Month: June 2022

Pregnancy Nutrition: What Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

Pregnancy gives a whole new meaning to food. Not only does what you eat help nourish and grow a human being, but it can also send you running for the bathroom as you discover yet another smell that disgusts you. There's already so much to consider when pregnant that it can hard to remember exactly which foods or beverages you absolutely can't ingest and which are safe in moderation. 

To help you through this exciting yet admittedly stressful time, we rounded up a list of foods and beverages to avoid so you can continue to figure out how best to fill your plate during this important time in your life. We also rounded up a list of foods that experts continue to debate if they are safe to eat during pregnancy. 

Read also: 6 Things Your OB-GYN Wishes You Knew About Pregnancy

Foods to avoid during pregnancy 


It's not a food, but alcohol continues to sit high on the list experts say to avoid while pregnant. Alcohol can affect fetal development of the brain, facial features and other important body parts as it passes through the pregnant person's blood to the developing fetus. Alcohol can impact a child's life after they're born and cause physical and developmental disabilities, or what's known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's no safe amount of alcohol to consume at any point during pregnancy. If you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy and would like help quitting drinking, talk to your doctor or find help near you.

Pregnant woman with a hand on a wine glassPregnant woman with a hand on a wine glass

Experts say to cut out beer, wine and liquor during pregnancy because there's no known "safe" amount of alcohol to drink. 

Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Raw or undercooked seafood and all shellfish

This one might hurt a little, but raw or undercooked fish (like sushi) can contain bacteria and viruses that can be harmful to you and your baby. Importantly, eating raw fish runs you the risk of listeria, which is an infection 10 times more likely to affect pregnant people, and 24 times more likely to affect Hispanic pregnant people, according to the CDC. Listeria can cause miscarriage, stillbirths, preterm births and death in newborns. 

Some examples of seafood to avoid include sushi, sashimi, ceviche, raw oysters, scallops and clams, per the Mayo Clinic. You should also stay away from refrigerated seafood labeled nova style, lox, kippered, smoked or jerky, according to the clinic. 

High-mercury fish

The bigger and older the fish, according to the Mayo Clinic, the more likely it is to contain levels of mercury that aren't safe during pregnancy. A buildup of mercury in your body can affect your baby's nervous system. Common fish to avoid include bigeye tuna, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, swordfish, shark and tilefish, per the Food and Drug Administration.

If you catch your own fish, or eat locally sourced fish, check local advisories for mercury levels and possible pollution.

Raw and undercooked meat 

Pregnant people are at a higher risk for foodborne illness because pregnancy affects their immune system's ability to fight off those infections, according to the FDA. Meat served raw or undercooked can carry harmful bacteria such as listeria, E. coli, salmonella, toxoplasma and make you and your unborn baby (who doesn't have a functioning immune system yet) severely ill. 

So while you're pregnant, it's best to order that burger or steak well-done. 

Aerial photo of a salmon and veggie dinnerAerial photo of a salmon and veggie dinner

There's a long list of fish to avoid while expecting, but well-done salmon or other low-mercury fish are healthy options for you and your pregnancy. 

Aniko Hobel/Getty Images

Processed meat 

Hot dogs, cold cuts and deli meat are all examples of things you might want to avoid eating while pregnant. These "ready to eat" meats can also contain harmful bacteria or viruses. The FDA does say it's OK to eat these types of meat, though, if they're "reheated to steaming hot." Piping hot bologna, anyone? 

Raw eggs 

Undercooked or raw eggs pose the same foodborne illness threat to pregnant people, so it's best to avoid them. Some popular homemade food items that might contain raw eggs include hollandaise sauce, Caesar dressing, aioli dip and mayonnaise (but store-bought dressings and dips are typically safe because they're made with pasteurized eggs, according to the FDA). It's also important to cook your eggs thoroughly. That means firm scrambled eggs and hard yolks. 

Unwashed fruits and vegetables

You can blame listeria and the other common foodborne illnesses again, but the FDA recommends pregnant people wash their fruits and veggies in the case they've been contaminated. You should use plain water, scrub away the dirt with a vegetable brush (if you have one) and remove bruises or cuts that can harbor bacteria, per the FDA

Unpasteurized milk and cheese

If your cheese or milk product has "unpasteurized" on the label, it's best to skip because the potential infection with Listeria could lead to miscarriage, preterm delivery or affect a newborn. Goat cheese, feta, Brie, blue cheese, Camembert and queso fresco or blanco typically contain unpasteurized milk and are best to avoid, Parents reported. 

Hispanic people who are pregnant might be much more susceptible to listeriosis because their diets are more likely to include soft cheeses like queso fresco or blanco, panela and asadero. If queso blanco and queso fresco are made with pasteurized milk, it's safe to eat. (As a note of caution, the CDC says that some cases of listeriosis have been linked to contamination in products that were made with pasteurized milk.) 

