Brainstorm Health Daily: October 11, 2017

By Sy Mukherjee and Clifton Leaf
October 11, 2017

Greetings, readers! This is Sy.

A new study published by World Health Organization (WHO) scientists and other researchers in the journal the Lancet makes clear the stark reality of America’s obesity epidemic and the toll it’s taken among young people over the past 40 years (there are 10 times more obese children and teenagers in the world today compared to 1975).

In short, researchers found that child and teen obesity rates have skyrocketed in the U.S. and other high-income nations (and are also becoming major concern in low- and middle-income countries). But America’s numbers are a particular cause for concern despite a recent leveling off in the childhood obesity rate, according to the researchers. And that has broad implications throughout the U.S. health sector.

“Prevalence of obesity was about 20% or more in several countries in Polynesia and Micronesia, the Middle East and north Africa, the Caribbean, and the USA,” wrote the study authors. The research suggests just under 20% of U.S. girls and more than 23% of U.S. boys are obese. That puts the USA at “the highest obesity rates for girls and boys.”

There are more than 120 million obese children and young adults across the globe. What’s particularly troubling about this figure is that obesity early on in life often corresponds to obesity later in life—and the multitude of health complications like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes which can accompany it.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

A digital, app-connected fertility test. Procter & Gamble subsidiary Swiss Precision Diagnostics is out with a new version of its “Clearblue” fertility test. This time, the device will be able to connect to a specific digital app via Bluetooth. “What this new product does is it combines the accuracy of an ovulation test, where we’re over 99 percent accurate, with the app features, which we know women like,” Dr. Fiona Clancy of Swiss Precision Diagnostics told MobiHealthNews. (MobiHealthNews)


INDICATIONS

The big guns are coming for Allergan and its controversial Native patent deal. Generic drug makers and health care lobbying giants are lining up to fight biopharma titan Allergan over the company’s controversial patent deal with a Native American tribe. The Botox maker sold off certain patents on a key drug in an unorthodox deal to protect intellectual property by using Native sovereign rights claims to dismiss certain challenges; the move has already drawn the ire of Congressional committees. And now, groups that include industry trade powerhouses like America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Hospital Association, and BlueCross BlueShield Association (among others) are requesting federal action to stop these kinds of arrangements. (FiercePharma)


THE BIG PICTURE

Expected Trump executive order on Obamacare could hobble insurance markets. President Trump is expected to sign an executive order later this week that could potentially lower premiums for some healthy (and likely young) people buying individual insurance through the health law’s marketplaces. But the so-called “association health plans” rule could allow people to opt into skimpy insurance plans—a move that, in effect, would siphon healthier, less-medically-expensive people away from Obamacare’s markets and thus raise prices for both consumers and insurers in the latter. (Washington Examiner)


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