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BMI an appropriate gauge of health risks, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A new study indicates body mass index is a reliable indicator of obesity-related health risks.

The study, published Saturday in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, compared the merits of BMI to other measures of body size as a predictor of obesity-related cardiovascular health risks. The study’s authors noted that some have questioned the validity of BMI.

"There has been a lot of controversy recently over whether BMI, which is based simply on weight and height, is a good clinical indicator of obesity-related health risks, especially when compared to more complex measures and newer technologies," Columbia University epidemiology professor Andrew Rundle said. "I wanted to see how well BMI performs compared to other proposed measures, and our research shows that BMI performs well as a predictor of health risks. If your BMI is heigh, chances are good it’s because you have an excess of fat tissue and that you have other health risks."

Rundle and a team of researchers analyzed cross-sectional measurements of height, weight, waist circumference, percent body fat, blood pressure measurements, cholesterol levels and fasting glucose levels among more than 12,000 adults from a database maintained by EHE International, a 100-year-old provider of preventive medicine and annual physical exams. Rundle is a member of EHE’s advisory board.


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OTC purchase decisions based on experience

BY Michael Johnsen

At least half of consumers cited prior use (58%) as the most commonly reported method to select an OTC remedy, according to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers conducted in September. Decisions also are commonly made by reading packages at the shelf (54%) or from a pharmacist’s recommendation (50%).

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Patient Views is a new, exclusive consumer insights feature that appears in every edition of DSN magazine, as well as the daily e-newsletter DSN A.M. If you could ask 4,000 patients anything at all, what would it be? Send your questions to [email protected].

Source: AccentHealth. To view the demographic breakdown of participants, click here.

 

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HHS proposes new rules for Medicaid, exchanges under ACA

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services is proposing a new rule that it said would promote consistent policies and processes for eligibility notices in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the health insurance exchanges mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"Before the healthcare law was passed, millions of Americans were unable to obtain or afford quality health coverage," HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "Today, we are proposing a rule to provide Americans with access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and give states more flexibility to implement the law in a way that works for them."

The newly proposed rules, HHS said, would help make it easier for consumers to determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or tax credits that make insurance more affordable. Starting in 2014, the ACA provides Medicaid eligibility for adults earning up to 133% of the poverty level — $14,865 for an individual or $30,656 for a family of four. Others will be able to buy insurance through a health insurance exchange. The rule would also include information on how consumers can receive coordinated communications on eligibility determinations and appeal them while giving states flexibility in designing benefits and determining cost sharing in the Medicaid program, and allowing them to choose to rely on HHS for verifying whether a person has employer-sponsored coverage and conducting some types of appeals.


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