Health

Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Any idea how many calories are in a 64-ounce double gulp soda from a convenience store? 800, how about one of those big cookies? For a society fixated on weight-loss, very few of us know how many calories we’re taking in and what is a calorie, after all? You can’t see taste, or smell them, but they are everywhere. Your brain knows if you’re getting too much or too little. And the more you take in, the more the food industry makes.

Adjusting to the shift...at home

Apr 2, 2012
Photo by Zophos via Flickr Creative Commons

Holyoke, Massachusetts has a rate of childhood obesity much higher than the national average, especially within its considerable Puerto Rican community.

Karen Brown reports on how a community center is enacting change for this population in a three part series. In this story, a 9 year-old finds herself in a house now full of healthy food and surrounded by adults encouraging her to ride her bike instead of watching TV. But with a lack of sidewalks, a high rate of neighborhood crime, and the odds seemingly stacked against her, can the balance truly be shifted in her favor?

The NH house has voted to require women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. 

The so-called women’s right to know bill had to be pared back to win final house passage. Penalties for doctors were stripped, as was the  requirements that abortion providers give women seeking an abortion specific information about abortion risks, including a contested claim linking aborts to breast cancer.  According to the final amendments lead author Republican Tammy Simmons of Manchester, limiting the proposal to a simple 24 waiting period is a common sense compromise.

Childhood obesity has become a public health crisis in America – and one of first lady Michelle Obama’s main causes. More than thirty percent of all children in America -- about 11 million -- are considered clinically overweight or obese. In Holyoke, Massachusetts, which has many Puerto Rican and low-income residents, the problem is even worse than the national average. In the first of a series, Karen Brown reports how one community health center is trying to reverse this trend.

 

Today, the Boston Globe reported on the growing trend of employees abandoning their chairs and standing up at their workstations. It's become a pretty popular topic since we first started talking about it nearly a year ago, and a popular topic around these parts, too, in no small part because I am still the only standing employee in my workspace. The good news?

Photo by Chotda via Flickr Creative Commons

Are you sitting down? Well, listen up: research shows that sitting too much shaves years off of your life. In 2011, a study in the emerging field of Inactivity Studies found that each hour of sitting per day increases a person’s risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases by 18 percent. It turns out that eating well and getting plenty of exercise do not offset the detriments of couch potato time as much as living and working in an environment where standing is the default option. As part of our continuing series Shifting the Balance, we spoke with Dr.

TB Scare At Concord Elementary School

Mar 23, 2012

Public health officials have confirmed a case of tuberculosis at Dane Elementary School.

Director of Public Health, Dr. Jose Montero, says the infected child, a kindergarten student, likely contracted the illness from an adult who was exposed to the dangerous bacteria abroad. Most TB is treatable and is spread through the air. Montero says the adult was treated effectively.

Specialty Hospitals Pass House

Mar 21, 2012

In a 198 to 161 vote, house members passed a bill that would allow for-profit specialty hospitals to avoid going through the certificate of need regulatory process. The bill also exempts these hospitals, most of which do not take Medicaid patients, from paying the state's Medicaid Enhancement Tax.

Opponents say the bill gives an unfair advantage to these for-profit specialty hospitals. Cancer Treatment Centers of America is eyeing New Hampshire as a location for a facility in the Northeast.

The Comfort Food Conundrum

Mar 21, 2012

In gentile Savannah, Georgia, traditional southern food remains a somewhat sacred rite. That devotion has made Mrs. Wilkes dining room a place of worship. The former boarding house, now restaurant, offers a relaxed atmosphere and an   abundance of home-cooked pleasure.  But,as Emily Corwin reports for our Shifting the Balance series, the way the food is served can make the difference between over-indulgence, and a satisfying, healthy intake.  

Photo by Sam Warren via Wordpress

In rural towns, getting to school isn't always as easy as the walks I used to take in suburban Long Island. Small towns rely heavily on parents to give kids rides, and on kids taking lengthy bus rides...not exactly the healthiest option at a time when childhood obesity rates are climbing exponentially.

Mississippi, a deeply red Southern state that is part of the Supreme Court case against the health law, is moving full speed ahead with one of the key provisions of that law: an online health insurance exchange.

Unlike Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and other conservative states in the South, Mississippi is well on its way to having an insurance exchange ready for operation by the 2014 deadline laid out by the health overhaul law.

