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Consumer Daily Reports


Trusted reliable news sources from around the web. We offer special news reports, topic news videos, and related content stories. Truly a birds eye view on news.

Consumer News: Weight Loss Deals for 2021

woman eating fruit
Photo (c) Moyo Studio - Getty

The following companies participate in our Accreditation Program: Orgain

Maybe you’re looking to shed some pounds, or maybe you just want to feel better about your diet this year. Either way, check out the six diet-plan deals below for an added incentive to change up your nutritional habits.

Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem delivers nutritious meals and diet plans directly to you. It focuses on portion control and offers four different diet plans with vegetarian and diabetic-friendly options. Deliveries come every four to 10 days.

nutrisystem logo
Photo (c) Nutrisystem
  • 50% off all meal plans + free week of shakes*
  • Meals shipped to you

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Noom

Noom is an app designed by dietitians and nutritionists to help individuals with weight loss. The app provides personalized health coaching and support from community members. Its diet plans don’t require giving up any particular foods and instead focus on your particular nutrition goals.

noom logo
Photo (c) Noom
  • Offers trial period*
  • Customized coaching

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

bistroMD

bistroMD provides meal plans developed by dietitians. It has programs for men and women, including plans designed for heart health, gluten-free diets and those with diabetes. Its plans are flexible, and it provides a wide variety of meal options.

bistromd logo
Photo (c) bistroMD
  • 25% off + free shipping the first week*
  • Large selection

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Aaptiv

Aaptiv provides voice-guided workouts for weight loss, strength training and relaxation. Workouts are available for beginner, intermediate or advanced users. Some of the company’s workouts include “Intro to Weight Loss” and “Walk to Run 1 Mile.”

aaptiv logo
Photo (c) Aaptiv
  • Free 30-day trial*
  • Customizable

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Orgain

Orgain sells a variety of protein powders, shakes and bars designed to replace meals, lose weight and gain muscle. The products are developed by doctors, and the company has plant-based and dairy-based products.

orgain logo
Photo (c) Orgain
  • 25% off best-selling protein powders for new customers*
  • Developed by doctors

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Medifast

Medifast has three different plans designed to help you lose weight at a steady, reasonable place. The company’s plans provide multiple benefits, including a free meal planner, access to a support coach and an online weight tracker.

medifast logo
Photo (c) Medifast
  • $25 Off Medifast and free shipping on orders of more than $250*
  • Use promo code NEWYEAR25

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

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Consumer News: DOJ says it’s still investigating Google’s acquisition of Fitbit

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Photo (c) franckreporter - Getty Images
Google announced on Thursday that its acquisition of Fitbit was complete, saying the deal would bring more sophisticated devices to the wearables market. However, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) now says its investigation into the acquisition hasn’t yet wrapped. 

In a statement to various media outlets, the DOJ said it’s still looking into the possible effects of the deal. Regulators previously expressed concern that Google could use Fitbit’s large swath of user data to personalize ads. 

“The Antitrust Division’s investigation of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit remains ongoing. Although the Division has not reached a final decision about whether to pursue an enforcement action, the Division continues to investigate whether Google’s acquisition of Fitbit may harm competition and consumers in the United States.” 

The agency added that it is “committed to conducting this review as thoroughly, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible.” 

But Google said in a statement that although the DOJ’s investigation is ongoing, the agency’s time limit for delivering a decision has passed. For this reason, Google said it felt comfortable finalizing the deal.  

“We complied with the DOJ’s extensive review for the past 14 months, and the agreed upon waiting period expired without their objection,” the company said. “We continue to be in touch with them and we’re committed to answering any additional questions. We are confident this deal will increase competition in the highly crowded wearables market, and we’ve made commitments that we plan to implement globally.” 

At this point, there’s no official word on whether the DOJ intends to take legal action against Google or Fitbit. 

Read more ...

Consumer News: Conflict between divorced parents can worsen kids' mental health, study finds

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Photo (c) Goodboy Picture Company - Getty Images
Divorce can be a major source of physical and mental stress for consumers, and a new study has explored how kids of divorced parents are affected by this change in the family dynamic. 

According to researchers from Arizona State University, kids are more likely to struggle with mental health concerns when their divorced or separated parents are frequently arguing. 

“Conflict is a salient stressor for kids, and the link between exposure to interparental conflict and mental health problems in children is well established across all family types -- married, cohabitating, separated, and divorced,” said researcher Karey O’Hara. 

