For too many Americans, the end of the Thanksgiving meal was followed by a “food coma.” During the holidays, many of us know that we eat too much.
It turns out that, on average, Americans eat too much during the rest of the year too.
Unfortunately, eating too much can have devastating consequences. Three quarters of all healthcare costs are attributed to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The major drivers of those costly chronic conditions are tobacco use and obesity which are both preventable and treatable.
The nation just celebrated its 37th annual “Great American Smokeout.” The Great American Smokeout has been offered as an opportunity for smokers to think about quitting and as an opportunity to reflect on society’s gains against the tobacco menace.
And big changes have occurred over the decades. Nationally, the smoking rate peaked at 42 percent when the U.S. Surgeon General’s report was issued and proved the link between smoking and cancer. Today the nation’s smoking rate is 19 percent, and here in New York that rate is even lower.
As we all know, the fate of the federal health care reform law is to be decided by voters this November. There are those running against the law that argue that they want to “repeal and replace” the law.
However, there has been no alternative offered by opponents – just vague promises, partial pledges and grotesque distortions of the federal law itself.
In the heat of the political season, it’s important to take a closer look at opponents’ promises.
For many of us, our civic participation begins and ends with voting. Though voting is crucial to the health of our democracy, few of us have the opportunity to take part in something that can really change the lives of people all around the world.
One of those rare opportunities has just come our way.
New York State’s efforts to reduce smoking have had a tremendous impact. Between 2003 and 2010, the adult smoking rate in New York fell by 28 percent. During that time, the nation’s smoking rate slipped only 11 percent. New York high school students’ smoking rate dropped an incredible 38 percent, more than twice the nation’s decline.
The White House today released a report on the impact of mandated budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. The cuts are mandated under the Budget Control Act of 2011, which arose for the debate over the debt ceiling last year.
The Budget Control Act required an automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts if the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (also known as the “Super Committee”) failed to agree on budget cuts on its own – which it failed to do.
Labor Day, the symbolic end of summer, has come and gone. Schools have opened and children are off to new classes and teachers.
But this September is an important month for another reason: this is the month when New York, as well as all other states, must choose the “essential health benefits” that will be offered to those who lack health insurance.
A federal appeals court ruled last week that tobacco companies are not required to comply with the implementation of new graphic warning labels on cigarette packs, arguing that the law violated corporate free speech rights. These warnings are required by the federal government and are supposed to go into effect next month.
Last week, New York’s law on indoor tanning went into effect. The law prohibits all those 16 years old and younger from using indoor tanning beds or booths. The logic of the ban has become more compelling.
The prestigious British Medical Journal published the latest research on the impact of indoor tanning. It concluded that indoor tanning is “associated with a significant increase in risk of melanoma. This risk increases with number of sunbed sessions and with initial usage at a young age” (those under the age of 35 years). The report also found:
New York receives a decent, but mixed, review for its legislative work to combat cancer, according to a new report, How Do You Measure up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality (www.acscan.org) issued by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.