Apr 17, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


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115,000 Americans Each Year Are Too Large To Fly In Air Ambulances

In the middle of a medical emergency, the amount of time it takes for a patient to be transported to the hospital can be a matter of life and death. With the help of an emergency medical helicopter, a patient has a 33 percent greater chance of surviving than they would if a ground ambulance transported them. However, some patients are simply too large to fly—just about 5,000 each year, according to NBC News.

“Increasingly, America’s growing girth is grounding patients who need emergency help by air,” according to the report. “An estimated 5,000 super-sized patients a year — or about 1 percent of more than 500,000 medical air flights annually in the U.S. — are denied transport because they exceed weight and size limits or because they can’t fit through the aircraft doors.”

It continues, “Experts say the nation’s plus-size proportions — at least two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese — are now forcing emergency medical providers to bolster their fleets, buying bigger helicopters and fixed-wing planes, or risk leaving critically ill and injured clients behind.”

“It’s an issue for sure,” said Craig Yale, vice president of corporate development for Air Methods, one of the nation’s biggest air medical transport providers, to NBC News. “We can get to a scene and find that the patient is too heavy to be able to go.”

According to the report: “Size limits for patients can vary widely depending on the medical transport operators, the types of aircraft, even the day’s weather. At Airlift Northwest near Seattle, crews start to worry about any patient who is heavier than 250 pounds and wider than 26 inches across, said Brenda Nelson, the firm’s chief flight nurse.”

“But other transport firms routinely handle patients who weigh 350 or 400 pounds, or more. At the Duke University Health System, officials with the Life Flight program recently bought two new EC-145 helicopters at a price of between $8 million and $10 million, partly so they could handle patients up to 650 pounds.”


Source: NBC News

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11Obese Boy Scouts Banned from National Jamboree?

Obese Boy Scouts are being screened out from competing at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

Held every four years, the jamboree is a 10-day gathering of thousands of scouts who camp, utilize their skills and go on adventure activities together in the great outdoors. The 2013 Jamboree will be held on 10,000 acres in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia.

Organizers have warned that activities will be particularly rough in this landscape. They will be unable to use buses and other personal vehicles. Most things will be done “on foot.”

For the first time, Scouts with a body mass index in the obese range are not allowed to participate. BMI is a measurement of height and weight used to indicate the “body fatness for most people,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, the CDC reported that one-third of American kids are overweight.

A BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity, the Boy Scouts said. Any child with a BMI of 30 or more will have to get a doctor’s recommendation for clearance. Any child with a BMI of 40 or more will be excluded from the 2013 Jamboree.

“It is essential that all participants and staff are prepared for their Summit jamboree experience,” said Boy Scouts of America on its website. “Our goal is to prevent any serious health-related event from occurring, and ensuring that all of our participants and staff are ‘physically strong.’”

Organizers have planned activities like mountain biking, climbing, rappelling, rafting and skateboarding, which they fear obese Scouts would not be able to do.

Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said that leaders and scouts who did not fit the requirement did not apply to the Jamboree, and he is unaware of how many were affected by the new health rules.

Sources: NBC, Inquistr

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11Nearly 1 in 4 Mississippians on Food Stamps, 1 in 6 Americans

A shocking statement from the Department of Agriculture reveals that 22% of residents in Mississippi are on food stamps. This compares to a rate of 1 in 6 Americans, rising 2.8% as of April this year. Mississippi, ironically, is also the most obese state, claiming as a high a rate as 32.5% of adults with a BMI over 30% and 7 out 10 adults are overweight.

Public expenditure on food stamps, unlike much of the rest of the post-recession economy, is not healing. In all, 47.5 million Americans, or 15% of the total population, are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or S.N.A.P. Luckily, however, ten states dipped in their enrollment. Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Alaska, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah all decreased in number of residents on food stamps. However, the rate was as high as 20% for Oregon, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky.

