Health, Life Insurers Invest in Fast Food
A new study finds that companies selling health and life insurance invest nearly $2 billion in fast food restaurants, Scientific American reports. Insurers that "profess to support health and wellness" are raising doubts with their choice of investments, the study authors wrote, since fast food has been tied to worrisome health effects such as obesity. Life and disability insurer Northwestern Mutual holds the most stock in fast food with $422.2 million invested in burger chains including McDonald's. The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.
5 Ways Parents Can Prevent Teenage Drinking
Teenage drinking is such a health risk that pediatricians are now being told to screen all teenagers—and even sixth graders—for alcohol use, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute reports. That new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics can be a powerful tool for parents to help their children avoid trouble with alcohol. But first, parents need to learn to give teenagers some privacy in the doctor's office.
"Tenacious parents who will not leave the examination room" are cited as a major barrier to routine screening for alcohol and drug use by pediatricians in the new teen alcohol screening policy, Shute writes. And what 13-year-old would want to tell Mom she pounded five Vodka Cruisers at a party? "We want to keep families involved," Patricia Kokotailo, director of adolescent medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health says, "but some things are very difficult for teenagers to express if it's not confidential." She is also lead author of the new guidelines. When Kokotailo sees teenagers in the office, she usually talks with them privately before speaking to the family as a whole, but doesn't reveal anything that children want kept private.
Mounting research showing that the teenage brain is in the midst an amazing developmental phase was a chief driver behind the call for universal screening for alcohol use. That brain growth spurt gives teens remarkable cognitive powers, but also leaves their brains more vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Read more.
Researchers Link Breast Cancer Risk to Body Size in Girlhood
A girl's body size may impact her later risk of developing breast cancer, a new study of nearly 6,000 women suggests. Surprisingly, researchers found that a large body type in childhood seemed protective. Girls who had a large body type at age seven, appeared less likely to develop postmenopausal breast cancer, even after adjusting for other breast cancer risk factors, like a high body mass index in adulthood, HealthDay reports.
In September, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz wrote about 4 steps women can take to lower their breast cancer risk. Some 70,000 cases of breast cancer—or 40 percent of new U.S. cases—could be prevented every year if women followed certain protective measures, experts contend. Having a healthy body mass index (defined as being above 18.5 but no greater than 25) may reduce cancer risk, Kotz wrote. That's equivalent to a weight range of 105 to 142 pounds for a 5-foot 4-inch woman. Studies have shown that women closer to the lower end of the healthy weight range have the most protection from breast cancer. Read more.
Other Popular Health Articles from USNews.com
- 14 Things You Might Not Know About Aspirin
- Everyone Is Talking About Mammograms, but Many Women Don't Get Them
- The Big Risk in Just Living With Erectile Dysfunction
- 5 Risks Linked to Diabetes Medications
- 7 Steps Newly Diagnosed Diabetics Should Take
- 6 Ways to Reduce Inflammation Without Taking a Statin