Public Health News Roundup: January 31
Many ‘Facts’ About Weight Loss Not Supported by Science
Many pieces of common weight-loss advice have in fact little-to-no supporting evidence, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. These include the “facts” that small dietary and exercise changes lead to steady and sustained weight loss, as well as that slow, gradual weight loss is better than large, rapid weight loss. Study author David Allison, director of the nutrition obesity research center at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said that while these ideas makes sense, researchers and physicians still need to make sure that health advice is backed up by data so that patients receive the best care possible. "It's an ethical obligation to be honest,” he said. “It's great to be enthusiastic, as long as you're promoting something you know is true.” Read more on obesity.
Study: Pairing Yoga with Meds Could Improve Irregular Heartbeat
Pairing yoga with traditional medications could help people with atrial fibrillation (AF) better manage the problem while also feeling better in general, according to a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. AF causes an irregular heartbeat that disrupts the flow of blood, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers found that the addition of yoga cut down heart quivering, lowered the heart rate and reduced anxiety. "People feel more empowered, they feel better, they feel stronger," said W. Todd Cade, a physical therapy researcher from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers noted that people with AF should consult with their physicians before starting yoga. Read more on heart health.
New IRS Affordable Care Act Regulations Makes Health Insurance Too Costly for Some Families
Under final rules released by the Internal Revenue Service yesterday, some families who have access to employer-based health insurance may not be eligible for federal subsidies to help them buy less expensive coverage through the new insurance exchanges to be set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s because the new rules base the eligibility on the cost of health insurance for the employee only, not on the generally higher cost of covering a spouse and/or children. Penalties set to kick in for families and individuals who don’t buy health insurance under the ACA may not apply to people who find themselves ineligible for the subsidies, but unable to afford employer-based coverage. Read more on access to health care.