Health and Wellness

Statewide, there are 4.18 fast-food joints and convenience stores for every supermarket and produce stand, but in Santa Barbara County, there are only three times as many. That’s according to a recent study by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), which contends that the proliferation of fast food and convenience stores undermines healthy eating choices. In Santa Barbara County, the study found half of all food outlets qualified as fast food, another 25 percent qualified as convenience stores, farmers’ markets and produce outlets each accounted for 4 percent, and 17 percent comprised supermarkets.

Frank Griswold, who until his retirement last November was the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, will speak on February 24 at Trinity Episcopal Church to kick off the season of Lent with an address about prayer during difficult times. Griswold is familiar with the topic, having led the American church during one of its most turbulent eras – specifically, the 2003 consecration of a gay minister, V. Gene Robinson, as Bishop of New Hampshire, which provoked a deep rift within the church.

Inogen, Inc., a Santa Barbara-based designer and manufacturer of devices that help people suffering from respiratory illnesses, announced on February 16 that it had secured $22 million from the venture capital arm of the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to apply toward research and development of new devices. According to Inogen, the money will help popularize the Inogen One, a portable, 10-pound respiratory aid the company says could replace the bulkier models currently used by those who have difficulty breathing.

The computers at Santa Barbara public libraries are now equipped to serve the blind and visually impaired. Thanks to a grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, a program called ZoomText has been installed which not only can magnify documents up to 36 times their original size but also read them aloud using the NeoSpeech voice synthesizer. In addition, another text-to-speech software program called Jaws – whose use is taught at the Braille Institute and in public schools – is available on one computer in the Central Library in downtown Santa Barbara.

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