Minnesota Stays Trim as Every Other State in the Midwest Struggles With Obesity

Categories: Health

Minnesota's obesity rate dipped slightly since 2008, while all of our neighboring states' obesity rates continue to skyrocket

It's been a couple weeks since we've patted ourselves on the back for living in such a beautiful state full of gorgeous, well-educated, healthy people, so here's another reminder:

According to data compiled by the Center for Disease Control, Minnesota is the only state in the Upper Midwest holding the line in the battle against obesity. The contrast between Minnesota and all of the states surrounding it is stark. Just check out this graph the Minnesota Department of Health published yesterday:

See also:
Obese Father, Daughter Win Slot in "The Biggest Loser"

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Bird Flu Sweeps Through Minnesota, More Than 340,000 Turkeys Killed

Categories: Food, Health

Seven farms infected so far

A nasty case of the bird flu keeps spreading through Minnesota's turkey farms.

When a farm is infected, every single turkey has to be put down, and the whole farm is cleaned out and disinfected. Yesterday the state announced the sixth and seventh cases where that will have to happen.

See also:
2006 Bird Flu: "This Thing Just Continues to March"

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Sen. Jeff Hayden Wants to Spend $200,000 to Help Black People Quit Smoking Menthols

Categories: Health

~ezs via Flickr
The study would "evaluate attitudes and beliefs" African-Americans have about menthols and recommend ways to reduce tobacco use

It's a widely accepted fact among tobacco addiction researchers that black people prefer menthol cigarettes. A study released just last month found 88 percent of black smokers prefer menthols; that number jumps to 94 percent in ages 12-25.

Yesterday Sen. Jeff Hayden (D-Minneapolis) introduced a bill (SF 1836) allocating $200,000 to dig into why black smokers love menthols and fund community outreach dedicated to helping them to quit.

See also:
Sen. Barb Goodwin Calls Out Ellison, Other Prominent DFLers Over Nonprofit Scandal

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What Does Craigslist HIV Spike Mean For All Your Other Virtual Hookups?

Categories: HIV/AIDS, Health

Courtesy of Jason Chan
"I'm only using it because it's research!"

When ivy tower researchers Anindya Ghose and Jason Chan started trolling New York City personal ads on Craigslist, they were working off a pretty solid hypothesis. Could the seediest of seedy hookup sites coincide with rising HIV rates? You bet.

After looking at data from 33 states over a decade, Ghose and Chan skyrocketed to the top of Craigslist's hate list when they recently published a study concluding that Craigslists' arrival in cities across the nation heralded an average 16 percent increase in HIV infections.

See also:
Craigslist murders: A timeline

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Anti-abortion Bill Would Raise Taxes on Small Businesses That Provide Comprehensive Healthcare

Categories: Business, Health

Photo by Elvert Barnes
40th March for Life on the U.S. Supreme Court

Anti-abortion bills are a dime a dozen, but as it turns out the latest one to pass the U.S. House of Representatives has some detrimental side effects for small businesses.
The House voted to pass the Republican-backed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act on Thursday, the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v Wade, which establishes a woman's right to abortion.

The bill is the latest in an ongoing chronicle of Republican attempts to curtail abortion rights. Recently, the GOP-controlled House scheduled a vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions for women beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. That vote didn't pan out after House Republican women pushed back against party leaders and complained that the bill unfairly required rape victims seeking abortions to provide police reports. In 2013, a similar bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

See also:

Bachmann worries women's museum honoring her will become "shrine to abortion" [VIDEO]

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George Will Gets "Lie of the Year" for Misreading U of M Ebola Article

Keith Allison, via Flickr
Conservative columnist George Will spouted an impressive amount of nonsense this year
Washington Post windbag George Will went on Fox News during the height of the Ebola scare and claimed the deadly disease could spread through airborne particles, much like the flu, directly contradicting medical experts.

When he was pressed to reveal his source, Will cited a University of Minnesota commentary taken completely out of context.

See also:
No, the University of Minnesota Isn't Saying Ebola Is Suddenly Airborne

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Silent March through Downtown an Eerie Reminder of Homeless Dead

Categories: Health, Housing

Photo by Susan Du

From the guy riding the trains all night to the kid curled up on a sofa in the library, the Twin Cities' homeless drifters are easy to spot but quickly forgotten.

Thursday night, about 100 silent marchers cut a wide path from the Hennepin County Government Center to the Simpson United Methodist Church, hoisting a 10-foot tall effigy of a ghost-face homeless man to make people look a little closer at the people who have died in the streets this year.

See also:

Minneapolis cop criticized for treatment of homeless man at Temple Israel

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FDA Proposal Would Let Gay Men Give Blood If They Give Up Sex

Categories: Health

Courtesy of Banned4Life
Blake Lynch and Brett Donnelly are healthy, HIV-negative partners in a monogamous relationship. They still won't be able to donate blood under the proposed one-year deferral plan.

Gay men haven't been allowed to donate blood since the AIDS outbreak of the mid-1980s. Then thought to be an exclusively gay disease, AIDS is still more prevalent among men who have sex with other men than any other demographic. But now that advances in testing have essentially eliminated the risk of infection via blood transfusions, blood banks and gay rights advocates say it's high time the Food and Drug Administration lift the lifetime ban on men who have ever had gay sex.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed letting gay men donate blood -- as long as they haven't had sex with other men within a year of doing so.

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Ramsey County Eliminates Day Treatment Centers for Mentally Ill Sex Offenders

Categories: Crime, Health

Photo by Susan Du
ABC Mental Health Therapy's Dane Jorento and Janet Martin fear their patients won't have the option of group therapy under Ramsey County's new plan for sexual offender rehabilitation.

Denied key government contracts, all nonprofit day treatment centers for mentally ill sexual offenders in Ramsey County are doomed to disappear by the end of the year. ABC Mental Health Therapy, which has treated this specific population for nine years, plans to close its doors on Friday.

ABC's 15 remaining patients -- those who have not already walked out -- will have to seek treatment elsewhere in a community of dwindling options. The center's team of eight mental health social workers and interns will lose their jobs.

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E-Cigarettes Now More Popular Than Cigarettes Among MN Teens

Jonny Williams via Creative Commons
E-cigs are exploding in popularity among teens

In the midst of a historic decline in teen tobacco use, e-cigarettes surpassed cigarettes in popularity among Minnesota teens.

A recently released state Department of Health survey celebrated the largest ever drop in tobacco use by middle and high school students, but warned against e-cigarettes' explosion in popularity because of nicotine's harmful effects on the adolescent brain.

See also: E-cigarette shop owner compares vaping to farting

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