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Features Health & Wellness

If the war against childhood obesity was a race, America would still be at the starting line.

Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. About one out of every three children or teens is overweight or at risk of being overweight. Because children’s bodies are still developing, the damage to organs triggers medical problems extending throughout their lifetimes, according to a report issued by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act President Obama signed on March 23, 2010, set in motion a wide range of healthcare reforms. Although many of its more sweeping changes won’t be fully activated until 2014, several key elements already went live in September 2010.

If you have employer-provided health insurance that runs on a calendar year, this means those new features finally kicked in on Jan. 1, 2011. If you have individual coverage, you may have already seen the changes; if your plan’s fiscal year starts later, you may have to wait awhile longer. Here are a few noteworthy changes:


North Carolina seniors have been early beneficiaries of one of the lowest-cost Medicare supplement insurance policies available anywhere. When State Mutual Insurance Company received approval from a number of state insurance commissions late in 2010 for its new low cost product, North Carolina immediately updated its Senior Health Insurance Information website, (www.ncdoi.com/medisupp/citizen/search/asp) with the information. As a result, North Carolina seniors were the first to have information about this new low cost insurance.

“We had this product developed and submitted for approval in about half of the 50 states,” said Dee Yancey III, president and CEO of State Mutual Insurance Company. “While it’s approved in a number of other places, North Carolina went ahead before we had been able to start advertising it and put the information on its Senior Health Insurance Information website,” he said.


A day at the beauty salon started out like most hair appointments for Ruth Lyons. Her stylist rolled Lyons’ hair up, while they exchanged conversation. Then, it was off to the dryer for a few minutes. What happened next would change everything.

“After my hair dried, I got up and walked to the stylist’s chair to have the curlers removed. The chair broke and so did my femur,” said the 78-year-old Lyons. “I couldn’t even move.”


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