Health industry has helped create more than 5 million jobs over the last four years; compared to previous generation, 19 percent fewer baby boomers report excellent health in middle age; and is it rude to text during meals? These stories and more top public health news on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013.

MarketplaceSince last State of Union, jobs came from health, education
When President Obama gives the State of the Union address this evening, we all know one word he’ll utter many times: Yes, J is for jobs. Perhaps every successful politician promises employment. But looking back at the president’s first term, where have the jobs actually come from? Over the course of the last four years, the U.S. lost 4 million jobs, then created more than 5 million. Net gain: 1.2 million. The education and healthcare fields created many of those. Why? We’re getting older and trying to get wiser. But it also may be hard to replace workers in those fields with technology. “Education and healthcare are two sectors where location really matters,” says economist Ronnie Chatterji at Duke University. “The bedside manner of a physician, for example. Or a teacher being in the same classroom as a student.”

Washington PostBaby boomers in worse health than their parents at the same life stage, study says
Members of the baby boomer generation are in worse health than their parents were at the same stage of life, with obesity and lack of exercise taking a toll, according to a new study. About 13 percent of baby boomers — the generation born in the two decades after World War II — reported being in “excellent” health in middle age. That compares with 32 percent of the previous generation who said the same thing at the same stage of life, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. “The baby boomer generation has a reputation of being active,” said Dana King, a professor at the West Virginia School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. But “that did not seem to jibe with what we’re seeing in our medical offices.”

Boston GlobeWeekly challenge: stop texting when eating
Do you find it rude to play with your smartphone during a meal with a friend or loved one sitting across from you? Your answer may depend on your age — or the type of phone you own. Nearly 90 percent of baby boomers reported that they would find the practice offensive, according to a new national survey conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, while just 44 percent of college students would. Even worse, 50 percent of 20-somethings think it is appropriate to text during a meal, compared to only 15 percent of those 30 and older.Those who owned smart phones were more likely to tolerate texting, emailing, and web-surfing in between courses compared to those who had cell phones without these capabilities. The ultimate in rudeness? Talking on a mobile device during a meal, which 84 percent of the total survey respondents said they deem to be impolite.

MedPage TodayPSA: One question, many answers
The importance of PSA testing to men varied according to the strategy used to identify factors that might influence the decision-making process, a study of values clarification found. More than half of men valued reducing the odds of prostate cancer death as their priority when asked to rate or rank factors by importance, according to Michael Patrick Pignone, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues. In contrast, about a third of men considered the risk of prostate cancer death as their priority when presented with a balance sheet of potential benefits and harms, or when asked to choose between hypothetical outcomes associated with PSA screening.

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