Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Public health extremism (Obama Care, Health Law, and Bioethics)

Johns Hopkins University Press Blog

Guest post by Maxwell J. Mehlman

In a November article for the New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard law professors Michelle Mello and Glenn Cohen argue that in upholding the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance mandate as a tax the Supreme Court “has highlighted an opportunity for passing creative new public health laws.” As a bioethicist who writes extensively on the question of coercive public health this troubled me on several fronts.  In this case, Mello and Cohen give an example of the laws that they have in mind: higher taxes on people whose body-mass index falls outside of the normal range, who do not produce an annual health improvement plan with their physician, who do not purchase gym memberships, who are diabetic but fail to control their glycated hemoglobin levels, and who do not declare that they were tobacco-free during the past year.

Some of these suggestions seem ineffectual…

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December 27, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Report Finds Reducing Average Body Mass Index Rates by Five Percent Could Lead to Billions in Health Care Savings

English: Relative risk of mortality by BMI in ...

Relative risk of mortality by BMI in White US men who never smoked. Berrington de Gonzalez A,..

http://healthyamericans.org/newsroom/releases/?releaseid=255
The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released a new report, Bending the Obesity Cost Curve, which finds that reducing the average body mass index by just five percent in the United States could lead to more than $29 billion in health care savings in just five years, due to reduced obesity-related costs.

“Your “healthy” weight cannot simply be calculated from a general source – people’s healthy weight, orideal weight, depends on several factors, including their age, sex, body type, bone density, muscle-fat-ratio, overall general health, and height.

Over the last few decades, using BMI (body mass index) was seen as an excellent means for calculating a person’s healthy weight. However, BMI, as you will see later on in this article, is at best, a ballpark calculation with several limitations…

Health care professionals and sports scientists say measuring a person’s body fat percentage is the ideal way of gauging their level of fitness and general health, because it is the only one that includes the person’s true body composition. [my emphasis]

(Unfortunately, at this time, the only ways to measure body fat percentage are rather hi-tech according to this article. Three ways noted are based on air displacement, infrared rays, and X-rays)

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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