“Neither I, nor anyone else, could have envisioned that by the time he left office eight years later, he would have managed to transform his job into the most electrifying bully pulpit in medicine. And he did it in the most unexpected way: by telling the truth.”—
Michael Specter reflects on the influence of C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general who died yesterday: http://nyr.kr/13elk8o
And here, a look at what the magazine had to say about Dr. Koop on the occasion of his retirement, in August, 1989: http://nyr.kr/XVlnRe
There's a Price on Your Head!
Business interest groups in America decide yours.
Last year, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) proposed that a human life, in the US, was valued at $9.1 million. During the Bush administration, the agency recorded the value at $6.8 million. You would think the value increased because of positive change in our economy, right?
These business groups decide the value of life simply to determine how much money should be legally required of manufacturers and other safety/health conscious groups to prevent a human death.
For example, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recorded a value of $7.9 million last year, whereas in 2008, it was $5 million. There’s only so much they could do to make the product “safer” lol. People read the Surgeon General’s warning almost every time they reach for a cigarette. In an attempt to make these people “care” about the warning, the FDA suggested that manufacturers put pictures of cancer victims on the boxes. Hilarious. Of course, that didn’t fly with Big Tobacco. Uh, duh.
In recent times, the Transportation Department reports rates averaging at around $6 million. In 2005, the Bush administration rebuffed the
Apparently, we’re not worth it.
department’s proposal to lower the number of lives lost in rollover car accidents by at least 135 per year. The department obviously won Obama over. Manufacturers are now required to double the strength of vehicle roofs, this year.
These new regulations put hardcore limitations on the manufacturer’s revenue. They object to large increases in the dollar value of a human life because they, in turn, will be required to spend more on products while keeping prices fair and affordable for consumers and commercial buyers.
What’s really hilarious is that although these objections are, indeed, a suggestion that the government overestimates the value of a human life (which, at this point, is roughly $10 million), businesses still “euphemize” the accusation with discussions about how new, pricier regulations will stunt their economic growth. Hahahahaha. Yeah, I “laughed out loud” there, too. No matter which way you spin it, these businesses make it clear that a human life is not worth 50% of their billion-dollar industry revenue.
Of course, they won’t dare put that in print.
But, I Don't Want To Mess Up My Hair! Surgeon general: Hair shouldn't keep you out of gym
This post is for all ladies, but specifically ladies who’s hair… well… let’s just say those who’s hair is high maintenance.
Women of African American descent are specifically addressed, because this seems to be a bigger factor in getting them in the gym than their white counterparts. Black hair & sweat… well, they don’t mix.
I can attest to this. It’s also the reason some hate going swimming in the summer. Many a summer’s day in my teens was spent with this mantra: “I’d rather be hot than mess up my hair”.
I’ve never been good at keeping up my hair, and honestly, with all the working out I do, I’m lucky if I can straighten it into something respectable once a week (half is shaved anyways, so I only have half a head to worry about). But my love for fitness FAR exceeds my love for hairdos, and if I loved my hair more I probably would have to invest more time into maintaining both it AND my fit lifestyle.
Last week, the U.S. surgeon general stopped by the spectacle known as the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show to discuss hair & health, and encourage young hair fashionistas to get their beautiful booties in the gym.
Read the interview she gave below…
TANGENT: YOU NEED TO SEE THE PICS FROM THIS HAIRSHOW! Seriously, it’s like the Lion King meets an art gallery. I’ve never seen anything like it. Read the article first, then check out the hair. To be fair, I wouldn’t wanna work out with that hair either. Click here.
What better place to talk about health than at a hair show that draws 60,000 stylists? Dr. Regina Benjamin discussed the widely held belief that black women don’t exercise because it might ruin their hairstyle. It turns out Benjamin has struggled with this issue too.
The interview has been edited for brevity.
What brings you to the hair show?
Actually it’s the perfect event. My priority as surgeon general is prevention. Everything that we do is to try to build a healthy and fit nation.
What we find when talking particularly with African American women - I’m later finding this with other women, too - was that when we talk about exercise, we hear, “I don’t want to sweat my hair back or I don’t want to mess up my hairstyle. It cost me too much to get my hair done this week.”
When United Healthcare came and talked about this last year, it was a successful at the Bronner Bros. Hair Show with 60,000 hairdressers. What better audience would be to help us find exercise-friendly hairstyles?
This is trying to encourage women to continue to exercise and be healthy and give them a way to do that without messing up their hair.
Is there evidence that this hair issue is really why some women don’t exercise or is this anecdotal?
There are some studies there.
I’ve talked to a number of women and that’s the first thing they’ll tell you. I know that was an issue for me. I didn’t want to mess up my hair. You sweat a lot in your hair and it changes your hairstyle completely.
Unlike other races and ethnic groups, you can’t wash your hair and go out. African Americans, most of us can’t do that. We need to spend a little bit more time on our hair. We need something that cuts down on getting hair back in a nice hairstyle. So I don’t think it’s something anecdotal. I’ve talked to women a lot because I’m doing this conference and it’s a real issue.
Benjamin’s office cited two studies that examined why fewer than 30% of minority women in the United States get the recommended level of exercise. The reasons were lack of time followed by “economic constraints, major life changes or traumas, safety issues, weather and environment, the hassle of personal care such as showering and keeping hair looking good,” according to the American Journal of Public Health.
Has this hair issue become an easy crutch for not exercising?
It’s an easy excuse, but it’s a real excuse.
If you go out and spend $40-50 to get your hair done, you don’t want to go out and get it all sweaty and wet that afternoon before you got to show it off.
Other ethnic groups would come up and say the same thing. I’ve heard it from Hispanics. I’ve heard it from a couple of my older white patients that I have at home. They’re saying I get my hair done every weekend- I don’t want to be exercising after I get my hair done.
I don’t think it’s limited to African American women.
How do you deal with this issue?
I exercise at night. That’s my solution: Exercise at night so when I finish, I can be at home. I’m a night person anyway.
Army photo by Ingrid Barrentine
Dr. Eric Schoomaker
Wednesday is the final day in office for the Army’s surgeon general, Lieutenant General Eric Schoomaker. He became the Army’s top doctor four years ago this month. He got the slot after helping improve conditions at the (now closed) Walter Reed army hospital, following a Washington Post series that highlighted poor conditions for soldiers in outpatient housing there.
Schoomaker, an internist and hematologist – blood doctor — got high marks from most who dealt with him. The brother of former Army general and chief of staff Peter Schoomaker, Eric comes from an Army family. You could see the pain on his face whenever he discussed the vexing issues facing the medical corps, be it suicide in the ranks, poor conditions in Warrior Transition Units, or perpetually trying to do more with less.
Major General Patricia Horoho / Army photo
Replacing Schoomaker is Major General Patricia Horoho, who will get her third star when she is sworn in as the first nurse – and first woman – to serve as Army surgeon general. We’ll be covering her and the challenges she faces.
But this post is to recognize General Schoomaker for a job well done. “War is not just a physical act of battle,” he told me over chocolate-chip cookies in his office last year. “War is a struggle of the will of whole nations and peoples to persist, trying to right the wrongs that they as a nation see occurring in whatever dimension that might be.” War also shows us that some of our most important generals don’t command troops in battle, but tend to their wounds after they have done their duty.