Enhanced focus on school-based health key to improving mental health; football hit growing more dangerous; LIVESTRONG antes up major funding for community cancer programs. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, February 4, 2013.

NBC News Education Nation – A Mental Health Solution to Avert Future School Tragedies

Nationally and locally, policymakers and community members are wrestling with ways to prevent future gun violence. While attention has focused on weapons bans and background checks, there is another side to the story and an immediate action we can take: Fund school-based healthcare as a proven mental health system for young people.

LIVESTRONG – The LIVESTRONG Foundation Offering $1.2 Million in Funding to 72 Sites Across the Nation to Improve the Lives of People Affected by Cancer
The LIVESTRONG Foundation is offering $1.2 million in implementation awards to 72 sites across the nation as part of its 2013 Community Impact Project. The awards will fund the replication of four programs — the Advanced Certification for Palliative Care, Camp Kesem, the Creative Center at University Settlement Artist-in-Residence Program and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA — that have been selected for their proven ability to provide necessary programming and support to cancer survivors and their families both during and post treatment. The application process is now open and allows people to potentially fund up to four of these evidence-based programs within their community that would better the lives of those affected by cancer.

NPR Shots Blog – Are NFL Football Hits Getting Harder And More Dangerous?
Thousands of former NFL players are suing the league over allegations that it covered up brain injuries. Even President Obama is concerned: On Jan. 26, he lamented the violence of football in an interview with The New Republic. But tough, rowdy NFL linemen have been taking down unsuspecting quarterbacks for almost a century. Have hits really gotten harder — and more dangerous — in recent years?

Washington Post – Reid details positions in gun debate
The Senate’s top Democrat offered fresh details Sunday about his position in the renewed debate over guns, as he endorsed expanding background checks on gun sales and promised to consider bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.  “Everyone acknowledges we should do something with background checks,” Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

ABC News – Low Heart Disease Risk for Vegetarians
Going meatless gives vegetarians a 32 percent lower heart disease risk than non-vegetarians, a British study found, offering further proof that eating meat can be hazardous to health.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 44,561 people enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Oxford Study, which began in England and Scotland in 1993. Researchers sought to compare a range of diets and their impact on overall health, and 34 percent of all participants were vegetarians.

The Columbus Dispatch – Kasich hints he’ll expand Medicaid
Gov. John Kasich and top aides have spent the past several days publicly and privately selling a major expansion of Ohio’s Medicaid system, seemingly paving the way for a plan to provide health care for about 400,000 more Ohioans as part of the governor’s budget on Monday. And with a “Tax Cut Town Hall” at an East Side business slated as part of Kasich’s budget rollout, it’s not too difficult to see how the governor wants his two-year spending plan portrayed.