US health spending climbs at alarming rate; gym combines physical and cognitive exercises for the disabled; NYC health board initiates support for soda ban; and Obama aims to reduce newborn mortality rate. These stories and more topping public health headlines today, June 13, 2012.
Health Affairs – National Health Expenditure Projections: Modest Annual Growth Until Coverage Expands And Economic Growth Accelerates
For 2011–13, US health spending is projected to grow at 4.0 percent, on average—slightly above the historically low growth rate of 3.8 percent in 2009. By 2021, federal, state, and local government health care spending is projected to be nearly 50 percent of national health expenditures, up from 46 percent in 2011, with federal spending accounting for about two-thirds of the total government share. Rising government spending on health care is expected to be driven by faster growth in Medicare enrollment, expanded Medicaid coverage, and the introduction of premium and cost-sharing subsidies for health insurance exchange plans.
World Health Organization – Diesel Engine Exhaust Carcinogenic
After a week-long meeting of international experts, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), today classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. Large populations are exposed to diesel exhaust in everyday life, whether through their occupation or through the ambient air. People are exposed not only to motor vehicle exhausts but also to exhausts from other diesel engines, including from other modes of transport (e.g. diesel trains and ships) and from power generators.
Washington Post – Rockville gym caters to clients with disabilities
Fitness for Health is open to anyone who wants to join. Owner Marc Sickel’s approach is to pair physical exercise with cognitive drills whenever possible in the belief, which increasingly is supported by research, that mental acuity is enhanced when it is accompanied by exercise. “You’re focused on the game. You’re not focused on working out,” said Roberta Liss of Potomac, who is not disabled but works out with trainers at the gym. The exercises encourage hand-eye coordination, but “you don’t realize it as you’re doing it.”
Fox News – Women physicians paid much less than male counterparts
Women physician-scientists are paid much less than their male counterparts, researchers found, with a salary difference that over the course of a career could pay for a college education, a spacious house, or a retirement nest egg. They included only doctors who were involved in research at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals, all at the same stage in their careers. And they still found men’s average yearly salaries were at least $12,000 higher than women’s. Over a 30-year career, that adds up to more than $350,000.
NPR – To Rehabilitate Young Vets, Go Hunting
Recreational rehabilitation programs have long been a favorite for helping disabled veterans acclimate after war, and the number of young and disabled vets returning who need those services is on the rise. Two brothers — with nearly 60 years of military service between them — are trying to help with a unique retreat that’s free for young vets. The program gets them out of their hospital beds for a few days to hunt in rural Pennsylvania. But it’s less about the hunt, and more about the camaraderie. For Brandon Long, a 21-year-old Marine and double amputee, it’s simply about spending time with guys who are in similar circumstances.
Detroit Free Press – Study: Newborns are 40% of preventable child deaths
Newborns now account for 40% of preventable child deaths worldwide, but only a tiny fraction of international aid targets newborns, according to a report to be published in the medical journal Health Policy and Planning Tuesday. President Obama has emphasized the need to reduce child mortality rates, and USAID has attempted to raise the profile of the issue by enlisting celebrities (Kim Kardashian and Mandy Moore) and politicians (former president Bill Clinton) to submit childhood photos for an online project called Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday.
NPR – Panel Questions Benefits Of Vitamin D Supplements
An influential panel of experts questioned two big reasons people take vitamin D supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded in draft recommendations released Tuesday that taking less than 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day doesn’t reduce the risk for bone fractures among postmenopausal women. And the panel concluded that there was insufficient evidence that higher doses protect the bones of postmenopausal or premenopausal women, or reduce the risk for cancer.
Wall Street Journal – NYC health board likes big drink ban proposal
New York City’s Board of Health signaled strong support Tuesday for the mayor’s plan to fight obesity by banning the sale of large, sugary beverages at local restaurants. The proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg would prohibit licensed food service establishments in the city from using containers bigger than 16 ounces to serve high-calorie drinks like colas, lemonade and punch. The proposal only needs to win approval from one government body to become law, the city’s unelected board of health, and the panel took the first step toward making that happen Tuesday with a unanimous vote to begin a six-week public comment period.