General Health

Daily Dose: 11/14/2012

Physicians’ Biases Revealed: There have been past studies showing that the general population tends to assume negative things about overweight people, but one might assume that doctors would be more objective towards their overweight patients. In a recent study, both male and female doctors were found to be biased, though females were slightly less so. The only group of physicians who are not biased against overweight patients? Those who are overweight themselves. The study did not determine whether or not this bias can lead to less effective patient care, but it is possible that doctors may use derogatory language against their overweight patients, may blame serious medical problems on weight alone, and might even deny overweight patients certain medical procedures.

Number of Premie Babies in the U.S. Declining: A baby is considered premature if it is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. The March of Dimes, a non-profit organization that was originally created to fight polio, now focuses on preventing premature births, and according to its most recent report, it’s succeeding in this mission. For the past five consecutive years, the rate of babies who are born early has been declining, with 2011’s rate the lowest in a decade. The March of Dimes attributes this decline to the policies enacted by health officials in 48 states, who have undertaken their own efforts to lower early birth rates. Babies born early can suffer from many different health problems, many of which can be very expensive. By lowering the number of premature babies, we can save not only lives, but also $3 billion in health care costs.