The Health News USA February 12 2018

  • Weight Watchers is attracting the scorn of social media users for offering teenagers free memberships as part of a new corporate strategy. Recently Weight Watchers said it plans to partner with families to establish healthy habits, by offering free memberships to teens 13 through 17 this summer. Some people were not convinced, and they accused Weight Watchers of preying on youngsters who could develop unhealthy habits and body image.
  • One of the worst flu outbreaks in the United States in nearly a decade worsened last week and will likely linger for several weeks, causing more deaths, according to the CDC. Another 10 children were reported to have died of the flu in the week ending February three, bringing the total infant mortality so far this season to 63. The dominant flu strain this season, influenza A (H3N2), is especially potent, linked with severe disease and death, particularly among children and the elderly.
  • According to a new report, life expectancy in the U.S. has fallen for the second year in a row, thanks to a combination of drug and alcohol use and suicides. The drop was particularly large among middle-age white Americans and those living in rural communities, experts said in a report in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal. In 2016, life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 years from 2015, according to the report, which cites data from the World Bank.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/10/weight-watchers-new-focus-on-teenagers-is-prompting-the-ire-of-some-health-advocates.html

Weight Watchers is attracting the scorn of social media users for offering teenagers free memberships as part of a new corporate strategy. Recently Weight Watchers said it plans to partner with families to establish healthy habits, by offering free memberships to teens thirteen through seventeen this summer. The company plans to help “the development of healthy habits at a critical life stage,” it announced in a press release. Teens will be required to attend meetings with a parent or guardian who will provide consent. Weight Watchers said it will share more specific criteria and guidelines when it launches the program.

Some people were not convinced, and they accused Weight Watchers of preying on youngsters who could develop unhealthy habits and body image. In a statement, the National Eating Disorders Association said it was “very concerned” about Weight Watchers’ promotion, because thirty five percent of “normal” dieters can develop disordered eating and teens are at an especially vulnerable stage of life.

Tomi Akanbi, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center said when teens focus on calories, they tend to skip meals and eat too little, or replace nutrients with empty calories from sugary sources like soda. Instead, Akanbi encouraged teens to create a diet that’s heavy in fruits, vegetables, protein and grains — and void of refined starches and sugars, mixed with at least an hour of daily exercise.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-flu/u-s-flu-outbreak-worsens-likely-to-linger-for-weeks-cdc-idUSKBN1FT2I3

One of the worst flu outbreaks in the United States in nearly a decade worsened last week and will likely linger for several weeks, causing more deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another ten children were reported to have died of the flu in the week ending February three, bringing the total infant mortality so far this season to sixty three, Doctor Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s acting director, told reporters. The CDC does not require national reporting of flu deaths in adults.
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It was unclear whether the outbreak had reached its peak yet or if it would get worse, she said. Previous outbreaks had lasted between eleven and twenty weeks, and the current outbreak was in its eleventh week.  The number of people hospitalized for flu-like illnesses is the highest the CDC has seen since starting its current tracking system in two thousand ten. The dominant flu strain this season, influenza A (HthreeNtwo), is especially potent, linked with severe disease and death, particularly among children and the elderly. The outbreak has reached almost every corner of the country, with every state except Hawaii and Oregon reporting widespread flu.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2018/02/07/drugs-alcohol-and-suicides-contribute-alarming-drop-u-s-life-expectancy/316271002/

According to a new report, life expectancy in the U.S. has fallen for the second year in a row, thanks to a combination of drug and alcohol use and suicides. The drop was particularly large among middle-age white Americans and those living in rural communities, experts said in a report in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal.

The report complements one released in December from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that also found U.S. life expectancy was down for the second straight year. Steven Woolf at Virginia Commonwealth University, a co-author of the latest report said: “We are seeing an alarming increase in deaths from substance abuse and despair.” He added that

the idea of the “American Dream” is increasingly out of reach as social mobility declines and fewer children face a better future than their parents.  

In two thousand sixteen, life expectancy in the U.S. was seventy eight point six years, a decrease of zero point one years from two thousand fifteen, according to the report, which cites data from the World Bank. Data from two thousand seventeen has yet to be calculated.

In nineteen sixty, the U.S. had the highest life expectancy in the world. It’s lost ground to other industrialized nations ever since. Life expectancy in the U.S. is now one point five years lower than a group of thirty five nations known as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom among others.

The report found Americans have poorer health than other nations in many areas, including birth outcomes, injuries, homicides, adolescent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Americans also engage in unhealthy or risky behaviors — such as high calorie intake, drug abuse and firearm ownership — live in cities designed for cars rather than pedestrians or cyclists, have weaker social welfare supports and lack universal health insurance.

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