Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Give Thanks for Good Health PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Kimberly Greene   
Monday, 14 November 2011 14:37
MILWAUKEE, WI – Thanksgiving is filled with good food, company, and gratitude.  For many people, it’s also the source of weight gain and anxiety.  This season, don’t let the holidays derail your healthy habits.  TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers tips to eat right, stay active, and reduce stress.

Eat without Regret

• Watch portion sizes. You don’t need to fill your plate with everything that’s offered.  Sample your favorite foods and use a smaller plate to “trick” yourself into thinking you have consumed more.

• Slow down. Take time to enjoy your food and stop eating before you feel full.

• Change the focus to family at the table. Food and drinks are a large part of the holidays, but they don’t have to be the focus.  Instead, go around the table and have everyone say why they are thankful, share favorite holiday memories, and reconnect.

• Don’t forget about breakfast. Approaching the Thanksgiving meal on an empty stomach can be a recipe for disaster.  A nutritious breakfast helps control appetite, so you aren’t as inclined to overindulge during dinner.  Breakfast can also keep energy levels up.

• Send off leftovers. Don’t fill your refrigerator with leftovers; send extra food home with guests.  This will help avoid temptation to dip back into high-calorie treats.


Stay Active

• Take a hike or go for a walk. Make time to get moving on Thanksgiving Day.  Take a walk or hike in the morning or head outside after dinner.  Many communities offer “Turkey Trots,” a 5K walk/run, which can be an invigorating way to kick off the day.

• Plan an activity. The day doesn’t need to revolve around the Thanksgiving meal.  Go for a family bike ride, play football, or have a relay race for the kids.


Say Goodbye to Holiday Stress

• Take time for yourself. During the holidays, there can be a lot of togetherness.  It’s important to spend a few minutes alone periodically to give yourself time to recharge.  Take a nap, listen to music, or simply sneak off to a quiet room in the house to clear your mind.

• Be thankful. Feeling stressed or tired?  Find yourself complaining?  Take time to think about or write down the things you’re thankful for, big or small.  Being grateful can decrease stress, boost the immune system, and improve sleep patterns.

• Share the load. There’s no reason only one person should plan, cook, and entertain.  If guests offer to prepare a dish, let them bring it to your Thanksgiving celebration.  Also, have the kids help with household chores.  This will decrease your workload and make the holiday more pleasant.

• Help those less fortunate. Forget about your troubles for the day and spend time volunteering at a local soup kitchen or food pantry.  Spread cheer by giving back, taking the focus off of your own stress and helping others in need.

• Breathe! It may seem simple, but people tend to forget to breathe when they’re stressed.  Take deep breaths to increase your oxygen intake.  Find a comfortable place to rest and consciously slow the rate of your breathing.  You’ll be amazed how good you will feel.

• Keep it simple. Make a few fancy dishes and keep the others easy.  It’s okay to scale back the meal and festivities, so you enjoy the holiday rather than spend all of your time preparing.

To successfully employ these tips, make sure to plan ahead and practice an attitude of gratitude.  The holidays are a time to focus on the people in your life, so make an effort to take the emphasis off of sweet treats and creating the perfect meal and be thankful for friends, family, and good health.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization.  Founded more than 63 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind.  TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information.  TOPS has about 170,000 members - male and female, age seven and older - in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge.  Membership is affordable at just $26 per year, plus nominal chapter fees.  To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.

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doctor disciplinary database access PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 14 November 2011 14:26
Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has been working to restore public access to data on malpractice payouts, hospital discipline and regulatory sanctions against doctors and other health professionals and to hold accountable the federal government official who shut down access to this information.  Today, the responsible agency reopened the public part of the database but imposed restrictions.  Grassley made the following comment on the new version.

