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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Americans are being asked to get screened for certain diseases earlier in their lives as emerging evidence shows they are at increasing risk for diseases historically seen in older adults.

Driving the news: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday lowered the recommended starting age to screen for Type 2 diabetes from age 40 to 35, and said overweight or obese adults at risk for prediabetes should be screened at ages 35 to 70.

The big picture: This is the third announcement from the U.S. task force so far this year that has lowered the age recommendation in order for physicians to catch diseases at more favorable and crucial stages.

  • In March, 6.4 million more Americans became eligible for yearly lung cancer screenings when the task force saw data beneficial to preventing disease in mild smokers as young as 50.
  • In May, studies showed screenings for colorectal cancer for people in their 40s instead of in their 50s could help stifle the growing trend of younger people with the disease.

Context: The USPSTF revisits screening guidance every couple of years or when a milestone study related to disease diagnosis is anticipated, Michael Barry, the task force's vice chairman told Axios.

State of play: These changes in guidance could be "driven by the fact that risk factors are appearing earlier in our population in the U.S.," Robert Gabbay, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association, tells Axios.

  • In the case of diabetes, "obesity continues to be a significant issue driving the development of many chronic diseases," he said. Catching those on the cusp of becoming diabetic could help prevent a slew of morbidities.

What to watch: Barry said he doesn't anticipate all health screenings will drop in age range at the moment and that these trends are on a case-by-case basis.

  • "Whether we'll see more dropping of age ranges over time we'll have to see but we look at evidence for each the case separately," he added.

Go deeper

About a third of Pennsylvanians self-reported obesity in 2020

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Nearly a third of Pennsylvania's adult population reported having obesity in 2020, according to data released by the CDC last month.

  • Over 31% of Pennsylvania adults reported being obese last year, up from 28.6% a decade ago.

Why it matters: Obesity is linked to various health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and mental disorders.

Between the lines: Racial disparities persist, with 41.8% of Black Pennsylvanians and 32.9% of Latino Pennsylvanians self-reporting obesity in 2020.

  • To compare, 31.3% of white Pennsylvanians are obese.

Context: Obesity is measured by body mass index, which is calculated with an individual's weight and height. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Zoom out: Nationwide, one in five adults are living with obesity — with Mississippi ranking the highest at 39.7%. Colorado had the lowest rate, 24.2%, last year.

  • Meanwhile, children and teens gained weight at an "alarming" rate during the pandemic, according to CDC officials.
Felix Salmon, author of Capital
40 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.