Health Highlights: July 30, 2008

Early in life, it's women who are more likely to satisfy their aspirations for material goods and family life. But men seem to better achieve these desires as both sexes become older, the study authors said.


Routine EKGs Not Needed For Kids Taking ADHD Drugs: AAP

Children prescribed attention-deficit drugs don't need routine electrocardiogram heart screening, according to a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that appears to contradict American Heart Association (AHA) advice.

The drugs, which can increase blood pressure and heart rate, carry a warning about risks for sudden death in patients with heart problems. However, the pediatricians' group said the AHA was overzealous earlier this year when it recommended EKGs for children prescribed ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta, the Associated Press reported.

Children starting treatment with the drugs should be given a thorough physical exam and be checked for family history of heart problems, but routine EKGs aren't needed in most cases, the AAP said.

The new statement appears in the August edition of the journal Pediatrics.

More than half of the 4 million U.S. children diagnosed with attention-deficit disorders are taking stimulant drugs, the AP reported. Each year, sudden heart-related deaths occur in about four of 2.5 million U.S. children taking stimulants, compared to between eight and 62 deaths a year among all U.S. children, according to the AAP.


No New Fast Food Restaurants Allowed in South LA

In an effort to fight obesity in South Los Angeles, the city council has voted to place a one-year moratorium on new fast food restaurants in that lower-income area of the city. It's believed this is the first action of its kind taken by a major city.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 30 percent of adults in South Los Angeles are obese, compared to 19.1 percent for the metropolitan area and 14.1 percent for the Westside, the Associated Press reported.

Fast food outlets account for 73 percent of restaurants in South Los Angeles, compared to 42 percent in West Los Angeles, a Community Health Councils report found.

During the year-long moratorium, the city will try to encourage restaurants that serve healthier food to open in South Los Angeles, the AP reported.

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