5 Ways to Help Babies Arrive Healthy

Pregnancy TipsGetting routine dental care is one action pregnant women can take to improve the chances that their infant will be born healthy, Merrilee Gober writes in Georgia Health News. She cites findings by Aetna that among one group of patients the preterm-birth rate was 42 percent higher and the low-birth-weight rate was 33 percent higher for babies of women who did not receive dental treatment during pregnancy compared with babies of women who did. Gober notes that among U.S. states, Georgia has high rates of both infant mortality and low birth weight. Premature and low birth weight babies are also more likely to face other challenges later in life. “They are at higher risk of lifelong conditions such as asthma and high blood pressure,” she writes. “They are also at greater risk of having lower IQs, attaining less education and earning less than their peers.” Gober has both nursing and law degrees and is a board member of the Medical Association of Georgia Alliance and the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia. She offers four other suggestions for improving babies’ chances: maternal influenza vaccinations, Tdap vaccines early in the third trimester, more help to quit smoking and stepped-up efforts to encourage breastfeeding.

Are Americans ‘Clueless’ About Obesity?

Americans and obesityJust 50 percent of patients with obesity perceive themselves as obese, and only 54 percent think weight could affect a person’s health “a lot” or an “extreme amount,” according to a survey called ACTION — Awareness Care and Treatment in Obesity Management. What’s more, Melissa Healy reports in the Los Angeles Times, as many as 20 percent of physicians surveyed do not believe obesity is a disease and “only 72 percent say they have a responsibility to actively contribute to their patients’ weight loss.” Among obese patients who had spoken to their doctors about their weight in the previous six months, a mere 26 percent had committed to a weight-loss plan. Healy asserts that “the new poll paints a picture of obese adults who are clueless or feel utterly on their own when it comes to losing weight.”