Health Highlights: June 4, 2012

New Asthma Action Plan for Minorities in U.S. Exercise May Boost Heart Risk for Some: Study FDA Denies Name Change for High Fructose Corn Syrup

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

New Asthma Action Plan for Minorities in U.S.

A federal action plan to improve asthma care and prevention in racial and ethnic minorities in the United States was announced Thursday.

Asthma affects nearly 26 million Americans, especially minority children and children in poor families. For example, asthma affects 16.5 percent of Puerto Rican children and 16 percent of black children, more than double the rate among white children, according to an Environmental Protection Agency news release.

"The report is a blueprint for how we can work together to reduce asthma disparities and help ensure children with asthma get the right care with the right support," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the news release.

"One key factor that is so critical to controlling a child's asthma is access to health care. Uninsured people with asthma are less likely to take the preventive medicine they may need to keep their condition under control, making them more likely to suffer an attack. That's why we are focused on expanding access to care," she said.


Exercise May Boost Heart Risk for Some: Study

Exercise may actually be bad for some healthy people, new research suggests.

A group of experts analyzed data from six exercise studies involving nearly 1,700 people and found that about 10 percent of the participants actually got worse on at least one of four measures related to heart disease: blood pressure and levels of insulin, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, The New York Times reported.

About seven percent of the participants got worse on at least two of the measures.

The researchers don't have an explanation for their findings, published Wednesday in the online journal PLoS One.

"It is bizarre," said lead author Claude Bouchard, a professor of genetics and nutrition at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, part of the Louisiana State University system, The Times reported.


FDA Denies Name Change for High Fructose Corn Syrup

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has rejected a bid to give high fructose corn syrup a more wholesome-sounding name.

The sweetener has developed a bad reputation in recent years and the Corn Refiners Association submitted an application in 2010 to have it renamed as "corn sugar" on nutrition labels, CBS News and the Associated Press reported.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Corn Refiners Association said the FDA rejected its application on "narrow, technical" grounds.

The association also launched a marketing campaign claiming that high fructose corn syrup is actually a form of sugar and has the same nutritional value as granular table sugar. In a lawsuit filed last year, the Sugar Association said the campaign is misleading, CBS/AP reported.

The FDA's decision confirms his group's argument that sugar and high fructose corn syrup are two distinct products, said Dan Callister, a lawyer for the Sugar Association.


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