Pregnant woman holding a plate of salad and a plate of donutsPregnant woman holding a plate of salad and a plate of donuts

It's best to eat small amounts of highly processed foods during pregnancy because they usually offer little nutritional value. 

Oscar Wong/Getty Images

Raw sprouts

Sprouts, though delicious and healthy, can be contaminated with salmonella -- a bacteria which causes about 1.35 million infections a year in the US, according to the CDC. While pregnant, it might be best to pass on the sprouts. 

Organ meat

Organ meats, especially liver, contain very high amounts of vitamin A which is harmful during pregnancy, sometimes leading to birth defects or miscarriage. Types of synthetic vitamin A like retinol and the acne medication isotretinoin (formerly called Accutane) should also be avoided during pregnancy for this reason. 

'Proceed with caution' foods 

Sugar substitutes

Expert advice for pregnant people on artificial sweeteners and "fake sugar" seems to be a mixed bag. Doctors advise that pregnant people avoid saccharin, the sugar substitute found in Sweet'N Low, because it can cross the placenta and stay in fetal tissue. Others cite a possible link to low-calorie sweeteners and high birth weights or child obesity. But other guidance, like that from the Mayo Clinic, is that artificial sweeteners are fine if consumed in small amounts or in moderation. 

Bottom line: a diet soda here and there likely won't be harmful to you and your baby. But if you think your diet is too sugary, talk to your doctor before replacing the real stuff with artificial or low-calorie sweeteners.


If you're one of the many people who need a cup of joe to start the day, you might be wondering if you need to quit the habit. Current guidance is that, while cutting out caffeine entirely is ideal, moderate consumption of less than 200mg a day doesn't cause miscarriage or preterm birth, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (A typical 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 96 mg of caffeine, for scale, but amounts vary based on the brew). 

In addition to coffee, caffeine can be found in soda, chocolate, tea, energy drinks and other food and beverages. If you're particularly sensitive to caffeine, it might be best to keep your caffeine intake under 100mg, Healthline reported.

Caffeine, like a lot of substances that you can metabolize efficiently, crosses the placental barrier, so it's best to keep intake low for your growing baby. A study found that consuming 200 mg or more of caffeine a day increases the risk of miscarriage, but other research suggests even moderate caffeine consumption has been linked to low birth weight. If you have a history of miscarriage or are concerned about your caffeine intake, talk with your doctor.

A hand sprinkling sugar into a mug with coffeeA hand sprinkling sugar into a mug with coffee

Limit caffeine intake during pregnancy and be careful with sugar substitutes.

Tetra Images/Getty Images

Herbal tea

Caffeine is found in some teas, but herbal tea in pregnancy is a whole separate issue. The Mayo Clinic says to avoid drinking herbal tea while pregnant, unless your health care provider says it's OK, because of limited data on the safety for you and your baby. 

Herbal teas have been used by midwives and other people as cures for morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms, but there's still a lot we don't know about the amount of herbs that are safe for pregnant people. Some herbal teas that might be safe to drink in the first trimester are ginger tea and green tea (which contains caffeine) according to Australia's Department of Health. You might add red raspberry leaf tea to the list in the second trimester (the tea is associated with uterine contractions, so the agency suggests you wait out the first three months). Be careful not to drink too much as drinking three or more cups a day has been linked to an increased chance for spina bifida

Some herbal teas to absolutely avoid during pregnancy include sage and parsley tea, which have both been linked to miscarriage, according to the Australian agency. 

Bottom line: Ask your doctor before you drink, or continue drinking, herbal tea while pregnant. And that includes tea marketed as "pregnancy" tea.


Fish are an excellent source of protein
and many have other awesome nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and, despite the long list of fish you can't eat, there are a few you can include as part of a balanced diet. The FDA recommends eating 8 to 12 ounces (about two or three servings) a week of safe-to-eat fish. Some of these fish to consider, per the Mayo Clinic, include: anchovies, catfish, cod, herring, light canned tuna, pacific oysters, pollock, salmon, sardines, shad, shrimp, tilapia and trout. White tuna is also OK, but stick to 6 ounces a week instead.

<img src="" class=" lazy" alt="Tea pot of herbal tea pouring into a teacup" height="801" width="1200"/>Tea pot of herbal tea pouring into a teacup

There are a lot of unknowns about tea, especially herbal tea, during pregnancy. Check in with your doctor if you're a tea drinker.

