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  10:48:53 am, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Making "Healthier" Fast Food Breakfast Choices

Let’s face it… you’re in the car one morning, you’re in a hurry, but you’re hungry… what are you gonna do? Most likely, you get in line at the drive-thru of your local fast food outlet for quick relief. Of course, you know going in that while the menu selections may quell your cravings, they won’t do much for your health… or your waistline.

WebMD has generously taken the guesswork out of choosing the “healthier” (as opposed to purely “healthy") options at some of the most popular dine n’ dash joints. We’ll highlight some choices from the most popular restaurants, but you can view the whole list at WebMD.

McDonald’s BEST: Egg McMuffin: 300 calories, 12 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 260 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.

McDonald’s WORST: Deluxe Breakfast with large size biscuit, without syrup & margarine: 1140 calories, 59 g fat, 20 g saturated fat, 575 mg cholesterol, 2250 mg sodium, 7 g fiber.

Burger King’s BEST: French Toast Sticks, 3 piece: 240 calories, 13 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Burger King’s WORST: Enormous Omelet Sandwich: 730 calories, 45 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 330 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,940 mg sodium.

Subway BEST: Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.

Subway WORST: Footlong Mega Breakfast Sandwich: 1,310 calories, 79 g fat, 31 g saturated fat, 550 mg cholesterol, 3,190 mg sodium, 10 g fiber. (This sandwich is not available in all Subway restaurants.)


  03:55:39 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

26 States File Motion Challenging Health Reform Law

Plantiffs representing 26 states have filed a motion asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to uphold a federal judge’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act exceeds the federal government’s powers, the Associated Press reports.

In January, Florida Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the reform law provision requiring U.S. citizens to purchase insurance is unconstitutional, as it goes beyond the boundaries of the Commerce Clause. Further, as the ACA doesn’t include a severability clause that would keep it intact if the individual mandate was removed, the entire law should be struck down.

Using Vinson’s ruling as the basis of its filing to the appeals court, the states argued that allowing the law to go forward would set a dangerous precedent that “would imperil individual liberty, render Congress’s other enumerated powers superfluous, and allow Congress to usurp the general police power reserved to the states.” The federal government countered that the individual mandate is a “quintessential exercise” of the legislative branch’s powers.

The National Federation of Independent Business also filed a separate motion yesterday, claiming that the ACA imposes “an extraordinary duty on Americans to enter into costly and unwanted health-insurance contracts” without any constitutional authority to do so.

  01:10:28 pm, by MedBen5   , 243 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Excess Salt Good For You? Depends Who You Ask

A brouhaha that has arisen from a new sodium study that demonstrates how such research should be taken with a grain of, er. salt.

WebMD reports that a Belgian study of sodium levels in healthy middle-aged people found that those with higher sodium levels had a significantly lower risk of dying from heart disease than did those with lower levels. Needless to say, these results go against the scientific grain and have raised more than a few eyebrows.

Ralph L. Sacco, MD, president of the American Heart Association argued that the study, which focused only on relatively young, healthy white Europeans for a short period of time (eight years), is inherently flawed. Moreover, myriad earlier studies come to a completely different conclusion – high salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. “The AHA recommendation to reduce salt intake is based on strong science, not just extrapolations or complex math,” Sacco said.

Those with a, shall we say, vested interest in the subject had a different take on the findings. “We now know conclusively that the U.S. government’s war on salt consumption will cause harm,” Lori Roman, president of the Salt Institute, said in a news release. “This study confirms previous research indicating that reductions in sodium lead to an increased risk of disease and death.”

The AHA advises people to limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. On average, most Americans consume 3,600-4,800mg daily.


  05:16:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 288 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Most People Uninformed About OTC Ingredients, Study Finds

A troubling study finds that many people are unaware of the active ingredients in over-the-counter pain relievers, Medical Express reports. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researchers learned that only 31% of participants knew Tylenol contained acetaminophen, an analgesic that can be fatal if not taken properly. And just 41% said they take the time to read the ingredients on drug labels.

