Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 20112011-Oct-12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. May Weaken Proposed Junk Food Marketing Guidelines
Allowing colorful cartoon characters to remain on cereal boxes is just one of the concessions likely to be made by U.S. government officials as they develop voluntary industry guidelines to limit junk food marketing to children in an effort to halt rising child obesity rates.
Proposed guidelines released earlier this year listed maximum levels of fat, sugars and sodium and asked food companies not to market foods that exceeded those levels to children ages 2 to 17, the Associated Press reported.
The guidelines would apply to a variety of areas, including ads in stores and on television and the Internet. Food packaging and store displays were also included in the guidelines but have been removed, government officials said at a House hearing Wednesday.
That decision comes after aggressive food industry lobbying against the proposed voluntary guidelines. The industry, which has the support of House Republicans, says the voluntary guidelines are too broad and would limit marketing of many of the nation's favorite foods, the AP reported.
While the proposed guidelines are voluntary, food companies say they're worried the government will take action against them if they don't cooperate.
The coalition of government agencies drafting the guidelines are "in the midst of making significant revisions" to the original version, David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said at Wednesday's hearing.
He said possible changes include focusing on children ages 2 to 11 instead of up to age 17, allowing marketing of unhealthier foods at sporting events and fundraisers, and not requesting companies to change the packaging or remove brand characters from food products that don't meet the nutrition standards, the AP reported.
B.O.B. Jogging Strollers Recalled
A potential choking threat has led to the recall of hundreds of thousands of B.O.B. jogging strollers in the United States and Canada.
The backing on an embroidered logo patch on the stroller's canopy can come loose and end up in children's mouths, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Associated Press reported.
Boise, Ohio-based B.O.B. has received six reports of children mouthing a detached patch backing, including two cases of choking and gagging.
The recall covers more than 411,000 single and double jogging strollers in the U.S. and 27,000 in Canada that were sold between November 1998 and October 2011, the AP reported.
Parents should remove the embroidery backing patch before they use the stroller, the CPSC said. For more information, go to the company's website at www.bobnotices.com.
Global TB Cases Decline for First Time: WHO
The number of people with tuberculosis has fallen for the first time, according to a World Health Organization report released Tuesday.
The U.N. health agency said there were 8.8 million reported cases of TB last year, compared with a peak of 9 million in 2005. But WHO also noted that about one-third of TB cases worldwide are likely not reported, the Associated Press reported.
Increased availability of medical treatment for TB is part of the reason for the decline in reported cases, according to the agency.
WHO also said fewer people are dying of the disease and the TB death rate is expected to fall by half by 2015, except in Africa, the AP reported.
Ground Beef Recalled Due to E. Coli Concerns
Possible E. coli contamination has prompted the recall of more than 375,000 pounds of ground beef products from Commercial Meat Co. of Los Angeles.
The products, which were shipped to restaurants in California and Nevada, have the number "EST.4873" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection. The products were produced between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6, the Associated Press reported.
USDA officials said that routine monitoring confirmed a positive test for E. coli in the ground beef products. There have not been any reported illnesses.
E. coli can cause diarrhea, dehydration and, in severe cases, kidney failure, the AP reported.
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