Health Replay: Black Women, Step Away From the Burgers … and More

The week in health

Why are so many of us overweight or obese? Blame it on our eating habits. A new study says scarfing down fast food burgers twice a week may make black women 25 percent more likely to be obese. And gulping two sugary drinks each day raises our obesity risk by 10 percent.

African Americans are the least likely to receive preventive dental care in this country, says a recent report. Only 57 percent of us have our teeth cleaned annually compared to 77 percent of Asian Americans and 62 percent of Latinos. Researchers say lack of insurance, poverty and few culturally competent dentists in black communities are to blame for the disparity.

Yes, you can eat chicken, but you’ll need to use care. Consumer Reports scared folks this week by reporting that 97 percent of raw chicken breasts in grocery stores contain some kind of bacteria that could make you sick; 11 percent carry salmonella. You can still eat chicken, however. You’ll just need to use care. Keep raw chicken away from other food, make sure you cook it until it reaches 165 degrees and scrub everything clean after you’ve prepared it. What not to do: Don’t wash chicken before you cook it; that actually spreads germs.

HHS Will Allow ‘Unbanked’ People To Use Prepaid Debit Cards On Exchanges

Rates of violence against women around the world are much higher than reported, according to a new study. Of the 93,000 assaults and rapes recorded in this report, a paltry 7 percent were reported to authorities and only 37 percent of victims told friends or family. “Our results confirm that the vast majority of women who have experienced [gender-based violence] remain uncounted,” study leader Tia Palermo, assistant professor in public health and the department of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York, said in a release.

A new study confirms what we already know: Most Americans—more than 90 percent—consumed far too much sodium on a daily basis. Even the majority of children, including those as young as age 1, are getting too much sodium. The high levels of sodium are putting more Americans at risk for high blood pressure. The study’s authors estimate that about eight of every 10 children aged 1 to 3, and nine out of 10 people aged 4 and older are at risk for high blood pressure based on their current consumption of sodium. Typically, we’re not shaking too much salt at the dinner table. The bulk of sodium in our diets comes from processed foods and restaurant meals.

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