Health

Are We Obsessed with Obesity?

Jan 10, 2013
Sidereal via Flickr Creative Commons

The slew of recent articles on obesity are nearly unanimous in agreement that there is a health crisis in the United States. Dr. Abigail Saguy, UCLA sociologist, takes a different perspective, saying there is no such medical consensus around the need to lose weight. In her latest book, she argues that our negative association with obesity is a deliberately framed viewpoint—and not necessarily a healthy one.

The Paperback Quest for Joy

Jan 9, 2013

If you’re in the mood for a little self-improvement at the start of the year, you’ll have no trouble finding guides; there are at least 45,000 self-help books currently in print. They run the gamut: the self-made man, mind-cures, chicken soup, subliminal messages and Zen meditation. They’re published in dozens of languages, but self-help books are predominately an American phenomenon.  To explain why, we turn to Laura Vanderkam, author of “The Paperback Quest for Joy”.

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Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can strip away memory, sometimes even dignity, and can isolate even the most outgoing individual. There’s no cure for the brain disorder, but now, patients and those who care for them are finding relief at something called the Alzheimer’s Café.


istock photo

A last minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff contained bad news for the future of health co-ops.

The Affordable Care Act set aside $6 billion to be used as loans for new non-profit, customer-owned insurance plans. The idea was that each state would have a health co-op that could compete with traditional insurers, in theory, driving down prices.

A recent study found little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, challenging organic’s reputation as the healthy alternative to conventional  agribusiness.  But others say researchers did find some vital differences around  pesticide levels and that the study was too narrow, ignoring  vital environmental and ethical reasons for eating organic.  Today we'll look at the arguments on both sides.

Guests

Advocates for mental health services say the state’s plan to re-open 12 beds at New Hampshire Hospital doesn’t go far enough to improve care. Representatives from more than a dozen organizations gathered today in Concord, and described a system stretched beyond its limits.

And they want New Hampshire lawmakers to know that no other medical condition gets treated this way.

How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton

The author and philosopher Alain de Botton addresses the chasm between our private feelings and real world experience of sex in “How to Think More About Sex."  It’s one of two new books in The School of Life Series – a smart and frequently funny twist on the “self-help” genre, which he curates.

Check out this short film that accompanies the book:

tifotter via Flickr Creative Commons

Andrew Beaujon is senior online reporter for the Poynter institute. He talked to a number of health reporters about how they think mental health coverage is being handled post-Newtown, and he joins us with his findings.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Once a month, it’s a decidedly older demographic meeting here at the Children’s Museum in Dover.

A dozen or so seniors gather inside a brightly painted conference room. There’s coffee, cake and, this month, some live entertainment from 'The Sea Reeds,' a quartet of local clarinetists.

For Rhea Pereira, the music is a chance to sing along with friends. She and her husband John moved here from Florida three years ago, when Rhea began experiencing memory problems. 

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

CDC

Pertussis starts like a cold, but after a week or so, it leads to severe coughing fits that can take weeks to shake.  It’s also called ‘whooping cough’ because patients make a high-pitched whoop sound as they suck in air.

There are 222 confirmed cases in the state this year, the highest levels since 2006.

The President’s health law wasn’t all that popular with New Hampshire House Republicans.  Among other actions last session, they passed a law prohibiting the state from managing its own health insurance exchange.

And for now, the state is moving forward with a marketplace run by the Federal government.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Following President Obama’s reelection and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of much of the Affordable Care Act, the gears are in motion to implement this law 2014. We’re talking with lawmakers and health care experts about aspects of Medicaid expansion and health exchanges, major parts of the new law now being debated in the Granite State.

Guests:

Todd Bookman / NHPR

About 20 years ago, Bob Vecchiotti developed something called foot neuropathy. It’s a neurological condition that left his feet numb. Sometimes they would tingle or burn.

“But then the pain was getting to the point that I was losing concentration and sleep, and I decided we need to do more,” says Vecchiotti. “That’s when my primary care physician, working with a compound pharmacist, was able to come up with something that worked.”

Vecchiotti is a business consultant in Peterborough. He was somewhat skeptical of compounding.

A new report from the Minnesota-based United Health Foundation ranks New Hampshire the third healthiest state in the nation.  That’s down a spot from last year. The report weights a variety of factors, including infant mortality, obesity, high school graduation rate and levels of violent crime.  Vermont ranked first in the nation for the sixth straight year.

Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report ranks New Hampshire last in the nation when it comes to funding anti-smoking programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual release says that New Hampshire allocated zero state funds for tobacco prevention efforts this fiscal year.

That’s despite the fact that the state collected more than $250 million dollars in tobacco tax revenue combined with the state’s portion of a 1998 settlement agreement.

Mercy Health / Flick/Creative Commons

Let’s say you are one of the 904 or so residents of Warren, New Hampshire. Let’s say you get sick.  Maybe you just started on a new prescription and are having unwanted side effects.

“Today, they have one of two options,” says Shawn Tester, who runs the day-to-day operations at Ammonousuc Community Health Services, which has five primary care clinics in Grafton and Coos County.

“They either do without. Or they have to travel, oh, I don’t know, 45 miles to our Littleton office to receive that consultative service.”

The former Exeter Hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak pleaded ‘not-guilty’ in Federal court today.

Federal prosecutors say it could take a year or more before a trial in the Hepatitis C outbreak case begins. On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted 33-year old David Kwiatkowski on 14 charges, including tampering with a consumer product.

The former Exeter Hospital employee is accused of stealing syringes of a powerful pain medication, injecting himself, and then reusing the needles on patients.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas says the FBI and members of law enforcement continue to investigate the case.

A former hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire is facing new federal charges.

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking for $321 million more to cover their programs for the next two years.   

President Obama’s re-election didn’t exactly smooth over implementation of his signature health care law. State governments across the nation maintain a solid level of anxiety over the bill.

Concord is no different…lawmakers like Republican Jeb Bradley expect to spend a lot of time grappling with the Affordable Care Act’s key provisions.

“The biggest single issue that this legislature in the upcoming two years will face is the expansion of Medicaid.”

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report Thursday looking at Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.

Prescription drug abuse experts unveiled a new tool today to help lower opioid misuse in the state.

That new tool is a website containing information for doctors describing safe prescribing techniques and standards for pain management.

Dr. Seddon Savage, a chronic pain and addiction specialist at Dartmouth, says the cycle of abuse can start with a well-intentioned prescription.

istock photo

Back in June, the state legislature passed a law prohibiting the state from creating its own health exchange. Instead, New Hampshire will let the Federal government set it up.

But with big Democratic gains in last week’s election, the state is likely to play a bigger role in shaping the exchange.

In case you don’t remember, exchanges are those on-line marketplaces where people will shop for health insurance beginning in 2014.

Jobs and the economy continue to dominate on the campaign trail, from the national to the local level. But  government run health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare are also getting their fair share of attention. Major changes to both programs are potentially on the horizon.

With just over a week to go until the election, NHPR’s health reporter Todd Bookman has this overview of what’s at stake for Granite State voters. 

Ambernectar 13 via Flickr Creative Commons

Hospitals, advocates, and even formula manufacturers acknowledge that when it comes to newborns, “breast is best.”  And yet free samples of formula are ubiquitous inside many hospital walls – offered by nurses, doctors, or thrown in goodie bags for new mothers heading home after giving birth.  Now, some hospitals are calling for an in-house ban on free formula samples.  They say the relative ease of bottle-feeding may sway new nursing mothers to give

CDC Social Media / Flickr

A judge heard arguments today in a case involving patient medical records at Exeter Hospital. At issue is just how much access the state needs to investigate an outbreak of Hepatitis C.

Back in August, Exeter Hospital filed a protective order arguing the state’s broad request for patient records violates both state and federal privacy laws.

In Merrimack Superior court, lawyers for the State countered, saying they have a duty to investigate exactly what happened inside the hospital, and that means they need complete access.

hitthatswitch / Flickr/Creative Commons

The number of cases of fungal meningitis in New Hampshire now stands at six. Public health officials today announced two more cases of the infection.

The patients all received tainted steroid injections manufactured by New England Compounding Company. The Massachusetts-based manufacturer has since recalled all of its products.

Skånska Matupplevelser via Flickr Creative Commons

There is something mysterious about root vegetables…that show of budding, flowering and forming fruit… ripe for the plucking plays out underground. you see the leaves, and maybe the broad shoulders of a beet, but you don’t know what you’ve got until pulling it out of the ground. Once exposed, we know what to do with a potato or carrot, but little about the furtive burdock root, salsify or malanga.  Diane Morgan digs deep into the secrets of this nutritious family of foods that are low in calories and easy on the wallet.

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