It can be done. A determined state can move the needle on its obesity numbers. Heidi Hall of The Tennessean reports that widespread efforts to change Tennesseans’ diet and exercise habits mean that the state’s percentage of obese residents have dropped for two consecutive years – something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade. "A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moves Tennessee out of the top 10 most obese states for the first time since 1999 – it’s now ranked 15th – and," Hall notes, "is prompting cautious optimism in leaders charged with slimming down the state." (Associated Press photo)
That giant whooshing sound you just heard is the sound of millions of baby boomers letting out of sigh of relief. That's because CNN.com did some much needed fact checking for them on the often-cited and more often fretted about claim of Medicare’s “impending” bankruptcy. What they found is was startling -- and in a good way, for a change.
University of Rochester Medical Centerscientists have verified a cholesterol-cancer link with new genetic evidence, raising the possibility that cholesterol medications could be useful in the future for cancer prevention or to augment existing cancer treatment. "The link between cholesterol and cancer is clear," senior study author Hartmut Land said, "but it's premature to say that (cholesterol-lowering drugs) are the answer."
A northern Kentucky medical examiner is moving to Madisonville to fill a similar position in Western Kentucky. The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet announced Dr. Greg Wanger accepted the position this week. The office has been vacant for over a year. Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown says the move is good news for the region.
Thousands of Lexington city employees will be making decisions about their health insurance plans in the coming weeks. The new plans and rate structure is expected to save the city and workers money. Urban County Council members were briefed on insurance matters Tuesday. Benji Marrs is Senior Vice President with Benefit Insurance Marketing. “So, for next year, employees, we anticipate, 50 percent of them will have a lower payroll deduction that what they have today. And for some employees, there’s 28 percent of the population participating on an H-S-A and for those non tobacco users, they will experience anyway from a rate reduction to a one or two dollar increase per pay period,” said Marrs.
"Who's getting fat off food stamps?" asks ABC News' Alan Farnham, reporting that a record number of Americans -- 46.7 million, or nearly 1 in 7 -- now uses the benefit, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It cost $72 billion last year, up from $30 billion four years earlier. Budget hawks have targeted the program's swollen size and cost, helping prevent passage of a new Farm Bill. Now Farnham reports, "There are those who say SNAP is making two different constituencies fat -- big corporations and the poor -- the first, figuratively; the second, literally."
Gov. Steve Beshear is in a position to reshape a state medical board that has played a central and controversial role in recent efforts to crack down on prescription drug abuse. Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal reports that the terms of three members of the Kentucky Medical Licensure Board expired Aug. 31, and two other members’ terms await action after ending last year.
More than 750,000 people in Kentucky -- or 17 percent of those living in the commonwealth -- do not always know where they will find their next meal, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study. Among Kentucky's children, the number of those experiencing food insecurity is astonishing higher -- at 23 percent. The Lane Report notes this has prompted state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to declare September as Farmers and Food Banks Fighting Hunger Month in Kentucky.
By Ivy Brashear, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
University of Kentucky physician and Pike County native Baretta Casey, right, has spent most of her career providing health care and education throughout the state, with a focus on Appalachian Kentucky. The health disparities between Eastern Kentucky and the rest of the state, especially high rates of cancer, are of "special concern" to Casey, reports Ann Blackford of UKNow.
Patti A. Clay Hospital, which has been a part of the Richmond community since 1892, is entering a new era. Hospital CEO Todd Jones says the Madison County Healthcare facility is changing its name and joining a regional network.
A social entrepreneur dedicated to overhauling the system that feeds America spoke last night at Eastern Kentucky University. Ellen Gustafson founded “The 30 Project,” which hopes to create a world where humanity has access to healthy, affordable food. She adds American families would be much happier if they gathered every evening for conversation and a healthy meal. Gustafson discussed dinner with WEKU's Charles Compton.
The state Department of Public Health says whooping cough is now at epidemic levels. Department officials told Amanda Stephenson of WTVQ-TV in Lexington that 381 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far in 2012. The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reporting 50 cases so far this year. That's double the 26 cases they'd seen in the previous five years. Estill County health officials have seen a quadrupling of cases since July. (Read more)
As Kentuckians prepare to enter the fall season, there are a number of medical matters to contemplate. Whooping Cough and West Nile Virus cases have gotten a great deal of attention in Kentucky and many other states. Now, a third disease, influenza is being put on Kentuckians radar screen. Lois Davis is the Public Health Nursing Manager in Fayette County. “We have had a few confirmed cases already in eastern Kentucky. That may or may not indicate that it could be an earlier than usual flu season. It may peak earlier. You never know that. It could just be a few random cases,” said Davis.
