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Minnesota in top 10 list for well-being

Nonprofit organization Social Science Research Council recently released a list of top states for "well-being," and Minnesota came in at number seven.
Called the American Human Development Index, the list measures three main aspects that contribute to overall well-being: access to education, standard of living, and life expectancy.
The study's authors base their data on responses from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The top three states in the study were Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, while the bottom three were Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia. 

Minnesota ranked as healthiest state for seniors

Minnetonka-based United Health Foundation recently released a study that examined the health of the country's seniors, and which states had the most community resources to support them as they age.
Minnesota came out on top, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Iowa.
The report is designed to provide information that can be used to inspire new and effective solutions that meet the healthcare needs of seniors, noted Reed Tuckson, senior advisor to United Health Foundation. In a statement, he said, "We are measuring senior heath in order to help improve it."
Minnesota's advantages over other states include more robust drug coverage, lower rates of hunger among seniors, higher rates of annual dental visits, and an abundance of home health care workers.
The report noted, "We want this report to be more than just an assessment of the current status of senior health. We want to promote a public discussion of the overall health of the age 65+ population that is comprehensive and balanced."

Minneapolis designer recognized for innovative crutch invention

Traditional crutches can be cumbersome, difficult to use, and downright painful. That was the experience of Minneapolis-based designer Jeff Weber after he had to hobble around with a broken heel.
He was determined to create a better option, and came up with Mobilegs, a plastic and aluminum crutch that recently won the medical and scientific category award in the Society of the Plastics Industry's design competition.
The product was covered in a recent issue of Plastics News, which included quotes from the award's judges. One industrial design judge joked: "You almost can't wait to hurt your ankle just so you can use it."

St. Paul named best in the U.S. for health care

St. Paul came in at number one on a national ranking of health care systems, particularly when it came to dental visits, low breast cancer fatalities, and heart care treatment.
Reported by the Commonwealth Fund in its first-ever scorecard on the quality of health care, St. Paul beat out other Minnesota communities on the list like Rochester (no. 3), Minneapolis (no. 4) and St. Cloud (no. 7).
The report looked at performance in 306 communities nationally, and found that health care access, cost, quality, and outcomes can vary greatly from one community to the next, even within the same state.
The executive summary noted: "The findings show that local health system performance is linked across all dimensions. Better access to care [is] associated with higher quality and better outcomes."

Twin Cities rank fourth for "staying young"

Minneapolis and St. Paul residents are adept at staying young, according to a ranking by the Real Age website.
The site lists the Twin Cities at number four on its list, noting that we're best at eating whole grains, defeating stress, and getting adequate sleep and vitamin D.
Top cities were determined using a number of factors, including lifestyle choices, exercise, and diet. San Francisco topped the list, coming in first for its significant fruit and vegetable consumption, low smoking rates, and high exercise statistics.

Women's Health calls Minneapolis a top city for women's fitness

Fitness magazine Women's Health took a look at top cities for health and happiness, and recognized Minneapolis as one of the top 10 cities for women.
The city has the fourth-highest number of female joggers, as well as one of the lowest breast cancer death rates, the article noted. Women's Health praised the number of lakes and paved shoreline paths in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, since that amount of recreation space makes it easier for women to increase their fitness levels.
"Preliminary research suggests that women who are physically active may have a 30 to 40 percent lower chance of developing breast cancer," says Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, an oncologist at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in the article. 

HCMC recognized for its unique hospital-based food pantry

A recent article in Kaiser Health News highlighted a distinctive program at the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), in which patients are given food as well as immunizations and prescriptions.
HCMC's pediatric clinic offers a food pantry, one of only a few in the nation that's hospital-based. The pantry, now in its third year of operation, grew out of project that focused on encouraging families to include more fruits and vegetables in their diets.
Kaiser's article also noted that the pantry is able to serve more families by delivering food rather than running the pantry out of a single space at the facility.

Wisconsin newspaper highlights CaringBridge site

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune recently highlighted the benefits of CaringBridge, a free website based in Eagan that allows families to keep journals online about themselves or loved ones who are going through treatment for serious illnesses.
The newspaper spotlighted the story of a Milwaukee family that used the site to keep friends and family updated on care for a baby born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The child's mother noted that she used CaringBridge to give hourly updates during surgeries, to avoid multiple phone calls during an already stressful time.
CaringBridge was founded in 1997 after a close friend of the founder, Sona Mehring, developed a life-threatening pregnancy. Mehring created the website to help the family communicate news without disturbing the mother or hospital staff members. Currently, more than half a million people use the site every day.

Twin Cities among most active, says Menís Health

Minneapolis and St. Paul each earned high marks in a ranking put together by Men's Health magazine.
The publication looked at factors that led to sedentary or active lifestyles, such as the percentage of households that watch more than 15 hours of cable a week, and the rate of deaths from deep-vein thrombosis, a condition linked to excessive periods of sitting.
Minneapolis came in at number 10 on the list, and St. Paul was number 13, earning both an "A-" grade. Seattle was deemed the most active, while Lexington, Ky. was named American's Most Sedentary City.

UK newspaper reports on University of Minnesota food research

The Telegraph, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, highlighted research done at the University of Minnesota on bisin, a substance that shows promise as a food preservative.
The story noted that microbiologists at the U of M discovered bisin by accident when studying organisms that populate the human gut. Bisin is able to kill bacteria that trigger decomposition in the fresh proteins found in meat, dairy, eggs, and fish—although it doesn’t work on fresh vegetables or fruit.
It can also prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria like E.coli, salmonella, and listeria.
If the substance lives up to its promise, it could be the "Holy Grail” of the food industry, The Telegraph posited, although skeptics--like Rose Prince, the columnist doing the reporting--may need a bit more convincing.

Local hospitals ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report

Five Twin CIties hospitals rank high in the nation in 25 specialties, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2011Ė2012 rankings.

The University of Minnesota Medical Center led the area, with national rankings in 14 specialties. The other four are: Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, and Gillette Children's Healthcare.

U.S. News & World Report details each hospital and their rankings among specialties, as well as many others in the area.
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