“HRSA is overreaching and interpreting the law in a way that restricts the use of the information much more than the law specifies.  Nowhere in the law does it say a reporter can’t use the data in the public use file to combine that with other sources and potentially identify doctors who have been disciplined in their practice of medicine.  This agency needs to remember that half of all health care dollars in the United States comes from taxpayers, so the interpretation of the law ought to be for public benefit.  It’s also hard to see how HRSA has the resources to require the return of supposedly misused data or how that would even work.  It seems the agency’s time would be better used in making sure the database is up to date and as useful as possible.  I’m seeking opinions from legal experts on HRSA’s interpretation of the law.  And I continue to expect a briefing from HRSA on this situation, including participation from the person who pulled the public data file after a single physician complained that a reporter identified him through shoe leather reporting, not the public data file.  One complaint shouldn’t dictate public access to federally collected data for 300 million people.”

Details of Grassley’s prior inquiries are available here and here.

 
How Americans Rate Their Diet Quality PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by USDA Communications Office   
Monday, 14 November 2011 14:23

How Americans Rate Their Diet Quality

A new TV feature is available on the USDA FTP site. The new feature can also be seen on USDA's YouTube channel and downloaded as a video podcast. See below for details.

FTP Download instructions:

The host: ftp://ocbmtcmedia.download.akamai.com

User name: usdanews

Password:  Newscontent1

Filename: diet perception feature

The new file is in QuickTime Movie (H.264 ), MPEG 4, MPEG2 and HDV.

YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXY9mbpgXHg&feature=channel_video_title

video podcasthttp://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/usda-down-to-earth-video-podcast/id461819504?uo=4

RSS feed: http://downtoearth.usda.libsynpro.com/rss

Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have problems or suggestions.

Also, use this free ftp client if you have problems.

http://filezilla-project.org/download.php?type+client

FEATURE – How Americans Rate Their Diet Quality

INTRO: Are people learning the healthy eating information being directed at them? A U-S-D-A study aimed to find out. The U-S-D-A’s Bob Ellison has more. (1:30)

 

A NEW U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE STUDY SAYS AMERICANS KNOW THEY SHOULD BE EATING HEALTHIER EVEN IF THEY DON’T THINK THEY ARE. THE U-S-D-A’S ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE COMPARED DIET PERCEPTION SURVEYS FROM NINETEEN NINETY ONE AND FROM TWO THOUSAND SIX AND FOUND THAT PEOPLE IN THE OH-SIX SURVEY WERE MORE FAMILIAR WITH FEDERAL DIETARY ADVICE.

 

Christian Gregory, USDA ERS: People are really starting to comprehend that education programs and information in the media and from physicians is really starting to kind of click with people.

 

AND WHILE THOSE SURVEYED DON’T BELIEVE THEIR DIETS HAVE CHANGED, THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT A HEALTHY DIET IS HAS CHANGED.

 

Gregory: The healthfulness of the diet hasn’t changed much. So we really think that there is some suggestive evidence that it’s the information environment and people’s comprehension of that information that’s really changing. But all of this information basically has kind of gotten through and you basically evaluate your diet today and say, “Hmm…that might not be that great”.

 

GREGORY SAYS THE NEXT STEP WILL BE TO STUDY IF HEALTHY EATING INFORMATION IS AFFECTING PEOPLE’S ACTUAL DIETS AND NOT JUST THEIR PERCEPTIONS.

 

Gregory: We need to know more about how effective nutrition education programs, especially those that are funded by and sponsored by the USDA.

 

MORE DIET PERCEPTION STUDY INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT E-R-S DOT U-S-D-A DOT GOV AND HEALTY EATING GUIDELINES CAN BE FOUND AT CHOOSE MY PLATE DOT GOV. FOR THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE I’M BOB ELLISON.

USDA Down To Earth Video Podcast

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Agency Confirms Poor Oversight of Federal Discount Drug Program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 11 November 2011 14:43

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today called for effective oversight of the federal discount drug program after the federal agency in charge of it confirmed it has not conducted a single audit since the program began in 1992.