Recipients receive $150 a week for a family of four. “This program is a supplemental program,” says John Davis, director of the SNAP program in Mississippi. “It was never intended to fully fund the families in need for food."

For lawmakers, this issue strikes close to home. Washington D.C., a district that does not count as a state, had a higher percentage of food stamp enrollment than any other state at a shocking 23%. The high rate of enrollment has led many to criticize eligibility qualifications, illegal trading, and fraud issues associated with the program. 

Sources: MSN, Wall Street Journal

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11West Virginia Supreme Court: Casino Didn't Break Law By Firing 540 Pound Man

The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled Mardi Gras Casino isn’t guilty of discrimination after it fired a 540-lbs. blackjack dealer for being physically unable to wear his uniform in accordance with the casino’s dress code and lingering in public areas during breaks. The dealer, identified only as “Andrew O.,” said he’s been struggling with his weight since he was 12 years old, and has a thyroid condition that’s contributed to his obesity.

According to The Charleston Daily Mail, “When the casino was unable to find a shirt to fit Andrew O., he found one online in a size 7X and a Mardi Gras seamstress altered it even more to fit. However, he was still unable to get it tucked in or button the cuffs,” which were mandatory parts of his uniform.

The report continued, “Also because of his weight, he was unable to walk to the employee break area in the 25 minutes allotted without "wearing out." He was then provided an alternate break area. His weight also made standing for long periods difficult and he was given a wheelchair-accessible blackjack table so he could sit down.”

The circuit court that heard the case ruled in favor of the casino, and the Supreme Court did too, holding that the West Virginia Human Rights Act doesn’t give specific protection to obese men and women.

Employment Law Daily agreed with the verdict, explaining, “The lower court correctly found these reasons wholly unrelated to the employee’s obesity, particularly given that the hirer and firer were the same individual, and the termination came within a relatively short period of time after the initial hire. Under these circumstances, the law allows for a strong inference that discrimination was not a determining factor in the adverse action. Because that inference applied here, summary judgment for the casino was affirmed.”

Sources: The Charleston Daily Mail, Employment Law Daily

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11Fat-Shaming Tweet From ByPost Asks Heavy People To Cover Up, But Also Use Their App

ByPost, makers of the smartphone app that lets users make postcards out of their digital photos, posted a body-shaming tweet on Monday that said, “During this heatwave, please kindly dress according to the body you have rather than the one you aspire to. And send lots of postcards.”

The post was promptly deleted, but it did not go unnoticed. It has elicited everything from disappointed sighs to all-out disgust.

“Well, @bypost certainly win today's ‘Ill advised corporate tweet of the day’ award,” said @itf.

“During this heatwave, don't tweet like a douchebag you abhorent, vacuous toad,” @arcardia_eg0 responded.

But it gets stranger. Instead of apologizing, ByPost began retweeting the critical responses they received.

They even retweeted a reply from @stavvers reading “scum scum scum body fascist scum.”

“Sort of revelling in it. They are making it worse,” said @janeruffino.

“I'm confused by @bypost deleting a body shaming tweet, but then retweeting the angry responses they've received,” @carla_burns said.

"I got your app, but I've had bilateral mastectomies and don't look great in a swimsuit,
wrote @GregortheMendel. "Any advice since you're dispensing?"

ByPost has yet to apologize, but admitted, “It was a foolish tweet.”

Source: Salon.com

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11Summer Camp Tells Mother Her 5-Year-Old Will Have to See Nurse If She Wants a Healthy Snack?

A mother in Maryland asks: If obesity is now officially recognized by the American Medical Association as a disease, then why is her daughter being sent to the nurse’s office for wanting to eat a healthy snack?

Caron Grement blogged on Huffington Post about how her 5-year-old’s summer camp singled her out because she didn’t want to snack on potato chips and fudge bars like the other campers. Grement said she was shocked at the orientation meeting to see the snacks the camp would be offering her little girl: Oreos, Cheeze Curls, Chips Ahoy, Cheese-Its, pretzels and potato chips.

