Health Highlights: April 26, 2007

The vaccine, which protects against four HPV strains, was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in girls and women ages 9 to 26.

To date, about 20 states have introduced bills to require girls to get the vaccine, the AP reported. Critics charge that making the vaccine mandatory promotes promiscuity and infringes on parents' rights.


Pull Shrek Exercise Ads for Children, Group Says

The animated character Shrek should no longer be used in U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) public service TV commercials that encourage children to get more exercise, says the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

The Harvard University-based child advocacy group said the animated green ogre is no longer an appropriate spokesperson for healthier lifestyles for youngsters. That's because promotions tied to the May 18 release of the Shrek the Third film also include a number of high-calorie or high-sugar foods, USA Today reported.

"The food industry and the government can't have it both ways. Either (Shrek's) a pitchman for junk food or a spokesman for health and well-being. Those are mutually exclusive roles," said Susan Linn, co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

In the public service ads, which started airing in February, Shrek encourages children to: "Get up and play an hour a day." The ads are popular with children and it would be a mistake to drop them, said Penelope Royall, a deputy assistant secretary for health at HHS.

However, the ads will not air from early next month until 30 days after the end of the new film's run "because we're not in the business of promoting movies," HHS spokesman Bill Hall told USA Today.

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