Health Highlights: April 10, 2008

In addition, the prevalence of postpartum depression was higher among women who were physically abused before or during pregnancy, ranging from 30.8 percent in Minnesota to 52.7 percent in South Carolina.

Postpartum depression is an important and widespread public health issue and health care providers should screen women for the condition through the first year after they've had a baby, the researchers said.

The study appears in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Chocolate-Covered Almonds and Peanuts Recalled

Five-ounce bags of chocolate-covered almonds and chocolate double-dipped peanuts have been recalled by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. The bags of almonds may contain peanuts and the bags of peanuts may contain almonds, posing the risk of life-threatening allergic reactions for certain people.

The products, sold at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores in 41 states, were packaged in a clear bag with a red and white diamond pattern on the label. No illnesses or allergic reactions have been reported to date, and there is no health risk for people who aren't allergic to peanuts or almonds. No other candies or packaged food items are included in the recall, according to a news release on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site.

The problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the supplier's labeling and packaging process, Cracker Barrel officials said.

Consumers with the recalled products can return them to any Cracker Barrel store for a full refund. For more information, call the company at 800-333-9566.

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U.S. Wastes $1.2 Trillion in Health-Care Spending Each Year: Report

As much as $1.2 trillion of the $2.2 trillion spent on health care each year in the United States is wasted on excess health spending and inefficiency, according to an analysis released Thursday by PricewaterhouseCooper's Health Research Institute.

The biggest area of wasteful spending identified in the analysis is defensive medicine, such as redundant, inappropriate or unnecessary tests and procedures. That's followed by inefficient health-care administration and the cost of care spent on conditions such as obesity, which is considered preventable by lifestyle changes.

The analysis authors classified health system inefficiencies into three categories: consumer behavior; operational inefficiencies; and clinical overuse, misuse or under-use. Behavioral issues such as patient non-adherence to medical advice and prescriptions, alcohol abuse, smoking and obesity fall into all three categories.

The analysis, which included a review of more than 35 industry reports and interviews with health industry representatives, was included in a report presented Thursday at a meeting of health-industry leaders in Washington, D.C.

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Global Study Examines Osteoporosis Management

A landmark, multi-national osteoporosis management study that will include nearly 60,000 women aged 55 and older was announced Thursday. The aim of the Global Longitudinal Registry of Osteoporosis in Women (GLOW) is to learn more about how to improve the standard of care for postmenopausal women at risk of osteoporosis.

The study includes women from 17 cities in 10 countries on three continents.

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