She writes that the snacks are meant to give the kids energy between lunch and dinner, during a busy day of outdoor activities. The only fresh, unprocessed, low-sodium, low-fat foods on the list are grapes and watermelon – which are only served once a week.

Grement explained her daughter likes to eat carrots, raw peppers, and hummus, but when she asked the camp what to do about this menu she was sent on a wild goose chase. Eventually she ended up speaking with the camp nurse, who said Grement could send in whatever food she wanted her daughter to eat and she would store them in the nurse’s office. You know, like medication.

Another mother told Grement her daughter is on a gluten-free diet, so their children could go to the nurse together each day to get their “special” snacks. That didn’t make any sense to Grement. Why would eating healthy be treated like something extraordinary?

“My daughter doesn't think her diet is ‘special.’ To her, it's normal. She eats a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the day," Grement wrote.

“Yet in a country in which nearly one in three children is overweight or obese and in which French fries are considered a vegetable,” she added, “it's no wonder that the little girl who eats carrots and not cheese curls is ‘special.’”

She admits that kids will eat the high-sugar, high-sodium, processed and, essentially, old foods on the menu, but she believes summer camps should be setting a better dietary example for kids. She is the founder of the program First Bites, which teaches children 2 to 5 years old and their families about healthy eating habits and how to make healthy snacks.

Sources: Huffington Post, Daily Mail

Photo: Parent Sphere

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11Obesity Now Recognized As A Disease By The American Medical Association

The American Medical Association voted in favor of recognizing obesity as a disease, despite a recommendation from a committee well versed on obesity not to do so. The AMA hopes the measure will make physicians more proactive and encourage insurance companies to cover treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the World Health Organization already recognize obesity as a disease. The IRS lets individuals deduct obesity treatments.

At the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, it was noted that obesity in the United States has “doubled among adults in the last 20 years and tripled among children in a single generation.”

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the AMA’s board, in a statement.

Recognition of obesity as an illness should focus more attention on it. Advocates hope it will lead to more reimbursement for obesity surgery, drugs and counseling.

“I think you will probably see from this physicians taking obesity more seriously, counseling their patients about it,” said Morgan Downey, an advocate for obese people and publisher of the online Downey Obesity Report, to the New York Times. “Companies marketing the products will be able to take this to physicians and point to it and say, ‘Look, the mothership has now recognized obesity as a disease.’”

Advocates also hope that calling obesity a disease will reduce stigma and change the perception that people have full control of their weight. A problem with that argument is that mental illness continues to be wholly unable to shake the reputation of being something under a person’s control.

The argument against recognizing obesity as a disease is that the minute it is designated as such approximately one-third of all Americans are officially “ill.” Those against the medicalization of obesity fear it will make patients rely more heavily on drugs and surgery than cheap, non-life-threatening lifestyle changes.

Delegates of the AMA rejected the conclusion of the committee and voted in favor of recognizing obesity as a disease, calling it a “multimetabolic and hormonal disease state” leading to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The resolution was backed by the American College of Cardiology, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and other organizations.

“The suggestion that obesity is not a disease but rather a consequence of a chosen lifestyle exemplified by overeating and/or inactivity is equivalent to suggesting that lung cancer is not a disease because it was brought about by individual choice to smoke cigarettes,” the resolution said.

Sources: NY Times, Fox News

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11NYC Spending $1.4 Million on Campaign Against Sugary Drinks

The New York City Health Department launched a $1.4 million TV and bus ad campaign Monday and expanded its mission to end consumption of sugary drinks.

The ad features a “pouring on the pounds” phrase that has been used since 2009 within the city.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said that fruit-flavored and sports drinks sometimes look healthy, but often contribute to obesity at the same rate as soda. He added that replacing sugary drinks with healthier ones is a simple step to take to avoid obesity and other health problems.

However, the American Beverage Association said the ad oversimplifies obesity.

