Popularity of Circumcision Wanes Across U.S., Especially in the West

Overall rates of circumcision performed in United States hospitals have dropped about a tenth over the past three decades, the Centers for Disease Control reported this week. Fifty-eight percent of newborn boys were circumcised in the hospital in 2010, compared with around 65 percent in 1979. Newborn boys born in the West are more likely to skip circumcision than they are to have the once-common procedure; in 1979, about two-thirds of boys there were circumcised in the hospital, but by 2010, only 40 percent were. Rates in the Midwest are highest, with nearly 70 percent of newborn boys receiving the… Full Story

Put Down That Coffee. It Might Be Killing You.

Those under 55 who drink a lot of coffee—more than four cups per day—may be at greater risk of an early death, a new report in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found. The results: People under 55 who drank more than 28 cups per week were more like to die of almost any cause than people who drank less. Women were twice as likely to die from any cause and men were 56 percent more likely, compared to people who drank less. Even controlling for cigarette smoking, which is generally the big confounder in coffee studies, did not totally eliminate the link. Researchers tracked… Full Story

Former CMS Head Identifies 11 “Monsters” Facing Health Industry

The healthcare industry has a long way to go in improving care, and must battle multiple obstacles to pass the next wave in transforming the industry, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Don Berwick said at the American Hospital Association’s Leadership Summit in San Diego last week. The “monsters” or challenges that currently face the industry span the industry’s culture, policy, and practice: – Instill confidence in science as a basis for action: Berwick says that some doctors are allowing “senseless unscientific variation” in their practices instead of relying on facts and medical science, making for a… Full Story

Why Your Smartphone May Be Making You Fat

If you’re reading this on a phone, put it down. It may be shortening your life. Researchers at Kent State University in Ohio found that cellphone use—much like watching television—may significantly decrease physical activity and fitness levels. “Using a cellphone doesn’t have the same kind of negative stigma that sitting on the couch and watching TV has, but it can be just as bad for you,” said study co-author Jacob Barkley, an associate professor of exercise science at Kent State. For the study, researchers surveyed college students about their cellphone use and physical activity. Students then used a treadmill test to… Full Story

AMA Study Shows Overall Health Improvements, But Says Chronic Disease Burden Must Be Addressed

From 1990 to 2010, the United States made substantial progress in improving health: Life expectancy at birth increased, all-cause death rates at all ages decreased, and age-specific rates of years lived with disability remained stable, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported recently. Morbidity and chronic disability, however, now account for nearly half of the U.S. health burden, and improvements in population health in the United States have not kept pace with advances in population health in other wealthy nations. “[The study] shows a measurable improvement in the health of Americans, and doctors throughout the country are proud to… Full Story

1 in 5 Texans Meet Federal Exercise Guidelines

Most Texans are not meeting the physical activity guidelines for aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About 1 out of 5 Texans met federal guidelines for both activities in 2011. Slightly less than half meet the aerobic activity guidelines and about 1 out of 4 met the muscle-strengthening guidelines. The Texas rates were slightly below those of the national averages. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic… Full Story

Collin, Denton Among State’s Healthiest Counties

Collin County and Denton County are ranked second and third healthiest counties in Texas, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings. The annual analysis is done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The state’s healthiest county was Williamson, which is in Austin’s northern suburbs. Polk County in East Texas was deemed the state’s least healthy county. Nationally, the healthiest counties tend to be suburban areas populated by residents with college degrees and high incomes. The median household income in Williamson County is about twice that of Polk County. Collin County was No.… Full Story

Kenneth Cooper Marks 45th Anniversary of Aerobics

Kenneth Cooper, MD, had plenty of naysayers when he opened a preventive-health facility in north Dallas in 1970. There was no money in preventing disease, they told him. What started as a two-person practice has become a fitness-and-research empire that now employs more than 700 people and had a 2012 operating budget of $55 million. Cooper did not see this coming. “My vision was finite. God’s vision was infinite,” he said. This month marks the 45th anniversary of Cooper’s best-selling book Aerobics. That book sparked a generation of runners, increasing their number from about 100,000 to 10 million a decade… Full Story

Advanced Breast Cancer Striking More Younger Women

More young women are being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer than three decades ago, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers found the rate of metastatic breast cancer increased about 2 percent annually between 1976 and 2009 among younger women. The metastatic breast cancer rate remains small, rising from 1 in 65,000 to 1 in 34,000 during that time period for women aged 25 to 39. The same trend was not seen among older women, according to the analysis. The findings affect an “age group that already has the worst prognosis, no… Full Story