Some say, however, that the plan's real aim was shifting what could be extensive lobbying and debate over covered benefits away from the White House and into the statehouses.
Obama has taken all the grief he can stand over health care," Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan, told Bloomberg news. "He doesn't want it to give the Republicans any more political ammunition. He is passing the hot potato to the states."
Obesity Epidemic's Roots: When folks talk about tracing today's obesity epidemic to the 1950s, most of us begin by thinking of the typical culprits-fast food, convenience food, microwaves, automobiles. 'Pregnant women' is likely low on that list. Yet the mothers-to-be of the 1950s could be at the root of today's high obesity rate in the U.S., according to fitness and nutrition expert Melinda Sothern.
The idea that obesity is 'programmed' in the womb is one that's been gaining scientific traction lately. Sothern, 51, believes obesity rates in America began soaring when they did-around the 1980s-because a generation of young mothers smoked, eschewed breast feeding and restricted weight gain during pregnancy, all of which can contribute to higher-weight kids (who turn into higher-weight adults). As the Los Angeles Times notes:
Women in the 1950s and 1960s - think Betty Draper on the hit TV show "Mad Men" - were generally advised to restrict weight gain in pregnancy to as little as 10 pounds. Inadequate nutrition in some of these women could easily have programmed their babies to catch up on growth during infancy - and studies suggest such growth spurts increase the risk of later obesity.
In 1963, the average 10-year-old boy weighed 74 pounds and the average 10-year-old girl 77 pounds-compared with 85 pounds and 88 pounds in 2002. "It is stunning, looking at pictures of kids in the '50s," says Dr. Matthew Gillman, a nutrition professor at Harvard. "They look scrawny."
Monday Quick Hits:
- Life goes on, and on, and ...How long before "110 is the new 100?" And is this a good thing or a bad thing?
- Dr. Fred Goldman, who turned 100 years old Dec. 12, still sees patients three days a week in his downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, office. "I would not dream of advising him to retire," said a colleague.
- Nine tips for frugal spending in retirement.
- Fitness champion and author Bonnie Prudden, one of the first exercise instructors with a regular presence on national television, has died; she was 97.
- The sinus-flushing neti-pot has been linked to two deaths by brain-eating amoeba.
- And a senior flash mob in Kansas takes to Target, performs a choreographed dance routine to the 'Glee' version of 'Last Christmas' for shopping onlookers.
Photo: Gary S. Chapman/Getty Images