Meet Kathryn Roethel »

Journalist & Consultant

January 1, 2013 – 3:50 am

Kathryn Roethel Rieck is a journalist and communications consultant whose career has taken her through Stanford University, PBS, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Make-A-Wish Foundation and a state governor’s office.

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By The Numbers »

Who’s in pain in America? (Answer: A lot of us)

November 12, 2014 – 12:11 pm

This article, originally entitled “Chronic pain a hurdle for many, especially women, seniors, obese,” appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle on Nov. 12, 2014.

Americans take 80 percent of the painkillers used in the world, though only 28 per cent of respondents in a recent survey said drugs completely kill their pain. (Photo: Thomas Levinson / The Chronicle)

Americans take 80 percent of the painkillers used in the world, though only 28 per cent of respondents in a recent survey said drugs completely kill their pain. (Photo: Thomas Levinson / The Chronicle)

Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults reports living with chronic pain, and the rates are even higher for women, seniors and those who are obese.

These are the findings of a new Washington State University study that examined national health survey results of almost 90,000 Americans.

The researchers defined chronic pain as constant or frequent and lasting at least three months.

A little less than half of patients with arthritis, kidney failure or heart disease said they had chronic pain.

Nearly 60 percent of patients with emphysema-related pain said they did, and roughly a third of migraine suffers and those with cancer-related pain said it was chronic. Read the full story »

Study confirms what happens when kids rule the grocery cart

November 12, 2014 – 12:01 pm
Jonah, left, and Liya get a ride in the grocery cart at the San Francisco Costco as their dad Fasil Fikreab, right, does the family grocery shopping. (Photo: Michael Maloney, The Chronicle)

Take a little one to the grocery store, and, a new study finds, you’re likely to come out with some extra sweets in your cart. A survey of low-income parents and grandparents reveals shopping with children makes it difficult to stick to a budget, and adults often acquiesce to youngsters’ pleas for junk food — even if they don’t intend to.

Body weight training projected as top fitness trend for 2015

November 5, 2014 – 12:31 pm
Gold's Gym personal trainer Brandon Carleo shows the proper form for a plank. The plank is an isometric core exercise. (Photo: Regina R. Hurtado, Staff)

If you’re thinking of trying a new fitness craze in 2015, get ready for push-ups, planks, lunges and squats. This type of training, which uses your own body weight for resistance, is projected to be the top fitness trend in the coming year, according to a report from the American College of Sports Medicine.

California’s pace slows in reducing smoking

November 5, 2014 – 12:29 pm
No-smoking signs are seen at the entrance to Berkeley City College. While the state has been a leader in instituting policies to reduce smoking, other states are rapidly making up ground. (Photo: Michael Short / The Chronicle)

California has long boasted one of the nation’s lowest smoking rates, but a new report reveals the state may no longer be the standard-bearer when it comes to antitobacco policy. The smoking declines are getting smaller, and political campaign contributions from the tobacco industry are getting bigger.

No proof brain games keep seniors sharp, a group of doctors says

October 29, 2014 – 12:52 pm
Norbert Charles partakes in a game of Bingo run by volunteers from the software startup Zendesk at the Curry Senior Center in the Tenderloin on September 24th 2014. A recent study by Stanford last week noted computer games for seniors might not work in sharpening the aging brain. (
Photo: Sam Wolson, Special To The Chronicle)

Seniors take note — computer games advertised as ways to sharpen your aging brain — may not actually be keeping you, well, on top of your game.

The scientific evidence to support the game makers’ claims just isn’t there, more than 70 neuroscientists and psychologists say. The doctors from around the world signed a joint statement released last week by the Stanford Center for Longevity and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

Miles may mean more to soda buyers than calorie counts

October 29, 2014 – 12:36 pm
It’d take a 5-mile walk to burn off the calories in a 20-ounce soda. Bottles of Coca-Cola Co. brand soda are displayed for sale at a convenience store in Redondo Beach, California, U.S., on Monday, July 15, 2013. The Coca-Cola Co. is scheduled to release earnings data on July 16. Photographer: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg

Food calorie counts are easy to find on labels and menus, but their meaning is not always easy to understand. Now, a new study reveals, telling people how much exercise they need to burn a food’s calories may be a better approach for healthy eating.