Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

40% Of Cancers Avoidable, UK Research

From the 8 December 2011 Medical News Today article

New research from a leading charity, Cancer Research UK, suggests that around 40% of all cancers are avoidable. More than 100,000 cases of cancer diagnosed in the UK each year can be directly attributable to cigarettes, diet, alcohol and obesity, and this figure raises to 134,000 when taking into account over a dozen lifestyle and environmental risk factors, according to a review published as a series of research papers in a supplementary 6 December issue of the British Journal of Cancer…..

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Four Specific Health Behaviors Contribute to a Longer Life

From the short US Centers for Disease Control feature article,
Four Specific Health Behaviors Contribute to a Longer Life

Photo: A woamn preparing a meal

 

 

Four health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for much of the illness and death related to chronic diseases. Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases.1 Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.1

A new CDC report finds that people can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors— not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption.2 Not smoking provides the most protection from dying early from all causes.

People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 66 percent less likely to die early from cancer, 65 percent less likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent less likely to die early from other causes compared to people who did not engage in any of the healthy behaviors.2

What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and Longer Life

Avoid Excessive Alcohol Use:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation (men should have no more than two drinks per day; and women no more than one drink per day).

Avoid Tobacco:

  • Photo: A woman exercisingIf you do not smoke, don’t start.
  • If you currently smoke, and want to quit, call 1-800-Quit-Now, a free telephone support service that can help you to stop smoking or using tobacco.

Improve Nutrition:

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood.
  • Eat fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains.

Engage in Physical Activity:

  • Participate in moderate intensity physical activity 5 or more days per week (150 minutes), such as brisk walking, or
  • Practice vigorous physical activity 3 or more days per week (75 minutes) such as jogging or race walking.

Reference

  1. Kung HC, Hoyert DL, Xu JQ, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for 2005. National Vital Statistics Reports 2008;56(10).
  2. Ford ES, Zhao G, Tsai J, Li C. Low-risk lifestyle behaviors and all-cause mortality: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study. American Journal of Public Health., published online ahead of print August 18, 2011.

More Information

CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Evidence Links Increases In Public Health Spending To Declines In Preventable Deaths

Full Text Online Article from the 11 July 2011 issue of Health Affairs – At the Intersection of Health, Healthcare, and Policy

[Abstract]Public health encompasses a broad array of programs designed to prevent the occurrence of disease and injury within communities. But policy makers have little evidence to draw on when determining the value of investments in these program activities, which currently account for less than 5 percent of US health spending. We examine whether changes in spending by local public health agencies over a thirteen-year period contributed to changes in rates of community mortality from preventable causes of death, including infant mortality and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

We found that mortality rates fell between 1.1 percent and 6.9 percent for each 10 percent increase in local public health spending. These results suggest that increased public health investments can produce measurable improvements in health, especially in low-resource communities. [Flahiff's emphasis].However, more money by itself is unlikely to generate significant and sustainable health gains; improvements in public health practices are needed as well.

Click here to read the rest of the article

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reducing Climate Change Is Good For Your Health

From the 15 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Greener investments in transport, housing and household energy policies can help prevent significant cardiovascular and chronic respiratory disease, obesity-related conditions and cancers.

These are among the findings of a new global World Health Organization series that looks systematically, for the first time ever, at the health ‘co-benefits’ of investments in climate change mitigation reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Overall, sustainable development policies in housing, transport, and household energy may benefit health right away – even if the broader climate gains are realized over years or decades.

The new WHO series, Health in the Green Economy, finds that the health sector needs to become stronger advocates for those green economic investments that prevent disease at the outset.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report – United States – 2011 (And Link About Recent WHO Report on Inequities and Avoidable Deaths)

In my humble opinion, a strong argument for affordable, accessible health care for all regardless of one’s income or where one lives. Health disparities   are not found only within groups of people who have the ability to pay for treatments or who are able to get needed treatment quickly.

While this train of thought may be labeled as creeping socialism, health care cost/access challenges are  a matter of justice and fairness for all.  Is there agreement on what is just or what is fair? Well, no. However, I believe we all can put differences aside in working for what is best for all.

 

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) January 13th news release

Americans’ differences in income, race/ethnicity, gender and other social attributes make a difference in how likely they are to be healthy, sick, or die prematurely, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For instance, state-level estimates in 2007 indicate that low income residents report five to 11 fewer healthy days per month than do high income residents, the report says. It also says men are nearly four times more likely than women to commit suicide, that adolescent birth rates for Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks are three and 2.5 times respectively those of whites, and that the prevalence of binge drinking is higher in people with higher incomes.

