Obama releases plan for preventing gun violence; Los Angeles sees an increase in prescription drug overdoses; and Coca-Cola releases a new ad addressing obesity. Read these and more public health news stories for Jan. 17, 2013.

Politico – Obamacare’s role in gun control
The slate of policies President Barack Obama rolled out Wednesday to prevent gun violence included sweeping changes to the public health landscape — from the schoolyard to the doctor’s office to the research lab.
The president pointed to ways that Obamacare will broaden access to mental health care — and tried to stamp out what he called the misperception that a narrow provision of the 2010 health law had made it illegal for doctors to talk to their patients about gun safety. Doctors can safely have the conversation, he stressed

Huffington Post – Prescription drug overdoses in LA growing public health concern: Report
Prescription drug overdoses account for thousands of Los Angeles emergency room visits, according the LA County Department of Public Health.
In 2009, there were 5,382 emergency room visits and 3,048 hospitalizations for prescription drug overdose, according to a report released by the department Monday.
“This is a very serious problem,” Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the department, told The Huffington Post. “It’s reached the level that it is purely a broad public health concern.”

Business Insider – Twitter can make you less fat
Twitter is a great tool for keeping up with what people are talking about all over the world.
But a recent study suggests that it’s also a useful tool for losing weight.
Researchers from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health say that using Twitter to keep you accountable for losing weight works really well, Annie Hauser of The Huffington Post reports.

CBS News – Coca-Cola ads to address obesity epidemic
Coca-Cola plans to address obesity in new advertisements for its popular soft drinks.
In a company first, Coca-Cola will tackle the cloud growing over its industry: the link between sugary drink consumption and child and adult obesity rates.
The Atlanta-based company on Monday will begin airing a two-minute spot during the highest-rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC in hopes of becoming a stronger voice in the intensifying debate over sodas and their impact on public health. The ad lays out Coca-Cola’s record of providing drinks with fewer calories over the years and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda.

Interested in seeing the Coca-Cola ad? View it online