HEALTH

New iHealth scale helps manage chronic conditions

BY Michael Johnsen

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — iHealth Lab on Tuesday unveiled the iHealth Core: Wireless Body Composition Scale and a new iHealth MyVitals smartphone app which, when used together, provide users with a comprehensive view of their body composition and how their fitness routine impacts their overall wellness over time. 
 
“iHealth is changing the way that people track and manage their health by empowering them with data and resources they need to get a better understanding of their overall health and wellness,” iHealth VP sales and marketing Steve Monnier said. This new scale, in conjunction with our app, will help consumers make the changes needed to improve their overall quality of life.”
 
The solution also allows persons with chronic conditions such as obesity and hypertension to better manage their health and make more-informed lifestyle decisions, the company stated.
 
The new scale uses electronic sensors and proprietary algorithms to accurately measure nine aspects of body composition including:
 
  • Weight and body mass index;
  • Body fat;
  • Lean, muscle and bone mass;
  • Water weight;
  • Daily calories; and
  • Visceral fat rating. 
It then automatically sends the data over WiFi to the iHealth Cloud where users can access and track their results using the new MyVitals app on both Apple and Android devices. When starting a new fitness routine or a new medication, this data can be valuable in helping users to understand if they are gaining fat or muscle, so that they can make the appropriate adjustments, the company said.
 
The HIPPA-compliant scale solution supports up to 10 unique users and stores up to 200 readings offline, which can be synchronized with the MyVitals app and iHealth cloud at the user's convenience. It also leverages state-of-the-art bioimpedance sensors and proprietary algorithms to ensure accurate results.
 
The scale is being sold online through Walmart.com, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com and will be available in retail stores starting in mid-September at a suggested retail price of $129.99.
 
The new MyVitals app is the latest generation of iHealth's wellness monitoring app featuring a reporting dashboard that provides detailed explanations of the user's data and lets users view all trends and graphs seamlessly from their unique “My Vitals” homepage. The app also includes descriptions of the nine metrics of body composition and how they contribute to wellness.
 
Additionally, the new MyVitals app includes an expanded food log database with easy logging and tracking, as well as a simple export feature, common across all iHealth products, that allows users to produce PDF or Excel reports they can share with their doctor or caregiver. 
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Task Force issues age-based recommendation for supplemental aspirin use

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday put forth a three-tier recommendation strategy on the use of aspirin as a supplement to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease that takes age and an individual patient's situation into consideration. 
 
The Task Force approached this draft recommendation in a new way.
 
“Each person has only one decision to make — whether or not to take aspirin for prevention,” Task Force member Douglas Owens said. “To help individuals and their clinicians make this decision, the Task Force integrated the evidence about the use of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer into one recommendation on the use of aspirin.”
 
“Taking aspirin is easy, but deciding whether or not to take aspirin for prevention is complex,” added Task Force vice chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo. “People aged 50 to 69 should talk with their doctor about their risk of cardiovascular disease and risk of bleeding, and discuss whether taking aspirin is right for them.”
 
The Task Force found that taking aspirin can help 50- to 69-year-olds who are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease prevent heart attacks and stroke, as well as help prevent colorectal cancer, if taken for at least 10 years. 
 
Daily use of low-dose aspirin has the most overall benefit for people 50 to 59 years old who have increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The Task Force recommends aspirin use in this age group. This is a "B" recommendation. 
 
People 60 to 69 years old with increased risk can also benefit from taking aspirin. However, the overall benefit for this group is smaller, so the decision to take aspirin should be an individual one based on patients’ risk for cardiovascular disease and bleeding, their overall health, and their personal values and preferences. This is a "C" recommendation.
 
The Task Force also concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of aspirin use in adults younger than 50 or 70 and older, and issued "I" statements for these age groups.
 
The Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services and preventive medications.
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Target takes aim at wellness

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS — Target on Monday announced a new core focus on wellness at the kickoff event of its annual Fall National Sales Meeting.
 
“We know our guests care about wellness and are focused on making better choices for themselves, their families and communities,” Laysha Ward, chief corporate social responsibility officer at Target, wrote on the company’s blog. “Through this shift in strategy, we want to improve the health of the nation by making wellness the way of life. We'll get there by making healthy eating, active living and clean-label product solutions (think simple, recognizable, easy to read ingredients and materials) more affordable, accessible and inspiring.”
 
A full range of partnerships and programs dedicated to wellness will be unveiled throughout 2016, Ward promised.
 
“From the ongoing innovation we’re seeing with new products (like Made to Matter) and tests with our in-store cafés to team member wellness challenges and new community initiatives — I’m excited about the things we have coming,” she said. 
 
If Target's focus on education is any measure, the company may have a significant impact in improving wellness for its customer base. Target recently surpassed giving $1 billion for education, Ward reported. 
 
And Target will continue its focus on supporting education, though now through a wellness lense.
 
“We made a significant impact in lifting U.S. high school graduation rates and helping kids reach their full potential,” she said. “Going forward, we recognize the achievement gap persists and we'll design wellness solutions that meet our guests, team and communities where they live, learn, work and play. We'll continue to focus on youth, both in school and out, and leverage current programs like our Meals for Minds in-school food pantry program and Target Field Trips, along with new solutions.”
 
As part of this evolution, Target will be discontinuing the Take Charge of Education program, which has reached more than 120,000 schools since 1997 with more than $432 million.
 
“We are incredibly proud of the contribution we’ve made with the program, but also recognize that our guests have evolved since we started TCOE and the way they want to engage with our giving has also changed,” Ward said. “To ease the transition and ensure schools have resources they need start the 2016-17 school year off right, we are giving a school year’s notice and will provide an additional, unrestricted transition grant to all schools that receive a TCOE payout in February 2016.”
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