“People may unintentionally misuse these medicines to a point where they cause severe liver damage,” said senior study author Michael Wolf, an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern. “It’s easy to exceed the safe limit if people don’t realize how much acetaminophen they are taking. Unlike prescription products, there is no gatekeeper, no one monitoring how you take it.”

Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 OTC and prescription medicines. The study authors propose the creation of a universal icon for acetaminophen that would be required on all medication labels.

MedBen encourages its pharmacy plan members to take advantage of the RxEOB website. Available through MedBen Access to clients who use PDM for prescription management (check your ID card if you’re not sure), RxEOB offers a database featuring summary information for thousands of medications, including OTC pain relievers. Quoting from the Tylenol entry:

“Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction. One ingredient in this product is acetaminophen. Taking too much acetaminophen may cause serious (possibly fatal) liver disease. Adults should not take more than 4 grams (4000 milligrams) of acetaminophen a day. If you have liver problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist for a safe dosage of this medication.”

RxEOB also offers information about severity levels for selected drug-to-drug interactions. Plan members with questions about RxEOB are welcome to call MedBen Customer Service at (800) 686-8425.

  04:03:02 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

House Repeals Funding For State Insurance Exchanges

As we reported here a few days ago, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in March to repeal grants to help states set up health insurance exchanges. Yesterday, the full House concurred, voting 238-183 to cut funding, according to The Associated Press. Voting was mainly along party lines.

Republican House leaders say the repeal stemmed from a lack of oversight. “Shockingly, the Congress gave [the Health and Human Services secretary] the sole authority to determine the size of the appropriation,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mi.) chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Without further congressional action, the secretary can literally spend hundreds of billions of dollars” at her own discretion.

Democrats counter that the Republicans’ actions serve a detrimental purpose. The Hill reports that on the House floor Tuesday, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) argued that de-funding essentially strips most states of power, giving them no option but to accept exchanges established by federal government. “It’s the exact opposite of what you’re saying you want to do,” Pallone said.

As has been the case with previous House repeal efforts, the bill will next go to the Democrat-led Senate, where it will most certainly be rejected. The House is expected to vote today on another measure that would block grants for school-based health center construction.


  04:50:29 pm, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Consumer-Driven Approach Appealing To More Businesses

Medical News Today reports that consumer-driven health plans continue to grow in popularity. According to a Mercer study commissioned by the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations (AAPPO), CDHP enrollments rose from 23 million in 2009 to 28 million in 2010 – an increase of 22%. Very big businesses in particular find the plans appealing – over half of companies with over 20,000 employees now offer a CDHP.

“Last year’s economic slowdown combined with the rising cost of health care forced employers of all sizes to seek innovative ways to reduce what they spend to cover their employees. Given the cost savings inherent in the consumer-directed model, it’s clear that employers – especially our largest ones – are increasingly looking to CDHPs to do that” said Karen Greenrose, AAPPO President and CEO.

MedBen offers CDHPs across all group sizes. Our options include Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) along with high-deductible health plans. And, participants can manage their accounts right online.

MedBen clients who have implemented proven consumer-driven strategies are experiencing significant claims savings. To learn more about what CDHPs can do for your business, contact Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683.

  03:55:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 221 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Survey Highlights U.S. Health Care Concerns

The Kevin.MD blog brings up a rather brilliant point: When members of Congress were shaping the Affordable Care Act, just how much input did they get from average Americans about what they want from health care? The Commonwealth Fund has taken on the task of asking such questions – and based on their answers, either people so far aren’t buying what the goverment is selling, or they’re still not quite certain what’s in the 2,700-page epic. (Probably, a little of both.)

