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Health Updates 14 October 2011

  • House passes bill banning federal funds for health plans that cover abortion-related services: “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi condemned the bill during earlier debate, arguing that if it passed, ‘women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene.’…Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, disputed Democrats who repeatedly argued that Obama’s 2010 executive order made it clear women would have to use private funds to pay for any abortion services.” (CNN)
  • Dip in birth rates reflects recession, report suggests: Birth rates in the United States declined sharply during the recession, according to a report by the Pew Research Center released Wednesday.  The analysis, based on data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, suggested women were putting off having babies while the economy was weak….The link between financial distress and lower rates of childbirth surfaced clearly in the regional data.  North Dakota, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in 2008, about 3 percent, was one of two states to show a slight increase in its birth rate from 2008 to 2009.  The other was Maine.  In all other states, birth rates declined….It is not unusual for child-bearing to fall in times of economic hardship.  Birth rates dropped 26 percent in the decade that ended in 1936.” (Sabrina Tavernise, NY Times)
  • Palm Beach County gets dengue fever: “No need to panic that Palm Beach County on Thursday reported its first victim of locally acquired dengue fever, health experts said…’We have so much international travel in Florida that we will bring in dengue from time to time,’ said Carina Blackmore, a mosquito-disease expert at the Florida Department of Health.  ‘We can deal with it.  People just need to take sensible precautions.'” (Sun Sentinel)
  • Low protein diet may lead to overeating: “People who ate less protein consumed more fats and carbohydrates, typically in the form of snacks, researchers found….’Humans have a particularly strong appetite for protein, and when the proportion of protein in the diet is low this appetite can drive excess energy intake’ [Alison] Grosby [PhD] said in a statement.  ‘Our findings have considerable implications for body weight management in the current nutritional environment, where foods rich in fat and carbohydrates are cheap, palatable and available to an extent unprecedented in our history.'” (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)
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