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Health Highlights: March 25, 2011

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Threat of Hunger Plagues Millions of Americans: Report

About 15 million American households (50 million people) believed they didn't have enough money or couldn't get enough money for food at some time during 2009, according to a new report.

The Map the Meal Gap document by the hunger relief charity Feeding America is based on food insecurity data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ABC News reported.

While it seems contradictory, there's a link between food insecurity and obesity, say nutrition experts.

"If people are food insecure, they can often place a priority on obtaining as much food as possible for the cheapest price," Keith Ayoob, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., told ABC News.

That can lead them to so-called "value meals" at fast food restaurants or cheap, processed foods that have more calories than nutrients.


Parents Need to Know Children's BMI: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama says she is paying closer attention to her two daughters' body mass index (BMI) figures after learning that their numbers were "creeping upwards," and urged other parents to learn more about the important health statistic.

BMI combines weight and height measurements to calculate body fat and is considered a more reliable indicator of obesity than weight alone, Agence France-Presse reported.

Childhood obesity is the U.S. first lady's signature cause. But writing on's website, she said she "didn't really know what BMI was."

"I certainly didn't know that even a small increase in BMI can have serious consequences for a child's health," she added, AFP reported.

The Obamas have two daughters, Malia 12, and Sasha, 9.


Most Americans Say They're in Good Health: Report

Rates of obesity and diabetes are rising and it's harder to afford health insurance, but 90 percent of Americans rate their health as good or better, according to a federal government report based on a national survey that looked at 15 health indicators.

Rates of obesity and diabetes were 28.2 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, in 2010, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics, said ABC News.

The report also said that the percentage of Americans who can't afford health insurance increased from 4.5 percent in 1997 to 7 percent in 2010.

The proportion of people who rated their health as very good or excellent decreased from 69 percent in 1997 to 66 percent in 2010, ABC News reported.


Common Regrets Include Romance and Work: Study

Romance and work appear to be among the leading regrets American adults have about their lives, suggests a new study.

The telephone survey of 370 adults found that women have more regrets about romance then men (44 percent vs. 19 percent), while men have more regrets about work than women (34 percent vs. 27 percent), the Chicago Tribune reported.

The researchers at Northwest University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne also found that: people who were not currently in a relationship were most likely to have romance regrets; people with low levels of education regretted their lack of education; and people with high levels of education had the most career-related regrets.

The study appears in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.


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Posted: March 2011