The families of two American journalists sentenced to 12 years in a North Korean labor prison are expressing concerns about the women's health.
Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been accused of unspecified hostile acts and illegally entering the country.
Their families are appealing to Pyonyang to grant the women clemency.
President Obama and his top national security aides have urged that the women be released on humanitarian grounds.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is using every possible diplomatic means to help in their release.
"Obviously, we are deeply concerned about the length of the sentences and the fact that this trial was conducted totally in secret, with no observers, and we're engaged in all possible ways through every possible channel to secure their release," she said. "And we once again urge North Korea to grant their immediate release on humanitarian grounds."
The sentencing comes at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, because of the north's recent nuclear tests.