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February 10, 2016

Posts in "Consumer Affairs"

February 20, 2015

Dietary Guidelines Target Sugar and Meat

A federal dietary policy advisory committee on Thursday announced recommendations that “seek a paradigm shift to an environment in which population health is a national priority.” The panel’s recommendations are included in Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2015, which updates recommendations offered in 2010. The new guidelines stress a need for a cultural change for individuals and communities toward healthier lifestyle choices. The release of the new recommendations kicks off a 45-day comment period, where the food industry, agriculture groups, and public health advocates will weigh in.

The report offers Americans a specific target for change: sugar. The committee says that sugar-sweetened beverages should be replaced with healthier options like water and not drinks with low-calorie sweeteners. However, the report spares coffee and alcoholic drinks and even suggests some benefits from including coffee and alcohol in a dietary program.

The report also adds to earlier guidelines and urges continuing the dietary shift from meat-heavy meals to more plant-based foods to improve health and the environment. The report does not call for the end of meat in U.S. diets, adding, “that no food groups need to be eliminated completely to improve sustainability outcomes over the current status.” But the committee defined a healthy diet as one “lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.”

October 2, 2014

Physician Disclosure Website Woes and Unique Origins

Researchers this week are plowing through the details of a new website database that documents the financial relationships between the health care industry and physicians. However, Pro-Publica on Wednesday found the website cumbersome and slow.

Complaints about the website recalls the failed Oct. 1, 2013, launch of the federal health insurance exchange site — Both websites have a common origin, the 2010 Affordable Care Act, but notably different original congressional supporters. CQ HealthBeat’s (@CQHealthTweet) Kerry Young reported that Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley inserted the requirement for a database for physician financial link disclosures into the health care overhaul law. Grassley started a campaign for the public disclosure database in 2007. It is a rare provision of the health law that was directly authored by a Republican.





August 12, 2014

Senator Targets a Fitness Monitoring Device

A bracelet monitoring device, FitBit, used to track individual fitness health information is the current privacy target of Senator Charles E. Schumer.  The device provides feedback on location and basic individual health statistics to assist a fitness regimen.

The New York Democrat insists the information is private health data and is seeking Federal Trade Commission action to force the manufacturer to offer an “opt-out” option on the sale of the health and fitness data to third parties. Schumer issued his call for regulatory action in a recent statement and New York television appearance.

The bracelet manufacturer’s privacy policy says that its data will not be sold to third parties.

Last year, an FTC staff report recommended privacy guidelines for mobile health application providers, which would allow for user selection of the types of information that can be shared.

July 31, 2014

Congress Presses FDA on Sunscreen; Surgeon General Warns on Skin Cancer

The House earlier this week quietly passed by voice vote a bill that would streamline the Food and Drug Administration application process for sunscreen ingredients. The measure sets a specific timetable to review applications.

Full story

July 24, 2014

Medical Credit Card Industry Sized Up by GAO

A group of congressional Democrats last year requested a Government Accountability Office report on companies offering “third party consumer financial products” through medical credit cards and installment loans to cover selected health procedures not normally covered by insurance.

Full story

By Paul Jenks Posted at 10:10 a.m.
Consumer Affairs

July 23, 2014

Democrats Press for E-Cigarette Regulations

New E-Cigarette Regulations Go Into Effect In New York City And Chicago

Kyle Stamm of New York smokes an e-cigarette at Henley Vaporium on April 29 in New York City. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A group of senators has ramped up concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes.

CQ Roll Call’s Melissa Attias reports that the Democrats, who previously focused on the children’s health concerns related to e-cigarette flavorings, are now focusing on new legislation that seeks to target the packaging containing the liquid that fuels e-cigarettes.

Full story

FDA Chief In India Departs

CQ HealthBeat’s Kerry Young reports on the departure of the Food and Drug Administration’s India office chief, Altaf Lal.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Today’s Spotlight: House Health Bill Markup

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today begins a markup session on a batch of bills that would renew targeted health programs.

Full story

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