Doctors urge indoor tanning ban for minors

U.S. tanning salons should close their doors to minors to protect them from skin cancer, a group of 60,000 pediatricians said Monday in a new policy statement.
With the move, the American Academy of Pediatrics joins the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Dermatology and other groups that are already pushing for a ban.
"There are more tanning facilities in the U.S. than there are Starbucks or McDonald's," said Dr. Sophie J. Balk, who helped write the new statement for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "More than a million visits are made every day."
Since 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the WHO, has classified tanning beds as cancer-causing.
Research shows people who start going to tanning salons before age 35 have a 75-percent increase in their chances of developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
The actual numbers remain small, however. In one large Scandinavian study, 24 out of every 10,000 young women who tanned regularly developed melanoma compared to 17 out of every 10,000 who had never or only rarely used a tanning bed.
But ultraviolet light - whether artificial or from the sun -- also causes less dangerous types of skin cancer.

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Fitness for Mortals: Never mind the level — make sure it’s fun

It’s always such a relief to see the end of January.
The true winter lovers out there will be heckling me, but when the short month of February is over, you can almost taste spring coming on.I look forward to trails drying up and roads getting swept.It’s still a long ways off, but distantly within sight.Not that I’m not enjoying the snow. Downhill skiing has been a blast this year. I am now at the back, watching my son and his friends find everything that resembles a jump in the trees and along the edges of the runs.
They compare air time while I just try to get to the bottom before they’re on their way back up.
The skate skiing has been beautiful as well but, again, it depends on who you go with as to how skilled you feel. When I go with some friends, I feel like the fittest and most graceful skier on the trails.When I go with my husband or faster friends, I suddenly feel like every step is a struggle and I flounder more than glide.

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Cycling is biggest cause of heart attack!

Cycling has always been touted as being good for health, but now a study has found that it is actually one of the biggest triggers of heart attacks.

The study, which analysed 36 pieces of research on everyday risks, proves that the "final straw" in bringing on a heart attack is spending time in traffic as a driver, cyclist or commuter.

But of the three, cyclists are in greatest danger because they are more heavily exposed to pollution and are subjecting themselves to another major heart attack trigger, exercise.

Traffic exposure was blamed for 7.4 per cent of heart attacks, followed by physical exertion with 6.2 per cent, while air pollution triggered between 5 per cent and 7 per cent of heart attacks, and drinking alcohol or coffee accounted for 5 per cent.

Other risk factors included negative emotions (3.9 per cent), anger (3.1 per cent), eating a heavy meal (2.7 per cent), positive emotions (2.4 per cent) and sexual activity (2.2 per cent).

Cocaine was to blame for 0.9 per cent of heart attacks, but this was because of limited exposure to the drug among the population.

According to the study, led by Dr Tim Nawrot, from Hasselt University in Belgium, on an individual basis, taking cocaine was shown to raise a person''s risk of having a heart attack 23-fold.

In comparison, air pollution led to a 5 per cent extra risk, but since far more people are exposed to traffic fumes and factory emissions than cocaine, air quality is a far more important population-wide threat.

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Weight Loss – The Routine Is Important

Even the most experienced weight loss expert can use some weightloss tips every so often. Our eating habits are linked very closely with our habits and using a behavior approach to dieting can be beneficial to certain types of people who have bad eating habits that may be overcome with a little behavioral intervention.
Many times an individual eats without thinking. This means that the person’s habitual behavior has overrun his cognitive functioning. In a nutshell, all of us basically shove food in to our mouths just since it is there. Among the many weight loss tips offered, thinking before snacking is the excellent tip as far as the behavioral approach goes. Once we act on impulse, all of us rarely make good choices.
The behaviorist will consider the problem in a number of techniques. The best approach is always to get into the habit associated with slowing down a little bit. Some good weightloss tips include holding out ten minutes before getting that snack that is phoning you from the pantry. You may discover that you aren’t really hungry. If you wait around ten minutes the wanting will most likely disappear completely on its own.
You may also opt to go for any brisk walk when the urge to cheat on your diet plan arises. This is a powerful way to get much needed physical exercise along with self:control. You will be less likely to run to the pantry upon entering the home after having a jaunt around the community. You will be more prone to go for a huge glass of cold drinking water instead.
Some people laugh at these two weightloss tips but they do give you results if you take any behavioral approach. You have to focus on your actions. The best way to look at it is making priorities. Do you want the chocolate cake or even do you want to match those jeans tucked away within your closet? There are times that the chocolate cake will earn but not often in the event that you focus on the behavior.
Weightloss tips that involve a behavioral approach also include portions. We often need to train ourselves to understand how much is enough. Getting into the habit of buying single-sized servings or taking the time to measure will increase your chances of success.

