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.
Health officials have zeroed in on a farm in southwestern Indiana responsible for at least some of the cantaloupe that were contaminated with salmonella, an outbreak that has sickened at least 50 Kentuckians and 178 people nationwide. It has also been associated with the death of two Kentuckians.
From victim to medical practitioners to law enforcement, one theme was clear Thursday night during a two-hour program about synthetic drugs in Bowling Green: Not enough is known about this relatively new menace to our children. Even with new local, state and federal laws enacted this year against synthetic drugs, those who make and those who market what might be called “7H,” “Mr. Happy,” “K2,” “K3,” “Wicked X,” “Happy Hour” or “Head Trip” – among many trade names – continue to create chemical combinations that can’t be detected by drug screens and can fly under the radar of vigilant parents.
Kids should brush their teeth twice a day for two whole minutes at a time, a new public-service campaign urges. The “Kids’ Healthy Mouths” campaign includes TV spots, print ads, a website, social media messages and other materials, reports Jennifer LaRue Huget for The Washington Post.
A major outbreak of West Nile virus, so far, has skipped the Commonwealth. Texas, meanwhile, has been impacted significantly. Since August, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture reports four cases of West Nile virus in horses and one confirmed case in a resident of Henry County. West Nile is spread by mosquitoes. So far, Martin Evans, who’s a professor of Infectious Diseases at UK, says Kentucky has been lucky.
Kentucky's two U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, are some of the most vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act. The two co-headlined a Tea Party rally in Frankfort yesterday to protest the health care law. During the rally, Paul said he wants to not only repeal the law, but replace it with a different one. Other Republicans have taken a similar stance, but the details behind the Republicans' preferred approach are largely unknown.
Dr. Alvarado's medical practice in Winchester has prescribed controlled substances to 1,800 patients in Central Kentucky over the past three years. But he and other doctors in the practice decided to put down their pens four weeks ago. That’s because, Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal reports, "The standards imposed under a new Kentucky law designed to crack down on prescription drug abuse are so strict and complex that he would go bankrupt in a month -- or worse -- if he were to continue prescribing controlled substances."
A Carlisle nursing home has been placed on the federal government's list of troubled nursing homes in the United States. Johnson Mathers Nursing Home was placed on the federal list based on "poor compliance history over the past three years," Beth Fisher, a spokeswoman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said Monday. Among the problems at Johnson Mathers Nursing Home is a 2010 death that has been under review by the Kentucky Attorney General office.
Kentuckians on Medicaid now have the opportunity to change healthcare providers for the first time in months. Open enrollment for all of the state except Louisville started today. It's the first time since Medicaid was privatized that residents can choose a new private operator to handle their care.
Kentucky has experienced a variety of weather conditions this summer. Far western Kentucky remains in the grip of summer long drought. But, after an early summer dry-spell, rain has returned to much of central and eastern Kentucky. State Climatologist Stuart Foster says his hometown of Bowling Green is living up to its name. “You can go from there where now it’s really no visual indication of drought to the traveler passing through and you can travel about a hundred miles to the west and to from what appears to be no drought to a very extreme drought situation and that’s pretty unusual,” said Foster.
Last week Kentucky got the kind of ranking you won't be seeing anybody brag about: A new government survey showed that 12 states, including our commonwealth, now have very high obesity rates. At least 30 percent of adults are obese in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. The figures came from a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kentucky has its first confirmed cases of flu for the year, and officials are urging residents to get their vaccinations. (WYMT-TV photo) The Department for Public Health reports six confirmed cases in Boyd County of the H3N2 strain, which is included in this year's flu vaccine. No cases of flu that contain genetic material from swine flu have been reported in Kentucky this year.
New research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows more than half of middle and high schools have purged the pop since the 2006-2007 school year. That year, 53.6 percent of high schools and 27.4 percent of middle schools gave students access to soda. In the 2010-2011 those numbers dropped to 25.3 in high schools and 12.5 percent in middle schools, reports Sarah Kliff for The Washington Post.
FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services has announced that Medicaid recipients in 104 Kentucky counties will have the opportunity to select coverage by a new managed care organization (MCO) during this year’s annual open enrollment period Aug. 20-Oct. 19.
FRANKFORT - The Department for Public Health today reported that cantaloupes tested in the state public health laboratory carry the same strain of Salmonella associated with a statewide outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.