Public Health News Roundup: September 19
Private Company, Insurer Partner to Offer Reduced-Price Nutritious Foods
Walmart is teaming with HumanaVitality, a subsidiary of Humana, to provide store credit savings incentives for customers who purchase healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Studies show higher costs can often stop consumers from selecting healthier foods at the store. "Price is an important factor in incentivizing wellness in America,” John Agwunobi, MD, president of health and wellness, Walmart U.S., said in a release. “By offering affordable, healthier foods, we will help make our customers healthier and reduce costs to our healthcare system as a whole. This represents preventative care in its purest form.” Read more on nutrition.
Heavy Smoking, Drinking Can Lead to Pancreatic Cancer Earlier in Life
A new study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology finds that people who smoke and drink heavily early in life are at increased risk for pancreatic cancer—and can develop the deadly disease an average of a decade earlier than their counterparts. The average age of someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is 72, according to the American Cancer Society. The study looked at 811 pancreatic cancer patients. Lead researcher Michelle A. Anderson, MD, of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, said the findings could affect how screenings are performed once a reliable pre-symptom screening test is developed. Read more on cancer.
One-third of Pediatricians Fail to Take Blood Pressure
A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that, despite leading recommendations, pediatricians fail to check blood pressure in approximately one-third of patient visits from 2000-2009. Children should begin receiving annual blood pressure screenings at the age of 3, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Failing to do so could put the kids at increased health risks later in life. "High blood pressure in children can lead to changes in the child's heart and blood vessels, and puts them at increased risk for heart disease and strokes as they get older," said Margaret Riley, MD, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan, to Reuters. Riley did not participate in the study. Read more on heart health.