High Heels

The High Risk of High Heels

Long-term, repeated use of high heels can cause problems from the hip down to the foot, according to Geisinger Medical Center podiatrist David Troutman, and he says studies continue to reinforce that fact. 

For instance, a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology finds that high heels strained the calf muscle, even when the subjects were no longer wearing them.  “If they would take their heels off and work out, they were more susceptible to strains and sprains because their foot was still functioning that,” Troutman says.  “So that was the real interesting key to this study.” 

The new study examined women who wore a significant heel at least 40-hours a week for two years. 

“Wearing a high heel shoe once in a while is not terrible, but I think it’s the more repeated, chronic use of it where people get in trouble,” Troutman says. 

He recommends that women limit the height of their heels to two inches, and to alternate high heels with more sensible shoes.  “I think the more that you can alternate, wear a little bit better shoe here and there, you’re going to be fine.”

Pennsylvania Highway Deaths Decline in 2011 to Second Lowest Level on Record

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is reporting a decline in highway deaths.  The numbers in 2011 were the second lowest on record.   1,291 people were killed in crashes on Pennsylvania roads last year. That number is 33 fewer than in 2010.

Fatal crash statistics improved in several areas.  There were fewer alcohol-related deaths along with declines in motorcycle and bicycle fatalities. DUI-related fatalities fell from 417 to 379. That number was the lowest in more than a decade. Motorcycle deaths dropped from 223 to 198 and bicyclist fatalities dropped from 21 to 11.   Head on collision deaths dropped to their lowest level in a decade.

Erin  Waters of PennDOT says there was an area of concern. Fatalities involving 16-year-old drivers rose from 19 to 29.  She says that’s an area where they want to continue emphasizing safety and get that number back down. PennDOT has two new tools, the texting ban and new teen driver law.   The teen driver law took effect in late December, the texting ban took effect earlier this month.

Waters says PennDOT invests about 20 million dollars in state and federal funds each year, educating people on safety and helping police enforce the laws.  She says the state also focuses on safety improvements to roadways, including center and edge line rumble strips.  She says those have reduced some of the crashes involving  people crossing over roadways or running off a road and striking a tree.

RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 03.16.12

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Renaming Beaver Stadium?

Pennsylvania voters believe Penn State’s home field should be renamed “Joe Paterno Stadium,” by a margin of 46 – 40, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll.  The support increases to 51% when you look only at voters over 65-years-old, and the name change has 55% support among college football fans.  

“There is lingering respect for Joe Paterno,” says pollster Tim Malloy.  “One has to wonder: If the Sandusky scandal had never happened whether support for renaming the stadium would have approached 100%.”  

After 61-years at Penn State, Joe Paterno was fired in November.  He died in January following a bout with lung cancer.  Paterno was 85.    

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,256 registered Pennsylvania voters for Friday’s poll.

State Capitol Facing North Office Building

Critics: Food Stamp Asset Test is Bad Policy

The Department of Public Welfare will reinstate a food stamp asset test on May 1st.  “It will help to ensure that individuals will first deplete all readily available resources before relying solely on public assistance, and as a result preserve the benefit for those who have no other additional means or resources,” explains DPW spokeswoman Carey Miller. 

But the testimony received by the House Human Services Committee focused largely on the negative effects that some foresee for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.  “SNAP benefits are good for needy families and they’re good for the economy,” says Louise Hayes from Community Legal Services.  SNAP refers to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is commonly referred to as food stamps.

Hayes believes more government red tape will lead to more needy families without the help they need to afford food. 

Following Thursday’s capitol hearing, opponents of the food stamp asset test delivered a petition with 10,000 signatures to Governor Tom Corbett’s office.   They say the new policy won’t save the commonwealth any money because food stamps are funded by the federal government, while state government shares the cost of administering the program.     

When Pennsylvania last had an asset test in 2008, the limits were $2,000 for households under the age of 60, and $3,250 for households with older or disabled individuals.  The asset test that’s set to take effect in May would increase those thresholds to $5,500 and $9,000 respectively. 

Assets subject to the test will include: cash, checking and savings accounts, as well as stocks, bonds and savings certificates.  Assets exempt from the test will include: homes, primary vehicles, educational savings accounts and all retirement plans. 

“This change is only expected to affect less than 1% of Pennsylvania’s population who are currently receiving the food stamp benefit,” Miller says.  As of December 2011, there were more than 1.8-million Pennsylvanians enrolled in the SNAP program.

Flooded backyard near Goldsboro railroad underpass.

Spring Flood Risk Reduced this Year According to NOAA

The mild winter will reduce the risk of spring flooding in most of the country, including Pennsylvania.    NOAA’s annual spring outlook was released today.

This time last year, most of Pennsylvania was looking at an above average risk of spring flooding, with a section of Northeastern Pennsylvania at high risk.  This year,  the risk of major flooding is average across Pennsylvania.

Due to mild weather and little snow pack, there are no areas of the country facing a high risk for the first time in four years. But Laura Furgione , deputy director of the National Weather Service, says that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. She cautions that heavy rainfall can lead to flooding at any time, even where the overall risk is low.

Furgione says it floods somewhere in the United States nearly every day of the year.  She says flooding is the leading cause of severe weather-related deaths in the country, claiming on average about 100 lives a year.  Nearly half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles.  She says that’s why officials tell us not to drive through rising waters.

The only areas of the country with above normal flood risk are the Ohio River Valley, which includes of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, and parts of the Gulf Coast which includes Louisiana and Mississippi.

Governor Tom Corbett Signs Voter ID Law

    Governor Tom Corbett last evening signed legislation that will require all voters to produce a photo ID starting with the November general election. The governor signed the bill the same day it received final legislative approval following three days of emotional floor debate in the state House of Representatives.

    The new law takes effect immediately and will be rolled out on a test basis for the primary election on April 24th. Come November, however, the ID requirement will be in place on a permanent basis. Supporters say the effort will help crack down on voter fraud, but critics say it’s a solution for a non-existent problem that will disenfranchise many voters, especially the poor and the elderly.

    Acceptable forms of ID at the polling place will include a driver’s license, a student ID issued by a Pennsylvania college or university or an ID from a Pennsylvania care facility.

    Opponents are vowing to challenge the new law in court.

    As part of the law, PennDOT will issue free photo IDs to anyone in need of such identification for voting, but applicants would need to supply the department with proper documents, such as a birth certificate. That service is already available today according to Governor Corbett. A public information campaign is also getting underway.

    President Obama’s re-election campaign issued a statement overnight criticizing Pennsylvania lawmakers for “passing a costly bill to address a non-existent problem.”