House Votes To Dismantle Certificate Of Need Board

Mar 14, 2012

The Certificate of Need Board approves new hospitals and expansions of existing medical centers in the state. Wednesday the house voted 166-140 to get rid of the board entirely. The House rejected an amendment which would have overhauled the existing board and phase it out over five years. The idea was to reconfigure the board with non-stakeholders, such as not allowing hospital representatives to serve.

Bacon has been called the gateway meat, luring vegetarians back to meat. And hot dogs are a staple at many a backyard BBQ.

But a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that daily consumption of red meat — particularly processed meat — may be riskier than carnivores realize.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

First Lady Michelle Obama brought her "Let's Move!'' health and fitness initiative to New Hampshire on Friday.

Mrs. Obama visited the Penacook Community Center, a neighborhood nonprofit group in Concord.

It has a child care center that helps children exercise before and after school and teaches them about healthy eating through the use of a garden.     

Mrs. Obama was joined by New Hampshire First Lady Susan Lynch, a pediatrician who has worked to increase awareness about childhood obesity.

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

A bill which prevents the state from creating its own exchange passed overwhelmingly in the house on Thursday

Federal health officials Tuesday called on hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and doctors' offices to work harder to fight the spread of a dangerous bacterial infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and other complications.

While other health-care related infections have been decreasing in recent years, cases of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, continue rising, according to Clifford McDonald of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Out-of-hospital births in New Hampshire are on the rise, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.

That increase is in large part, because of a 2008 law that requires health insurers to pay for midwives who work in homes or at birthing centers.

But a new bill before lawmakers proposes repealing that mandate.

And midwives are worried what that means for their livelihoods.

Under the federal health care law, money is going out around the country to help school campuses boost health services for their students.

At Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles students often visit a modest trailer at the back of the sprawling campus. It's in a neighborhood near downtown L.A. where houses are missing windows and have peeling paint.

Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier.

That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions.

Medicaid Grant Money To Help Home Based Services

Mar 2, 2012

New Hampshire will be the first state in the country to receive new Medicaid grant money to help seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes.

The state will receive $26.5 million over three years through the Affordable Care Act.

The goal is to help states shift from institutional care to home and community-based services.

In 2009, 41 percent of New Hampshire’s Medicaid money was spent on community-based services.

That will increase to 47 percent in 2013 with the new grant money. 

The Senate has turned back an attempt to kill President Obama's new rules requiring most health insurance plans to provide contraceptives without additional cost.

The 51-48 vote against an amendment to an unrelated highway bill (Yes, that's just how the Senate works) was mostly along party lines.

A new study from researchers at Dartmouth Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center found that the more movies teenagers watch with images of alcohol, the more likely teens will start drinking. The study also found that an increase in movie watching was a major risk factor for teens who already drink to start binge drinking.

For decades, scientists have thought that one of the big differences between men and women is that men can make children all their lives because men never stop making sperm. But scientific dogma said women aren't so lucky when it comes to their eggs.

When a nerve is injured, it's often hard to get it to regrow fast enough to restore function.

But now researchers say they can speed up that process, so that damaged nerves can be healed in days instead of months — at least in rats.

The scientists say they've developed a technique that reconnects the severed ends of a nerve, allowing it to begin carrying messages again very quickly. Usually, severed nerves must regrow from the point of injury — a process that can take months, if it ever happens.

Obesity Infographics

Feb 24, 2012
Sara Plourde / NHPR

Click on the individual counties for statistics.

Losing weight can be a struggle; having a support system can go a long way toward helping you overcome hurdles and succeed at it. A number of weight loss web tools have sprung up in recent years to help you track your progress and find encouragement from others, so you can still find support – even if you can’t find a gym partner.

The Healthy Eating Plate created by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are a number of guides available online that do the simplifying for you.

Specialty Hospitals Get A Favorable Vote

Feb 23, 2012

The House Health and Human Services Committee has sent an amended bill allowing not just Cancer Specialty Hospitals but all specialty hospitals to bypass the Certificate of Need process. All other hospitals in the state must go in front of the CON board to gain approval for new or expanded services.

Rep. Lynn Blakenbeker, Republican of Concord, voted in favor of the bill.

"We as a state should be encouraging businesses all kinds to come into the state especially when it comes to specialty healthcare treatment we should be offering all options," she says.

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