The Checkup
Health in the News and in Your Life

By Adapted from
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Economy Going Up in Smoke

If you think you've noticed more people huddled in doorways puffing on cigarettes or smelled smoke on the breath of someone you thought had kicked the habit, you may be right: A new survey indicates that the economic meltdown is prompting people to light up more.

The online survey of 2,076 U.S. adults conducted for the anti-smoking group American Legacy Foundation found that money worries are prompting ex-smokers to pick up the habit again and unrepentant nicotine fiends to smoke more.

It's just the latest evidence that the economic crisis is taking its toll on people's health.

-- Rob Stein

TOMHERE wrote:

I quit three years ago and will never go back.

Do the math: Two packs a day at $3.50 a pack: $7 times 365 days = $2,555 a year. Times 3 years = $7,500 +!!!!!!

Equals: Great new TOYS: Fender Telecaster, big Macintosh computer!

This Christmas: Nikon D-90 camera.

And I feel great!

Light 'em up, chump!

Pancreatic Cancer's Grim Toll

The fourth-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, pancreatic cancer doesn't attract anywhere near as much attention or funding as diseases such as breast cancer.

Though this cancer is relatively rare -- it's expected to strike about 37,680 Americans this year -- almost all who get it will die within five years of diagnosis.

It's a baffling disease: Nobody knows what causes it, its symptoms are vague and we don't have a means of detecting it early; buried deep in the abdomen, the pancreas is a tricky organ to perform surgery on. Chemo may buy time but rarely cures this cancer.

-- Jennifer Huget

sarahbonnie1 wrote:

My father died of pancreatic cancer in 1998, age 70. He died two months after diagnosis, almost to the day. We barely had time to say goodbye to him. No one should have to receive a diagnosis with such a grim prognosis, but more than 30,000 a year do.

vox_populi wrote:

My boss was just coming out of a victorious tennis match at age 58 when his partner noticed jaundiced eyes and recommended an immediate checkup. Despite surgery and vigorous chemo, which brought him into temporary remission, he died 18 months after diagnosis.

Belly Up to the Breakfast Bar

Some kids, I understand, bound out of bed in the morning eager to eat breakfast.

Not mine. Even when they bound, they mostly won't eat.

When they were little (they're now 12 and 15) and I exerted more control, they started the day with nice bowls of oatmeal. But they lost their taste for that, and neither ever developed a liking for cold cereal. We went through a long homemade pancake phase.

Nowadays, they'll occasionally team up to cook a brunch of bacon, scrambled eggs, whole-wheat toast, fruit and milk/juice on the weekend. On weekday mornings, though, my daughter usually just heats up a mug of skim-milk Ovaltine, a fairly nutritious option that's better than nothing.

My son? Nada.

-- Jennifer Huget

benbess wrote:

My son is in middle school and has to get up early. Food is unappealing at that hour. Maybe that is another reason middle and high schools should push back their start times: so kids will actually eat.

We require a glass of milk, as a minimum. He can put chocolate in it if he wants. (He usually doesn't.) Protein, fluid, some sugar (just from the milk) and he will be able to cope, for a while at least.

laura33 wrote:

Where possible, I'd encourage portable snacks that kids can eat a little later, if/when they have a break and can grab a bite.

realgrrl wrote:

I make my kids fruit smoothies. Ice, milk, fruit, protein powder. They get 15 grams of soy protein, two servings of fruit and a serving of calcium. It's never hard to drink a milkshake. I also add powdered vitamins.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company