreported.


Changes Made to U.S. Nutrition Program for Women and Children

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables will be added to the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, while amounts of milk, cheese, eggs and juice will be reduced.

Alternative products such as tofu, soy beverages, tortillas and brown rice will also be added to the program for low-income women and their children, theAssociated Pressreported.

"This is a historic day for USDA. It's the first time in 30 years that the food packages for WIC have been revised to better meet the nutritional needs of women, infants and children," said Eric Steiner, the USDA's associate administrator for special nutrition programs.

The changes to the program, which serves about 8 million people, take effect in February. State agencies will have 18 months to implement the changes, theAPreported.

Anti-hunger advocates praised the changes, while the dairy, egg and juice industries expressed displeasure.


School Athletes Less Likely to Smoke: Study

Young Americans who participate in high school team sports or individual physical activity are less likely to smoke than their classmates, says a University of Pennsylvania study, which found this effect lasts for at least three years after high school graduation.

Researchers followed 985 young people from grade 12 through the third year after graduation from high school, finding that participation in high school team sports reduced the likelihood of smoking by 18 percent and individual physical activity reduced it by 12 percent.

Both forms of activity reduced the risk of smoking by improving young peoples' perception of their physical self, the researchers said. Team sports also reduced contact with peers who smoke.

Another study by the same researchers found that participation in team sports in grade 10 reduced the risk of smoking in grade 11 by 5 percent. In this study of 384 students, the reduced likelihood of smoking was due to an increased feeling of competence in their sport and fewer depressive symptoms in students who were on teams.

"Most smoking initiation occurs during adolescence. So, if you can make it out of that adolescent period, and you have a sport to buffer you from smoking during that period, you're pretty safe," study author Daniel Rodriguez, research assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

The studies were to be presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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