Health Highlights: April 10, 201204/10/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Neighborhood Features Influence Weight: Study
Neighborhood characteristics such as grocery stores and parks
have an influence on children's weight, a new study says.
U.S. researchers examined neighborhoods in King County, Wash.
and San Diego County, Calif. and rated them in terms of physical
activity and nutrition for children ages 6-11,
ABC News reported.
A neighborhood received a high rating if it had good parks,
ample opportunities for children to walk to places such as
libraries and stores, and had numerous food stores that offered
produce and healthy foods. A neighborhood received a poor rating if
it had few good food stores, a large number of fast food
restaurants, and offered children few opportunities to walk or play
in good parks.
"The biggest difference we found in rates of obesity were in the places where the environment was good for both nutrition and physical activity, the rates were less than 8 percent, but if the nutrition and physical activity were not good, the rates went up to 16 percent," said study co-author Brian Saelens, a professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children's Research Institute, ABC News reported.
The study was one of series of related studies published this
week in a special issue of the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Toxins Found in Many 'Non-Toxic' Nail Polishes at Calif.
Many nail polishes used in salons and advertised as free of
three toxic chemicals actually have high levels of one or more of
the chemicals, California officials say.
The mislabeled nail products could harm thousands of employees
and customers of the more than 48,000 nail salons in the state,
according to the Department of Toxic Substances Control report
released Tuesday, the
Associated Press reported.
Investigators analyzed 25 brands of nail products, including a
number that claimed to be free of the chemicals toluene, dibutyl
phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde, the so-called "toxic three."
Exposure to large amounts of the chemicals has been linked to
developmental problems, asthma and other illnesses.
Toluene was found in 10 of 12 products that claimed to be free
of the chemical, and four of the products had dangerously high
levels of toluene. Five of seven products that claimed to be free
of the "toxic three" actually had one or more of the chemicals in
significant levels, the
A decision on possible legal action will be made by the state
attorney general's office.
Appeals Court Hears Case on Graphic Warnings on Cigarette
The battle over graphic warning images on cigarette packs
resumes Tuesday in a U.S. federal appeals court.
The Obama administration wants cigarette packs to carry shocking
images -- such as diseased lungs or a man exhaling smoke through a
hole in his windpipe -- in order to discourage potential smokers.
Tobacco companies say the measure violates their First Amendment
CBS News reported.
A federal judge ruled earlier this year that forcing tobacco
companies to place the images on their cigarettes packs violates
their constitutional right to free speech. The Obama administration
appealed that decision.
The graphic warning labels were supposed to begin appearing on
cigarette packs in September. But it's possible the case will go
all the way to the Supreme Court and take years to resolve,
CBS News reported.
EPA Rejects Petition to Ban 2,4-D Weed Killer
An environmental group's petition to ban the widely used
herbicide 2,4-D has been rejected by the U.S. Environmental
The agency said the petition from the Natural Resources Defense
Council did not adequately show that 2,4-D was harmful under the
conditions in which it is used,
The New York Times reported.
The herbicide, first approved in the late 1940s, is one of the
most widely used weed killers in the world. It is used by farmers
and is an ingredient in many home lawn-care products.
In its petition, the Natural Resources Defense Council cited
studies suggesting that exposure to 2, 4-D could cause problems
such as cancer, genetic mutations and hormone disruption,
The Times reported.
While some of the studies did suggest that high doses of the
herbicide could be harmful, they did not establish lack of safety,
the EPA said in its ruling.
FDA Delays Decision on Weight-Loss Drug
U.S. regulators will take another three months to decide whether
to approve a new obesity drug called Qnexa, drugmaker Vivus Inc.
The Food and Drug Administration was scheduled to make a
decision by April 17 but that has been changed to July 17 to give
the FDA time to assess a new drug safety plan submitted by Vivus,
Associated Press reported.
The FDA rejected the drug in 2010 over concerns that it can
cause heart palpitations and birth defects if taken by pregnant
women. Vivus resubmitted the drug for approval and an FDA panel of
medical advisers voted in February to recommend approval of the
However, the FDA does not have to follow the advice of its
If approved, Qnexa would become the first new prescription
weight loss pill to reach the U.S. market in more than a decade,
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