Health news roundup

Interesting findings from recently published health-related studies:

Almost 7 percent of U.S. teens and adults ages 14 to 69 have oral HPV infections, and about three times as many men as women are infected, research published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds. The study further finds that most of those infections are transmitted through oral sex, not through casual contact such as kissing. HPV infection has been linked to oral cancers, which have been on the rise in recent years.

Just over 0.70 percent of births in the U.S. in 2009 took place at home, according to the CDC’s Jan. 26 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. That adds up to 29,650 home births, a 29 percent increase over 2004. The 36 percent rise in non-Hispanic white women’s home births account for most of that increase; while 1 in 140 births overall took place at home, 1 in 90 births to non-Hispanic white women were home births.

Research suggests that the way physicians deal with overweight and obese patients has much to do with the doctor’s own weight. Physicians with BMIs in the normal-weight category were more likely to engage their patients in discussions about weight loss than were doctors who were overweight; they also felt more confident about their ability to do so effectively. The study, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in the January issue of the journal Obesity, further found that fewer overweight and obese physicians than normal-weight physicians strongly agreed that physicians should act as role models for patients by maintaining healthy weight and exercising regularly.

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