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Obamacare growth continues to outpace last year sign-ups with almost 11.3 million people enrolling into private health insurance plans via the exchange marketplaces through the last week of December the Department of Health and Human Services disclosed Thursday. The open enrollment period on the exchanges lasts until Jan. 31 and the tally of enrollees has already exceeded the departments projection of 10 million for the full year. Although this total likely will come down in the coming months as some consumers drop their coverage or fail to pay their premiums these findings suggest these marketplaces are performing above expectations so far. During the comparable period a year ago 9.5 million had enrolled nationwide. Expanding the exchanges is key not only to covering more of the uninsured but to stabilizing the new marketplaces for the future. More than sheer numbers the makeup of the exchange customer base is crucial especially after health insurance companies reported losses during the marketplaces first two years because enrollees proved sicker and costlier than expected. That resulted in higher premium increases for this year compared to 2015 and raised concerns about the affordability of coverage on the exchanges. President Barack Obama administration sees promising indicators in the first national report on sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act in 2016. So far 3 million of the enrollees are new to the exchanges. Guidelines on alcohol intake for men have been slashed by a third in new advice issued by Britain chief medical officers Friday. Men are now being told they should drink only 14 units of alcohol per week the same as for women and down from the previous level of 21 units. One unit is roughly equivalent to a small glass of wine or a small shot of spirits. The advice the first update of its kind for 20 years also says people should take several days off drinking every week. It warns that regularly drinking any amount of alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer. Pregnant women are now being told they should avoid drinking alcohol completely. Previously they were advised to limit themselves to only drink one or two units once or twice a week. What we are aiming to do with these guidelines is give the public the latest and most up to date scientific information so that they can make informed decisions about their own drinking and the level of risk they are prepared to take said Sally Davies the chief medical officer for England. Officials say the full extent of the correlation between alcohol and cancer was not properly understood when the previous public health guidelines were issued in 1995. Britain has a higher than average level of alcohol consumption according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) group of rich nations. The charity Alcohol Concern says that more than nine million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limit out of a population of around 54 million. It adds there were nearly 6500 alcohol-related deaths in England in 2012. There is fierce debate in Britain over whether to bring in a minimum price for alcohol in a bid to get rid of the cheapest drinks and discourage alcohol abuse. Only the devolved government in Scotland has so far introduced legislation to impose this. Amid all the companies debuting silly new fitness trackers and niche sports wearables at CES 2016 a small company from Los Angeles quietly unveiled the future of sports safety and precaution. This company aptly named Force Impact Technologies took to the showroom floor in Eureka Park armed with the FITGuard an innovative mouthpiece designed to help athletes avoid risking head injuries. Considering the controversial nature of concussions in today athletics the folks at Force Impact could not have manufactured this revolutionary mouthpiece at a better time. Under the teeth the mouthpiece features a series of LED lights and state-of-the-art sensors geared towards detecting absorbed force. After someone is on the bad end of a big hit the mouthpiece LED lights glow in three different colors. A flashing green display represents a fairly low impact sustained flashing blue means a bit more force was felt while red indicates the highest probability injury. Technically speaking the mouthpiece continuously samples rates of acceleration for those wearing it. When the wearer acceleration increases the FITGuard sampling rate also increases until it reaches certain thresholds. Once at these thresholds the mouthguard then lights up with the corresponding colors listed above. Moreover users either have the ability to utilize preset thresholds set up by Force Impact itself or create their own user-specified ranges. They do not need a bath every day my friend Debbie informed me shortly after we moved to Deutschland with two young children in tow. She referred me to a bit of German wisdom about bathing frequency suggesting that babies and young children need to be thrown in the tub only once or twice a week. My American husband known to shower twice a day was horrified but I kowtowed to peer pressure and hid the bubble bath. The water bills plummeted no one got sick or lice and my youngest who had suffered from a bit of eczema stopped developing her itchy rash. Recently Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf urged us to take showers instead of baths for water conservation reasons. While it is unclear which uses more water (so much depends on water pressure) one thing is certain: We would save even more if we just hung up the towel. Why not just turn off the tap? Americans while perhaps the cleanest are the worst offenders. When it comes to water consumption some of us are greedier than others. Americans while perhaps the cleanest are the worst offenders. Data from 2011 according to Statistica shows the U.S. using 1630 cubic meters per capita of water followed by Estonia at 1400 New Zealand at 1190 and Canada at 1130. Germany by contrast used just 400 cubic meters and Great Britain an eye-watering 140. No doubt Americans are excessive. Unless covered in mud there no reason to bathe ourselves or our children every day. Dr. Marie Jhin a dermatologist in San Francisco points to American Academy of Dermatology guidelines and notes that most kids under the age of 11 need to bathe just once or twice a week or when they get muddy or swim in public pools or lakes. Babies probably only need to bathe a similar amount even less she says noting that parents should not mess with infants natural skin oils by exfoliating them too much. As they hit puberty though send them to the showers! Teens get a bit oilier and tend to play more sports so once a day is a good guideline she says. But folks in their 20s to 50s can cut back to every other day and even less in their golden years because elderly skin tends to dry out. But people really are used to taking showers every day Jhin says and herein lies the problem: habit. To gradually introduce healthier daily routines both for the environment and our skin she recommends shorter showers and not oversoaping. Using less shower gel and shampoo will help cut down on time under the hose. My own kids are growing with my eldest approaching those oilier teenage years. I will have to see whether I can get her to shower more while getting my husband to shower less a surefire way to cause quite a stink. If you eat right and exercise (most of the time) and inherit healthy genes you may enjoy a long and healthy retirement with no healthcare expenses other than those incurred for annual check-ups and general preventative care.