Among the findings, as reported on Kevin.MD:

  • 72% of American adults believe that our health care system needs to be fundamentally changed or completely rebuilt.
  • 71% have experienced difficulty in accessing a doctor without having to go to an emergency room, especially any time other than Monday through Friday, 8 to 5; 55% report wasteful poorly coordinated care; and 21% reported having experienced a medical error in the past two years.
  • 96% want accessible, coordinated, well-informed care; 94% want a medical home; 86% want doctors and nurses to work as teams; 92% want information technology applied to health care; and 57% want Internet access to their records and email communication with their physicians.
  • 75% expressed worry about their own future health care.
  • And, 86% believe that prices for all aspects of medical care including products and services should be negotiated by public and private payers to control costs and improve quality.
  03:02:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 169 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Studies Link Extra Weight To Physical And Mental Risks

Need even more incentive to get off the couch and on the treadmill? Here’s two new studies that may give you additional, uh, food for thought:

  • Even a slight beer belly increases the risk of death for people with coronary artery disease, say reseachers at the Mayo Clinic. Medical News Today reports that information from five studies involving nearly 16,000 patients with the disease indicates that individuals with central obesity were twice as likely to die. The researchers note that the risk from extra weight is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes daily or having extremely high cholesterol levels.
  • A 30-year study of 9,000 Swedish twins (no, really) found that extra body fat may increase the risk of dementia, according to Reuters (via Yahoo! Health). Though the study wasn’t specifically intended to link weight and mental decay, the results suggested that overweight or obese participants had about an 80% higher chance of getting dementia than those of normal weight. The twins were, on average, 43 years old when they began the study.


  11:50:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 107 words,  
Categories: Announcements

Ohio Senate Bill 5 Summary Now Available to Registered MedBen Clients

MedBen has put together a summary of Ohio Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), which Governor John Kasich recently passed into law. The comprehensive – and controversial – legislation re-defines how public employers and their employees can collectively bargain.

The SB 5 Summary is now available on the Plan Design section of this blog, which is password-protected and accessible only to registered MedBen clients and consultants.

To create a login name and password, click here. Please note that registry requests must be approved by MedBen before you can access the Plan Design section.

MedBen clients with questions regarding Ohio Senate Bill 5 may contact Vice President of Compliance Caroline Fraker at (800) 851-0907.

  10:08:50 pm, by MedBen5   , 150 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Repeal Of Exchange Grant Could Save $14 Billion, But Lead To Enrollment Headaches

The Hill website reports that repealing grants to help states set up health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act could save $14 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office – but no grants would also likely mean that fewer people would enroll in the exchanges.

The Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee voted last month to repeal the planning grants for the exchanges, which would serve as a one-stop shop for individuals and small businesses to buy insurance. States would be encouraged to run their own exchanges, but can use a federally-operated exchange if they choose not to do so.

Eliminating the $1.9 billion of the grant earmarked toward the planning of state exchanges could lead to delays in their establishment, threatening the proposed 2014 startup date. Of course, the entire House body still has to approve the repeal measure (probable), as must the Senate (much less probable).

  09:22:18 pm, by MedBen5   , 274 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Tired Of Insomnia? Try These Natural Fixes

Given how many Americans get less than eight hours of sleep every night, the last thing we can afford is to lose what little rest we do allow ourselves. So should you suffer from insomnia, it helps to have a game plan to dose off again fast. And if you can do it without relying on prescription sleeping pills, so much the better.

WebMD offers several natural remedies to try if you’re among the 30-40% of adults who say they suffer from occasional insomnia. We’ll summarize their ideas here:

Foods, Herbs and Supplements:

  • Warm milk is a time-tested insomnia defense – the calcium content helps the brain produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle.
  • Foods containing a combination of protein and carbohydrates, such as a banana with peanut butter, may induce slumber.
  • Magnesium can be found in supplement form as well as leafy vegetables and almonds.
  • For herbal fixes, try valerian root or l-theanine, or take a hot bath with lavender oil.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Minimize light by turning off your bedroom TV (or, better yet, moving it out altogether) and turning your clock radio and other appliances away from your bed.
  • People who exercise earlier in the day are shown to have less trouble sleeping, so try working out in the mornings.
  • Make your bedroom as tranquil as possible. Keep your room cool, buy a good mattress, use a pillow that supports your head and neck, and if necessary, invest in a white noise machine.

