33MD for April 10, 2009

POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009 - 5:25pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:58pm

The benefits of a plant-based diet are well documented, but a new study shows some young people who choose to become vegetarians may be doing it for the wrong reasons. The study, featured in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found young adults who’d been vegetarians were more likely to have used laxatives, diet pills, and purging as a way to control their weight. Binge eating was also more common among vegetarians than those who’d never been. The good news, overall young vegetarians did have healthier diets and were less likely to be overweight or obese than their meat-eating peers.

More teenagers are having sex at a young age according to a large study of adolescents. Researchers at the University of Texas surveyed over 1,200 teens on their sexual activity. Results showed by age 12, over 12% of students had engaged in vaginal sex. Nearly 8% had oral sex and 7% had anal sex. Experts say it is important schools and parents talk about sex at the middle school level and provide resources for sexually active teens.

The fear of losing their jobs has Americans rushing to see their doctors and dentists before their insurance benefits run out. As Susy Solis explains, doctors say they’ve seen a staggering increase in patients since the economy took a downward spiral.

Amid layoffs and a struggling economy, North Texans are rushing to see their doctors and dentists before their insurance benefits run out. Dr. Suba Narayanan says, “Compared to the same time last year, in the last two months, we’ve had a jump in our physical exams by 90%.” Doctors and dentists say they usually see an end-of-the-year rush of patients, but so far the rush hasn’t stopped.

Dr. Sharon Orestein says, “Even patients who have lost their jobs and are on Cobra right now are rushing to use it before it goes away.” This North Texas doctor says the economy has affected her practice in a major way. "We are seeing more self pay patients at this point. It also affects our decision making because sometimes we recommend certain medications or certain tests which then they are unable to afford at that particular time." At this oral surgery center, doctors say patients can sometimes barely afford their co-pays and are opting for the bare minimum. “Sometimes they’ll need a bundled procedure but they can only afford to do the one that really hurts so they are putting the other ones off for another time.”

Doctors say sometimes patients are in dire need of tests they can’t afford, so doctors are sending more and more patients to emergency rooms.