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At StreetsBlog USA, Angie Schmitt writes The newest tool for doctors in the fight against obesity? That’s right: Bike-share.

Bike sharing in Boston
This week in Boston, doctors introduced a program called Prescribe-a-Bike, offering low-income residents struggling with obesity an annual Hubway bike sharing membership for the low price of $5. The program is being administered by Boston Medical Center in partnership with the city of Boston. Qualifying patients will have access to Hubway’s 1,100 bikes at 130 locations. Participants will also receive a free helmet.

“There is no other program like this in the country,” Mayor Marty Walsh told Boston Magazine. “Prescribe-a-Bike makes the link between health and transportation, and ensures that more residents can access the Hubway bike-share system.”

Local officials hope the program will result in about 1,000 additional memberships, according to the Boston Globe.

In the medical community this type of recommendation is known as an exercise prescription, and it is a growing practice. More doctors are prescribing exercise, the CDC says, as “lifestyle diseases” like obesity, heart disease and diabetes have become some of the leading killers in the United States. In addition, policy measures like the Affordable Care Act are providing incentives for the healthcare industry shift focus from treatment of disease to the promotion of wellness. […]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013Sequester will zap long-term unemployed right in the wallet:

As of the jobs report the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued March 8, there were 4.8 million Americans counted as long-term unemployed. That is, Americans who have been without work for more than half a year. The lucky ones, if you can call them that, about two million people, are receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Most states provide only 26 weeks of jobless benefits (although some have reduced that duration to as few as 18 in the past year).

But the sequester, which will hack $85 billion out of the federal budget this year if Congress doesn't act, means those Americans receiving EUC benefits will lose 10.7 percent of their average $300 a week benefit starting this month. That's an April Fools' joke not in the least bit funny.

“Cutting benefits will have real effects on people’s consumption,” said Jesse Rothstein, an associate professor of public policy and economics at the University of California (Berkeley). “That 300 bucks a week or so goes a long way when you don’t have anything else.”

Tweet of the Day:  

CIA officials demanded torture even after analysts were convinced that prisoners had no more information to give.

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Hobby Lobby's invests in contraception makers. Greg Dworkin rounds up Day 1 of BenghaziCare, including more plaudits for Charles Gaba! The CIA misled on torture, the Bush "administration" was using it to try to extract "confessions" of links between Iraq & al Qaeda, and now Cheney says he'd do it all again. One market watcher reminds us that the markets have always been "rigged." TN reporters say they've got documents proving Gov. Haslam tied economic incentives for VW to the outcome of the union vote. Why changing fonts might not save the government money after all. And finally, we couldn't completely avoid April Fools' Day.

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