And if you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes? Get up and leave your bedroom or read. Don’t get back into bed until you feel tired again.


  04:36:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 319 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Cost Trends, Wellness and Health Reform Among Government Roundtable Topics

Sue Wadley, Licking County Government HR Director

Representatives from Ohio and Indiana municipalities were in attendance at MedBen’s 5th Annual Employer Roundtable for Government Health Plans on April 28. Held at the MedBen home office, this year’s free program explored a wide range of topics, from innovations in medical intelligence reporting to an update on health care reform and how new laws will affect government employers.

MedBen Senior Vice President Kurt Harden opened the roundtable with a discussion of key performance measures in MedBen’s government business block. Incorporating such factors as claims dollar and volume and claims distribution, Kurt analyzed cost and utilization trends and offered strategies to minimize future cost increases. Russ Jehs, Vice President of Transplant Product Management of Medical Excess, followed Kurt with a description of his company’s fully-insured, first-dollar organ and tissue transplant carve-out for self-funded groups.

“Wellness in the Workplace” was the theme of the next two presenters. Blair Pickerill of MedBen and Sue Wadley of Licking County Government led a discussion of how MedBen Worksite Wellness, with its emphasis on preventive care and individual coaching, is helping to improve employee health while reducing critical care spending. Following Blair and Sue was Brian Fargus, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of MedBen, who gave an overview of Sightlines Medical Intelligence, a predictive modeling and data analytics platform recently introduced to MedBen clients. Sightlines will enable organizations to understand and manage health care risk, while also developing early interventions for the purpose of mitigating that risk.

Caroline Fraker, MedBen Vice President of Compliance, concluded the Goverment Roundtable with a update on the Affordable Care Act. She recapped the first year of government health care reform and highlighted upcoming employer responsibilities as well as court challenges and repeal efforts.

Additional seminars will be offered by MedBen in the coming months – check this blog regularly for updates. If you’re interested in hosting a MedBen University, please contact Sales Analyst Sally Wood at (800) 423-3151, ext. 502.

  11:48:33 am, by MedBen5   , 193 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Pharmacists Also Available To Help With OTC Decisions

Pharmacists offer a ready source of information to patients trying to sort their way through the maze of over-the-counter (OTC) offerings as well as those bearing prescriptions – and based on the findings of a new study, most are more than willing to take a few moments to assist you in your OTC search.

Medical News Today summarizes the results of the 2010 Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey, conducted by the American Pharmacists Association. Among the findings: pharmacists believe that 81% of consumers select OTC products based on the recommendation of their pharmacist; 92% of pharmacists will accompany patients through the OTC aisles to offer advice with their selection; and the average patient consultation takes only three minutes to complete.

The survey also notes the most pharmacist-recommended allergy, sinus and general decongestant products. Among them:

  • Adult Topical Decongestants - Afrin (66% of 669 pharmacist recommendations)
  • Adult Decongestants - Sudafed (65% of 2,070 pharmacist recommendations)
  • Nasal Decongestants, Saline - Ocean (54% of 1,250 pharmacist recommendations)
  • Allergy Ophthalmic Drops - Zaditor (36% of 1,619 pharmacist recommendations)
  • Adult Multi-symptom Allergy and Hay Fever Products - Claritin-D (35% of 2,406 pharmacist recommendations)
  • Adult Antihistamines - Claritin (32% of 2,717 pharmacist recommendations)

The complete results of the Pharmacy Today Survey are available here.