Now that all schools are back in session, cafeterias in every corner of Kentucky are bustling with students sweeping through lunch lines, sitting down with their best friends and sampling their meal. It's in these loud, boisterous rooms that the fight against childhood obesity, which is higher in Kentucky than in all but a few states, is beginning to take shape.
At every Girl Scouts meeting, Christmas concert, soccer field and swimming pool in Kentucky lies a trend that is easy to spot. It doesn't have to do with the Toms on the children's feet or the feathers affixed to their hair. It's the fact that every third child in Kentucky is overweight, and many of them are obese. As they stand in front of the crowd or struggle to swim to the other side, the problem is plain. Its consequences are not so plan, but are far-reaching.
The U.S. Census Bureau released data this week showing 2010 estimates of health insurance coverage for all 50 states and each of the nation’s counties. The data are exactly what journalists need to do their own stories about the problem of the uninsured and the potential impact of Medicaid expansion under federal health reform. Laura Ungar of The Courier-Journal in Louisville used the data to show what parts of Kentucky have the most uninsured and which would benefit most from Medicaid expansion.
With school back in session, it probably won't be long before children are coming home with sniffles and sore throats. The average child gets six or more infections each year, reports Dr. Jacqueline Kaari, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine, who also offers advice.
The life expectancy of the average U.S. female increased 1.7 years from 1999 to 2009 -- 79.6 to 81.3 years. Good news on the whole, but Daily Yonder reporters Bill Bishop and Robert Gallardo went a little farther in their analysis of the data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. They found that rural women hardly kept up, and some even lost ground in the decade while their urban sisters obviously gained from widespread health advances.
A new wellness and healthcare clinic for Lexington’s city workers is saving substantial money. The Samuel Brown Center, which is just off Leestown Road, opened last January. The clinic is managed by Marathon Health. In the first half of 20-12, company Vice President David Demers says there’s been more than one million dollars in savings.
Christian County's health director told the county Board of Health last week that it "needs to spend less time on the health department’s budget and more time addressing big questions of community health," Nick Tabor writes for the Kentucky New Era. "The past four years, we haven’t talked about a lot of health issues. That’s going to change,” Director Mark Pyle told the 11-member board.
Because they use extracorporeal (out-of-body) membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, to support patients, the University of Kentucky's Albert B. Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children's Hospital have been awarded a triple designation from the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization. UK is just the fifth medical center to receive the triple-designation honor, reports UK's Allison Perry. (UK photo)
Wanna get kids to eat more fruit and vegetables at lunch time? Dress up in a banana suit. That's what cafeteria workers do at an elementary school in Hallandale Beach, Fla. (MCT photo by Mike Stocker) "They love it," said intern Ericka Floyd while wearing the yellow costume. "Some kids want to bite me."
Tobacco use is higher among rural communities than in suburban and urban areas, and smokeless tobacco use is twice as common. According to the American Lung Association, rural youth are more likely to use tobacco and to start earlier than urban youth, perpetuating the cycle of tobacco addiction, death and disease.
A weekend public forum on homelessness in Lexington included comments from a number of people living on the streets. It was called an ‘open space’ dialogue. Lafayette Hodges, who’s homeless, believes there’s interest in soliciting a broad range of ideas. “They’re asking the people that are actually living the homeless life, what they need to do about it. There’s a lot of great ideas that came out of that. They did it before they decided what to do about homelessness is ask the people,” said Hodges.
Prescription drug abuse has dominated news headlines across the state over the last several weeks and new cases are leading officials to believe that more and more cases will be filed against physicians in and around Eastern Kentucky. Officials on both the state and federal level have been busy over the last year in taking action against a number of medical professionals, both in and around Pike County.
One of the most complex and far-reaching pieces of legislation to pass in recent years is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal health-care reform law that, among other provisions, requires Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. But because of its complexity, journalists can shy away from delving into stories about it.
A Laurel County man has shared his story after contracting the West Nile Virus, which, though rare in Kentucky, has been more common nationwide this year than it has been since it was first discovered in 1999. Kelly Curens spent three weeks at the University of Kentucky medical center, much of which was spent in an induced coma. He started feeling sick after a camping trip at Lake Cumberland, reports Phil Penderton for WKYT-TV.