Health Beat: New data shows continuing opioid epidemic in the U.S.

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 0 views 

Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Health Beat,” a round-up health-related topics. –––––––––––––––

CDC: NEW DATA SHOWS CONTINUING OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN THE U.S.
Drug overdose deaths, including opioid overdose deaths, continue to increase in the United States, according to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2015 more than 52,000 people died from a drug overdose. Of those, 33,091 (63.1%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to an opioid overdose.

CDC’s latest national analyses indicate that the increase in opioid overdose death rates is driven in large part by illicit opioids, like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. During 2010–2015, the rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. increased in 29 states, remained stable in 19 states, and showed decreasing trends followed by increases in two states.

This new report includes state analyses of death certificate data for opioid overdoses in 28 states with consistent and high quality reporting of specific drugs involved in an overdose.

PARENTAL OBESITY LINKED TO DELAYS IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT, NIH STUDY SUGGESTS
Children of obese parents may be at risk for developmental delays, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The investigators found that children of obese mothers were more likely to fail tests of fine motor skills — the ability to control movement of small muscles, such as those in the fingers and hands.

Children of obese fathers were more likely to fail measures of social competence, and those born to extremely obese couples also were more likely to fail tests of problem solving ability.

The study cited research indicating that about 1 in 5 pregnant women in the United States is overweight or obese. To learn more, click here.

UNITEDHEALTH TOPS ANNUAL RANKING OF WORLD’S LARGEST INSURERS BY NET PREMIUMS
UnitedHealth Group Inc. took the top spot in A.M. Best’s ranking of the world’s 25 largest insurance companies, as measured by 2015 net premiums written (NPW). France’s AXA S.A. kept its top spot by assets, and was ranked at No. 2. Allianz SE of Germany was ranked No. 2 by assets.

The rankings of the world’s largest global insurance companies, by assets and NPW, were released by A.M. Best in the Jan. 2, 2017, issue of BestWeek.

Insurers in Japan and China were among the biggest gainers in terms of NPW. Japan’s MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. saw its NPW rise 21.2%, which allowed it to break into the top 25 at No. 22. NPW for Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd. rose 19.6% as the Chinese multiple-line insurer rose from No. 14 to No. 10 in the ranking.

The biggest gainer in terms of 2015 assets (in local currency) was Aviva plc, up 35.8% as the U.K.-based group rose to No. 8 from No. 17. Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp. moved to No. 12 from No. 13 as its assets rose 21.6%.

Besides UnitedHealth, three other U.S. based insurers made the list of top 10 global insurers, including Anthem Inc. (5th), Kaiser Foundation Group (7th), and State Farm Group at eighth. In terms of non-banking assets, Metlife Inc., Prudential Financial, and Berkshire Hathaway were among the top 10 global insurers in 2015.

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