  02:53:19 pm, by MedBen5   , 235 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

US Sets Healthy Goals For 2020, Emphasizes Prevention

Late last year, this blog briefly touched on Healthy People 2020 – a Department of Health and Human Services effort to encourage Americans to practice better lifestyle habits. The program sets various benchmarks that will hopefully be acheived in the coming decade, such as reducing the percentage of US smokers from 21% to 12%, and lowering the obesity rate from 34% of the population to 31%, among other goals.

HealthDay News (via Yahoo! Health) goes into greater detail about Healthy People 2020. HHS says that the key to reaching the benchmarks can be summed up in one word: prevention. In conjunction with the American Heart Association, the federal government will promote specific preventive activities, such as increasing the number of people who get blood pressure and cholesterol tests, and raising awareness of the early warning signs of stroke and heart attack.

With the AHA on board, heart-oriented objectives play a major role in the program. The organization has developed its own 2020 Impact Goal – improve US cardiovascular health by 20% while reducing heart-related deaths by 20% – and will push Americans to get active, eat better and lose weight.

MedBen also promotes prevention and healthy lifestyles through its Worksite Wellness program. Members with cardiovascular condition receive individualized coaching, and everyone in the program is encouraged to receive regular wellness exams at no cost. To learn more about this valuable service, please call Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683.

  11:23:22 am, by MedBen5   , 164 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Healthy Lifestyle Greatly Reduces Cancer, Heart Disease Risk: Study

If you live a healthy lifestyle – that is, if you don’t smoke, drink alcohol in moderation, and observe proper diet and exercise regimens – you hopefully get the payoff of being fit and feeling well. But the scientific community wants to offer you a “thumbs up” for a good job, too.

HealthDay News (via reports that a new study finds that nonsmokers who also who practice healthy habits decrease their risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other causes by 42%. Also noteworthy: Former smokers showed similarly lower risk levels compared those who never took a puff.

The study’s authors reviewed diet and lifestyle questionnaires filled out in 1992 and 1993by non-smoking men and women, who were then monitored over a 14-year period, They found that for those with higher adherence to American Cancer Society prevention guidelines, the risk of heart-related death was 58% lower for women and 48% lower for men. For cancer deaths, highly-compliant women deceased their risk by 24%, and men by 30%.


  05:37:51 pm, by MedBen5   , 161 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

MedBen Plans Cover A Wide Range Of Medical Services

The New York Times has put together an interesting graph showing the percentage of specific health benefits covered under employer-sponsored plans. Using 2008-09 data gathered for a Labor Department report (a requirement under the Affordable Care Act), we can see the range of coverage levels, from benefits common to most group health plans (hospital room and board, inpatient mental health care) to those available in only about one-quarter of the plans (kidney dialysis, sterilization).

Percentage of Private Industry Plans that Cover a Given Service

After reviewing the graph and comparing the data to MedBen’s own coverages, we confirmed that all but one (infertility treatment) of the benefits listed are covered under our standard fully-insured plans, including our recently introduced Partners Community Health Plans. Moreover, most of our self-funded employer groups cover the majority of these services as well.

For additional information about Partners as well as MedBen’s other medical coverages and benefits management services, we invite you to contact our Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683.

  02:46:05 pm, by MedBen5   , 204 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Planning One-Page Prescription Drug Summaries

A few months back on this blog, we noted an effort by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, the group that sets drug standards, to make directions on drug labels easier to understand. Now, the federal government is also looking to simplify the instruction sheets that accompany prescriptions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “[t]he Food and Drug Administration is planning to test single-page consumer information sheets that would replace the multi-page package inserts and medication guides widely used in retail pharmacies.” Currently, patients can receive written usage instructions from multiple sources, including package inserts from the drug manufacturer and consumer medical information from third-party companies. However, the FDA has found that the information offered is not consistently understandable, and may even be contradictory or inaccurate.

