We also worry about the rising cost of becoming ill, wonder who to trust, and try to understand how our environment impacts the health of our families. Here's a look at some big topics in health that we weren't thinking much about ten years ago:
Importance of Vitamin DWe've known for a long time that Vitamin D is important for absorption of calcium, so it's been added to milk and calcium supplements for years. But now there's a growing body of research suggesting that vitamin D levels may in fact be correlated with many other health concerns.
Healthcare ReformThe costs of healthcare and health insurance have been escalating for quite some time, and the effects of illness can be devastating to a family's financial well-being. The costs of care are sending many people into bankruptcy because they just can't afford the huge bills left unpaid by insurance. But the ongoing healthcare reform debate in the United States is controversial, with people choosing sides politically and philosophically. We've tried for healthcare reform in the past and failed -- it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Potential Dangers of Over-The-Counter Cold MedicationsIt's difficult for any parent to watch a very young child suffer with a cold, so we want to give them over-the-counter cold medications to soothe their discomfort. Unfortunately, in recent years there were some concerns about the safety of giving these medications to children under two years of age, so the FDA recalled products marketed for babies. So what does this mean for parents? Will they use cold medicines formulated for adults, switch to home remedies, or just wait out the symptoms?
The FDA's ReputationThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration took some serious blows to it's reputation in the last decade. Some Americans questioned the FDA's ability to handle outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella and e. coli, which were in the news frequently. We also lost confidence in the FDA when we learned about the Vioxx and Celebrex drug company scandals. The FDA plans to gain back that trust, but will they?
Integrative MedicineThere are many choices for the treatment and prevention of health problems, and over the last decade people have become more interested in alternative and complementary approaches to healthcare. Integrative medicine can be found at major universities, such as Harvard, and many cancer treatment facilities. Integrative medicine combines conventional care with alternative and complementary approaches, such as chiropractic medicine, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, and therapeutic nutrition.
Smoking Bans and Secondhand SmokeEvery year, more cities and states ban smoking in restaurants and bars due to concerns about the effects of secondhand smoke on the health of both workers and non-smoking patrons. These bans are controversial, as many smokers feel their rights are being violated, and bar and restaurant owners fear loss of business. But many non-smokers celebrate their ability to breathe clean air in a public place.
Trans FatsMany years ago, we learned that saturated fats were bad for our arteries, so we traded in our butter for margarine made from polyunsaturated fats that were good for us. The problem was that polyunsaturated fats are liquid and don't spread very well on toast, so food companies partially hydrogenated the oils to give them a semi-solid texture. Unfortunately,we found out that the process turns healthy polyunsaturated fats into trans fats, which are probably worse for our health than saturated fats.
Going Green For Your HealthIn recent years, the health of the environment has taken on new importance for many of us. Not only does being good to the environment help the earth, but getting rid of toxic chemicals and choosing more healthful, organic foods may also prove beneficial to our own health. For the world as a whole, going green can mean a healthier environment and a better place for all of us to live.
Organic and Super FoodsA decade ago, most organic foods were found only in small health food stores and co-ops. Today you'll find organic foods in almost every grocery store, and there are a number of grocery store chains that feature organic products and even superfoods that are naturally nutrient dense, high in antioxidants, may contain healthful fats, or be low in calories.
The New York Times Company.