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Tackling obesity would boost economic and social well-being

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Obesity-related diseases will claim more than 90 million lives in OECD countries in the next 30 years, with life expectancy reduced by nearly 3 years. Obesity and its related conditions also reduce GDP by 3.3% in OECD countries and exact a heavy toll on personal budgets, amounting to USD 360 per capita per year, according to a new OECD report.

The OECD’s The Heavy Burden of Obesity – The Economics of Prevention says that more than half the population is now overweight in 34 out of 36 OECD countries and almost one in four people is obese. Average rates of adult obesity in OECD countries have increased from 21% in 2010 to 24% in 2016, meaning an additional 50 million people are now obese.


Children in particular are paying a high price for obesity. Children who are overweight do less well at school, are more likely to miss school, and, when they grow up, are less likely to complete higher education. They also show lower life satisfaction and are up to three times more likely to be bullied, which in turn may contribute to lower school performance.

Obese adults are at greater risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, and reduced life expectancy. In the EU28, women and men in the lowest income group are, respectively, 90% and 50% more likely to be obese, compared to those on the highest incomes, entrenching inequality. Individuals with at least one chronic disease associated with being overweight are 8% less likely to be employed the following year. When they have a job, they are up to 3.4% more likely to be absent or less productive.

“There is an urgent economic and social case to scale up investments to tackle obesity and promote healthy lifestyles,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “These findings clearly illustrate the need for better social, health and education policies that lead to better lives. By investing in prevention, policymakers can halt the rise in obesity for future generations, and benefit economies. There is no more excuse for inaction.”

OECD countries already spend 8.4% of their total health budget on treating obesity-related diseases. This is equivalent to about USD 311 billion or USD 209 per capita per year. Obesity is responsible for 70% of all treatment costs for diabetes, 23% for cardiovascular diseases and 9% for cancers.

New OECD analysis in the report finds that investing in initiatives like better labelling of food in shops or regulating the advertising of unhealthy foods to children can generate major savings. Every dollar invested in preventing obesity would generate an economic return of up to six dollars, according to the report.

Reducing by 20% the calorie content in energy-dense food, such as crisps and confectionery, could avoid more than 1 million cases of chronic disease per year, particularly heart disease. Initiatives targeting the whole population, such as food and menus displaying nutritional information and mass media campaigns, could lead to gains of  between 51,000 to 115,000 life years per year up to 2050 in the 36 countries included in the analysis. This would be equivalent to preventing all road deaths in EU28 and OECD countries respectively. Economic savings would also be significant, with menu labelling alone saving up to USD 13 billion between 2020 and 2050. The report, together with country notes for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom, are available at http://www.oecd.org/health/the-heavy-burden-of-obesity-67450d67-en.htm.

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7 Driving Habits That Are Secretly Damaging Your Diesel Engine

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When it comes to driving, no one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. But could these habits be costing you money and secretly killing your engine? If you want to ensure your engine is running at optimum levels and that your car will last longer, then you should break some of those bad driving habits.

Some driving habits you are practicing may even be unsafe for you, your passengers, and other driverson the road. Here are a few everyday habits that you may be doing that you didn’t know maybe damaging your car.

1.      Ignoring the dashboard lights

If your dashboard light goes on then, it means something is very wrong with your engine. Some choose to ignore it, but it could have dire consequences later. The following are possible reasons why your dashboard lights are on.

Check engine light – when the check engine light goes on, it usually indicates a problem with your engine. The problem could be with the fuel injection system, the ignition, or the emission system. Because the engine is composed of different components, the check engine light may indicate a problem with the engine’s components. It’s best not to ignore the light and take chances. It could cause your engine to knock, and this will cost you so much more later. Ensure that you take your car to the auto repair shop to have it assessed by professional mechanics.

If you have problems with the fuel injection system and it needs replacing, then check out https://goldfarbinc.com/collections/fuel-injection-pump-new-used-rebuilt.

Brake light – ensuring your brakes are in excellent condition should always be a priority. When your brake light goes on, please check that the emergency brake is off. If it’s off, it only means a problem with the brake fluids level or the hydraulic system.

Airbag warning – if your airbag light comes on, then you need to take your car for inspection as soon as possible. When the light is on, it means that you are driving with defective airbags, and they will not deploy if you are involved in a car accident.Sometimes it also means that the airbags may deploy randomly, which may cause you serious bodily harm if you are driving. An airbag warning light could also mean that there is something wrong with your seat belts, and you need to have that checked out also.

Tire pressure – if your tires have low pressure when driving, then they can pose a serious threat to both you and other drivers on the road. If this light goes on, please ensure to check your tire pressure immediately.

Oil pressure – when the oil pressure light comes on, it means your oil levels are running low, and you need to fill it up.

2.      Riding the brakes

Riding the brakes means leaving your foot on the brakes for a long time while driving. Doing that can lead toextra wear and tear and overhearing, which will drastically reduce your stopping power. This a major hazard because while driving, you need your brakes to respondas swiftly and accurately as possible.

Instead of placing your foot on the brakes when the car is going downhill, lift it off the accelerator. The vehicle will slow down, and it also leaves enough space between your car and the one infront of you. If you own a manual car, you can try using a lower gear.

3.      Shifting from drive to reverse without stopping

Even if you are running late, if you want to shift your car to reverse, always ensure the car stops beforeshifting between drive and reverse. This is especially important if you aremoving for a couple of miles. The abrupt gear change can damage your transmission and ultimately shorten the lifespan of your vehicle.

4.      Driving with an empty or low fuel tank

Generally, it’s advisable to ensure your fuel tank is filled quarter way or, if possible full tank. If you drive your vehicle on too little fuel, it can cause overheating and malfunction to your fuel pump injection system and catalytic converter.