Even though the one-page guides may not be implemented for five or six years, there is initial concern that a single-sided summary cannot provide sufficient information. To that end, the nonprofit safety group Institute for Safe Medication Practices is already working on sample two-page, single-paper brochures for medications with the potential to cause the greatest harm.

The National Community Pharmacists Association says that as many as three-quarters of Americans claim that they don’t take prescription drugs as directed.

  12:40:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 234 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Dietary Supplements May Lead To Poor Health Decisions

It’s probably just a coincidence, but research is coming out fast and furious in the wake of a recent announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that over half of Americans use dietary supplements. Last week, we were told that calcium supplements may put women at higher risk for heart problems. And now, a study finds that people who take dietary supplements tend to make poorer health choices than those who don’t.

Medical News Today reports that Taiwanese researchers conducted experiments to observe whether the use of dietary supplements affected subjects’ subsequent health-related decisions. Prior to the tests, all participants were given a placebo, but half were told they were actually taking a multivitamin. In one experiment, participants were given a choice between a buffet and an organic meal – and those who thought they had taken a supplement were more likely to opt for the less-healthy option. Likewise, a second test, which monitored exercise habits, again found that those in the perceived supplement group walked less than the control group.

The study suggests that users of dietary supplements can easily fool themself into the misconception that simply taking them makes them less vulnerable to health hazards – and by doing so, they put themselves at risk of engaging in self-defeating behaviors. Bottom line: multivitamins are no substitute for proper diet and exercise – after all, that’s why they call them “supplements"!


  12:53:09 pm, by MedBen5   , 178 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Brokers Say Health Reform Negatively Impacting Their Clients

The Affordable Care Act is apparently having an unintended impact on employers, MedCity News reports. In a National Association of Health Underwriters survey of almost 2,400 insurance agents and brokers, more than half of the respondents state that some of their clients have dropped coverage altogether due to rising costs attributable to new health reform laws, while 70% have seen clients decrease the amount of coverage they provide.

And brokers say the bad news doesn’t stop there. Many claim that health reform has caused their clients to eliminate jobs or cut back on hiring. Additionally, a handful of the brokers report laying off employees and reducing product offerings from their own agencies.

Granted, asking brokers and agents about their clients’ motives likely skews the negative responses to a degree. But as most are in regular contact with a variety of businesses, this survey at least offers an early hint as to employers’ attitudes about health care reform. And as the ACA recently marked its one-year anniversary, it’s likely that we’ll soon see some survey results directly from the employers themselves.

  11:33:17 am, by MedBen5   , 281 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

With Food Packaging, Look Beyond The Buzzwords

Several recent research projects drive home the point that food package labeling should not just be taken at face value – and it applies to adults as well as kids. By the simple use of a word or image, marketers can influence our attitudes about a food’s nutritional value and taste.

  • Medical News Today reports on a Journal of Consumer Research article which says that dieters are particularly vulnerable to healthy-sounding food names, and may end up eating unhealthy foods under the mistaken belief that they’re good for them.

    People were randomly asked in one test to judge whether a menu item containing pasta and lettuce was healthy or not. When described as a “salad dish", it received healthier ratings than when it was called a “pasta dish", even though the dish contained 900 calories and 60 grams of fat in either case.

    In a second test, dieters ate more of a candy called “fruit chews” than when the identical product was called “candy chews". Non-dieters were much less influenced by the product’s name.

  • A University of Pennsylvania study suggests that when it comes to cereal labeling, even younger children understand the positive connotation of the word “healthy".

    According to the website Pizaazz, scientists gave a group 4-6 year old kids cereal boxes labeled “Sugar Bits". Half of the boxes featured cartoon penguins, while the other half did not. The “penguin” boxes were judged better-tasting than the “non-penguin” boxes – no surprise there. But given penguin and non-penguin boxes labeled “Healthy Bits", kids rated the tasty equally high regardless of whether the penguins were present or not – and what’s more, they rated the taste higher on average than those labeled “Sugar Bits".

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