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The CDC ranks Alabama as the 2nd heaviest state with 30.3 % of the population having a BMI of over 30. The state has decided to give state employees a lose weight or pay ultimatum. The state employees (~40,000) have a year to lose weight or start paying $25 a month toward their usually free plan. The Alabama program will go by the body mass index chart — anyone with a BMI over 35 will be charged. 

Alabama, which already charges smokers, will be the first state to charge overweight state workers who don’t work on slimming down, while a handful of other states reward employees who adopt healthy behaviors. The State Employees’ Insurance Board this week approved the plan to charge state workers starting in January 2010 if they don’t have free health screenings.

If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program, or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won’t be charged. But if they don’t, they must pay starting in January 2011.

William Ashmore, executive director of the State Employees’ Insurance Board, said research shows someone with a body mass index of 35 to 39 generates $1,748 more in annual medical expenses than someone with a BMI less than 25, considered normal.

“It’s terrible,” said health department employee Chequla Motley. “Some people come into this world big.”

“The state will feel good about itself for offering something and the person of size will end up paying $300 a year for the bad luck of having a chronic disease his/her state-sponsored insurance program failed to cover in an appropriate and meaningful fashion,” said Walter Lindstrom, founder of the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center in California.

Computer technician Tim Colley already pays $24 a month for being a smoker and doesn’t like the idea of another charge.  “It’s too Big Brotherish,” he said.

E-K. Daufin of Montgomery, a college professor and founder of Love Your Body, Love Yourself, which holds body acceptance workshops, said the new policy will be stressful for people like her. “I’m big and beautiful and doing my best to keep my stress levels down so I can stay healthy. That’s big, not lazy, not a glutton and certainly not deserving of the pompous, poisonous disrespect served up daily to those of us with more bounce to the ounce.”

The major problem I have with this idea stems from a recent study that showed that ~70% of “obese” people and about ~24% of “normal” weight people have health conditions that were commonly associated with obesity. Weight serves as an indicator of health but it does not appear to be the best indicator of health. Since they screen everyone, simply charging those with health abnormalities might be the fair way to approach this issue. 

It should be interesting to see how this ends up.

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With the latest cases reported as of July 14 according to the latest figures posted on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide toll from Salmonella Saintpaul now stands at 1,167 people in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2 persons), Arkansas (14), Arizona (54), California (9), Colorado (15), Connecticut (4), Florida (2), Georgia (28), Idaho (6), Illinois (104), Indiana (16), Iowa (2), Kansas (18), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Maryland (32), Massachusetts (26), Michigan (21), Minnesota (19), Mississippi (2), Missouri (17), New Hampshire (4), Nevada (11), New Jersey (12), New Mexico (102), New York (32), North Carolina (22), Ohio (10), Oklahoma (25), Oregon (10), Pennsylvania (12), Rhode Island (3), South Carolina (2), Tennessee (8), Texas (449), Utah (2), Virginia (31),Vermont (2), Washington (17), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (13), and the District of Columbia (1). Four ill persons are reported from Canada; all four appear to have been infected while traveling in the United States.

An initial investigation of the outbreak, in New Mexico and Texas, suggested raw tomatoes as the likely source of the contamination. But a larger, nationwide study comparing persons who fell ill in June found that those who were sickened were likely to have recently consumed raw tomatoes, fresh jalapeno, serrano peppers, and fresh cilantro.

The source of the outbreak shrouded in mystery, one could easily fall into the panic mode the media promotes. Statistically the chances of getting infected (even with these new cases) remains slim.  I for one am not going to avoid these foods (I love all 4 of them). I choose to simply wash and more importantly cook them to avoid any of the problems. Let’s not freak out… Stay smart either avoid the foods or cook them and remember even if you do eat them raw, your chances are still slim. 

 

7/14/08 – 4.1 miles in 36:00

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The King of Beers will now be answering to InBev. After months of stern resistance, Anheuser-Busch voted to accept InBev’s $52 billion bid. InBev, a Belgian company known for making Beck’s, Bass, Stella Artois, Hoogarden, and Leffe (just to name a few) has now combined with the American brewery to make the largest in the world. Anheuser-Busch has controlled more than 48 percent of American market share with brands that include Bud Light, we will see how sales in the US are affected by this acquisition. 

The concept of the iconic ‘American’ brewery falling into foreign hands sparked fire into the public and politicians. Unfortunately the fire could not be quenched as large shareholders wanting quick cash resulted in the takeover. 

InBev has a reputation for cost-cutting yet promised to keep all Anheuser-Busch breweries open. There has been no promise as to Anheuser-Busch employee job security. There has been talk indicating the selling of non-core assets, which would probably include theme parks (Sea World and Busch Gardens). 

It should be interesting to see how other American beer companies will respond to this takeover. I’m sure in the coming weeks we will see more ‘patriotic’ WE ARE AMERICAN ads from the likes of Sam Adams or other all-american breweries. 

7/12/08 – 4.1 miles in 35:32

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