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Editorials

  • Listening is key to health care compromise
    If the first feedback from their Hoosier Healthcare Tour is any indication, congressman Larry Bucshon and state Rep. Tim Brown aren’t likely to change their views on the Affordable Care Act.
  • Lots of smoke but little fire to reduce Indiana’s smoking habit
    State officials are appealing a $63 million reduction in Indiana’s share of tobacco master settlement payments. But even without the penalty, Indiana’s tobacco prevention and cessation efforts are sputtering.
  • State continues its struggle with tax-burden balance
    If you’re mailing a check to the Indiana Department of Revenue today, you might already have pondered the disconnect between how much you’re paying in state and local taxes and the tax-cut boasting you hear from state officials.
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Furthermore …

What’s up, doc? Your weight – he has a plan

At The Journal Gazette, we’re proud of Assistant Features Editor Kimberly Dupps Truesdell’s efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and her efforts to help others, most recently by being featured a second time on NBC’s “Today” show.

As Truesdell recounts below, losing weight requires determination; there is no magic secret. But a little encouragement from the doctor can’t hurt, either.

New guidelines released this week by the medical profession to fight the nation’s obesity problem urge doctors to talk with their patients regularly and to offer those who are overweight or obese some help on losing weight.

Last year, the American Medical Association confirmed what common sense should have told us long ago: Obesity is a disease. But surveys show that many doctors never talk with patients about weight-loss goals or strategies to accomplish that.

The new guidelines advise doctors to calculate their patients’ body mass index annually and to share that information with them. Then, the guidelines say, doctors can help patients develop a weight-loss plan and, when necessary, recommend counseling or surgery.

Many insurance plans will cover such treatments by 2014; Medicare already does.

Give it to us straight, Doc.

Ever-more gore: In life and on the screen

The portrayal of violence has been more than a mainstay in entertainment since the times of Shakespeare and even the Greek tragedians.

But some fundamental elements have changed. Hamlet’s fatal sword wound did not require a gush of fake blood to convince us, and we did not need to see Oedipus’ punctured eyeballs rolling across the floor. Now, technical wizardry, looser standards of taste and an inevitably concurrent lack of dramatic imagination have made it the norm for a movie or television show to portray the impact and aftermath of a gunshot or blade stroke in graphic, convincing detail. We used to see the headless horseman galloping along; now we start with the beheading.

It is debatable whether “show, don’t tell” entertainment is inherently more absorbing, or even more terrifying; the original “Psycho” holds a power that generations of more clinically detailed horror movies cannot equal.

But in opting for realism, Hollywood has embarked on a distressing competition with reality.

Now, when movie villains spray public areas with machine-gun bullets, it is nearly impossible not to think of real incidents and real victims. Blood, gore and terror at marathons and shopping malls and even a movie theater have sucked the fun out of violence-crazy drama.

The floodgates open ever wider. A new study shows gun violence in PG-13 movies has more than tripled since 1985. Indeed, the research by Ohio State University and the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania shows that “gun violence in PG-13 movies has rivaled the level of gun violence in R-rated movies since 2009, and actually surpassed it in 2012.”

Movies tend to get R ratings for explicit sexual content much more easily than for graphic violence.

It is impossible to effectively enforce movie ratings in the digital world, though ratings have some value as a guide for parents who still try.

But as the gap between fantasy violence and the real thing continues to narrow, this latest study offers still more evidence of the gap between Hollywood’s sensibilities and the rest of America’s.

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