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The Consumer Health Week in Review: Stay safe at State Fairs, keep walking and diabetes

 Pig.jpgThe Return of Swine Flu?

We all remember the swine flu craze several years ago. According to the CDC, a new strain is now emerging.

There has been a spike in swine flu cases over the last week, rising from less than 30 to over 150.

The CDC is assuring the public that it is “not a pandemic situation.” And the strain’s not unusually dangerous – so far, those affected have got better on their own.

The public, primarily children, are exposed to the flu strain originating from pigs, generally at state and local agricultural fairs. Indiana and Ohio have reported the most cases to-date.

If you are planning to visit swine shows at agricultural fairs, the CDC recommends frequent hand washing. For young children, pregnant women, the elderly and immune-compromised people, the CDC asks you to avoid pigs altogether.

No person-to-person transmissions have been reported thus far, but if that occurs, it would be cause for concern.

Walk Before You Run: Americans’ Physical Activity Improving

As the Olympics come to a close, the media’s appetite for exercise and sports health coverage abounds.

Earlier this week, the CDC issued a report with mixed news on physical activity: more Americans are walking, but less than half do so at recommended levels.

Dubbed the “wonder drug,” walking is something everyone can easily do.

The CDC recommends we all walk briskly for 150 hours a week. To help the public, the CDC is calling for more safe places to walk, including around office parks.

The report breaks out exercise by region, with the Northeast finishing second behind the West in walking activity. However, the South had the most improvement, with its exercise levels rising eight percent since the last report.

How Being Overweight with Diabetes is Advantageous

We all know that being overweight can lead to diabetes. But according to a JAMA study, obese people with the disease live longer.

In fact, for heavy patients at the onset of diabetes, they were twice as likely to stay alive during the study period.

This “obesity paradox” has been noted in heart disease and other conditions too. Why does it occur?

While there are no definitive answers, here are some researcher hypotheses:

– Thin patients may get diabetes from causes other than obesity, such as genetic factors, which could make their health more vulnerable.

– Doctors may more aggressively treat overweight patients with diabetes than their normal-weight counterparts.

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