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The Consumer Health Week in Review: Most obese states; no more tears and codeine safety for kids

Study: Mississippi Most Obese State, Colorado Slimmest
Hold the Mississippi mud pie. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out this week showing nearly 35 percent of Mississippi adults were very overweight in 2011, putting the state at the top of the list for obesity.  Unfortunately, the South did not fare well in the study. The three heaviest states after Mississippi were: Louisiana (33.4%), West Virginia (32.4%) and Alabama (32%). Unfortunately, no state has an obesity rate of less than 20 percent, with Colorado having the lowest rate (20.7%) followed closely by Hawaii (21.8%), Massachusetts (22.7%), District of Columbia, New Jersey (23.7%) and California (23.8%). After topping the list for the last six years, Mississippi is taking action with several different program offerings, including promoting access to fresh fruit and vegetables and creating safe places to exercise.

Johnson & Johnson Pledges to Remove Harmful Chemicals from Products
No more tears and no more harmful toxins. Johnson & Johnson announced this week that potentially harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, would be removed from its line of consumer products by the end of 2015. This includes widely-used drugstore brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno and Clean & Clear. This marks the first time a major consumer products company has made such a widespread commitment. The company had already announced that all baby products, including the company’s No More Tears baby shampoo, would be reformulated with safer ingredients by the end of 2013. The company launched a website on Wednesday that includes detailed information on the composition of ingredients and the environmental health and safety practices of its manufacturers.


FDA Looks into Codeine Safety after Children’s Deaths
After three children died and one suffered serious complications, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning regarding the safety of codeine for post-operative pain relief in children. All of the children had their tonsils or adenoids removed to treat obstructive sleep apnea and were between the ages of two and five. All had received standard doses of codeine, but doctors believe each had a genetic trait that caused them to develop toxic levels of drug in their bodies. According to Dr. Joseph R. Tobin, professor and chairman of anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, “Codeine doesn’t work in its natural form. It must be converted by enzymes in the body to its active form.” Some people’s livers are able to do this efficiently, while others aren’t. The agency cautioned to watch for symptoms of overdose, like unusual sleepiness, difficulty being aroused or awakened, confusion or noisy and difficult breathing.

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