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Flu cases on rise in LB and county

"All influenza types and subtypes, including A (H3), A (H1N1) and B, have been identified at high levels," the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services said in an advisory to local hospitals dated Feb. 17. "There are no reported deaths associated with influenza in Long Beach to date. However, 10 deaths have been reported in Los Angeles County."
The Long Beach health department urges all local physicians to:
Continue influenza vaccinations. "It is not too late to vaccinate."
Encourage all health care workers to receive the influenza vaccination.
Consider antiviral treatment for patients at high-risk for complications from influenza.
The growing influenza trend reflects a national increase. The number of national cases remained elevated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was above the epidemic threshold, the CDC reported.
Throughout the month, the CDC has been tracking key flu indicators. Both the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza and the proportion of outpatient visits for influenzalike illness were above what is expected for this time of year. In addition, widespread influenza activity was reported in 37 states,
Regional geographic influenza activity was reported by the CDC on Feb. 12 in 10 states: California, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Washington.
Rates are highest in patients younger than 5 and in patients 65 years of age and older, according to the CDC.

Quit smoking for you health

Choosing to quit smoking can be a hard decision. But, medical experts say it can also be one of the best things you can do for your health. It can also save you money.
One in every five deaths in the United States is smoking-related according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the CDC points out about 10 million people in the United States have died from causes attributed to smoking (including heart disease, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases) since the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health in 1964. Two million of those deaths were the result of lung cancer.
Heavy smokers, or those who smoke over a pack of cigarettes a day, can find themselves at the greatest risk. The CDC also says exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3,000 deaths from lung cancer among American adults. Scientific studies also link secondhand smoke with heart disease. In addition, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says 90 percent of people with oral cancer use tobacco.
According to the National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC), women have seen the highest increase in smoking related diseases. NWHIC says tobacco use by pregnant women has been linked with increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and mental retardation.
Smoking is also considered a trigger for asthma, according to the American Lung Association (ALA), and secondhand smoke worsens the health of children with asthma. Studies also show that cigarette smokers have more than double the risk of a heart attack compared to non-smokers; and according to ALA, the earlier you start smoking, the greater the health risk. Smoking is also considered a risk factor for developing cataracts and pneumothorax, a condition that can cause the lung to collapse.

Health care costs burden to cities

The 50 most populated communities in Massachusetts face a $20 billion liability for retiree health care benefits, placing funds for local services at serious risk, according to a report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
These governments must pay $20 billion in today's dollars for the lifetime health care benefits already earned by 150,000 employees and retirees in the 50 communities, including Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield and Westfield, according to "Retiree Health Care: The Brick That Broke Municipalities' Backs."
Taken together, the 50 communities face a liability that is virtually unfunded , the report said. It concludes that financing these obligations for retirees would burden taxpayers and trigger layoffs or cuts in municipal services.

"This is a death march," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the taxpayers foundation. "Something has to give."
Chicopee's unfunded liability for health care for retirees is $165.2 million; Holyoke, $300.1 million; Springfield, $761.5 million, and Westfield, $178.4 million.
Ralph White, president of the Retired State, County and Municipal Employees Association of Massachusetts, said the foundation is attempting to throw retirees under the bus by calling for dramatic changes in certain laws that protect benefits.
"To me, it's egregious," White said. "It's cruel. You really don't have to go that far."
Gov. Deval L. Patrick has filed legislation that seeks to force communities to join the state health insurance plan or use a local plan that would cost no more than enrolling in the state program.
Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, is sponsoring a bill that would allow communities to set co-pays and deductibles on health plans without approval of public employee unions. The co-pays and deductibles could be no higher than the state insurance plan. Under the bill, municipalities would negotiate with unions about the employees' share of premiums.
The report lays out recommendations to reduce costs and control increases in retiree health care, including calling for approval of Kulik's bill, which is backed by the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Ladies, adore Your Body, shield Your Heart