ATU Images/Getty Images

That's a long list 

Like every person, every pregnancy has different needs and finding a diet that works best for one person may not be sustainable for you. While it's important to find foods that provide nutrients for you and your pregnancy, asking questions and considering your individual health can make eating healthy during pregnancy feel less restrictive. If you have questions about whether a food is safe to eat during pregnancy, contact your health care provider. 

More from CNET Parenting

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

I tried Kate Middleton’s exhausting workout routine for 14 days – watch

June 26, 2022 - 15:01 BST

Georgia Brown

It's no secret the Duchess of Cambridge has a natural affinity for health and fitness, having given royal fans a glimpse at her athletic talent and competitive streak at many a sporting event in the past.

SEE: Kate Middleton's epic workout routine and healthy lifestyle is not for the faint hearted

Former rugby player Mike Tindall, who is married to Prince William's cousin Zara, even described Duchess Kate as an "engine", claiming his dream rugby team would involve the 40-year-old royal on one wing "because she loves running, she can run all day!"


WATCH: HELLO!'s Georgia takes on Kate Middleton's gruelling workout routine

Keen to amp up my exercise habits, I decided to take on Duchess Kate's workout and wellness routine for 14 days to see if I could emulate the royal's enviably lean physique and radiant skin glow. Read on to discover everything I learned after working out like the Duchess of Cambridge…

LOOK: 26 times the royals made us laugh while playing sports - see hilarious photos

What is the Duchess of Cambridge's workout routine?

The royal has been known to incorporate a generous hybrid of cardio and weight training into her lifestyle. From running to weight lifting, cycling to rowing, yoga to HIIT, the sporty Duchess' workout routine certainly isn't for the faint-hearted.


The Duchess follows an extremely varied workout routine

I decided to follow a 14-day workout plan incorporating as many of the Duchess' favourite exercises as possible.

Day 1, 3, 5

  • 3km run
  • 45 min weight training

Day 2, 6, 7

  • 45 min spin class
  • 1hr Yoga

Day 8, 10, 12

  • 10,000 step walk
  • 45 min weight training

Day 9, 11, 13

Day 14

How did I find each exercise?

Weight training

Keen to seek some expert advice before delving into weight training, I spoke to Juliana Leonardi, Senior Personal Trainer at David Lloyd Kensington who weighed in (get it?) on the need-to-knows of lifting as a woman.


The Duchess has an incredibly lean physique

"The key to achieving a lean, toned body like the Duchess of Cambridge without bulking is to do several reps of low weights," explained Juliana.

MORE: This is what happened when I drank Kate Middleton's green 'pond water' smoothie for a month

READ: Kate Middleton's daily diet: the Duchess' breakfast, lunch and dinner revealed

"I definitely believe the Duchess of Cambridge weight trains," says Juliana. "There are so many benefits to weight training, from making you leaner and stronger to improving your bone destiny, burning fat and helping with posture."

As a total weightlifting rookie, I found Juliana's exercises enjoyable and surprisingly simple - but the burn the following day proved you don't have to lift heavy weights to feel a difference.


Both Kate and her sister, Pippa Middleton, are keen runners. According to the Daily Mail, the Duchess finds the time to run as often as possible when in Norfolk, having enjoyed long runs with the family dog Lupo by her side before he passed away.


KATE WEARS: Define Jacket, £98 / $118, Lululemon



WHAT I WORE: Bamboo Base Layer, £42, BAM Clothing


Getting in a daily run proved to be surprisingly difficult, as I think it requires the most motivation. I find running to be one of those 'love it or hate it exercises', and I'm definitely in the latter category. I always tried to kickstart my workouts with a slow 2 km jog, or finished a sweat sesh on David Lloyd's curved treadmills - which Juliana said are great for building endurance and working the core. 


Though I'm sure the Duchess of Cambridge doesn't cycle to pumping Taylor Swift at 7 am like I did in my spin classes, we do know she's a keen cycler. Before she became a Duchess, Kate would regularly cycle near her parents' home in Bucklebury, and has been spotted using the London Cycle Scheme bikes in Hyde Park.

MORE: 13 times the Duchess of Cambridge showed off her enviable trainer collection

I'm not sure if it's just the London cycle scene, but spinning terrifies me. I find the instructors intimating, the strange cult-like atmosphere where everyone in the room seems to automatically know the choreographed bike-ography (yes, that's a thing!) overwhelming, and the Ibizia club playlist often a little too much for a Monday morning. The sweat is real though, so it must do something.


I anticipated using yoga as my rest day activity to give my body a break from weights and cardio, but I often left the classes feeling exhausted.

Duchess Kate loves the holistic exercise. Kate invited a yoga instructor from the island of Mustique to her 2011 wedding and also prepared for the birth of Prince George in 2013 with prenatal yoga sessions.

What did I learn from working out like Kate Middleton for a week?

