Health Updates 16 November 2011

  • Congress blocks proposed changes by the Department of Agriculture on school lunches: “The industry backs the current rules which say that about a quarter-cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza can count as a vegetable serving.  The Agriculture Department proposal would have required that schools serve more tomato paste per piece of pizza to get a vegetable credit, an idea the industry thought would make pizza unappetizing.” (NY Times)
  • AHA: Vital elements often missing from sports physicals: “Compliance with the American Heart Association guidelines for pre-participation screening for cardiovascular abnormalities in young athletes is poor, a survey of physicians and athletic directors in Washington state showed.”  Surveys showed that few providers or schools are compliant with the screening guidelines that take student medical history into account, along with physicals to assess the risk of sudden cardiac death.  In fact, only half of the physicians and just 6% of the athletic directors, had any knowledge of the AHA guidelines at all.  (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Few small business owners use health care tax credits, saying they are not practical: “Add in the requirement that different insurance plans – such as medical and dental – must be tested separately, then factor in the issue of average annual wages, she says, and the credit was just too difficult for business owners to decipher without help.  The credit was cast narrowly to appeal to the companies least able to afford insurance, but those companies are probably also least likely to have their taxes professionally done.” (Businessweek)
  • Really?  The Claim: exercise can ward off migraine: “Many migraine sufferers are reluctant to hit the gym, fearful that pushing themselves too hard may bring on an attack.  But for some, exercise may have the opposite effect.  Migraine triggers vary widely from one person to the next….by and large, the research has shown that for people predisposed to migraines, regular exercise, at least a few times a week, either does no harm or may have modest benefits.”  So the bottom line: “Exercise may help prevent migraines in some people”.  (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)

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