There are some things in life that should clearly be ignored. The telemarketer who calls your house at all hours of the day and night, the endless commercials and newspaper ads claiming unbelievable weight loss results with minimal effort, and any health news story that promises a "miracle" or "cure."
But, there is one thing in life that should never, ever be ignored, and that is your body. Your beautiful, precious, body that fuels your passions, hopes and dreams.
Being mindful of your body, paying attention to what your body is telling you, and loving your body can be helpful to protect you from heart disease. There are steps you can take to help prevent you from heart disease, but it's your choice. No one can force you.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women, not breast cancer. That fact may be surprising to many people given all of the media attention and prevention efforts surrounding breast cancer. So let me say it again ... "Heart disease is the number one killer of women!"
Just like the fight against breast cancer, we in the media should focus on raising awareness among women in fighting and preventing heart disease. As with all health prevention, it starts with you. There are simple lifestyle choices you can make to help prevent you from heart disease, but it's your choice. No one can force you.

Building brawn may also boost brain power

It has long been a cliche that muscle bulk doesn't equate with intelligence. Most of the science about activity and brain health has focused on the role of endurance exercise in improving brain functioning.
Aerobic exercise causes a steep spike in blood movement to the brain, an action some researchers speculated might be necessary to create new brain cells, or neurogenesis.
Running and other forms of aerobic exercise have been shown, in mice and men, to lead to neurogenesis in the parts of the brain associated with memory and thinking, providing another compelling reason to run.
Few researchers thought muscle bulk would have a similar effect. But recent studies intimate otherwise. It's not easy to induce a lab rat to lift weights, so researchers developed clever approximations of resistance training to see what impact adding muscle and strength has on an animal's brain.

Guidelines to offer kids a healthy smile

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is urging parents to ensure their children are polishing up on their tooth brushing skills, and maintaining good oral hygiene in order to have a lifelong healthy smile.
“Over 50 percent of children ages 5-9 have at least one cavity or filling,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. “We hope that by raising parental awareness of the importance of brushing we will reduce the incidences of cavities and improve oral health in children.”
Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in children. It is five times more common than asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.
Here are some preventive measures:
• Infants and young children can be especially vulnerable to tooth decay because tooth decay is an infectious disease. Avoid testing the temperature of your child’s bottle with the mouth, sharing utensils or cleaning a pacifier or bottle nipple with saliva.
• Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle or prop the bottle up in the baby’s mouth. Hold your infant during feeding.
• Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth or piece of gauze wrapped around a finger and plain water after each feeding.
• Parents are urged to take an active role in brushing their children’s teeth once the first tooth comes in usually when the child is between 6 and 10 months of age. Lift the lip to brush at the gum line and behind the teeth.
• For children ages 2-6, parents should use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Walking, Nutrition for a Healthy Mind

Women can take simple steps to bolster their brain power now and keep mentally agile as they age, according to an article in The Sun by fitness expert Nicki Waterman and nutritionist Amanda Ursell.
First up is the importance of nutrition, which starts during pregnancy, as the fetus is hungry for solid nutrients to improve brain development. Ursell encouraged pregnant women to consume good sources of magnesium, including whole grains, nuts and lentils; zinc, found in wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and red meat; folic acid, ideally via a 400 mcg/d supplement, to help the development of the spinal cord and central nervous system; choline, found in eggs, which helps in production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter; and omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain development.
Children and adults also need various nutrients to support their developing brains. One important step, Ursell said, is ensuring children eat breakfast to provide nutrients that fuel the brain. Other key compounds, she noted, include iron for brain development, memory and concentration; vitamin D, which supports learning and memory; B vitamins, which studies suggest can fight memory impairment in aging; and vitamin E, found in nuts and seeds, which can stave off mental decline.
In the exercise arena, it’s as simple as walking, according to Waterman, who noted studies have found walking just a mile a day can slow memory loss and maintain brain volume, while also reducing the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise also improves blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen for optimal performance; Waterman added studies have found aerobic exercise may even promote the growth of new brain cells.