Regular, routine exercise works wonders for your mental health

Once I had nailed the routine of wake up, exercise, work, sleep, repeat, I started to notice a major shift in my focus, motivation and mental health. I started to crave the post-workout endorphins and knowing I had smashed my fitness goals for the day before I'd even started work was a far more rewarding feeling than my usual slog to wake up and drag myself to my desk to begin work (ahem).


I planned my workouts in a Daily Goal Setter Planner, £24, Mål Paper


I was also starting to feel exhausted by around 9pm, so I was heading to bed far earlier and clocking in at least eight hours sleep each night - which is far more than I'm used to.

It's not worth injuring yourself

I really had to listen to my body as I neared the final days of the challenge in order to avoid injury. At one point I felt I had overdone it on the cardio, so swapped a weight training session for some slow yoga at home - and I know my body thanked me for it.


All before 9 AM! No wonder my muscles ached...

It's always difficult to find the right balance between exercise and rest, particularly if you suddenly amp up the amount you're working out.

You have to up your food intake

We hear so much about 'calorie deficit' being the key to weight loss, but very little about the importance of eating enough calories to sustain your energy for exercise. If I had continued to eat the same as usual while tripling my daily exercise for this challenge, I'm certain I would have fainted by day three.

I noticed around day four of the challenge I was starting to wake up extremely hungry, and I was going to bed on what felt like an empty stomach. This is when I knew I wasn't giving my body enough fuel to power through my workouts. On some days, my Apple watch was telling me I'd burned over 3,000 calories in a day, so it's no wonder I started to feel weak and lightheaded when I hadn't eaten enough.


Wholesome fieldtrays from Farmer J were a lunchtime lifesaver

Still keeping my diet healthy, I added more protein and lots of fresh veg to give my body a boost. And I never denied myself a treat (or two) when I fancied one.

Don't underestimate the power of yoga

Weight training may have left me feeling exhausted and sweating, but it was always after yoga that my body felt it had worked its hardest. Not only was my core on fire by the end of every class, but my upper back and chest muscles were seriously struggling after a sweaty session of Chaturanga Dandasanas (low plank holds).


Rest days were a great opportunity for yoga at home

Yoga has proven benefits to the body's core, posture, and stability, so it's no surprise the Duchess incorporates yoga into her lifestyle as a way to wind down and promote muscle strength.

All bodies are different

As much as I would love to have woken up with the Duchess of Cambridge's slender, toned physique on the final day of the challenge (a girl can dream), I had to be realistic with my goals.


Progress in fitness takes a lot of time and commitment

Fitness is a lifestyle, and it requires a lot of commitment and dedication. So although the physical changes in my body were minimal despite my disciplined approach to the challenge, that doesn't mean it was a total failure. I explored new styles of working out, braved the dreaded weights section of the gym, and nailed my first 5k run in months.

Aesthetically, the changes might be small. Mentally, I'm more than ready to take on my next workout à la Kate Middleton and continue exploring the potential of my fitness goals.

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REDTAG promotes fitness and healthy lifestyle with retro sportswear on International Yoga Day

Drawing eclectic inspirations, Activewear adds an element of style to purpose-made exercise clothing, providing an additional reason to get up and pursue fitness and a healthy lifestyle. REDTAG’s dedicated collection also pays homage to vintage sportswear while retaining the contemporary design. In this way, Activewear perfectly encapsulates the spirit of yoga — an ancient practice with timeless significance and practicality.

“The practice of yoga, while rooted in Indian culture, has become ubiquitous, with proponents across the world, especially in the Middle East. Our Activewear pays homage to this ancient practice by empowering practitioners with fit-for-purpose apparel. While also bearing in mind the aesthetics, we have designed them with unwavering dedication and great attention to detail,” said Shehbaz Shaikh, Chief Retail Officer, REDTAG.

Through Activewear, men can relive the ’90s basketball experience with shorts in classic designs. Vintage options also extend to v-neck jerseys. Sleeveless hoodie sweatshirts and shorts with elasticated fastening are available in gentle colours. For those seeking fast-fashion gym outfits, REDTAG has brought enticing tie-dye shorts to go with t-shirts in fun colours like sage green.

Seamless short-sleeve cropped tops with push-up leggings in sober grey and dusky pink are just the yoga essentials that women need for a fulfilling yoga session. Activewear also features vintage, sporty and graphic sweatshirts that redefine comfort fashion. For the yoga regulars, there are relaxed t-shirts, two-piece sets, workout crop tops, and track shorts — all in warm colours.

“Activewear exemplifies REDTAG’s pre-eminence at the intersection of fast fashion and value pricing. Today, it also complements the growing awareness of fitness among all age groups and a rise in associated establishments such as gyms, yoga centres, and pilates studios. We intend to grow Activewear into a household sub-brand that will cater to fitness and yoga enthusiasts across the region,” added Shehbaz.

