October 2004 RAND Health Newsletter

Contents of October 2004 Health newsletter:

  1. Weight-loss surgery may be more effective than dieting for extremely obese Americans
    Surgery may be more effective for weight reduction for extremely obese patients who have tried and failed to lose weight with exercise and diet. It can also improve control of some obesity-related health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

    Citation: Pharmacological and Surgical Treatment of Obesity, Shekelle P et al., Evidence Report/Technology Assessment Number 103. AHRQ Publication No. 04-E028-2, July 2004. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, press release, full report

  2. Predicting who is likely to start smoking marijuana
    Adolescents who begin smoking marijuana in their early teen years are more likely to be using hard drugs and a number of different drugs, to have poor grades and low academic goals, to have been offered marijuana by friends, and to report smoking in order to cope with problems than those who start smoking later. These differences suggest a range of potentially modifiable risk factors.

    Citation: Antecedents and Outcomes of Marijuana Use Initiation During Adolescence. Ellickson PL, Tucker JS, Klein DJ, Saner H. Preventive Medicine, Vol. 39, No. 5, Nov 2004, pp. 976-984, abstract

    More on adolescent health

  3. A snapshot of small business employees in CA and their health insurance status
    Pending legislation in the state of California will require small businesses to enroll their employees in a state-sponsored health insurance fund or show evidence of coverage. A new report provides a look at employers and employees who will be affected by this law, SB2.

    Citation: SB 2: Effects on Employers and Employees, RAND Corporation and the Institute for Health Policy Solutions, full report, press release

    More on employer-based health insurance

  4. Satisfaction with dental coverage increases with cost
    Patients enrolled in fee-for-service dental plans, which charged higher premiums but set no limits on coverage, expressed far greater satisfaction with their dental care than patients in managed care plans, which cost less but set limits on coverage.

    Citation: Self-Reported Satisfaction of Enrollees in Capitated and Fee-for-Service Dental Benefit Plans. Coulter ID, Freed JR, Marcus M, Der-Martirosian C, Guzman-Becerra N, Guay AH, Brown LJ. Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 135, Oct 2004, pp. 1458-1466, abstract

  5. Predicting the costs of health care for children
    A small study conducted in a managed care plan showed that parents' assessment of their children's health-related quality of life strongly predicted the children's health care costs over the ensuing two years. When combined with information about chronic health conditions, these parental assessments can be used to identify children likely to need proactive care coordination.

    Citation: Health-related quality of life as a predictor of pediatric healthcare costs: A two-year prospective cohort analysis. Seid M, Varni JW, Segall D, Kurtin PS, Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2004, 2:48, full report

  6. October congressional newsletter
    This month's congressional newsletter (PDF) covers public health topics, including the role private doctors play in providing public health recommendations, whether minorities trust public health to be fair, and the emotional effects of a bioterrorism attack.

  7. RAND Health research presented at APHA conference
    The American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting will take place Saturday, November 6 through Wednesday, November 10, in Washington, D.C. RAND researchers will be presenting on a wide variety of topics. RAND Health will also be available at booth #1328. See more specific information about any of the APHA presentations.

    Housekeeping

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    Mary Vaiana, Communications Director, RAND Health, can be reached at mary_vaiana@rand.org.


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