More Kids Have Health Coverage

If you are a parent, you know that your children’s health and wellbeing is your number one concern. According to a new report, an increasing number of parents in America are resting easy, knowing that their kids have health coverage.

The report shows that last year, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provided health coverage to two million additional children. All together, 42 million kids now rely on Medicaid and CHIP for their coverage.

If you aren’t familiar with them, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program are programs run by the states (with financial help from federal government) that offer no-cost or low-cost health insurance to kids. Every state program varies a little, and most have their own names - HUSKY, Healthy Families, Apple Health for Kids. Generally, children up to age 19 in families of four with income up to $45,000 a year can qualify, but the rules are set by each state. You can find more about your State’s programs at In many states the income limit is higher, so more children and families are eligible.

The increase in kids getting covered by Medicaid and CHIP is a big deal. Tough economic times are making it hard for businesses to continue providing coverage to their employees, and harder for families to afford coverage. Tough times also have kept many states from devoting their funds to do outreach to uninsured families and to help eligible children sign up.

Moderate physical exercises cut cancer risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that moderate physical exercises can help reduce the risk of cancers such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

On the World Cancer Day Friday, WHO recommended moderate intensity aerobic physical activities of at least 150 minutes a week, for all people aged 18 and over, which has proven effective in bring down risks to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

For the 5 to 17-age group, the WHO said at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activities could serve to prevent such diseases from building-up, reports English .

"Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31 per cent of the world's population not physically active," said Ala Alwan, WHO assistant director-general for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health.

It said physical inactivity is in close relation with cancers and other NCDs, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and worldwide, it is associated with 3.2 million deaths per year.

The situation is particularly alarming in low and middle income countries, which suffered 2.6 million cases of death, a majority of the world's total, said the report.

Heart disease costs are expected to triple by 2030

There's a new forecast of the cost to treat heart disease in the U.S. over the next 20 years — and it isn't pretty.
According to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the annual cost to treat heart disease — including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and other conditions — will triple by 2030, from $273 billion to $818 billion (in 2008 dollars).
U.S. medical expenditures are already the highest in the world, hitting 15 percent of gross domestic product in 2008, the authors reported.
To generate the forecast, researchers took current disease rates and applied them to population estimates suggested by census data. They assumed no major changes in treatment.
Today, 36.9 percent of Americans have some form of heart disease. By 2030, 40.5 percent — about 116 million people — will, according to the Circulation study. Cases of both stroke and heart failure were projected to rise about 25 percent.
The most expensive condition to treat will remain hypertension, because of its prevalence. Hypertension is a risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure.
Shortages of doctors or nurses could push costs even higher, the study authors wrote.
Continued rises in rates of diabetes and obesity could too, they said.

Health care debate remains confusing for most Americans

Most people have an opinion about 2009's health care act, if even a confused one. I knew a columnist who was pushing for this reform years before it happened. I also knew a woman who thought that the act authorized killing newborn babies. You could say I hang out with a mixed crowd, but we definitely have confusion over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in common.
Congress is back in session and the Republicans in the House have made health care its first order of business. They want it repealed immediately but the Democrats in the Senate want to keep it, and neither seems to be getting very far.
The strange thing about the act is that everyone had something to say about it, even when no one was sure what it said. If you already liked it, you probably thought it was a human rights victory in the making. If you didn't like it, perhaps you worried it would give the government dangerous powers.
The old bill lingered seven months in the Senate. Political ads so flooded the airwaves that you might have thought it was an election year. After all that, how can millions of us still be unclear on the act?
The pundits' rhetoric was tainted by political agenda and impossible to trust. The congressmen debating the bill weren't much better. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, gave his "Hell No" speech against the bill, saying that it would defy the will of the people. "But we have to pass the bill," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "so that you can find out what is in it." Some parts won't take effect for 10 more years.
It's a shame when something that stirs so much sentiment remains so hazy. Only one source remained for information about the act: non-partisan news. Some people call this "doing your homework." You hunt down a description of the bill untouched by tones of heated opposition or unthinking agreement. The details of the act shouldn't be so inaccessible, so check the sidebar for a sampling of excerpts from the bill.
The text of the act isn't something to jump for joy over, but it doesn't feel like the descent of the Iron Curtain either.