The value-driven brand recently concluded its Ramadan Bonanza, giving away SUV cars, cash prizes, and free gifts. In addition, REDTAG has been actively expanding across the region, with hyper-convenience value propositions such as ‘Anytime-Anywhere Exchange’, ‘Find Your Size’, ‘Fashion Stylists’, and ‘Free Home Delivery’.

With several such first-to-market services in the Middle East and its tiered loyalty program — RT Rewards — which boasts over 15 million members, REDTAG continues to cement its position as the leading value fashion and homeware brand in the region. Its contributions were recognized by Retail ME through the ‘Most Admired Brand Campaign of the Year’ award 2021.

Oat milk: nutrition facts and health benefits

If you’re considering switching from dairy to plant-based milk, you may be wondering how oat milk compares in terms of nutrition. There are many reasons why you may consider the switch – lactose intolerance, environmental concerns, animal welfare and simple curiosity, to name just a few. 

For many, picking the best milk alternative is a growing challenge. One look at the supermarket shelves will tell you that the range of available options is constantly expanding and more and more brands are offering plant-based products. According to Statista (opens in new tab), oat milk is the second most popular plant-based milk alternative in the US right now, right after almond milk. 

This Yoga Day, Let’s Take Steps Towards a Healthy Lifestyle

The world today is taking huge strides across all fields.This has caused times to be extremely fast paced. In such a scenario it is challenging to maintain physical well-being and peace of mind. It takes planning, efforts and disciplinewhen it comes to maintaining a certain quality of living. Individuals across age groups, school or college-going children, working individuals, homemakers, senior citizens,all of them are now leading a more hectic lifestyle than before. Pace of work has increased, and to-do lists across both, home and work front have been increasing.

Covid-19 pandemic has added a significant amount of stress to our daily lives as well. In these current times, it is essential to take some time off and focus on activities that will enhance your daily life, health and holistic well-being. Self-care needs to be prioritized and what better way to do it than spare a few minutes for practicing yoga for a healthy mind and a healthy body.

Yoga is one form of exercise and self-care which is suitable for all age groups and is one which can be practised from the comforts of your home. It is easy to follow and requires only a few minutes every daywhich can go a long way in improving your overall mental and physical health. You will begin noticing the positive effects and will feel positive energy flowing through your system once it becomes a more regular practice.

In fact, the theme for this year’s International Day of Yoga is ‘Yoga for Humanity’ which emphasises how yoga has served humanity across the globe by promoting the message of a healthy lifestyle, and bringing people together through compassion, kindness, sense of unity and resilience. 

Here are a few ways in which you can take the first few steps towards a healthy lifestyle through yoga:

A few minutes of yoga everyday simply means taking some time out for yourself and your good health from the daily demands of your life. Whether you are a homemaker, an entrepreneur or a student, it is the most rewarding form of exercise and self-care you can practise. Taking good care of yourself is the fundamental step to taking care of others in your ecosystem.

Stress Reduction
Yogaheals both the mind and the body. In today’s extra competitive and fast-paced lifestyle, keeping a calm mind has never been more significant. Successful management of stress has a positive impact on your overall health. You also tend to be more relaxed, and you will notice you are able to sleep better with consistent practise of yoga.

Mental Wellness
Yoga leads to mindfulness, healthy eating and promotes healthy metabolism. All these factors combined help the mind to relax and increases vitality. With a calm mind, you are more focused on completing tasks without unnecessary stress – whether those may be work or home related. 

Hearth Health
A calm mind leads to a calm body. Managing your stress levels effectively also helps in maintaining a healthy heart. Yoga helps mitigate body inflammation, and other factors responsible for heart disease such as blood pressure.

Body Strength
Many of us complain about increasing lethargy as time progresses. Consistent practice of yoga helps you overcome this and build muscle strength, helps you get rid of lethargy and helps keep your heart active and healthy. It also helps relieve pains and improves mobility.

Strong immune system
Someasanas help improve the overall functioning of the digestive system. There are times when individuals may choose to have a hearty meal at the restaurant for a change and end up have severe digestion issues post. Regular practice of yoga strengthens your digestive system and your overall immune system, empowering you to fight illnesses better than before. You will fall ill less often and with steady lowering of stress hormones in your body, you will also strengthen your immune system. 

A key part of Yoga is breathing techniques. It improves the respiratory tract and lungs by teaching you to breathe right and breathe better. Time dedicated towards practicing the right breathing techniques goes a long way. 

The most important aspect of yoga is the connection between mind and body. With this ancient form of exercise, you can learn to control your breathing with the movement of your body and train your mind to become calm and peaceful which in turn benefits your physical health. It is a cyclical reaction, and one which individual across the globe need on a regular basis.

The best part about yoga is its ease and simplicity. It does not require fancy infrastructure, just a few minutes of regular dedication and motivation on your part will go a long way in ensuring a much healthier lifestyle for you. It is never too late to take the first step towards a healthy lifestyle.

By Mr. Shharad Dhakkate is the Chief Human Resources Officer for SBI General Insurance 

Possible Expiration of Pandemic-Era Measures Among Drivers of 2023 Health Insurance Premium Changes

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Actuaries has released a public policy issue brief that points to the possible expiration of two signature pandemic-era measures that boosted health insurance affordability and coverage as among the drivers of potential premium changes for individual and small group plans in 2023.

American Academy of Actuaries. (PRNewsFoto/American Academy of Actuaries)American Academy of Actuaries. (PRNewsFoto/American Academy of Actuaries)

American Academy of Actuaries. (PRNewsFoto/American Academy of Actuaries)

"Proposed health insurance premium rates reflect many factors, which can include the effects of legislative and regulatory changes," said Academy Senior Health Fellow Cori Uccello. "This is especially true for 2023 rates, due to the possible expiration later this year of enhanced Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium subsidies and of a key support of Medicaid coverage during the pandemic."

The issue brief, developed by the Academy's Individual and Small Group Markets Committee, Drivers of 2023 Health Insurance Premium Changes, discusses these key factors and others that may account for differences in premium rates being filed with state insurance departments this year for 2023, compared to 2022 rates. The factors are illustrated in a new infographic as well.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) increased advanced ACA premium tax credits in 2020 and 2021 for all eligible income brackets, including extending tax credits to those who earn over 400% of the federal poverty level. These subsidies, which make plans more affordable, are set to end with the expiration of ARPA on Jan. 1, 2023, reversing enrollment gains and possibly worsening plan risk pools.

Provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) increased federal fiscal aid to states for covering Medicaid enrollees during the pandemic-related Public Health Emergency (PHE), contingent on the states suspending their usual processes for redetermining eligibility for Medicaid coverage. These provisions are set to expire at the end of the quarter in which the PHE is not renewed, which could happen this year. In that event, states could restart the usual redetermination process, meaning some individuals who received Medicaid coverage during the pandemic could no longer be eligible for Medicaid and shift to the individual market, the employer group markets, or become uninsured—a shift that could affect risk pools in the individual and small groups markets.

Other factors expected to drive premium rate changes for 2023 include changes to the composition of the small group market due to the continued shift of small employers to self-funded, level-funded, or other risk-rated coverage, or otherwise leaving the market; changes in utilization patterns for telehealth visits and for mental health care; and changes in provider contracting including the expected impacts of medical inflation. The costs of preventing, testing for, and treating COVID-19, while expected to stabilize, could also be important factors for certain health insurance plans, depending on projected trends in the pandemic, particularly should a new variant emerge that is not mitigated by the immunity provided by prior infections or vaccinations. State-level measures such as reinsurance programs aimed at lowering premiums could also reduce premiums, with an outsized reduction in the first year of new reinsurance programs.

Learn more about the Academy's health policy work under the public policy tab at

The American Academy of Actuaries is a 19,500+ member professional association whose mission is to serve the public and the U.S. actuarial profession. For more than 50 years, the Academy has assisted public policymakers on all levels by providing leadership, objective expertise, and actuarial advice on risk and financial security issues. The Academy also sets qualification, practice, and professionalism standards for actuaries in the United States.



View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE American Academy of Actuaries

Coconut milk: nutrition facts and health benefits

Due to its distinctive flavor and creamy texture, coconut milk can add a nice twist to coffees, protein shakes and desserts. Although it’s nowhere near as popular as other plant-based milk alternatives in the US, it retains a loyal fan base.But how nutritious is this drink? And can it bring about any tangible health benefits

Coconuts are well-known for their high saturated fat content. For decades, this nutrient has been linked to the obesity epidemic and a host of chronic diseases. However, recent years have seen a steep increase in studies (opens in new tab) challenging these findings, and even contradicting them. 

Healthy lifestyle shown to decrease dementia risk up to 36 percent: study

Retired senior man sleeping on bed by alarm clock at home
(Credit: Maskot / Getty Images)

New evidence suggests that lifestyle factors, including diet, exercise and sleep, can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia.

More than one-third of residents in assisted living and other residential care communities have some form of dementia or cognitive impairment, according to data from the Alzheimer’s Association.

A study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center published Monday in the American Academy of Neurology’s journal, Neurology, found an association between healthy lifestyles and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias among socioeconomically disadvantaged Americans.

