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The Federal Government has hired more than 3,600 former welfare recipients, putting the Government ahead of schedule in meeting the goal of hiring 10,000 by the year 2000. In a congratulatory letter to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, Vice President Gore noted that HHS’ effort to integrate this initiative into its Quality of Worklife Strategy has been a model for the rest of the Federal Government.

The National Reading Panel will study the effectiveness of various approaches to teaching children how to read and will report on the best ways to apply these findings in class-rooms and at home. The panel was requested by Congress and created by the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in consultation with the Secretary of Education. Members of the panel include reading researchers, teachers, child development experts, leaders in elementary and higher edu-cation, and parents.

The panel will determine the readiness for application in the class-room of the results of recent research studies, identify appropriate means to facilitate effective reading instruction in the schools, and identify gaps in the knowledge base for reading instruction and the best ways to close these gaps.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has released the first Federal obesity guidelines, in cooperation with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. These clinical practice guidelines are designed to help physicians address overweight and obesity, a growing public health problem that affects 97 million American adults, or 55 percent of the population. These individuals are at increased risk of illness from hypertension, lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes and its numerous complications, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteorarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and certain cancers.

The guidelines are based on the most extensive review of the scientific evidence on overweight and obesity conducted to date. They present a new approach for the assessment of overweight and obesity and establish principles of safe and effective weight loss. For example, the 24-member expert panel that developed the guidelines recommends that body mass index (BMI), one of the key determinants of overweight, be measured in all adults and that people of normal weight have their BMI reassessed in 2 years. The most successful strategies for weight loss include calorie reduction, increased physical activity, and behavior therapy designed to improve eating and physical activity habits.

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