Health Highlights: July 26, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Fixed Payments for Heart Attack Treatment Proposed by Medicare

Fixed payments to hospitals for treating heart attack patients have been proposed by Medicare.

Under the program, hospitals that treat heart attack patients would be offered a target price for all services provided in the hospital and within 90 days after the patient is discharged, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If hospitals bill for less than the fixed amount, they would be permitted to keep the savings. If they bill for more, they would have to repay Medicare.

The proposal — which could be phased in over five years beginning next July 1 — includes similar measures for hip and femur fractures. Medicare also recently proposed fixed payments for hip and knee replacements, WSJ reported.

The moves are meant to cut costs and improve the quality of care paid for by Medicare.


General Mills Expands Flour Recall

A recall of General Mills flour has been expanded after four more people in the United States were sickened by E. coli linked to the flour.

That brings to 46 the number of E. coli cases nationwide in the outbreak that began in December. The most recent illness began June 25, CNN reported.

The expanded recall was announced Monday and includes Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens flour.

“The expansion announced today includes select production dates through February 10, 2016,” according to General Mills. In June, the company recalled 10 million pounds of products produced between November 4, 2015, and December 4, 2015, CNN reported.

A full list of the recalled products is on the General Mills website. None of the recalled products should be used, sold or consumed.


Dutch Men, Latvian Women Tallest in World: Study

The Netherlands has the tallest men in the world, while Latvia has the tallest women, according to researchers who examined a century’s worth of height data from 200 countries.

They also found that the average height of adults in the United States stopped increasing about 20 years ago and that the U.S. is behind dozens of other countries in this indicator of nutrition, health care, environment and general health, the Associated Press reported.

The average height of men in the Netherlands is about 6 feet, followed by men in Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Iceland and the Czech Republic.

The average height of women in Latvia is 5-foot-6, followed by the Netherlands, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia, Denmark, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, the AP reported.

Over the 100-year study period, average height rose about 2 1/2 inches for American men and about 2 inches for American women. The U.S. now ranks 37th for men and 42nd for women.

The average height for American men peaked at 5-foot-10 in 1996 and at 5-foot-5 for American women in 1988. Since those years, Americans’ height has stalled but there has not been a significant decrease, according to study author James Bentham, Imperial College London, U.K.

He and his colleagues noted that average height has plateaued in most Western nations, but the U.S. reached it earlier, the AP reported.

The study was published in the journal eLife.