- More Americans Taking Drugs for Chronic Health Problems
- Americans Overconfident About Their Food-Safety Abilities: Survey
- New Fitness Test for U.S. Adults
- Major Depression Affects 1 in 12 Teens: U.S. Report
- Research Prompts Worries About 'Designer Babies'
- Rising Food Prices Increase Risk of Child Malnourishment
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
More Americans Taking Drugs for Chronic Health Problems
A new study suggests that more than half of all insured Americans regularly take prescription drugs to treat chronic health problems, with drugs to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol the most widely used, the Associated Press reported.
The Medco Health Solutions Inc. analysis of prescription records from 2001 to 2007 revealed that 51 percent of American adults and children were taking one or more prescription drugs for a chronic condition in 2007, compared to 50 percent in 2006, and 47 percent in 2001.
Regular use of medications to treat chronic health problems occurred in all demographic groups:
- Three out of four people 65 or older.
- Almost two-thirds of women 20 or older.
- 52 percent of adult men.
- One in four children and teenagers.
The study found that among older Americans, 28 percent of women and nearly 22 percent of men take five or more medicines on a regular basis, the AP reported.
Medco manages prescription benefits for about one in five Americans.
Experts said the study findings reflect both worsening public health and better medicines for chronic conditions and more aggressive treatment by doctors, the AP reported.
Americans Overconfident About Their Food-Safety Abilities: Survey
While 82 percent of Americans say they're confident in their ability to safely prepare food, many don't follow simple steps to reduce the spread of bacteria in the kitchen or ensure safe cooking temperatures, according to a new survey.
For example, only 48 percent of respondents said they used separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry and produce, and only 29 percent said they use a meat thermometer.
The third annual Food and Health Survey, conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, included 1,000 American adults.
Among the findings:
- 92 percent said they wash their hands with soap and water when preparing food.
- 79 percent said they store leftovers within two hours of serving a meal.
- 67 percent said they cook food to the required temperature, but only 29 percent use a food thermometer to check the "doneness" of meat and poulty.
- Only 15 percent said they check the wattage on their microwave ovens and only 7 percent said they use a meat thermometer when using their microwave.
"Consumers are a lot more confident about their ability to safely prepare food than they ought to be, based on what we learned," Danielle Schor, senior vice president of food safety for the IFIC Foundation, said in a prepared statement. "We still have a long way to go to educate the public about the basics such as avoiding cross contamination and cooking to proper temperature."
New Fitness Test for U.S. Adults
Aerobic fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility are the main components included in an adult fitness test being introduced Wednesday by the U.S. government. The test will feature several of the exercises done by millions of students each year as they strive for a Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
The new test for people 18 and older who are in good health was developed because baby boomers kept asking whether there was a physical-fitness test available similar to the ones they took as students, Melissa Johnson, executive director of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, told the Associated Press.
The aerobic part of the test consists of a one-mile walk or 1.5-mile run, while the strength tests include push-ups and half sit-ups. The sit-ups are done for one minute and the push-ups are done until a person can't do any more. A "sit-and-reach" exercise is used to measure flexibility.