A new federal grant is designed to help Kentucky reduce the major risk factors leading to obesity and chronic disease.
The goal of the five-year, $1.7 million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant is to promote improved physical activity and nutrition, reduce obesity, and prevent and control diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Kentucky could use the help. According to the 2012 edition of America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation, the commonwealth is at or near the bottom of nearly every major health indicator, ranking the 44th least healthy state overall.
Kentucky has the highest smoking rate in the U.S. and has the most preventable hospitalizations of any state in the country.
Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Stephanie Mayfield says part of the grant focus will be on partnering with schools to help children make better health decisions.
Behaving well in elementary school could reduce smoking in later life. At least, that's what Trillium Community Health Plan hopes, and it's putting money behind the idea.
Danebo Elementary in Eugene, Ore., is one of 50 schools receiving money to teach classes while integrating something called the "Good Behavior Game." Teacher Cami Railey sits at a small table, surrounded by four kids. She's about to teach them the "s" sound and the "a" sound. But first, as she does every day, she goes over the rules.
The Kentucky Access program is closing to make way for the Affordable Care Act.
The 14-year-old program was created to provide affordable health coverage to high-risk Kentuckians. It's ending because of a provision in the ACA that requires insurers to provide coverage to those people regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Louisville Rep. Steve Riggs sponsored legislation that created the program in 2000. He says Kentucky Access isn't needed now that the ACA is implemented.
“It’s redundant, yeah. Duplicative. So that’s why the Department of Insurance is phasing it out, because now you can get that same type of coverage with the ACA, with Kentucky KYnect, and in many cases I understand it’s less expensive."
Kentuckians who obtained insurance through the program will now have to sign up for coverage under the state’s health insurance exchange, KYnect, before April or they will face tax penalties.
At its peak, Kentucky Access enrolled about 4,800 people.
University of Kentucky researchers are working to find out whether microbes from coal mines could help fight disease.
Soil from coal mines is analyzed at UK's Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation lab, run by Jon Thorson. Thorson said because the microbes have to work harder to survive underground, they are more competitive, meaning they may be useful in fighting illness.
The Lexington Herald-Leader says Thorson has also contacted geologist Jim Hower, who has been studying gas emissions from a fire in an abandoned underground mine near Lott's Creek in Perry County. When Thorson found out, he asked Hower about getting soil samples for the research.
Thorson's team is working with colleagues from UK's Center for Applied Energy Research and the Kentucky Geological Survey to retrieve necessary soil samples.
Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:48 pm
Numbers released by the Obama administration show enrollment in health exchanges edged up in November, but the uptake remains far short of the administration's initial targets.
Roughly 264,000 people signed up for private insurance coverage last month through the federal and state exchanges, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total to about 364,000 for October and November.
Students at Northeast Elementary Magnet, in Danville, Ill., play around. Fewer than 1 in 5 parents polled said their kids were getting physical education daily.
Credit Seth Perlman / AP
In a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, parents reported that their kids aren't getting nearly as much time in phys ed classes as is recommended.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:42 pm
Avery Stackhouse, age 7, of Lafayette, Calif., says he wishes he had more time for phys ed.
"We just have it one day a week — on Monday." There's always lunch and recess, he says. "We play a couple of games, like football and soccer," he tells Shots.
But at Happy Valley Elementary, where he goes to school, recess lasts only 15 minutes and lunch is 45. Between eating and mingling, he says, "there's only a few minutes left where we play games and all that."
Kentucky's Second District Congressman believes the problems with the rollout of Obamacare make it more likely major changes will be made to the law.
Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie is sponsoring a ten-point bill that includes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Speaking Friday to a gathering of area business leaders, Guthrie said while a repeal isn't likely, the public is getting a glimpse of the problems related to greater government involvement in health care.
Guthrie also said Republicans missed an opportunity to highlight those points when the federal government was shut down.
"I think what would have been better for us, as the government shutdown was happening is not just, ‘let’s repeal Obamacare, and if not the government shuts down.’ Why don’t we say, ‘here’s our alternative to address people in the insurance market that are being priced out of the market without affecting it for everybody else.'”
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 1:45 pm
If you go back to the 1970s, people with a serious coffee habit often had an accompanying habit: smoking.
And that's why early studies gave coffee a bad rap. Clearly, smoking was harmful. And it was hard for researchers to disentangle the two habits. "So it made coffee look bad in terms of health outcomes," Harvard researcher Meir Stampfer explained to me.
But fast-forward a quarter century, and the rap on coffee began to change.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 1:57 pm
In Washington this week, calls to fix the problem of people getting insurance cancellation notices are getting louder and coming from all sides. But turning back the clock on health insurance cancellations turns out to be a lot harder than it sounds.