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Pier 55 hosts Kids' Health Adventure: Health briefs

Children and their parents are invited to hunt for the treasure of good health in Kids' Health Adventure, held 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday, March 18, at Pier 55, 240 Harrison St. Suite 2.

Children ages 5-13 will be given a treasure map, ditty bag, five treasures and an informational handout to make their way around five "islands" to learn about digestive health, exercise, water, vitamins and making good food choices. All while "pirates" — junk food, pop, candy, processed foods — will attempt to mislead the adventurers.

The event costs $7 per child with a $20 family maximum. Register by March 10 by stopping in Pier 55, mailing payment or calling 651-327-2255. Payment is accepted by cash, credit card or check payable to Red Wing Area Seniors.

Kids' Health Adventure is presented by Cornerstone Health Team, a health education organization focused on prevention. Online: www.cornerstonehealthteam.com.

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Survey: Minnesotans uncertain about paying for care in old age

Half of people responding to the "Own Your Future" annual survey at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair said they are not prepared to deal with the help most of them and their loved ones are expected to need after age 65, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Half of respondents also said their biggest concern about retirement is losing health and needing care, followed by not having enough money (40 percent) and being a burden to family (11 percent).

"In 13 years, the oldest baby boomers turn 85 and the youngest will be 65," said Loren Colman, assistant commissioner for Continuing Care for Older Adults at DHS. "We estimate that more than half of these people will need help after age 65 with daily activities such as bathing and dressing as well as housekeeping and other everyday tasks. Yet many people have not planned for and are unprepared to pay for that help."

The total lifetime cost for the average user of long-term care is $259,000, about half of which will be paid out of pocket, according to national studies. Medicare pays for nursing home care in very limited instances.

The State Fair survey, completed by 2,553 people in 2016, is intended to provide a snapshot of Minnesotans' current thinking on their retirement and long-term care planning. DHS and other agencies use the survey results to gauge how concerns and behavior regarding retirement and long-term care planning are changing over time and how trends could influence policy, public information and outreach efforts.

More information about the survey is available at http://mn.gov/dhs/ownyourfuture/news/.

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Proposal resurfaces to limit abortion access 

ST. PAUL — A bill aimed at curtailing state funding for abortions in Minnesota is advancing rapidly in the Minnesota Senate, but may be stalled while lawmakers work out the larger question of how to fund state government as a whole.

Senate File 702 would prohibit the state Department of Human Services from funding abortion services. Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, submitted the bill Feb. 6 and the measure has received approval from two Senate committees.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said in an interview while he expected the bill to receive a floor vote and eventually make it to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton, the Senate leadership had not yet set a date to vote on it. Gazelka said he considered crafting a new budget for the state to be a higher priority.

However, Gazelka supports the bill. Some people who wouldn't call themselves opponents of abortion still oppose the state funding abortions, he said.

"So this is kind of a meeting of those two groups," Gazelka said. "Obviously if we're not funding abortions, there's going to be less abortions, and to me, that's a win."

The federal Hyde Amendment prohibits the Medicaid program from funding abortions except under three circumstances: rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. At one time, Minnesota had its own law that paralleled the Hyde Amendment's rules. However, that law was struck down by the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1995 as an invasion of privacy that violated the state constitution.

The Medical Assistance program — the state version of Medicaid — as well as MinnesotaCare can fund "medically necessary" abortions above and beyond the boundaries of the Hyde Amendment, a DHS statement said.

Medical Assistance paid for 4,157 abortions during Fiscal Year 2015 that Medicaid couldn't cover, totaling $1.02 million in reimbursed costs, the fiscal note said.

But DHS considers S.F. 702 to have no fiscal impact, because it anticipates the bill being struck down by the courts if it makes it into law.

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Colon cancer screening rate on the rise; breast, cervical cancer screenings lag behind

More adults are getting recommended screening tests for colorectal cancer, but not for breast or cervical cancers, according to data released this month in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The nation saw a gain in colorectal cancer screening in 2015 compared with 2000 for whom screening is recommended, from 33 percent to 62 percent in men and from 35 percent to 63 percent in women. But cervical cancer screening decreased from 88 percent to 83 percent in women ages 21 to 65 years who had not had a hysterectomy.

Breast cancer screening for women ages 50 to 74 years remained constant at 72 percent.

"Screening for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer is key to preventing cancer or finding cancers at an early stage, when they are most treatable," said Dr. Lisa C. Richardson, director of CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, in a news release. "We will continue successful programs that have increased screening rates and will look for new ways to reach people who are not getting recommended cancer screenings."

Researchers analyzed data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey to update previous data on adult colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer screening rates. The survey is used to monitor progress toward Healthy People 2020 objectives for cancer screening based on the most recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations.

The announcement coincides with Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, as well as a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that found rates of colon and rectal cancer have been rising sharply in young and middle-aged Americans since the mid-1980s.

For more information, visit preventcancer.org/learn/preventable-cancers/colorectal

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