Health Highlights: May 12, 2009

The poll, conducted from April 20-30 by Knowledge Networks, contacted 1,000 women by telephone and mail, then questioned them online, providing Internet access for those who needed it. Among the poll's findings:

  • Half of the women surveyed said they didn't like their weight. In fact, 26 percent of poll participants whose body-mass index (BMI) -- a measure of weight for height -- was in the normal range still reported being unhappy with their shape.
  • Only 8 percent of women ate the minimum recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and 28 percent admitted they only took in the recommended servings once a week or less.
  • Women put in a median of 80 minutes of exercise a week, meaning half did even less. The average adult is supposed to get 2 1/2 hours of exercise a week for good health.
  • A quarter of the women polled said they'd consider plastic surgery to feel better about their body, and most would choose a tummy tuck.
  • Even among normal-weight women, a full 16 percent said they were dieting to drop pounds.

"The priorities are flipped," Dr. Molly Poag, chief of psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told the pollsters. She suggested that women athletes are a better role model for women than supermodels. "There's an undervaluing of physical fitness and an overvaluing of absolute weight and appearance for women in our culture," Poag said.

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FDA Probes 2 Delaware Deaths That May Be Linked to Heparin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a team to investigate the deaths of two Delaware patients who died over the weekend after taking the blood thinner heparin, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deaths were confirmed by a spokesman from Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del., after three people suffered medical problems after using heparin. All three people were using the drug supplied by Baxter International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., although the spokesman said there is no evidence that directly ties heparin to the deaths, the Journal reported. Baxter spokeswoman Erin Gardiner told the newspaper that the company immediately contacted the FDA, and both the agency and Baxter sent medical teams to Delaware to investigate.

The people who died, identified only as a 71-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, were flown by helicopter from Beebe. One died at Christiana Hospital in Delaware, and the other died at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Gardiner said both received pre-mixed intravenous bags of heparin.

In 2008, tainted heparin bulk supplies, vials of the medicine and drug-coated medical devices reportedly were tied to some 80 deaths and led to a recall of heparin from several companies. The current investigation is so far focused on North American sources and not products from China, according to the Journal. Last year's cases mostly involved allergic reactions and cardiac complications, while the Delaware deaths involved cranial bleeding, Gardiner told the newspaper.

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Obama Praises Health Industry's Offer of Savings

Calling it a "watershed event," President Barack Obama has applauded an offer by health-care industry leaders to voluntarily slow rate increases. The move is designed to help provide heath insurance for the estimated 50 million Americans who have none and who are a focal point of the administration's health-care reform proposals, the Associated Press reported.

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