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Sound smart at parties: This week's health news

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 15, 2013

1. You can keep your insurance plan, maybe

On Thursday, President Obama announced that  insurers can offer customers the option to renew their 2013 health plans in 2014, without change, theoretically allowing people to keep their plans. For months, Obama has said that if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it. But that talking point proved problematic when people started receiving noticed that their health insurance was going to be canceled.

Suggested reading:

Quick read: Obama to Nation: If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep Your Plan (At Least Until The Next Election)

Longer read: Obama announces change to address health insurance cancellations

Longest read:Obamacare Myths” by, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center

2. Not a lot of people have signed up for health insurance — yet

This week, the federal government released the first round of data regarding enrollment in the state and federal health insurance marketplaces. However, the point was made that, Romneycare saw slow enrollment, too.

Quick read: A fraction of eligible Oklahomans have enrolled in ‘Obamacare’

Longer read: White House reports low health care sign-ups

“Official” read: 106,185 Americans selected health plans in first reporting period of open enrollment

3. Prepare yourself for flu season

Since Oct. 1, one person in Oklahoma has been hospitalized because of the flu. That number will likely increase as we get into the winter months. For all the Oklahoma flu numbers you could possibly want, visit the state Health Department’s flu website. And in case you need to find a place near your house, this website has a flu shot locator.

4. More young people are smoking cigars, e-cigarettes and hookah

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that products like e-cigarettes and hookah are growing in popularity among middle- and high-school students:

While use of these newer products increased, there was no significant decline in students’ cigarette smoking or overall tobacco use. Data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that recent electronic cigarette use rose among middle school students from 0.6 percent in 2011 to 1.1 percent in 2012 and among high school students from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent. Hookah use among high school students rose from 4.1 percent to 5.4 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Quick read: Cigars, e-cigarettes and hookahs increasingly popular among youth

“Official” read: Emerging tobacco products gaining popularity among youth

Quoted research:  Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011 and 2012

5. People seem to ignore amount of calories in fast food 

A Taco Bell cheesy gordita crunch has 500 calories. Now that I’ve ruined your day, take a peek at this news story:

Obesity statistics continue to rise, even after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act forced all restaurant chains to post calories counts for menu items back in 2008. Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center determined that menu calorie counts have little to no effect on what customers order or how many calories they consume.

Quick read: Many People Ignore Calories on Fast-Food Menus

Quoted research: Calorie labeling, Fast food purchasing and restaurant visits

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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