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Report calls for better adolescent health care

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON Reform is needed in health care services for adolescents, who often engage in risky behavior, as the services and providers that are needed and used by adolescents are often fragmented, resulting in gaps in care, according to a new report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.

While most U.S. adolescents (those aged 10 to 19) are healthy, many engage in risky behavior, develop unhealthy habits and have physical and mental conditions that can jeopardize their health. 

“As policymakers discuss how to restructure the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S., the distinct problems faced by adolescents‹such as risky behavior‹deserve particular attention. And because adolescence is a critical period for developing habits that build a strong foundation for health throughout one?s entire life, services need to focus on promoting healthy behaviors, preventing disease and managing health conditions,” stated committee chair Robert Lawrence, professor of environmental health sciences and health policy at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Furthermore, the various services and providers that are needed and used by adolescents are often fragmented, resulting in gaps in care. For example, specialty services in mental health, sexual health, oral health and substance abuse treatment are not accessible to most adolescents.

The report suggests that a system be developed that fosters coordination between primary and specialty care; it should also include opportunities for primary care services to reach adolescents through safety-net settings, such as hospitals and community health centers and programs. Also, a stronger focus is needed on meeting the needs of adolescents who may be especially vulnerable to risky behavior or poor health‹for example, those who are poor, recent immigrants or those in foster care.

Federal and state policy makers also should develop strategies to ensure that all adolescents have comprehensive, continuous health insurance coverage, the report states. More than five million Americans aged 10 to 19 are uninsured and they use care less often and are less likely to have a regular source of primary care than those young people who are insured.

To improve the skills of health professionals to interact effectively with this age group, the report recommends that regulatory bodies incorporate competencies in adolescent care in their licensing, certification and accreditation requirements. Also, public and private funders should provide financial support to expand and sustain interdisciplinary training programs in adolescent health.

It is also recommended that, as an overarching principle, adolescents give their own consent before their health information is shared with others, even their parents, according to the report.

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Retail crime on the rise as nation faces deepening economic woes

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. As the economic crunch tightens its grip on the nation, crimes against retailers appear to be on the rise, according to the findings of a recent survey released by The Retail Industry Leaders Association.

According to RILA’s Current Crime Trends Survey, both crimes of opportunity and sophisticated organized retail crime are on the rise across all retail segments.

The survey examines the observations from 52 of the largest and fastest growing retailers in the United States, ranging from food, drug and mass to specialty apparel, electronics and appliances, and fabric and craft retail.

The survey focuses on the time period associated with the current economic downtown and seeks to identify corresponding trends in unlawful activity.

Furthermore, retailers are reporting an alarming upward trend in crimes in regions not typically prone to such increases.

Among the findings:

• 84 percent report an increase in theft/amateur shoplifting

• 76 percent report an increase in financial fraud

• 80 percent report increases in organized retail crime

• 77 percent of specialty retailers report increases in organized retail crime.

In an effort to curb such activity, retailers report that they are working to make improvements in their operations, resource allocation and capital spending. They also continue to work with law enforcement and state and federal legislators to find solutions.

According to The Global Retail Theft Barometer, put out by the Centre for Retail Research, U.S. retailers spent nearly $12 billion last year on loss prevention efforts.

The reported increases in organized retail crime highlight a potential long-term issue, according to RILA. Such crimes involve crime rings that steal and stockpile large quantities of merchandise that they then sell often to unwitting buyers. The stolen merchandise is sold through flea markets, swap meets, pawn shops and increasingly through Internet auction sites. As the economy improves, organized retail crimes will likely continue as the criminal enterprises associated with organized retail crime become reliant on the revenue derived from the commission of this crime.

“Organized retail criminals are ramping up their activity. The resulting ability to fund additional crimes should be a concern to everyone,” said Paul Jones, vice president of asset protection at RILA.

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Febreze releases line of holiday-themed scented home candles, sprays

BY Jenna Duncan

CINCINNATI Febreze has added limited edition holiday scents to its home freshening product offerings which will be carried throughout its entire product lineup.

Home maintanence expert Laura Dellutir, aka the Health Housekeeper, is promoting Febreze’s new holiday scents and encouraging holiday hosts and hostesses to save money on decorating, entertaining and freshening up homes for the holidays by buying helpful items, such as Febreze Limited Edition Holiday Line candles and sprays.

“Given the state of the economy, many people are looking for cost-effective ways to pull off a grand gathering for family and friends this holiday season,” said Laura Dellutri, the Healthy Housekeeper.  “Febreze’s limited edition scents are offered in a variety of products to help invoke a warm and fresh seasonal atmosphere at home without breaking the bank.”

The limited edition holiday line of scents includes Febreze Air Effects Vanilla and Baking, Febreze Winter Evening and Warmth and Fresh Evergreen and Snow. These aromas are available in Febreze Air Effects, candles, Febreze Fabric Refresher decor items and the Febreze NOTICEables line of room fresheners. 

Febreze’s holiday scented items range in price from $2.99 to $7.99 and are available at select food, drug and mass retailers across the United States. 

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