The data are in the new “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2011″. The report also underscores the need for more consistent, nationally representative data on disability status and sexual orientation.

“Better information about the health status of different groups is essential to improve health. This first of its kind analysis and reporting of recent trends is designed to spur action and accountability at the federal, tribal, state and local levels to achieve health equity in this country,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

The report, the first of a series of consolidated assessments, highlights health disparities by sex, race and ethnicity, income, education, disability status and other social characteristics. Substantial progress in improving health for most U.S. residents has been made in recent years, yet persistent disparities continue.

Released as a supplement to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the report addresses disparities at the national level in health care access, exposure to environmental hazards, mortality, morbidity, behavioral risk factors, disability status and social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live and work.

Findings from the report’s 22 essays include:

In 2007, non-Hispanic white men (21.5 per 100,000 population) were two to three times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than were non-Hispanic white women (8.8 per 100,000). The gender difference was similar in other race/ethnic groups.

In 2007, men (18.4 per 100,000) of all ages and races/ethnicities were approximately four times more likely to die by suicide than females (4.8 per 100,000).

In 2007, rates of drug-induced deaths were highest among non-Hispanic whites (15.1 per 100,000) and lowest among Asian/Pacific Islanders (2.0 per 100,000).

Hypertension is by far most prevalent among non-Hispanic blacks (42 percent vs. 29 percent among whites), while levels of control are lowest for Mexican-Americans (31.8 percent versus 46.5 percent among non-Hispanic whites).

Rates of preventable hospitalizations increase as incomes decrease. Data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicate that eliminating these disparities would prevent approximately 1 million hospitalizations and save $6.7 billion in health care costs each year.

Rates of adolescent pregnancy and childbirth have been falling or holding steady for all racial/ethnic minorities in all age groups. However, in 2008, disparities persist as birth rates for Hispanic adolescents (77.4 per 1,000 females) and non-Hispanic black adolescents (62.9 per 1,000 females) were three and 2.5 times those of whites (26.7 per 1,000 females), respectively.

In 2009, the prevalence of binge drinking was higher in groups with incomes of $50,000 or above (18.5 percent) compared to those with incomes of $15,000 or less (12.1 percent); and in college graduates (17.4 percent), compared to those with less than high school education (12.5 percent). However, people who binge drink and have less than $15,000 income binge drink more frequently (4.9 versus 3.6 episodes) and, when they do binge drink, drink more heavily (7.1 versus 6.5 drinks).

The report supports the Healthy People 2020 goals and the forthcoming National Partnership for Action (NPA) to End Health Disparities. The report also complements the upcoming AHRQ National Healthcare Disparities Report *** and underscores the need to connect those working in clinical care and public health, especially at the local level.

“CDC publishes this report today not only to address gaps in health between populations in our country but also to begin to measure progress in years to come in reducing these gaps and inequities going forward,” said Leandris Liburd, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A., recently appointed director of CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Dr. Liburd will provide leadership for the office and CDC’s public health programs, policies, surveillance and research efforts in achieving health equity.

The full “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2011″, is available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr.

*** AHRQ National Healthcare Disparities Report Fact Sheet
AHRQ- Measure Healthcare Quality, including section on National Healthcare Disparities Reports (2003-09) with related documents

  • Inequities and Avoidable Deaths (thirdworlddd.wordpress.com)
    Excerpts

    • When there are disparities, especially in health, there result avoidable deaths. The WHO estimates that better use of existing preventive measures could reduce the global burden of disease by as much as 70% (WHO, 3). That means that we already have much of the needed solutions, but why are we not implementing them? For example, Diarrheal Disease is a preventable, avoidable disease; with basic sanitation and access to clean water, a huge difference could be made in eradicating the affliction. Why are these things not being put into place?
    • What we can take from this is that we need to change the way we look at the disparities, by getting our hands dirty. We need to get into these places and ask questions, not answer them ourselves. The extent of human suffering is vast, but it needs to be witnessed in order to gain solutions. If these people can bare to live their lives full of inequities, inequalities, and misfortune, we can bare to listen to what they have to say.
  • Disability as a Disparity (couragecenter.wordpress.com)

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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