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Health Highlights: July 16, 2015

Weight Disqualifies 1 in 3 Young Adults From U.S. Military 2nd Death Confirmed in Resurgent Ebola Outbreak in Liberia Birth Control Coverage Rule Not a Burden on Religion: Appeals Court

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Weight Disqualifies 1 in 3 Young Adults From U.S. Military

One-third of young adults in the United States are too fat to be in the military, according to a report from a group of retired military leaders.

The document was released Wednesday by Mission: Readiness (Military Leaders for Kids), a nonprofit, non-partisan group that is promoting healthy school lunches as a way to tackle the problem of obesity among young Americans, the Associated Press reported.

Obesity is one of the main reasons why people ages 17 to 24 are deemed ineligible for the military. Other reasons include too little education, drug use or a criminal history.

"We think a more healthy lifestyle over the long term will have significant impacts on both the military posture -- those available to get into the military -- and across our society as a whole from a medical perspective," retired Brigadier Gen. John Schmader told the AP.

Since 2002, there has been a 61 percent rise in obesity among the U.S. military's active duty forces, resulting in higher costs for obesity-related health care and replacement of unfit personnel, according to the report.


2nd Death Confirmed in Resurgent Ebola Outbreak in Liberia

A second Ebola death has been confirmed in Liberia as the country grapples with a resurgence of the infectious disease.

Ebola killed more than 4,800 people in Liberia before the West African nation contained transmission of the disease in May. The two recent deaths are among a number of new cases since then, the Associated Press reported.

The recent victims were a woman in her early 20s who died July and a 17-year-old boy who died last month. Genetic tests showed that the virus that killed the teen boy is similar to viruses that infected many people in the same area more than six months ago, according to the World Health Organization.

The female victim was linked to the teen boy, Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah told the AP, and added that three other confirmed cases are being treated in the capital city Monrovia.

Nyenswah also said that some of the more than 120 people under observation in Nedowein, southeast of Monrovia, could be released after completing 21 days of quarantine with no signs of infection.

Liberia is "in control of the outbreak" because it took early action to monitor contacts between infected people and others and to isolate those who are sick, Nyenswah told the AP.

The Ebola outbreak has claimed more than 11,200 lives, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.


Birth Control Coverage Rule Not a Burden on Religion: Appeals Court

The Affordable Care Act's requirement for insurers to provide birth control coverage isn't a burden on religion, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

In rejecting the challenge by an order of Roman Catholic nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver said the nuns could opt out of the contraceptive requirement under an "accommodation" offered to nonprofit religious groups by the Obama administration, The New York Times reported.

The court disagreed with the nuns' argument that the requirement placed a "substantial burden" on their free exercise of religion and was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Similar decisions upholding the accommodation have been issued by four other federal appeals courts, The Times reported.

Opting out of birth control coverage is a routine administrative task that is "as easy as obtaining a parade permit, filing a simple tax form or registering to vote," Judge Scott M. Matheson Jr. said in Tuesday's ruling.

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