“Conflict between divorced or separated parents predicted children experiencing fear that they would be abandoned by one or both parents. This feeling was associated with future mental health problems, especially for those who had strong relationships with their fathers.”

Kids fear being abandoned

The researchers had families enrolled in the New Beginnings Program -- an initiative that helps families transition following a divorce or separation -- participate in the study. Nearly 560 kids between the ages of nine and 18 were surveyed about their experiences with parental conflict, stress levels, and overall well-being. 

The more that separated or divorced parents fought, the more stressed and anxious the kids felt. The researchers learned that kids who experienced the highest levels of parental conflict feared being abandoned by their parents. This also had long-term consequences, as the study revealed that kids who worried about abandonment were also more likely to struggle with mental health nearly a year down the road. 

“When parents who are married or cohabitating engage in conflict, the child might worry about their parents separating,” said O’Hara. “But children whose parents are divorced or separated have already seen the dissolution of their family. The idea that they might be abandoned might be unlikely, but it is not illogical from their perspective.” 

Parental relationships don’t play a role

The researchers also learned that this correlation between parental conflict and kids’ mental health struggles was consistent regardless of the kind of relationship parents had with their kids. Several recent studies have indicated that parents serve an important role in managing stress for their kids; however, exposure to this kind of persistent arguing was enough to be detrimental to kids’ mental wellness despite any closeness with parents. 

“Having a high-quality parental relationship is protective, but it is possible that quality parenting alone is not enough in the context of high levels of interparental conflict between divorced parents,” O’Hara said. 

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Consumer News: Toyota reaches $180 million settlement over Clean Air Act violations

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Photo (c) Hirun Laowisit / EyeEm - Getty Images
Toyota is set to pay a $180 million fine for failing to report emissions-related defects in its vehicles for at least a decade. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the failure represents a “serious violation” of Clean Air Act rules. 

“Toyota’s actions undermined the EPA’s self-disclosure system and likely led to delayed or avoided emissions-related recalls,” Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement.

The EPA said that between 2005 and 2015, Toyota “failed to report mandatory information about potential defects in their cars to the EPA, keeping the agency in the dark and evading oversight.” The defects affected how Toyota’s vehicles controlled tailpipe emissions.

Brought financial benefits

As a result of the disclosure failure, the EPA said Toyota benefited financially from being able to avoid emission-related recalls. Meanwhile, the environment suffered due to excessive air pollution from its vehicles. 

Toyota managers and staff in Japan were allegedly aware of the long-running disclosure failure but didn’t take action to stop it, according to the complaint. Subsequently, millions of vehicles with defects were improperly sold. 

In a statement, Toyota argued that its failure “resulted in a negligible emissions impact, if any.” It also said it reported the defects to the EPA in 2015 after discovering a “process gap” that resulted in delays in filing the defect reports. 

“Within months of discovering this issue, we submitted all relevant delayed filings and put new robust reporting and compliance practices in place,” the company said.

In addition to paying the civil penalty, the Japanese automaker has agreed to investigate any future emissions-related defects quickly and report them to the EPA. 

Read more ...

Consumer News: FAA throws down the hammer with new rules on unruly airline passengers

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Photo (c) REB Images - Getty Images
If you plan on flying anytime soon, don’t act like a fool. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson has signed an order directing a harsher legal enforcement policy against unruly airline passengers. The move comes in the wake of recent episodes where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior, as well as cases in which some passengers refused to wear masks onboard a flight.

The move follows the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new set of standards for determining whether an airline was being unfair or deceptive in dealing with passengers. 

“Flying is the safest mode of transportation and I signed this order to keep it that way,” Dickson said.

Be prepared to write a check for $35,000 if you act up

Up to now, the FAA has had a more lenient way of addressing unruly-passenger incidents by using a mix of warnings, counseling, and civil penalties. Dickson said the kid gloves are off now. Effective immediately, the FAA is getting rid of the simple warning or required counseling. Instead, the agency will pursue legal enforcement action against any passenger who “assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members.” 

If a passenger acts up in any fashion that crosses that warning line, they should be prepared to pay a fine of up to $35,000 and possibly spend time in prison on top of that. 

This policy will be in effect through March 30, 2021.

