Health Highlights: Feb. 8, 2012

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

Walmart Introduces New Healthy Food Standards, Labels

Walmart said Tuesday it will introduce new standards to identify and label healthy foods for consumers.

Beginning this spring, bright green labels with the words Great for You will appear on the company's own Great Value and Marketside food items and on signs around displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, The New York Times reported.

Walmart also plans to allow other brands to use the label on products that meet the criteria and they won't have to pay a licensing fee.

"This is not meant to lecture our customers," Leslie A. Dach, Walmart's executive vice president for corporate affairs, told The Times. "They can buy a dessert when they want to. But when they want to buy a cracker, we can help them steer them to a healthier cracker if that's what they're looking for."


FDA Should Review Inhaled Caffeine Product: Senator

A new lipstick-sized tube that gives an inhaled shot of caffeine should be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a senator says.

AeroShot went on sale last month in Massachusetts and New York. It costs $2.99 for a single unit and can be bought at convenience, liquor and online stores. Each canister contains 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, about the amount in a large cup of coffee, the Associated Press reported.

N.Y. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer says he fears young people will use AeroShot as a club drug so that they can drink until they drop. He wants the FDA to review the product.

An FDA spokeswoman would not comment on the matter and told the AP the agency will respond directly to Schumer.


White House Aims to Ease Religious Groups' Concerns About Contraception Rule

Obama administration officials say they're looking at ways to ease religious groups' concerns about a new rule that would require all health insurance plans -- including those offered by Catholic universities and charities -- to offer free birth control to women.

For example, some religious-affiliated institutions may be allowed to offer side insurance plans that are not directly paid for by the institution, The New York Times reported.

However, White House officials insisted that President Obama will not reverse his decision that employees at religious-affiliated institutions receive access to birth control.

Despite vocal opposition from Roman Catholic bishops and some Catholic institutions, Obama administration officials noted that recent polls show the majority of Catholics in the United States favor the new contraceptive rule, The Times reported.


More Autism-Friendly Musicals on Broadway

Autism-friendly performances of the Broadway musicals "Mary Poppins" and "The Lion King" will be offered this spring and fall.

The specially designed matinee showings of "Mary Poppins" on April 29 and "The Lion King" on Sept. 30 were arranged by the nonprofit Theatre Development Fund, which focuses on providing access to live theater, the Associated Press reported.

The Fund received enthusiastic responses after a pilot project last October that featured an autism-friendly performance of "The Lion King."

"It went so much better than any of us had hoped," Victoria Bailey, the Fund's executive director, told the AP. "The value of being able to go to the theater as a family with kids on the autism spectrum and their siblings in an environment that felt safe was huge."

MedicalNewsCopyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



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