"Selectively picking out common grocery items like sugar-sweetened beverages as a cause of obesity is misleading,” said American Beverage Association's Christopher Gindlesperger. He added the public will not be convinced by the ad.

"The public does not believe that solutions to obesity are as simplistic as a ban on the size of just one item that people consume," Gindlesperger said.

One in five New Yorkers are overweight or obese, according to the city’s health department. The epidemic costs New York City $4 billion in health care each year.

The city and soft drink makers are currently in court arguing the city’s ban. While a judge struck down the measure, calling the rules “arbitrary and capricious” for applying to only certain restaurants and drinks, the city has appealed.

Sources: Fox News, Las Vegas Sun

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11NYU Professor Geoffrey Miller Tweets Obese Students ‘Won't Have The Willpower To Do A Dissertation’

A psychology professor at New York University angered colleagues and students alike with an offensive tweet that implied obese PhD students are not capable of completing their advanced degrees.

Geoffrey Miller, who specializes in evolutionary psychology, tweeted on Sunday: “Dear obese PhD applicants: If you don't have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won't have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.”

Professor Miller quickly deleted the message; he is a tenured professor at the University of New Mexico.

Jay Rosen, who teaches journalism at NYU’s journalism institute, wrote: “Astonishing fat-shaming tweet, since deleted, from an academic, @matingmind. The mind boggles.”

Rosen was not the only one to find fault with Miller’s tweet. New York Magazine quickly had a piece up about the social media blunder and other Twitter users began chiming in.

Dr Jason DeCaro, a former PhD student who is now a biological anthropologist in Alabama, tweeted: “Dear rejected UNM psychology applicants: save now-deleted tweet for potential lawsuit. Jerk.”

All of the negative attention prompted Miller to offer this apology: “My sincere apologies to all for that idiotic, impulsive, and badly judged tweet. It does not reflect my true views, values, or standards.”

He quickly followed his apology with this: “Obviously my previous tweet does not represent the selection policies of any university, or my own selection.”

Miller has previously conducted research at the London School of Economics, the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich, Germany and UCLA, The Daily Mail reported.

Sources: The Daily Mail, New York Magazine

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11Bus Drivers and Nurses Most Likely to be Obese According to Survey

A recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll found that bus drivers and nurses were more likely to be obese when compared to other professions.

The sample consisted of 138,438 people ages 18 and over. It found that 36.4 percent of transport workers were obese.

Other professions with a higher amount of obese employees included factory workers, office staff and nurses. The obesity is blamed on poor pay, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and history of depression.

Ed Watt, a former bus driver who drove for 20 years in Brooklyn and Manhattan, said it is no surprise that his profession resulted in more obese employees.

"First, the sedentary nature of the work, sitting much of the day with the inability to move around, even for bathroom breaks," he said. "The second is the mobile nature of the job leaves poor food choices. So fast food rules. The other factor is that these jobs are highly stressful. The stress of the jobs results from high demand and low control over the work."

"Traffic, people and schedule are all big items that are beyond your control as a driver. As a result of the stress, many are inclined to mal-adaptive coping mechanism."

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that bus driving can trigger many health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic lung disease.

The survey also found that doctors, teachers, and business owners were less likely to be obese. Only 14 percent of physicians demonstrated a BMI higher than 30, which is the clinical definition of obesity.

They cited better pay and medical care as the reason for their healthy physiques.

The study was conducted with phone interviews from January 2 to September 10, 2012.

Participants were asked to give their height, weight and were also quizzed on 26 different lifestyle and psychological factors. They were asked how often they exercised, smoked, if they had a primary physician and if they had a history of depression.

Researchers are now urging those involved in the most obese prone professions to incorporate exercise and activity into their work day. They also said employers should take responsibility to increase the physical activity of their workers by offering gym memberships.

A Reuters report last year found that annual medical costs of obesity total $190 billion in America.

Sources: Daily Mail, Today

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