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By Mike Stobbe The Associated Press

US health officials alarmed by paralyzing illness in kids

NEW YORK — One morning last fall, 4-year-old Joey Wilcox woke up with the left side of his face drooping.

It was the first sign of an unfolding nightmare.

Three days later, Joey was in a hospital intensive care unit, unable to move his arms or legs or sit up. Spinal taps and other tests failed to find a cause. Doctors worried he was about to lose the ability to breathe.

Youth smoking decline stalls, and vaping may be to blame

NEW YORK — Cigarette smoking rates have stopped falling among U.S. kids, and health officials believe youth vaping is responsible.

For decades, the percentage of high school and middle school students who smoked cigarettes had been declining fairly steadily. For the past three years, it has flattened, according to new numbers released Monday.

US adults aren’t getting taller, but still putting on pounds

NEW YORK — You don’t need to hang the mistletoe higher but you might want to skip the holiday cookies.

A new report released Thursday shows U.S. adults aren’t getting any taller but they are still getting fatter.

The average U.S. adult is overweight and just a few pounds from obese, thanks to average weight increases in all groups — but particularly whites and Hispanics.

US births hit a 30-year low, despite good economy

NEW YORK — U.S. birth rates declined last year for women in their teens, 20s and ‚Äî surprisingly ‚Äî their 30s, leading to the fewest babies in 30 years, according to a government report released Thursday.

Experts said several factors may be combining to drive the declines, including shifting attitudes about motherhood and changing immigration patterns.

UN health agency aims to wipe out trans fats worldwide

NEW YORK — The World Health Organization has released a plan to help countries wipe out artery-clogging trans fats from the global food supply in the next five years.

The United Nations agency has in the past pushed to exterminate infectious diseases, but now it’s aiming to erase a hazard linked to chronic illness.