Gohmert calls for more guns because obesity isn't caused by 'too …

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Louie Gohmert speaks to Newsmax

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) responded to Monday’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard by calling for more people to be armed, and insisted that blaming guns was like saying that obesity was caused by “too many spoons.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Newsmax’s John Bachman asked the Texas Republican if Congress should be talking about overhauling the mental health system in response to the Navy Yard tragedy.

“I absolutely do,” Gohmert agreed. “It obviously has an effect, and it’s interesting that these people seem to have a common tie with extremely violent video games.”

“But it is important to note that it is our own system that’s breaking down,” he added. “How in the world do you give a legitimate ID to a guy who got ousted out of the Navy for gunfire incidents? I mean, good night. How do you give this guy access to anything?”

The congressman said that he would be “all for everybody keeping their sidearms if they’re in the military and on a military installation. That’s something we need to get back to.”

“I see a lot of problems here and blaming this on guns is like saying the big problem with obesity is we’ve got too many spoons,” he opined. “It’s not the spoons, it’s not the guns. It’s the people who have them.”

“There’s a lot of things that need to be done, but one of them is to deal with the mental health of people who have guns.”

Watch the video below from Newsmax, broadcast Sept. 17, 2013.

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Madison Clinic Helps Young Diabetes Patients Manage Their Own Care

When children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes­ – one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood – parents typically shoulder the burden of managing their care.  

This includes a rigorous daily routine of supervising what the child eats, checking blood sugar levels, administering insulin and keeping regular medical appointments. It’s a big job, and as children become independent adults, it’s one they must gradually take upon themselves. 

The Madison Clinic aims to improve the lives of patients and their families and to ease the burden of diabetes through compassionate and individualized management with emphasis on education, empowerment, and use of advanced technologies.

Visit the clinic’s website for more information.

This process of “transition” is important for maintaining optimal health, and it is highly influenced by socio-economic and cultural factors.

UCSF psychologist Diana Naranjo, PhD, an assistant professor of pediatrics, is particularly interested in how the health care transition occurs in ethnic minority families. Her work is part of a broad effort to smooth the transition process for all young adult patients at the Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

An Extra Developmental Challenge

Patients in the transitional age group­­ – 18 through 30 – face special challenges when it comes to managing their diabetes.

Diana Naranjo, PhD

“Young adults, who are still evolving decision-making skills, often feel ‘I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. I want it to go away,’” said Naranjo. 

An autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the pancreas, type 1 diabetes requires that patients take over the metabolic balancing act that this organ performs in healthy individuals. That requires a daunting series of tasks that must be performed every day. If poorly controlled, the disease can cause serious short and long-term consequences.

Managing type 1 diabetes often conflicts with normal developmental behaviors, said Naranjo.

Experimentation with drinking alcohol, for example, has extra risks for youth with diabetes because it can affect blood sugars and impair judgment. Young people may also struggle with how to disclose the demands of their disease when starting an intimate relationship.

Guiding the Transition Process

The Madison Clinic is working to ease the transition process for all its young adult patients. These efforts are led by a team that includes pediatric diabetes specialists Saleh Adi, MD and Stephen Gitelman, MD, endocrinologist Roger Long, MD, and Megumi Okumura, MD, a specialist in chronic disease management.

Patients complete an annual survey that Naranjo and the team have developed that helps identify how much teen and young adult patients know about their disease – with questions about their knowledge of medical management, insurance, sex and drugs. 

Transition coordinator Marcela Arregui-Reyes sits down with every patient age 16 or older to complete the survey and prioritizes specific areas where more education is needed.  With most patients making four visits to the clinic each year, the goal is to fill in the most important educational gaps at each visit.

How Transition Differs for Minority Families

Ethnic minority patients in the transitional age group often wrestle with additional challenges, according to Naranjo.

As they reach adulthood and age out of public healthcare systems for children with chronic illness, some may be left uninsured or with very limited healthcare options.  This can lead to poor diabetes management and higher utilization of emergency room services.

Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes at UCSF’s Mission

Bay campus

Naranjo, who is fluent in Spanish, has a special interest in cultural differences in patients’ perceptions about diabetes and its care.  

The Madison Clinic serves a higher-than-average percentage of minority patients with type 1 diabetes, making it a good site for researching these differences. Roughly 25 percent of the clinic’s families are Latino, and African-American families are proportionately higher than in the overall U.S. population of patients with diabetes.

Naranjo has gathered detailed information from 20 clinic families so far, using a combination of surveys and in-depth interviews with patients and family members.  One emerging pattern, according to Naranjo, is that Latino parents do not necessarily value transition in the same way that the medical world does.  The transition model used in medical settings is designed to help young adults take over monitoring their health, making their own appointments and interfacing with insurance companies or other agencies.  

“Latino parents often wonder ‘Why should I burden my child in that way?’” said Naranjo.  Many Latino families continue living together longer into adulthood than non-Latino families, and consequently, parents continue to play a big role in their young adult’s diabetes management.

Latino children may also look at the transition process differently, particularly if their parents are uninsured and struggling to treat their own chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes.

Naranjo will continue her research in the coming year. In the meantime, her findings suggest that health transition specialists may need to tailor the information they give to minority families to match different perceptions of living with a chronic disease.

Diabetes Ailing 114 Million Chinese Risks Ravaging Budget

Diabetes may consume $22 billion,
or more than half of China’s annual health budget, if all those
afflicted with the condition get routine, state-funded care.

The disease is putting an “overwhelming burden” on the
country, according to the International Diabetes Federation,
which says China spent $17 billion, or about $194 a patient, on
diabetes last year. A study released last week found China has
114 million diabetics or 21.6 million more than the Brussels-based federation estimated in November.

Extending average care to the enlarged population of
diabetes sufferers would wipe out all of China’s additional
investment in health. The government budgeted spending 260.25
billion yuan ($42.5 billion) this year, a 27 percent increase,
on basic medical services and subsidies for a state-run health
insurance program. China’s diabetes costs will balloon, with
almost 500 million Chinese at risk of developing the disease.

“It’s very scary,” said T.H. Lam, a professor of public
health at the University of Hong Kong. “This only represents
the beginning of the diabetic epidemic. The worst is yet to
come.”

Diabetes costs an average of $1,270 per patient globally
and $8,478 in the U.S., according to the International Diabetes
Federation
. Treatment for the metabolic condition and its
associated ailments is expensive because patients with poor
blood-sugar control can develop complications ranging from heart
disease
and stroke to gangrenous foot ulcers, blindness and
kidney failure.

Oblivious Diabetics

The most comprehensive nationwide survey for diabetes ever
conducted in China showed 11.6 percent of adults have the
disease. The study, published Sept. 3 in the Journal of the
American Medical Association
, also found that almost two-thirds
of patients treated for diabetes in China don’t have adequate
blood-sugar control and that for every person diagnosed with the
condition, at least two more will be unaware they have it.

“People with diabetes who are not under treatment or have
good control of their diabetes will quickly start to develop
complications,” said Leonor Guariguata, a biostatistician at
the International Diabetes Federation. “We know from studies in
Europe that the first cardiovascular complication in a person
with diabetes can increase the per-person annual costs
associated with the disease by at least 50 percent and by 360
percent for a major cardiovascular event, such as heart attack
or stroke.”

$500 Billion Cost

Type-2 diabetes prevalence is expanding 4 percent a year
globally, compared with 1-to-2 percent for obesity, resulting in
$500 billion in medical costs, or more than 10 percent of
health-care expenditure, the Credit Suisse Research Institute
said yesterday in a report. Ninety percent of doctors worldwide
surveyed by the institute believe the type-2 diabetes and
obesity epidemics are linked to excess sugar consumption.

“As with alcohol and tobacco, higher taxation on drinks is
the best option to reduce sugar intake and help fund the fast
growing health-care costs,” the report said.

Most of China’s diabetes sufferers have the type-2 form,
which occurs when the body stops responding adequately to
insulin, the hormone that regulates blood-sugar. Type-1
diabetes, prevalent in about 5 percent of all sufferers, is an
autoimmune disease that results from the destruction of the
body’s insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

China’s diabetes prevalence is being spurred by diet and
lifestyle changes linked to the country’s economic development,
which have resulted in an increasingly overweight and obese
population, said Barry Popkin, a professor in the department of
nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
who has studied weight trends in China.

‘Tip of the Iceberg’

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Popkin said in an
interview. “We’re beginning to see a whole cohort of younger
Chinese that are heavier, have greater rates of obesity as well
as diabetes, and in the future this is going to go way up.”

Chinese aged 10 to 30 are about 6-7 kilograms (15 pounds)
heavier than that age group 20 years ago, mainly due to
inactivity, and diets that comprise more sugary drinks, alcohol,
refined rice, and less fiber, Popkin said. This puts them at
higher risk of developing diabetes, he said.

Half of China’s adults, or 493.4 million people, have
higher-than-normal blood-glucose levels, which put them in a
pre-diabetic state that triples their risk of full-blown
diabetes, said Guang Ning, lead author of last week’s study and
director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission’s
laboratory for endocrine and metabolic diseases.

Cheaper Treatments

“China is trying hard to control the cost of treating
diabetes as much as possible,” said Ning, who is also head of
endocrinology and metabolism at the Rui-Jin Hospital in
Shanghai. “We have been able to do this by reducing the cost of
drugs and by encouraging more people to get treatment locally.”

Thirty-five percent of Chinese citizens’ health-care costs
were paid “out-of-pocket” in 2011, down from 58 percent in
2002, after the government expanded subsidies, according to a
State Council report published in December.

China’s doctors are encouraged to prescribe the generic
medicine metformin as a first-line drug for diabetics, while
patients who prefer traditional remedies are given huang lian su
tablets, containing berberine, a plant extract shown to be
effective in treating Type 2 diabetes, Ning said. Both these
options are much cheaper than imported medicines, he added.

“The major way to reduce the economic burden is to have a
good primary care system so many of these people can be treated
there, reducing the hospital expenditure,” said the University
of Hong Kong’s Lam. “There is a golden opportunity for early
treatment or early prevention to make sure people can reduce
their risk.”

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story:
Daryl Loo in Beijing at
dloo7@bloomberg.net;
Natasha Khan in Hong Kong at
nkhan51@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jason Gale at
j.gale@bloomberg.net


Enlarge image
Diabetes Hospital

Diabetes Hospital

Diabetes Hospital

Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

A woman waits to receive treatment as she sits in front of billboards about diabetes at a diabetes hospital in Beijing.

A woman waits to receive treatment as she sits in front of billboards about diabetes at a diabetes hospital in Beijing. Photographer: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images


China's Diabetes ‘Catastrophe’ Afflicts 114 Million

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) — The most comprehensive nationwide survey for diabetes ever conducted in China shows 11.6 percent of adults, or 114 million, has the disease. The finding, published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, adds 22 million diabetics, or the population of Australia, to a 2007 estimate and means almost one in three diabetes sufferers globally is in China. Stephen Engle reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Feds Spending $2.2 Million to Study Lesbian Obesity | Washington …

AP

AP

BY:

September 5, 2013 11:35 am

The federal government has spent $2.2 million studying why three quarters of lesbians are obese despite sequestration-mandated budget cuts that critics warned could “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

The National Institutes of Health awarded an additional $682,873 to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the study on July 17. The project had received previous grants of $778,622 in 2011, and $741,378 in 2012. Total funding has reached $2,202,873.

The project has survived budget cuts due to sequestration, which the NIH warned would “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

The study, being led by S. Bryn Austin, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sets out to find the biological and social factors for why “three-quarters” of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not.

At the time this study was first reported, a spokesman for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which is administering the project, said its future was uncertain because of the sequester.

“The NIH is currently assessing the impact on funding due to sequestration,” said Robert Bock, press officer for the NICHD, in March. “It is not possible to say how this (or any other NIH grant) will be affected in the long term beyond the 90 percent funding levels already in place.”

The NIH said the automatic budget cuts forced the agency to cut 5 percent of its fiscal year 2013 budget, amounting to a $1.55 billion reduction in spending.

“NIH must apply the cut evenly across all programs, projects, and activities (PPAs), which are primarily NIH institutes and centers,” the agency said in June. “This means every area of medical research will be affected.”

The NIH said cuts to research are “delaying progress in medical breakthroughs,” including the development of cancer drugs and research on a universal flu vaccine.

The study on disparities between sexual orientation and obesity continues to receive funding.

“Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today,” the grant’s “public health relevance” statement reads. “Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention; however, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities.”

“It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women,” the project’s abstract states. “In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

Though Bock declined to comment for this story, the NIH issued a general statement to the Washington Free Beacon defending the study as part of its overall mission to reduce obesity in the United States.

“NIH research addresses the full spectrum of human health across all populations of Americans,” the NIH said. “Research into unhealthy human behaviors that are estimated to be the proximal cause of more than half of the disease burden in the U.S. will continue to be an important area of research supported by NIH.”

“Only by developing effective prevention and treatment strategies for health-injuring behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, inactivity, and poor diet, can we reduce the disease burden in the U.S. and thus enhance health and lengthen life, which is the mission of the NIH,” they said.

Thus far, the study has yielded one report, published in January, which found that gay and bisexual males had a “greater desire for toned muscles than completely and mostly heterosexual males.”

Maintain, Don't Gain: A New Way To Fight Obesity | Duke Today

Durham, NC – Programs aimed at helping obese black women lose weight have not had the same success as programs for black men and white men and women.

But new research from Duke University has found that a successful alternative could be a “maintain, don’t gain” approach.

The study, which appears in the Aug. 26 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, compared changes in weight and risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke among 194 premenopausal black women, aged 25-44. They were recruited from Piedmont Health’s six nonprofit community health centers in a multi-county area of central North Carolina, which serves predominantly poor patients.

For the study, half of the participants — 97 women — were randomly placed in a primary care-based intervention program called Shape, while the other 97 received usual care from their physicians, generally weight-loss counseling.

The intervention program used software built by Duke researchers that personalized the intervention for each woman. Each woman received an individualized set of behavior-change goals for diet and physical activity. They tracked how well they were doing each week via automated phone calls, and had a personal health coach and a gym membership.

After 12 months, the intervention group stabilized their weight, while participants in the usual care group continued to gain weight. Sixty-two percent of intervention participants were at or below their weight at the onset of the program, compared to 45 percent of usual-care participants. After 18 months, intervention participants still maintained their weight while the usual care group continued to gain weight.

“Many people go to great lengths to lose weight when their doctor recommends it. They may try a series of diets or join a gym or undergo really complex medical regimens. The complexity of these treatments can make it difficult for many to lose a sufficient amount of weight,” said lead author Gary Bennett, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and global health at Duke who studies obesity prevention.

“Our approach was different. We simply asked our patients to maintain their weight,” Bennett said. “By maintaining their current weight, these patients can reduce their likelihood of experiencing health problems later on in life.”

The study, funded by a grant from the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, cited other research showing that overweight and slightly obese premenopausal black women face far lower risks for many chronic diseases than do obese whites and other racial groups.

But by ages 40-59, black women have more than twice the prevalence of class 2 (moderate) obesity and three times the rate of class 3 (extreme) obesity than white women, the study said. This combination of rapid premenopausal weight gain and extreme obesity contributes to disproportionate chronic disease risk among black women, researchers said.

Preventing weight gain could reduce the odds of developing a host of health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and some cancers, the authors said.

A “maintain, don’t gain” approach could be particularly effective for this group for the following reasons:

— Compared to white women, black women are typically more satisfied with their weight and face fewer social pressures to lose weight, Bennett said. Consequently, they may be particularly receptive to intervention messages about maintaining their weight.

— Preventing weight gain is less intense than trying to lose it, so this approach could be achieved more easily.

“It’s true that there are some health risks for these overweight and slightly obese women,” Bennett said. “However, these health risks increase dramatically as women continue to gain weight, usually 2 to 4 pounds, year after year.  

“We could reduce these health risks if women simply maintained their current weight,” Bennett said. “Fortunately, it’s much easier to maintain weight than it is to lose it. We think this ‘maintain, don’t gain’ approach can help some women reduce their risk of obesity-related chronic disease.”                          

###

CITATION: “Behavioral Treatment for Weight Gain Prevention Among Black Women in Primary Care Practice: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” lead author Gary Bennett, Perry Foley, Erica Levine, Sandy Askew, Dori Steinberg, Bryan Batch, Duke University; Jessica Whiteley, University of Massachusetts Boston; Mary Greaney, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Heather Miranda, Thomas Wroth, Marni Holder, Piedmont Health Services; Karen Emmons, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health; Elaine Puleo, University of Massachusetts Amherst. JAMA Internal Medicine, online Aug. 26, 2013; DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.9263./////

Go for comprehensive health plans covering diabetes

Recently, public sector insurer New India Assurance did away with the practice of charging extra premium from those suffering from diabetes and hypertension, under its revised health policy. The insurer’s move is aimed at reducing claim procedure.

Some pointed to the fact that this comes close on the heels of new guidelines that don’t allow extra loading, effective October. Sooner or later, all companies would have to comply with this. Currently, health insurers such as ICICI Lombard, Apollo Munich and Bajaj Allianz cover diabetes and hypertension as pre-existing diseases (after a waiting period). New India Assurance would have a four-year waiting period for a cover on the two diseases.

Renuka Kanvinde, head (health insurance) at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, says the insurer covers diabetes as a pre-existing disease, without any extra loading at any stage of the disease. While ICICI Lombard covers diabetes and hypertension without loading, albeit only mild cases, Star Health has a rider for diabetes cover — it is priced taking into account diabetes-related risks to kidney, heart, eyes and brain.

Increasing cases of diabetes and related ailments have led a few insurers such as Apollo Munich and Religare Health Insurance to consider a standalone diabetes cover. There are also bank-provided group policies that cover diabetes.

How should a policyholder choose between these? While there aren’t any standalone covers yet, experts believe these would come at a price—15-25 per cent compared to health insurance plans. Antony Jacob, chief executive officer of Apollo Munich, says research suggests healthcare costs of a diabetic is 1.5-2 times the cost incurred by a non-diabetic, and the company’s premium would be in line with this finding.

Amit Bhandari, ICICI Lombard’s vice-president (health underwriting product), says though standalone plans may not cover any other ailment, these might have features such as discounts on diabetes-specific medicines or health check-ups. Before taking a decision, one should carefully weigh the extra premium loading vis-a-vis the sum of benefits.

Experts say insurers who don’t charge extra for covering diabetes may do so after a couple of claims. However, these plans would be helpful for more than one health issue. Group health plans offered by banks cover hospitalisation for any ailment related to diabetes. Typically, these policies don’t have sub-limits, premium loading or co-pay clauses.

S Prakash, executive director, Star Health Insurance, says, “Those who don’t have health coverage yet should obviously buy a comprehensive plan that covers diabetes also, if they suffer or are at risk. But those who already own a health policy can opt for a rider.” Kanvinde says disease-specific covers are required only if the comprehensive cover you have or have chosen doesn’t cover that particular disease.

Premium loading is not a short-term measure; it would increase your annual premium and should be a key determinant of your choice of insurer.

Comprehensive covers have an edge over other options, even in terms of premium. Star Health rider costs Rs 6,385 for a Rs 5-lakh-cover for 25-35 years. A comprehensive cover would cost about Rs 5,000 (26-40 years) for the same cover (Bajaj Allianz General Insurance), while a group policy could cost Rs 10,000-12,000. For group policies, premium increases only after the age of 65, and again after 80. The premium could also rise based on claims or the age bracket.

Doctors sound alarm on child fitness and health | Society | The …

They risk being the couch potatoes of the future – the children who prefer playing computer games, watching TV or just lounging around to visiting their nearest skatepark or taking inspiration from Andy Murray and picking up a tennis racket.

They are not the majority, but they may be – and soon.

New research published on Thursday shows that almost half of all the country’s seven-year-olds lead such sedentary lives that they do not even take the one hour of exercise a day which the UK’s chief medical officers recommend as the bare minimum to boost their health and stop them becoming overweight or developing heart problems. While 50.8% of children of that age do have one hour of exercise, the other 49.2% do not meet the official recommendation.

The findings, published in the medical journal BMJ Open, have prompted renewed concerns about children’s lifestyles and soaring childhood obesity, and whether the key pledge of last year’s London Olympics – to “inspire a generation” to take part in sport – will ever be realised. It is already known from the government’s National Child Measurement Programme in England that by the final year of primary school 33.9% of pupils are either overweight (14.7%) or obese (19.2%).

The four home nations’ medical advisers believe all children and young people should do at least an hour’s moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. But results from using accelerometers to measure the activity levels of 6,497 seven-year-olds over the course of a week show that in 2008-09, when the research was undertaken, exactly half (50%) of the pupils were sedentary for at least 6.4 hours a day.

Girls were particularly inactive: just 38% did the recommended hour of exercise, compared with 63% of boys. Children of Indian origin were the least active of seven ethnic groups, while just 43% of seven-year-olds in Northern Ireland managed the hour, compared with 52.5% in Scotland, the most active home nation.

Interestingly, children whose mothers had never worked or who were long-term unemployed were the most likely to do at least an hour’s physical activity and were the least sedentary, while children from two-parent families were less active than those being brought up by just their mother.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which represents the UK’s 11,000 specialist children’s doctors, said it was worried about the trend towards so many children entertaining themselves indoors in front of devices rather than outdoors as previous generations did.

Prof Mitch Blair, the college’s officer for health promotion, said: “It concerns me that half of all UK seven-year-olds are sedentary for six to seven hours every day and are failing to undertake the recommended daily minimum level of physical activity; at an age at which children should be moving around a lot more and enjoying active play instead of being glued to screens.”

He called for limits on the number of fast-food premises allowed to open near schools, a complete ban on the advertising of junk food before the 9pm television watershed to reduce children’s exposure to itand for all children to be taught how to cook nutritious meals at an early age, not just moves to boost exercise among young people. “We know obesity isn’t going to go away overnight, but there are vital steps we need to be taking now to instil positive attitudes and behaviours so future generations lead healthier lifestyles, and as a result, lower the risk of developing serious obesity-related health conditions,” Blair added.

Some schools have sought to encourage students to take part in activities that increase their heart rate by building climbing walls and offering more modern pursuits such as dance alongside traditional team games, which research shows turns some pupils off, especially girls. Thembi Nkala, a senior cardiac nurse with the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows us that far too many children are not nearly as active as they should be. If we want the next generation to grow up fit and healthy, we all need to do more to encourage children to be more active by providing a variety of fun and enjoyable activities that appeal to all groups.”

The education secretary, Michael Gove, sparked huge controversy in 2010 by axing the £162m-a-year dedicated school sport grant, introduced by Labour, which schools had used to expand the range, quality and regularity of active pursuits they offered. As a result, much of the England-wide network of school sport partnerships disappeared and most of the school sports co-ordinators who had overseen a rise in participation lost their jobs. Sports stars joined furious headteachers, parents and pupils in protest, forcing Gove into a partial U-turn.

The Department of Health said the government was building on the Olympic and Paralympic legacy by investing £1bn in community sport. “We have committed to giving primary schools £300m of ring-fenced funding to improve PE and sport, and help all pupils to develop healthy, active lifestyles, and have invested a further £3m to extend Change4Life School Sports Clubs to areas with the highest childhood obesity,” said a health department spokesman.

New India Assurance exempts diabetes, BP patients from paying extra premium …

Here is some good news for those who suffer from diabetes or hypertension. No, it is not about any wonder drug.

Individuals with these two conditions can now buy health insurance cover from New India Assurance without paying any extra premium.

The public sector insurance major, which dominates the health insurance space in the country, has decided to eliminate the 10-20 per cent premium loading — that is, extra premium charged — on these two conditions. Sure, many general insurance companies still charge a higher premium for offering health cover to individuals with such existing ailments at the time of issuing policies.

“In case an individual suffers from chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, it is apparent that the health risk applicable on this particular individual is greater than a similar individual without such afflictions. This leads to the insurance company applying an additional loading on the premium of the latter,” adds Antony Jacob, CEO of Apollo Munich.

Also, some insurance companies continue to refuse offer covers to individuals with these conditions. “Some companies charge a loading of around 30-40 per cent while others insist on incorporating a co-pay clause, where, say, 30 per cent of the approved claim is payable by the insured,” says Divya Gandhi, principal officer and head — general insurance, Emkay Insurance Brokers. “There are some companies which simply do not extend cover to people with such pre-existing diseases,” she adds.

Slowly, insurance companies are rethinking on the practice of loading the premium for lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes, which are afflicting many young insurance seekers these days. For instance, New India took the decision to stop loading the premium for diabetes and hypertension to simplify the process.

“There were problems in determining admissibility of claims for persons. Several questions arose: whether they had paid the loading or not; whether they had declared that they suffered from diabetes or hypertension at the time of buying the cover or whether they got afflicted later,” explains Segar Sampathkumar, general manager of New India Assurance.

Since these issues used to delay claim settlement and making the entire process tedious, the insurance company decided to do away with the practice of loading the premium. Since the loading of premium is not a short-term measure and it inflates your annual premium as long as the policy is in force, it should be one of the key determinants of your choice of insurer.

Michelle Obama Sampled on Anti-Obesity Rap Song, Not Officially …

Michelle Obama will briefly appear on a rap album, Songs for a Healthier America, dropping September 30th. A speech of hers is sampled for the intro to “Everybody,” a Jordin Sparks, Doug E. Fresh and Dr. Oz (???) collab taken from the 19-track LP, being released jointly by Hip Hop Public Health and the Partnership for a Healthier America, with support from Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. The project has gem titles like “U R What You Eat” and “Veggie Luv”, and credits guests like Ashanti, Ariana Grande, Travis Barker and “salad bar”—but leaves Michelle out of the liner notes.

The plan is to make health-promoting videos like the one for “Everybody,” above, for a bulk of the album’s songs, and distribute those in schools in cities like New York, San Antonio, Philadelphia and DC. Let’s Move! Executive Director Sam Kass says rap’s a powerful tool for getting kids to live well because, “Cultural leaders… can give these messages to kids in a way that’s not preachy… So many kids love hip-hop. It’s such a core part of our culture… and particularly in the African-American community and the Latino community which is being disproportionately affected by those health issues.”

Watch Beyonce in a 2011 Let’s Move! video, “Move Your Body”:

Watch Riff Raff and Lil Debbie’s “Michelle Obama” video:

Ditch the Car: Walking or Cycling to Work Cuts Diabetes Risk

Brisk Walking Lowers Heart Related Diseases as Much As Running

If you live near your work or in an area where it may be possible to take public transit, might as well be best for your health to ditch the car and use your limbs.

According to a recent study, researchers at Imperial College and London University College London found that those who walk to work are nearly 40 percent less likely to have diabetes.

For the study, they examined how various health indicators related to how people get to work by using data from a survey of 20,000 people across the UK.

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They also found that cycling, walking and using public transit were often associated with a lower risk of being overweight than driving or possibly taking a taxi. People who walk to work in fact were up to 17 percent less likely than people who drive to have high blood pressure. Researchers found that cyclists were around half as likely to have diabetes as drivers as well.

“This study highlights that building physical activity into the daily routine by walking, cycling or using public transport to get to work is good for personal health ,” said Anthony Laverty, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, via the press release.

Background information from the study shows that only nineteen percent of working age adults use private transportation, including cars, motorbikes or taxis in order to get to work, and thus, are obese.

In the United States, the numbers are much higher.

Yet the study concludes with the following, according to Laverty via the release that “the variations between regions suggest that infrastructure and investment in public transport, walking and cycling can play a large role in encouraging healthy lives, and that encouraging people out of the car can be good for them as well as the environment.”

More information regarding the study can be found in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine