This month’s issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings features two new articles on the obesity paradox—the finding that overweight/obesity confers a survival advantage in individuals that have been diagnosed with a medical condition. These paradoxical findings have also been found in the general population.
Many people -- medical professionals, mothers, writers, teachers, politicians -- advocate cooking as a means to better health. Yet we know very little about the cooking habits of different communities across our diverse nation. Strategies to improve health and prevent obesity assume that people have the motivation and ability to gather fresh ingredients and turn them into a delicious meal.
Despite national guidelines and proven health benefits, vaccination rates for the human papillomavirus (HPV) remain far below those of other vaccines recommended for adolescents. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S; it is responsible for about 25,000 new cancers each year. A series of three shots is recommended for all girls and boys at age 11-12, but significant barriers exist to starting and finishing this series.
(cross-posted with the Scattergood Foundation)
Last month, the American Cancer Society sponsored the 38th annual “Great American Smokeout,” the day smokers are encouraged to quit, or make a plan to quit. This and many other efforts have convinced millions of smokers to quit; still, 18% of adults in the U.S. smoke. This seems an opportune time to consider the economics of smoking and the science of nicotine addiction.
A question arose on Twitter yesterday about the ACA’s provisions for surcharging tobacco users (h/t @onceuponA and @Prof_Richardson). That led me to a deeper dive into the regulations for implementing this part of the ACA. Here are a few questions, answers, and comments:
1. What is the surcharge?
With the launch of health insurance marketplaces and the shutdown of the federal government, there hasn't been much attention paid to something else that happens this time of year: the start of flu season. Under normal circumstances, the CDC would be launching a campaign to encourage flu vaccinations. But these are not normal circumstances as evidenced in the latest CDC Flu tweet: