Health Highlights: Sept. 30, 2011

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Reebok Kicked by FTC for Sneaker Health Claims

So much for those claims that wearing Reebok EasyTone sneakers will give you better legs and buttocks. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has put its foot down on the marketing tactic and said Reebok could pay as much as $25 million in refunds for misleading customers.

"Consumers expected to get a workout, not to get worked over," said David Vladeck, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, according to The New York Times.

Introduced in 2009, the sneakers were advertised to strengthen and tone legs 11 percent better than walking shoes and shape a behind 28 percent better than regular footwear. But research backing up the advertising pitch was "wholly insufficient," Vladeck told the Times. He did not say whether makers of other toning shoes would be disciplined as well.

Consumers who bought EasyTone shoes, which typically cost $100 or more, can apply for a refund at www.ftc.gov.

Reebok, a division of Adidas, agreed to the settlement but disputed the FTC allegations. "We stand by our EasyTone technology," a company spokesman told the Times in an email.

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Tyson Recalls Ground Beef After E. Coli Scare

Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. is recalling more than 130,000 pounds of ground beef because of possible contamination following a report that an Ohio family was sickened by E. coli bacteria after eating the meat.

The ground beef, sold primarily in Midwestern, Southern and Middle Atlantic states, was pre-packaged in tubes bearing a "best before" date of Sept. 12 and the number 245D, according to the Associated Press. The tainted beef, traced to a Tyson plant in Emporia, Kan., had a lean to fat ratio of 73/27.

A Tyson spokesman said consumers should check their freezers for any uneaten beef and throw away or return any that falls under the recall, which was announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday.

According to the AP, the recall includes Butcher's Beef beef sold at Food Lion supermarkets; Kroger-brand beef sold at Kroger Co. supermarkets; and generic-label beef for sale at Spectrum Foods, Supervalu SAV-A-LOT, and the Defense Commissary Agency.

The Butcher's Brand ground beef was distributed in North and South Carolina in 3-pound packages, and the Kroger ground beef was distributed in Tennessee and Indiana in 5-pound packages. The generic beef was packaged in 3-pound tubes and distributed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, the AP said.

Four children in Ohio's Butler County reportedly became ill the second week of September after eating beef bought at a Kroger supermarket. Health officials said no other cases have been reported in Butler County, the news service reported.

A list of retailers that received the beef will be posted on the USDA's website: www.fsis.usda.gov/FSISRecalls.

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Health-Care Reform Appeals Taken to Supreme Court

Twenty-six states have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a speedy ruling on "grave" constitutional concerns surrounding President Barack Obama's new health care law, the Associated Press reported.

Critics of the health care overhaul object to the provision that people must buy purchase insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty.

The states' complaint also opposes expansion of the publicly funded Medicaid program and a mandate that states must pay penalties if they fail to provide their employees with a certain level of insurance coverage, the AP said.

The Federation of Independent Business also appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, asking that it overturn the entire law, not just the requirement to buy health insurance -- a provision struck down by a federal appeals court in Atlanta.

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens told the AP on Wednesday that he thinks the justices should act quickly and not delay the case beyond next year's presidential election.

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