Health Debates in the News

green-soup-261183_640New debate over school health checkups

Almost a quarter of all US public schools now measure their student’s Body Mass Index in order to keep an eye on their health. This program is becoming more popular, but many argue that, in some circumstances, this is a violation of privacy. BMI tests are used to measure student’s body fat levels and some schools will send letters to the parents of students that are found to be overweight. Parents and eating disorder support groups have criticized these “fat letters” as shaming children and increasing the risk that they will develop eating disorders.

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Vegetarian diets may not be healthier 

A new study from Medical University of Graz in Austria has shown that a vegetarian diet may lead to serious health problems. The study showed that Austrian adults who had a vegetarian diet also had generally healthier living habits, such as being more physically active and drinking less alcohol. But, despite this, vegetarian subjects were found to suffer from more allergies and need more regular healthcare than those who ate meat. This is an early study, however, and more needs to be done before the results can be confirmed.

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Statins connected to weight gain

Researchers involved in a new study wanted to explore the effects of statins (popular cholesterol-lowering medicines) on diabetes and weight gain. It has been noted in other studies that statins sometimes give patients high blood glucose levels, and the researchers in this case believed that this might be used to predict diabetes. It was found that, over a nearly 5-year study, 659 subjects developed diabetes and all showed some kind of weight gain during the study. Those that developed diabetes during the year after the study showed the biggest weight gain. As a result, the researchers say that weight control is very important when taking statins.

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