Researchers concluded that promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing barriers to lifestyle changes are crucial to tackling the growing burden and disparities posed by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Research published recently by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report similarly examined risk factors for dementia, finding the prevalence was highest for individuals with high blood pressure and not meeting physical activity guidelines.

Vanderbilt researchers looked at data from 17,209 participants — 1,694 of whom received diagnoses of Alzheimer’s or related dementias during the four-year follow-up period.

Researchers looked at five lifestyle factors — tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, leisure time physical activity, sleep hours and diet quality — and their effect on dementia risk.

Healthy lifestyles, they reported, were associated with an 11% to 25% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The benefits were seen regardless of sociodemographics and history of cardiometabolic disease and depression. When combined, a composite score of those five lifestyle factors was associated with a 36% reduced risk in the highest versus the lowest quartile. 

“Our findings support the beneficial role of healthy lifestyles in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias among senior Americans, including those with socioeconomic disadvantages and a high risk of dementia,” study lead author Danxia Yu, Ph.D., said in a alzheimer-s-risk-and-disparities">press release. “It is critical to establish public health strategies to make lifestyle modifications achievable for all, especially disadvantaged populations.”

The research is from the Southern Community Cohort Study, a long-term research study launched in 2001 to examine the root causes of various diseases and health disparities.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Republican states trying to ban abortion expand health benefits for new mothers | Abortion

A number of Republican-led states that are moving to ban abortion are, at the same time, extending health insurance benefits to new mothers, professing to support “women in crisis”.

As the US supreme court prepares to rule on national abortion rights, many Republican states are seeking severe abortion bans that would force many women to carry pregnancies to term, likely worsening the US maternal mortality crisis.

Some of those same lawmakers are now passing bills that extend Medicaid benefits to low-income mothers, typically for one year after they give birth rather than the current two months.

Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas have all extended health benefits for low-income mothers in recent months, and Alabama and Georgia have both moved to implement such extensions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. All have also sought to impose severe abortion restrictions or bans.

Although expanding pregnancy-related health coverage is “a win in many ways”, it does not counteract the fact that abortion bans “would certainly lead to higher risks for maternal morbidity or mortality,” said Sarah Blake, an associate professor of health policy at Emory University in Georgia.

Blake said Georgia lawmakers are in “Jekyll and Hyde mode”. Even as advocates for maternal health, herself included, are “very happy” for the extension, she said, “we know the state is very against women and their access to full scope reproductive health services”.

Changes to postpartum benefits come as the supreme court is expected to rule in the coming days on a critical abortion rights case, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A leaked draft opinion showed conservative justices are on the verge of ending federal abortion protections. If that happened, 26 states would be certain or likely to ban abortion.

“It shows you how [Republicans] are not operating in good faith,” said Loretta Ross, an associate professor at Smith College in Georgia and a reproductive justice activist. “If they really cared about maternal mortality they’d reduce the causes of maternal mortality – and it goes way beyond Medicaid expansion.”

State legislators in both Democrat- and Republican-led states have made changes to Medicaid, a federal and state partnership that provides health insurance for the poor and disabled, to take advantage of a provision of federal pandemic aid which streamlined postpartum benefit changes.

However, the most dramatic effects would be in Republican-led states, where lawmakers have long refused to expand the program to more low-income people.

The refusal is a legacy of Obamacare debates. Around the time the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, Republicans sued to stop the expansion of Medicaid. They succeeded in the supreme court, and each state was forced to adopt Medicaid expansion individually.

A dozen states, mostly in the US south, still refuse to do so, even though the federal government would pay 90% of the costs of expanding the program.

Expanding Medicaid only to postpartum women appears to be a way for Republican-led states to champion their aid to a sympathetic group, even as they oppose broader Medicaid expansion and ban abortion, said Ross.

In Texas, for example – a state where one-quarter of women of reproductive age lack health insurance, the highest rate in the nation, and which is among the 10 worst states for maternal mortality – lawmakers recently expanded Medicaid to pregnant patients for six months after giving birth, instead of two.

A single adult supporting two children cannot earn more than $2,760 a year and qualify for Medicaid – unless they are pregnant, in which case they can earn up to $45,600 a year and qualify. However, the exemption previously lasted just 60 days after birth – the federal minimum – after which most people become uninsured once again.

The expansion to six months is welcome but insufficient, said Erika Ramirez, director of policy and advocacy for the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition: “We got six, which is better than nothing … [But] over and over, [the] top recommendation [from maternal health experts] has been for women to get postpartum care for a full 12 months.”

When the legislation was signed, Texas state senator Lois Kolkhorst, who sponsored it, described the Medicaid extension as a “bipartisan effort to help keep Texas moms healthy and provide the care needed to avoid preventable deaths and illnesses” .