Don’t test the FAA

Dickson reminds the flying public that the FAA monitors and tracks all commercial passenger flights in real-time, and it has reporting mechanisms in place for crew members to identify any safety and security concerns that may arise in flight. 

“We have zero tolerance for threatening or violent behavior by passengers, and we will take the strongest possible enforcement action against any passenger who engages in it,” he said.

Airlines for America (A4A), an advocacy group representing the aviation industry, praised Dickson for the FAA’s assertiveness. 

“The safety and security of passengers and employees is always the top priority of the U.S. airline industry, and we welcome the FAA’s order to implement a more stringent policy regarding unruly passenger behavior,” A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said. “We cannot have any form of dangerous behavior that threatens the safety of passengers and crew members.”

Read more ...

Consumer News: Coronavirus update: Americans may get another stimulus check, doctors urged to use antibody treatments

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Photo (c) MCCAIG - Getty Images
Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 23,337,896 (23,103,550)

Total U.S. deaths: 389,191 (385,503)

Total global cases: 93,363,092 (92,563,274)

Total global deaths: 1,999,849 (1,983,691)

Biden proposes big aid package

President-elect Biden has followed through on his promised addition to the coronavirus (COVID-19) aid package that Congress passed last month. Thursday evening, in an address to the nation, Biden proposed a $1.9 million bill providing aid to consumers, businesses, and state governments.

The highlight of the measure as far as consumers are concerned is a $1,400 direct payment to every American. Added to the $600 payment in last month’s law, it would raise the total direct payment to $2,000 per person.

There’s mounting evidence that the U.S. economy needs help to counter the effects of the pandemic. Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to 950,000. The Commerce Department reported today that retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell 1.4 percent in December.

Surgeon General urges doctors to use antibody treatments

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams says the U.S. has a large stockpile of therapeutic drugs, mainly antibody treatments made from the plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients. But he says many of these drugs remain on the shelf because doctors aren’t using them.

“You need to think about and be willing to prescribe these medications much more frequently as a way to protect your patients, preserve your hospital capacity, and to support your exhausted colleagues,” Adams said, addressing doctors through a news conference.

The U.S. government has already shipped more than 1 million courses of the drugs to hospitals and recently agreed to purchase more from Regeneron.

Hospitalizations suddenly fall back

Amid all the grim news about the pandemic, there has been a small glimmer of good news this week. The rate at which COVID-19 patients have required hospital treatment has gone down a bit.

According to data from The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project, around 128,900 people are currently being treated in U.S. hospitals, down from 130,300 as of Wednesday and from 131,300 as of Tuesday. 

It comes as good news because hospitals in many parts of the country -- especially Southern California -- have been strained to the breaking point.

Changing the guard at Operation Warp Speed

President-elect Biden has chosen former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. David Kessler to head Operation Warp Speed, the executive branch task force driving the COVID-19 response.

Kessler headed the health agency from 1990 to 1997, spanning the Bush and Clinton administrations. His appointment was cheered by public health advocates.

“The necessary interface between Operation Warp Speed and the FDA will benefit under his leadership as will the entire process of development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostic tests,” said Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Restaurants reflect on 2020’s huge changes

The National Restaurant Association has released its 2021 Restaurant Trends Report, and as you can imagine, it looks quite different than the assessment made at this time a year ago. The pandemic had yet to rear its ugly head in the U.S., and consumers were still packing full-service restaurants.

This year, restaurants are fighting just to survive. The association’s top trends include off-premises dining, scaled-down menus, selling grocery items, and alcohol to go.

“These food and menu trends didn’t offset the industry’s devastation, but they do illustrate the resiliency, innovation, and commitment of restaurateurs,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Knowledge for the association. 

Around the nation

  • Vermont: The state’s relatively low coronavirus case count has risen sharply in recent weeks, along with the rest of the country. Addison County has reported 218 new cases since December 30. Health department officials say the increase stems from social contacts during the Christmas holidays.

  • Arkansas: The Arkansas Pharmacists Association has posted an outline form specifying who is currently eligible to receive a vaccination at pharmacies around the state. Most of those individuals are people working in health care who did not get vaccinations directly at the facility where they are employed.

  • New Mexico: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reports that 11 counties in the state have positivity rates below 10 percent, but Harding County is the lone county in the green, signifying the fewest cases. She said most of the state still remains in the red with infection rates too high to reopen.

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