With all of the negative media coverage of the bungled roll out of HealthCare.gov, where Americans are supposed to be able to shop for health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act, it can be easy to overlook successes — and Indiana University health policy expert Kosali Simon considers the enrollment of almost a million uninsured young adults a “notable achievement.”
ACA required private insurance companies that offered coverage for dependents to provide coverage for children until they turn 26. Simon notes in a recent blog post that the provision, implemented in 2010, added an estimated 2 million adults ages 19-25 to their parents’ employer-sponsored insurance policies in the months following the implementation, and of these adults, almost 1 million had been previously uninsured.
Guest post by IU Newsroom colleague Jaclyn Lansbery.
Women’s perceptions of their genitals, masturbation, bisexuality and erotic art — these are just a few of the topics on tap at the Bloomington Sex Salon.
The Bloomington Sex Salon began in February as a monthly discussion series led by Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, as a way to encourage community-based conversations about various sex-related topics.
“I think what’s interesting about the salons is that you really get to do what I do on a regular basis -– which is sit with somebody who is really smart about a particular topic and ask all your questions,” said Herbenick, a widely read sex columnist and author of self-help books such as “Sex Made Easy.” Herbenick is frequently contacted by national media outlets about sex-related topics.
I’ve gotten some good ideas from holiday gift guides over the years — and some of the guides have been my own handiwork, with the help of insightful IU health and wellness experts.
My most recent IU Health & Vitality media tip sheet included a gift guide with ideas geared toward sustainability. I’d LOVE so many of the suggestions, such as gift certificates for an “excursion or experience,” such as to a climbing gym or the theater, gifts made by local artisans, or a community supported agriculture (CSA) membership.
Here are ideas from some of my previous gift guides:
- Fuel kids’ creativity with do-it-yourself kits: For example, fill a container with supplies, including a thick pad of heavy white paper for painting, regular paper for drawing and construction paper, as well as glitter markers, puffy paint gel markers, crayons, scissors, glue, pencils and erasers. Don’t forget to add in a few “How to Draw” books tailored to your child’s taste. “Begin collecting items on sale throughout the year and keep them in the container until it is full,” said Marjorie Cohee Manifold, associate professor of art education and curriculum studies in the Indiana University School of Education. “Try to find things that don’t require a lot of fuss to set up and aren’t inherently messy.”
- A sexuality-themed ‘Don’t-buy-this’ guide: Don’t get lingerie that highlights non-favorite parts. If your partner doesn’t like to reveal her tummy, opt for a slip rather than a bra and underwear. If she likes to highlight her breasts, consider a balconette bra or a corset. “Play with her strengths and help her feel confident,” said Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington.
- Active gifts that can be enjoyed together: Skiing or snowboarding lessons.
- Wellness gifts that can be enjoyed at work: A headlight, so your friend or loved one can still run or cycle outdoors after work, when it’s dark earlier in the evenings (like now).
- Gifts for older relatives and friends: Adaptive fishing equipment, such as electronic reel or easy cast model, sounds like a great idea that could help people with mobility issues continue enjoying a fun pastime. I also like the suggestion for a pedicure. Lesa Huber, at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, says the gift is even better when the giver tags along. ”It’s time spent together,” she said. “And for an older person, having their feet cared for and rubbed — they can’t always reach them well — it can be a real treat.”
- More health and wellness gift ideas: I’m sitting on a stability ball as I write this, so I know this gift idea would be a winner. I also would love a really good knife set, which my husband and I would put to good use in the kitchen.
Now something of an endurance sport, Black Friday shopping — and in some cases, Thanksgiving Day shopping — can drain more than just the wallet.
Nancy Barton, lecturer in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, suggests steps shoppers can take to reduce the physical and psychological stress that can accompany what John Talbott, associate director of the Center for Education and Research in Retailing at IU, describes as a “retail arms race.”
“Some have argued that we are wired for desire as a result of our dopamine reward pathways,” Barton said. “When we are overstimulated by a novel experience or unlimited choices on Black Friday, a craving (for more) and insatiable desire is triggered.”
The rise in obesity worldwide and the potential economic opportunities for firms that come up with solutions will be addressed in the next event in the 2013-14 Indiana Life Sciences Collaboration Conference Series on Nov. 22 in Indianapolis.
“The increase in global obesity has profound implications for future health care costs and at the same time provides opportunities for existing companies and entrepreneurs to develop new products and services,” said conference organizer George Telthorst, director of the Center for the Business of Life Sciences in Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
At the conference, taking place at the NCAA Hall of Champions, 700 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, medical opinion leaders will offer their thoughts as to the causes of the rising trend in obesity and its effects on world health. Executives will discuss their plans for products to prevent and treat obesity and its associated conditions.