Topping your vehicle with little fuel at a time may cause the injector system to take fuel from the bottom of the tank, where there is usually sediment build-up. This will also result in a clogged and dirty fuel filter. However, you should ensure regular engine tune-upsand replacement of your fuel filters to avoid build-up.

5.      Overloading your car

This may surprise most people, but carrying extra weight than your vehicle capacity may damage the engine. It will put additional pressure on all the components because they have to work extra hard to manage the extra weight.

Overloading your vehicle also decreases your car’s fuel economy because it has to use more fuel to handle the excess weight. If a vehicle is too heavy, it can also cause the tires to quickly wear and tear or even cause a major blowout, proving dangerous.

Did you know that overloading your car not only damages it but is also illegal? In case you are involved in an accident, the insurance may not pay for cover.

6.      Revving your engine

Letting your car idlefor afew minutes after starting is always an excellent idea. When you let your car idle for a few minutes, it allows oil to be distributed throughout the engine.Revving the engine will not increase the process and may cause damage to some of the engine’s components. Ensure that your car has properly warmed up before you rev up your engine.

7.      Using the wrong fuel

Ensure that you use the highest quality fuel. Sometimes you can fill up your diesel engine with gasoline by mistake. If that happens, don’t start the engine. This can save you from damaging your engine because once you switch one the car and the gasoline move into the injection system, it will damage everything because gas doesn’t ignite like diesel.

Don’t let bad habits destroy your car, and if you notice any car issues, ensure that you visit your mechanic as soon as possible.

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Muscovites Apply for 700 Trees to be Planted in Honor of Their Newborn Children

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The Our Tree project launched two years ago by Moscow’s Department of Information Technology and Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection has quickly become very popular among Muscovites. Thanks to this annual campaign, city residents can now celebrate the happiest event in their family life – the birth of a child – by giving their baby a unique gift – their own personal tree.

Any parent who is permanently resident in Moscow can apply for a tree within three years of the birth of their child. To do so, they need only have an account on the mos.ru website. On average, 700 Muscovites apply for a tree to be planted in honor of their newborn child each month.

In two months, young parents have submitted more than 1,500 online applications to participate in the Our Tree project and plant seedlings in honor of their newborn kids in the autumn. That’s twice as many as during the same period in spring. Acceptance of applications began on January 16 and will continue until June 15.

Last autumn, more than 5,000 trees were planted as part of the project, with linden, Norway maple, pine, white willow and rowan trees being the most popular choices. Spring planting of personal saplings will soon begin.

Eduard Lysenko, Minister of the Moscow Government and Head of the Department of Information Technology, noted that interest in the Our Tree project among young parents is growing every year: in 2019, more than 2,300 trees were applied for and planted, while in 2020 the number increased to 5,000. More than 4,500 saplings will appear in Moscow’s parks this spring thanks to the project participants.

“A set of online services has been created for families with children on the mos.ru portal. The Our Tree project is another opportunity for young parents to celebrate the important milestone of the birth of their child and to contribute to the city’s ecology. Taking part in the project is very simple – just submit an online application on the portal. Some information is filled in automatically from users’ personal accounts, which makes everything even more convenient. On average, Muscovites order more than 700 seedlings to plant as family trees in their favorite park each month,” said Lysenko.

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Norwegian scientists finally find good news from Norilsk Nickel

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The state of the environment in the border areas is the main topic of the «Pasvikseminaret 2021», organized by the public administrator in Troms county and Finnmark in cooperation with the municipality of Sør-Varanger municipality.

The purpose of the annual Pasvik seminar is to provide the local population and local politicians all information about the environmental situation in the border area Norway – Russia. Program focused on pollution from the Nickel Plant and monitoring of the environment in the border area.

The activities of Norilsk Nickel have been the main focus of the workshop for many years.

For the first time in many years, Norwegian scientists have found only positive news from Russia.

Tore Flatlandsmo Berglen, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Atmospheric Research (NILU), noted a significant improvement in air quality in the border area. Berglen remembered the 70-80s of the last century, when one of the divisions of Norilsk Nickel “Pechenganikel” annually emitted 400 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, in the 90s this figure dropped to 100 thousand tons. After the closure plant in Nikel in December 2020, the content of sulfur dioxide and heavy metals in the atmosphere at the border between Norway and the Murmansk region meets all international requirements.

“And I know that these emissions from the Kola MMC will continue to decline. Compared to 2015, this figure will be 85 percent. This is very positive news. Air quality issues are being addressed in the right direction. We have been talking about this for many years and finally the problem has been resolved, emissions significantly reduced. This is the most excellent presentation I have ever make! ” – said Tore Berglen.

Earlier it was reported that Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, closed its smelter in the city of Nickel in northern Russia at the end of 2020. Kola is a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel on the Kola Peninsula with mines, processing plants and pellets in Zapolyarny, as well as metallurgical plants in Monchegorsk and a plant in Nikel, which closed at the end of December 2020.

The Norwegian environmentalists who participated in the workshop also noticed positive changes.

“The smelter is closed and Norilsk Nickel is working hard to become a ‘green’ metallurgical company – it reduces emissions, uses advanced technology and cooperates with Pasvik nature reserve which is our good partner in Russia. Today, a lot of interesting things are happening in the border areas. We have many common interests and there is a certain key to ensuring that everything works out for us – this is good coordination, cooperation, a large knowledge base,” said the representative of the environmental center NIBIO Svanhovd.

Other studies examining water resources, fish, berries, also prove that nature in the border area is recovering. All this testifies to the work of ecologists who care about the environment.

“We see examples of what has already been done. And this allows us to plan with confidence our future joint work, projects,” says senior adviser representative Anne Fløgstad Smeland at the county governor in Finnmark.

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