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expert-perspectives

The Minnesota State Fair: Where food, fun and exercise (yes, exercise) collide!

Photo: yuan2003/cc 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/6XphxL

The Minnesota State Fair is off and running, bringing with it the symbolic end to summer and the beginning of fall and the school year. The Minnesota State Fair is best known for its shows, rides, livestock and other animals, family fun and of course – the food!

From corn dogs, cheese curds, cookies and basically anything you could possibly imagine deep-fried and/or on a stick, the Minnesota State Fair has something for everyone to enjoy.

Now, at Health Talk, we won’t try to lecture you as to what foods you should and should not eat at the State Fair because we know, honestly, that it wouldn’t be realistic. The old adage, “everything in moderation” still applies, but we can offer you some small and simple ways you can still splurge a little on your culinary favorites AND get some exercise while you’re at it.

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expert-perspectives

Back to school: Getting kids back on a normal sleep schedule

Editor’s note: This post was developed by Michael Howell, M.D., a University of Minnesota neurologist and sleep expert.

It’s that time of year again. From preschoolers to the one-year-to-go high school seniors, students across Minnesota need to adjust their schedules after a summer of flexible sleep times.

This is particularly challenging for teenagers whose body clocks are naturally inclined to run later and due to the long summer days of late sunlight exposure.  This combination creates a delay in a child’s circadian rhythm leading to anxious nights of being unable to sleep followed by impaired, groggy mornings.

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expert-perspectives

Breastfeeding at Work: Challenges and Opportunities for Minnesota’s Mothers

Photo: ECohen/CC 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/22suSL

Editor’s note: This post was developed by Alexis Russell, M.P.H., a 2015 graduate of the Public Health Administration and Policy Program, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D., M.P.A., associate professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

August is National Breastfeeding Month. It’s also the “Back-to-school” time of year, when students and teachers prepare for the upcoming school year. It’s a time of great excitement, but, it’s also a particularly challenging time for teachers who also happen to be mothers who are breastfeeding.

In 2011, fewer than 1 in 4 Minnesota infants were breastfed to the recommended length of time. Employed mothers are one subgroup of women that struggle to meet recommendations for breastfeeding, due in part to barriers they experience as part of their day-to-day schedules and obligations at work.

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expert-perspectives

Coming to a beach near you: The ‘dad bod’

Photo: Don Johnson 395/cc 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/5xw4JX

Sometimes it’s hard to fathom how or why some trends ever gain momentum or become popular. The selfie stick? Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge? #YOLO?

Now, a new body image trend known as the ‘dad bod’ is making its way around the Internet and social media. What makes up this unique physical trait?

According to this MSN article, the dad bod is “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” And while this trend seems relatively harmless and all in good fun, a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine found 67.6 million American adults aged 25 and older are obese and an additional 65.2 million are overweight.

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expert-perspectives

UMN expert: Cancer screenings are best tool we have to lower cancer deaths

Photo: Stephen Dickter/CC 2.0/https://flic.kr/p/6qW8Qh

According to the American Cancer Society, more than one million people in the United States get cancer each year. Furthermore, two in three people diagnosed with cancer survive at least five years, due in large part to early detection through cancer screening.

Cancer screenings are the best tool we have right now to lower the rates of death from cancer says Timothy Church, Ph.D., professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Church is also currently a member of the American Cancer Society’s Guideline Development Group.

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What are the implications of King vs. Burwell?

Photo credit: Kaiser Health News

Note: This post was written by Jean Abraham, Ph.D., and Lynn Blewett, Ph.D.

On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of King vs. Burwell. The Supreme Court’s decision on this case will have significant implications for the capacity of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reduce the number of uninsured persons in the United States. In this brief we provide an overview of the potential impact of this case on the implementation of the ACA.

Background: The ACA’s Coverage Expansion Mechanisms

The ACA expanded access to health insurance coverage through two primary mechanisms. The first mechanism is an expansion of the Medicaid program through the extension of eligibility to individuals with modified adjusted gross income up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (approximately $33,465 for a family of four). The primary beneficiaries of this expansion are low-income childless adults, as Medicaid eligibility for adults historically has been tied to parental status except at the lowest income levels. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether or not to expand Medicaid, and 30 states, including the District of Columbia, have done so to date.

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