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Health Highlights, Nov. 16, 2020

healthcare news

Below are newsworthy items compiled by the HealthDay staff:


School Messages About Children's Weight Ineffective

School messages sent home to parents about their children's weight are ineffective, researchers say.

About 40% of American children live in states where schools regularly send parents messages about student weight measurements taken at school, CNN reported.

But those messages aren't well received by parents or children and do not help control children's weight, according to the three-year study of nearly 29,000 grade 3-7 students in California.

It was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"This was a pretty convincing study," Dr. Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of pediatrics, University of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, told CNN. She was not involved in the research.

"Based on these results, schools and state departments of education should seriously consider whether BMI measurement in schools should stop altogether," Radesky suggested.

"Parents who feel their child has responded negatively to a report card BMI should advocate directly with their schools," she advised.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Isolates After COVID Exposure

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is isolating after possible exposure to the new coronavirus.

Johnson "is well and does not have any symptoms of COVID-19," and will continue working from Downing Street, according to a statement from his office, the Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, the National Health Service's Test and Trace system told Johnson that he'd been in contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus. That occurred at a meeting with a small group of lawmakers on Thursday.

Johnson was told he should self-isolate due to the length of the meeting and other factors, the AP reported.

This is not Johnson's first brush with COVID-19: He was infected last April and spent three days in intensive care in the hospital.


Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Could Cut Transmission by Half: Company Executive

BioNTech and Pfizer's experimental coronavirus vaccine could cut transmission of the virus in half, leading to a "dramatic" curb of its spread, according to a company executive.

"I'm very confident that transmission between people will be reduced by such a highly effective vaccine -- maybe not 90% but maybe 50%," said Ugur Sahin, chief executive of Germany's BioNTech, the Associated Press reported.

Last week, the companies claimed the vaccine was 90% effective in protecting people from the new coronavirus.

"If everything continues to go well, we will start to deliver the vaccine end of this year, beginning next year," Sahin said. "Our goal is to deliver more than 300 million of vaccine doses until April next year, which could allow us to already start to make an impact."

Researchers are gathering more information on safety and manufacturing quality of the vaccine, the AP reported.

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