“Quick & Healthy” offers some highlights from the world of health and wellness that you may have missed this week:
- Over two-thirds of public water has fluoride added to it, pursuant to federal recommendations designed to prevent cavities. For over 50 years, the Department of Health and Human Services has advised that tap water contain between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter. Just this Monday, it revised its recommendations to cap the amount at 0.7 milligrams, as a response to a surge in fluorosis, a staining of the teeth caused by too much fluroide, which studies show is on the rise among American adolescents.
- Testing for HIV is potentially about to become a whole lot easier. The first instant HIV self-test went on sale in England, Scotland, and Wales this week. (Laws in Northern Ireland currently prevent the sale of the self-test kits.) The test screens for levels of antibodies in blood and will allow people to screen themselves at home, without going to a lab or a clinic, and get results within 15 minutes.
- It’s true. TV is making kids fat. A new study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education shows a stark link between sitting in front of the boob tube for hours on end and childhood obesity. Specifically, a kindergartner who watches an hour or more of television a day is 72 percent more likely to become obese. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children consume no more than two hours a day, but apparently even that might tip the scales.
- Although it is not yet ready for the market, a new malaria vaccine — the first of its kind — is showing promise in early tests. The vaccine’s efficacy in the long-term fight against the disease is not 100 percent yet, but leading pharmaceutical companies have thus far been able to cure the elusive disease, and this is a promising development.
Photo: Christina Spicuzza via Flickr