Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

This week, the governor of Connecticut proposed a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. Several cities have already enacted such soda taxes to raise money and fight obesity. And there's new evidence suggesting that these taxes do work — although sometimes not as well as hoped.

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Scouring ingredient lists. Carrying an EpiPen. Sitting at the special lunch table at school. These anxiety-ridden measures have become routine for families with severe food allergies, who know it takes only one wrong bite to end up in the emergency room.

Nearly 6 million U.S. children and teens — about 8 percent, or two per classroom — have food allergies. In children, allergy to peanuts, which can be life-threatening, has gone up more than 21 percent since 2010.

A makeup ad campaign featuring a freckled Chinese model has sparked a debate about beauty standards in China.

In a lipstick advertisement from the Spanish fashion brand Zara, launched on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, on Feb. 15, a 25-year-old Chinese model named Li Jingwen shows her unretouched face with minimal makeup and red lips. But it's not the striking shades of her lipstick that caught people's attention.

It was her freckles.

When it comes to making changes in health care, CVS Health isn't settling for tinkering around the edges. The company is looking to strike at the heart of how health care is delivered in the U.S.

In November, the drugstore chain completed a $70 billion acquisition of health insurance giant Aetna that CVS has said will change the company and in the process alter the way consumers experience health care.

In September, public health officials in South Africa finally declared victory over the world's

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The 2,000 mile border between the U.S. and Mexico traverses hundreds of miles of public lands, including six national parks. Environmentalists have long argued that a border wall has negative impacts on wildlife and on delicate desert and mountainous terrains. With President Trump's national emergency declaration, those concerns will only grow.

A Bug’s Death

Feb 20, 2019

Insects vastly outnumber humans on Earth. And humans are far more dependent on insects than vice versa.

Which is why it’s bad news that insects are dying rapidly, to the point that mass extinction is on the mind of some researchers.

Updated at 5:31 p.m. ET

Gilroy, Calif., is known as the garlic capital of the world. And two Trump administration policies — one on trade, the other on immigration — are having a mixed impact on this agricultural community south of San Francisco.

It's about 50 degrees outside, but for a moment it looks like it's snowing. But the morning air is pungent and savory, and those flakes falling from the sky are garlic skin pieces, drifting away from the peeling facility.

Christopher Ranch in Gilroy is the largest garlic producer in the country.

Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.

For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.

"This will really be a breakthrough experiment," says Ruth Mueller, an entomologist who runs the lab. "It's a historic moment."

The pitches to the health insurance brokers are tantalizing.

"Set sail for Bermuda," says insurance giant Cigna, offering top-selling brokers five days at one of the island's luxury resorts.

Health Net of California's pitch is not subtle: A smiling woman in a business suit rides a giant $100 bill like it's a surfboard. "Sell more, enroll more, get paid more!" In some cases, its ad says, a broker can "power up" the bonus to $150,000 per employer group.

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An outbreak of measles in Washington and Oregon has refocused attention on parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids, often known as anti-vaxxers. Public health advocates have struggled to change these parents' minds. One South Carolina woman has a different approach. She is reaching out to people before they even become parents. Alex Olgin of member station WFAE has the story.

Updated on Feb. 20 at 11:10 a.m. ET

For many years, three buckets full of uranium ore sat in a museum building at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Tours often visited the museum collection building, with children on tours sitting next to the buckets for a half-hour.

A film about Queen Anne of Great Britain, The Favourite, by the unorthodox Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, will probably cadge a few Oscars. Even if it doesn't, this comic and oddly moving film has already achieved something extraordinary. It has ignited widespread interest in the life of a corpulent, gouty, myopic, staunchly Anglican queen who allegedly had passionate relationships with two ladies of her bedchamber and who was pregnant 17 times but died childless before her 50th birthday about 300 years ago.

One of the goals President Trump announced in his State of the Union address was to stop the spread of HIV in the U.S. within 10 years.

In addition to sending extra money to 48 mainly urban counties, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, Trump's plan targets seven states where rural transmission of HIV is especially high.

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Good morning. I'm David Greene. May the Force be with you, France. According to Time magazine, that country has formally recognized the sport of lightsaber dueling.

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Author David Wallace-Wells opens his new book, "The Uninhabitable Earth," outlining three misunderstandings about climate change - first its speed...

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Grisel Sustache Flores takes a seat at a health clinic in Springdale, Ark., for low-income patients. The 46-year old Puerto Rico native says she learned last fall that she qualified for Medicaid, which Arkansas expanded under the Affordable Care Act to cover more adults. It would cost her only $13 a month, so Flores, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, eagerly signed up.

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Almond bloom comes nearly all at once in California — a flush of delicate pale blooms that unfold around Valentine's Day.

And beekeeper Bret Adee is hustling to get his hives ready, working through them on a Central Valley ranch before placing them in orchards.

He deftly tap-taps open a hive. "We're gonna open this up, and you're going to see a whole lot of bees here," Adee says.

Under the lid, the exposed sleepy occupants hum away. He uses a handheld smoker to keep them calm and huddled around their queen.

We all need symbols to navigate the world.

Some of them are very clear, like a stop sign or a green light.

Some are not quite as apparent — like these hilariously confusing toilet signs.

And people who work in specialized fields also benefit when there are efficient icons that tell them what's going on.

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Brittney Crystal was just over 25 weeks pregnant when her water broke.

It was her second pregnancy — the first had been rough, and the baby came early.

To try to avoid a second premature birth, Dr. Joy-Sarah Vink, an obstetrician and co-director of the Preterm Birth Prevention Center at Columbia University Medical Center, arranged for Crystal to be transported by ambulance from her local Connecticut hospital to New York City, where Vink could direct her care.

New Girl Scout Cookie Innovation: 'Momoas'

Feb 18, 2019

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Food Banks Are Overflowing With Milk

Feb 17, 2019

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On a cold, bright Sunday afternoon during New York Fashion Week, nearly six hundred people packed into an old building in Manhattan's Lower East Side for an unusual lingerie show.

Just a few blocks past a college bookstore, modern restaurants with beer flights and big-screen TVs, and gift shops selling the same trinkets you'd find in any tourist town in America, you might wander onto a cobblestone street.

A rooster crows. The smell and sound of horses drifts in the breeze. Women go about their business dressed in caps and petticoats; men wear breeches, perhaps a cravat.

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