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What We’re Reading: Aging With HIV; Obesity Treatment Barriers; Social Media Warning Labels

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Ageing with HIV comes with greater risks of other health complications; behavioral counseling programs for obesity are scare and often not covered by insurance; the surgeon general is calling for legislative action to protect youth when they interact with social media.

Health Systems Struggling to Meet Needs of Older Americans Living With HIV

Over half of the people living with HIV in the US are now older than age 50, and this demographic is expected to grow, according to Kaiser Health News. However, aging with HIV also means an increased risk of other health problems, such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease, as well as a greater risk of developing these conditions at a younger age. Meanwhile, the US health care system, constrained by funding issues and workforce shortages, is struggling to meet the needs of this aging population, risking the progress made in HIV treatment and care.

Parents Face Barriers to Accessing Recommended Obesity Treatment for Children

Intensive behavioral counseling, recommended for childhood obesity, is often inaccessible to many families in the US due to long wait times, lack of insurance coverage, and the time commitment required, according to Reuters. Consequently, fewer than 1% of the nearly 15 million US children with obesity receive this type of structured care, pushing some families toward weight loss medications despite concerns about their long-term safety for children. Efforts to expand coverage for these programs have stalled, with major medical organizations advocating for better support and access to comprehensive obesity treatment.

Surgeon General Urges Congress to Mandate Warning Labels on Social Media for Children

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms, similar to those on tobacco and alcohol, to inform parents and children of the significant mental health risks associated with social media use, according to CNN. Murthy cited studies indicating a strong link between extensive social media use and increased rates of depression among adolescents, who currently spend nearly 5 hours daily on these platforms. Despite acknowledging that a warning label alone won't solve the problem, Murthy emphasizes the urgent need for comprehensive actions, including stricter age restrictions and making schools and family events phone-free environments, to mitigate the harmful impact of social media on young people’s mental health.

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