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Selections from What’s Trending This Week — April 17, 2015

ACA Penalty_bleed_41. DEADLINE:

Special Enrollment Period Ends on April 30

The special enrollment period, currently in place for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM), is ending on Thursday, April 30, 2015.  If consumers do not purchase coverage for 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 income taxes.

Don’t wait until the last minute there are several resources available to help you secure coverage and avoid tax penalties! Visit ACAHelpVA.org or the Get Covered Connector tool to find in-person assistance in your area. For the PDF file of the tax penalty flyer, click here. For a Spanish translation of the tax penalty flyer, click here.


fitness2. DETRAINING:

How Long Does It Really Take To Get Out of Shape?

When our schedules are filled and our lives get hectic, fitness often falls off the list of priorities. But when we take extended breaks from our workout routines, how long does it take to get out of shape?

This article at The Washington Post explores the effects of “detraining” on different parts of the body the cardiovascular system, muscles, and the waistline — and offers some quick, at-home exercises you can do to maintain your fitness!


kind bars3. DETRIMENTAL?:

How Kind are ‘Kind’ Bars to Our Health?

In a letter released this week, the Food and Drug Administration called out the snack food company Kind for violating labeling rules by putting the word “healthy” on the packaging for some of its bars. The FDA has a specific definition of “healthy” food that follows a list of requirements that products must meet to be considered as such; for example, a product must contain 1 gram or less of saturated fat.

In this case, there were four flavors of Kind bar that did not meet FDA standards of “healthy.” For example, the Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut product contained 5 grams of saturated fat per 40 grams of the food.

However, other nutritional research suggests that saturated fat may not be the worst perpetrator. High-fat nuts, in particular, may help control our appetites, to keep weight down. Additionally, nuts reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and lower rates of heart disease and mortality. The government updates its Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years, and the latest report from the advisory committee for those guidelines does indeed point to research supporting the inclusion of nuts in a healthful diet.