Health

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Backers of the sugar sweetened beverage tax argue that one of the major benefits of their plan will be to reduce obesity in Vermont. They say this will happen because the tax will significantly increase the cost of these products and that consumers will look for less expensive and healthier alternatives.

But there are questions whether this taxing mechanism will actually change behavior.

Annie Russell / VPR

The state of Vermont faces unique challenges when it comes to homelessness, and one Addison county shelter is trying to make a real difference.

All eight of Vermont's mayors signed a joint letter to lawmakers last week urging them to remove non-medical exemptions to the state's mandatory vaccination policy for public schoolchildren.

The mayors say they have an interest in the removal of such exemptions because cities are more densely populated and could be more seriously affected by a disease outbreak.

Amanda Swinhart Photography

Compressors running. Hammers flying. Maple sugaring season is ramping up on the Cochran’s land in Richmond. The family started producing syrup in 2010, and it’s quickly becoming tradition. But now, with a twist.

Seventy-two Vermont communities add fluoride to their water system to help keep prevent tooth decay. But on town meeting day in Bennington, voters there said they don't want fluoride added to their water.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

This week marks the 47th year that Washington County Sen. Bill Doyle has distributed his annual Town Meeting Day survey. This year's survey includes questions about taxes, the environment and the legalization of marijuana.

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A new study from the University of Vermont found that Vermont doctors are failing to follow best practices about half the time when prescribing antipsychotic medicine to children.

The use of antipsychotics has become increasingly common in recent years, said the study’s lead author Dr. David Rettew.

“But there’s actually very little data that speaks to whether this is an appropriate increase or whether this reflects an overuse of this class of medications,” he said.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Gov. Peter Shumlin wants to raise $90 million in state revenues to pay for a wide ranging health care reform agenda. And while a key House committee is backing his push for new taxes, the House Committee on Health Care looks to be leaning toward a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to raise the money, not the payroll tax preferred by Shumlin.

Angela Evancie / VPR

A bill that would make it more difficult for parents to avoid mandatory vaccinations for their children is unlikely to be debated this year. Legislative leaders say they have other, more pressing, priorities.

Toby Talbot / AP

Childhood vaccines: for the vast majority of parents it's a necessary part of protecting the health of their children. But for some parents, concerns over the number of vaccines, the schedule of taking them, and possible side-effects lead them to a different conclusion.

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