Yet just two days before the bill passed in the Senate, Kolkhorst and her Republican colleagues passed a total abortion ban, which is expected to go into effect immediately if the US supreme court ends federal abortion protections. It is one of 26 abortion restrictions Kolkhorst voted for in her 11-year career as a legislator.

A similar effort to simultaneously extend Medicaid to pregnant women and ban abortion is under way in Alabama. There, one of the most vocal proponents of expansion is Republican state representative Debbie Wood, who also opposes abortion in nearly all circumstances, including rape and incest.

Kolkhorst could not be reached for comment and Wood did not respond to requests for an interview.

In Tennessee, the Republican governor, Bill Lee, directly connected the state’s postpartum Medicaid expansion and abortion. At a press conference in May, he spoke about Tennessee’s “trigger” ban, a law that will allow the state to immediately ban abortion if the supreme court ends federal protections.

“The lives of unborn children – it’s very important that we protect the lives of them,” he said, adding: “It’s also important that we recognize that women in crisis need support and assistance through this process. For example, that’s why we’ve expanded our postpartum coverage for women in TennCare.”

“This kind of strategy pits needy people against each other,” said Ross. “We’re supposed to advocate for postpartum women to get Medicaid, and screw everybody else who needs it? It’s a classic divide and conquer strategy.”

Creators of Muscle Milk Launch New Hemp Infused Sports Nutrition Brand GYM WEED in U.S. Market | National Business


GYM WEED™, a hemp infused energy drink, officially launched today in the U.S. market with three unique flavors: Pear Pineapple, Stone Fruit and Tropical Berry. GYM WEED provides balanced energy without the jittery, anxious feeling typically associated with energy drinks. With zero sugar and only 10 calories per can, GYM WEED’s additional ingredients include Lion’s Mane and L-Theanine, for an alert and focused feel, along with B-vitamins and electrolytes.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Hemp infused energy drink GYM WEED™ launched with three unique flavors: Stone Fruit, Pear Pineapple and Tropical Berry. (Photo: Business Wire)

THC-free, gluten-free and non-GMO, GYW WEED is currently stocked in more than 500 gym locations in select markets nationwide. The suggested retail price of each can is $3.49 - $3.99 and is available for purchase at and select retailers.

Developed by Alternative Biologics, Inc., whose founders and team created protein drink category leader MUSCLE MILK, GYM WEED is the Pickett family's newest venture of products to help people feel great, train harder and live each moment to the fullest.

“We created GYM WEED to give people an energy drink that actually makes you feel good to help you power through your toughest workouts,” says Shane McCassy, President at Alternative Biologics, Inc. “Throughout its development, we sent samples of GYM WEED to our friends, industry leading trainers and athletes, and what we learned is what we claim: it tastes great and it provides the energy and focus athletes want when hitting the gym, without the jitters or crash.”

On the U.S. market for just a few weeks, GYM WEED is rapidly expanding within gym and specialty distributors including Europa Sports, DNA Distributors, NYB Distributors and L&E Distributors.

The brand has exciting brand partnerships in the works, including model/wellness influencer Alexis Ren and celebrity trainer Melissa Alcantara. Both will be producing branded content as well as many more exciting things to come with GYM WEED.

GYM WEED Product Range - available for purchase at

Pear Pineapple - a bright combination of juicy, ripe pear mixed with fresh, sweet pineapple

  • 20 mg of Hemp Extract
  • 200 mg of Caffeine
  • THC Free
  • 100mg of Lion’s Mane
  • 100mg of L-Theanine
  • 10 Calories
  • 0 Sugar
  • Vegan, Non GMO and Gluten-Free

Tropical Berry - pairs fresh tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and passion fruit with the classic flavors of strawberry, raspberry and cherry

  • 20 mg of Hemp Extract
  • 200 mg of Caffeine
  • THC Free
  • 100mg of Lion’s Mane
  • 100mg of L-Theanine
  • 10 Calories
  • 0 Sugar
  • Vegan, Non GMO and Gluten-Free

Stone Fruit - a fresh orchard loaded with ripe and juicy peaches and plums

  • 20 mg of Hemp Extract
  • 200 mg of Caffeine
  • THC Free
  • 100mg of Lion’s Mane
  • 100mg of L-Theanine
  • 10 Calories
  • 0 Sugar
  • Vegan, Non GMO and Gluten-Free

Lifestyle photos HERE.

Product photos HERE.

View source version on

CONTACT: Famous Last Words PR

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Copyright Business Wire 2022.

PUB: 06/22/2022 11:51 AM/DISC: 06/22/2022 11:52 AM

Copyright Business Wire 2022.