Students at accredited Indiana institutions of higher education may qualify for a discounted rate. Registration and additional information are available online or by contacting Kelli Conder at the Kelley School, 812-856-0915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference series is presented by the IU Kelley School of Business, its Center for the Business of Life Sciences, BioCrossroads and Covance. The complete program, registration information and links to participants’ biographies are available on the Center for the Business of Life Sciences’ website.
Choose a full evaluation over a vision screening to make sure eyesight isn’t hampering athletic performance
In a recent ESPN article, Steven Hitzeman, OD, FAAO, clinical associate professor of optometry at Indiana University, had some pointed comments concerning Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis “Squintston” Winston and his decision to forgo contact lenses during football games.
Winston said his squinting is never a factor in his performance as Florida State University quarterback. Hitzeman says vision is almost always a factor in athletic performance, regardless of the sport. Based on his research, good vision can give elite athletes the edge they need over competition — he’s seen it time and time again.
“The better the acuity, the quicker you respond to visual stimuli. The quicker you respond to visual stimuli, the better decisions you’re going to make. The quicker decisions you’re going to make, the better you’re going to play,” he said in the ESPN piece.
“If I was his optometrist, if I was his coach, if I was his parent, I would make sure he’s wearing correction when he plays,” Hitzeman said. “His performance should be better with contacts than without. … I would think that he would see much better and play much better wearing visual correction.”
Hitzeman is director of the Sports Vision Program at IU and conducts vision evaluations of athletes performing at Junior Olympics to determine which athletes potentially could perform better if their vision was corrected. His statistics show that 40 percent of the athletes he screens have never had an eye exam — these athletes range in age from 8 to 18 and represent a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Guest post by IU Newsroom colleague Jaclyn Lansbery.
Growing up in a conservative home environment with three older sisters, there was no question that by the time I was 15 years old, I’d be wearing makeup, donning the latest trends and reading women’s magazines. For me, those were the habits of an ideal female adolescence. But for Kand McQueen, who recently delivered an hourlong lecture in Rawles Hall on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, wearing frilly dresses and playing with dolls felt unnatural at the age of 3.
McQueen’s lecture, “Breaking the Gender Dichotomy: Why Two Are Definitely Not Enough,” argued how and why Western society’s strict definition of gender/sex “restricts everyone of humanity.” Pulling historical examples of transgendered people being discriminated against, McQueen made the case that society’s binary definitions of gender leave out a large number of people, especially those who were born intersex.
Over the years, there have been improvements for the rights of gay and transgendered people. Recently, Indiana University joined Freedom Indiana, a grassroots campaign that opposes amending the state constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.
Looking through your children’s Halloween candy for potential hazards makes sense, but any underlying fear of poison or razor blades seems to be misplaced. Health mythbusters and Indiana University Medical School physicians Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman say “no evidence of genuine Halloween poisoning can be located.”
Carroll and Vreeman have written two books about health myths, “Don’t Swallow Your Gum!” and “Don’t Cross Your Eyes … They’ll Get Stuck That way!: And 75 Other health Myths Debunked.” They included a chapter about strangers poisoning Halloween candy. I found the paragraph below interesting.
Why did we become so afraid of tampered Halloween candy in the first place? News reports of Halloween candy tampering have been popping up since 1950. In one story from 1964, a woman named Helen Pfeil was arrested for what she had considered an obvious joke – giving packages containing dog biscuits, steel wool pads, and ant poison buttons (labelled with the word “poison”) to teenagers who she considered too old to be trick-or-treating. Since she meant no malice, she made sure to also tell the teenagers about her “joke,” and therefore no one got hurt. Even so, she was charged and sentenced for “endangering children.” While she hardly sounds like a sinister stranger just waiting to give an unsuspecting child a poisoned treat, the case was used as an example of the dangers of Halloween candy in the media.
My mom, who takes her own bedding to hotels, will find this news reassuring, as in, “I told you so.” Gaylen Kelton, M.D., discusses in Everyday Health some health and safety problems to avoid in hotels, from poor air quality (turning on the air or fan could make it worse) to scalding showers and yes, bed bugs.
Kelton is a professor of clinical family medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and IU Travel Medicine. Read more
Is watching TV setting you up for health problems? According to a recent study, the more time 30-somethings spent watching TV, the stiffer their arteries became. Stiff arteries are not a good thing, at any age.
Joel Stager, an exercise physiologist at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, talked with Reuters about the study. Stiff arteries are a harbinger of potential health problems.
“To be honest about this particular measure, it’s more of an association of future problems,” he said. “In other words, it’s predictive of cardiovascular disease down the road.”
Stager was not involved with the new study, but has researched arterial stiffening among college-age people.
Stager also added that the new study cannot prove watching TV is what caused people’s arteries to stiffen. It could be some other factor that goes along with TV watching, for instance, or young people with stiff arteries might be more likely to stay in and watch TV.