“This program is growing in popularity,” Grassley said.  “That will only increase under the health care overhaul law, which increased eligibility.  The federal government needs to get a handle on potential abuse before program growth gets out of hand, the taxpayers have to pay for it, and program sustainability is in question.”

The government entity that runs the 340B program, the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), confirmed in a letter to Grassley, in response to an inquiry from Grassley and Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Fred Upton, that it has not conducted any program audits itself.  The agency said it has referred only two cases for outside audit, one to an inspector general and one to the Justice Department.

“Those were both very narrow cases,” Grassley said.  “With the lack of oversight, the taxpayers through state and federal governments could be grossly overpaying for prescription drugs and not know it, and that situation could continue to accelerate.  The agency needs to start conducting oversight and keep going.”

The health care reform law enacted last year expanded the 340B program to include additional types of hospitals.  The law also included measures to improve program integrity, including provisions to prevent drug manufacturers from overcharging program participants and sanctions in the form of payments to manufacturers for eligible hospitals and other health care entities that violate program requirements.  However, the Government Accountability Office said more steps are needed, including audits.

HRSA’s response to Grassley is available here.  Background on the cases referred by HRSA to the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and Justice Department are available here and here. Information on the Grassley-Hatch-Upton inquiry to HRSA is available here.

The Government Accountability Office September report concluding more oversight is necessary is available here.  A June 2011 Health and Human Services Inspector General report that raised questions of program integrity without proper federal oversight of taxpayer dollars is available here.

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Billions saved if Pay-for-Delay deterring legislation were enacted PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 11 November 2011 14:36

Kohl-Grassley Generic Drug Bill Would Save Taxpayers Nearly $4.8 Billion, Congressional Budget Office Says

 

WASHINGTON – A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate finds that a bipartisan bill aimed at cutting costs by encouraging competition from generic drugs would save taxpayers nearly $4.8 billion over the next decade.

CBO anticipates that enacting the Preserve Access to Affordable Generic Drugs Act (S. 27) would accelerate the availability of lower-priced generic drugs and generate $4.785 billion in budget savings between fiscal years 2012 and 2021. CBO also estimates that earlier entry of generic drugs affected by the bill would reduce total drug expenditures in the U.S. by roughly $11 billion over the decade.

The CBO estimate can be found here.

The bill would deter “pay-for-delay” settlements in which brand name drug companies settle patent disputes by paying generic drug manufacturers in exchange for the promise of delaying the release of the generic version into the market. Under the legislation, these anti-consumer pay-off agreements would be presumed illegal and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be provided the authority to stop the agreements.

“Generic drugs are essential to making medicine affordable and holding down costs for taxpayers,” Kohl said. “As CBO’s new cost estimate shows, backroom pay-for-delay deals are keeping generic drugs off the shelves at a great cost to consumers and taxpayers. Congress and the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction should take this opportunity to fix this problem.”

“CBO estimates that there would be significant savings to both the federal government and consumers if our legislation were to be enacted. When people across the country are having a hard time making ends meet, this could be a real boost to their bottom line,” Grassley said.  “I urge the deficit reduction committee to include this legislation in their efforts to make the necessary reductions in the federal budget.”

Last month, Kohl and Grassley urged the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to include the bill as part of its budget-cutting effort. The letter can be found here.

The Federal Trade Commission also released a report last month that found that drug companies entered into 28 potential pay-for-delay deals in FY 2011, nearly matching the previous fiscal year’s record of 31 deals. Overall, the agreements reached in the latest fiscal year involved 25 different brand-name pharmaceutical products with combined annual U.S. sales of more than $9 billion.

In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported the Preserve Access to Affordable Generic Drugs Act.

Previously, CBO estimated that the bill would save the federal government – which pays approximately one-third of all prescription costs – $2.68 billion over ten years. The president included a provision to end pay-for-delay settlements in his FY 2012 budget and estimated it would save the federal government $8 billion over ten years.

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