Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

‘Social Medicines’ Do Benefit Health and Wellbeing

Seems to be a mix of personal responsibility and government/social policy

From the 6 November 2012 article at Science Daily

‘Social medicines’ are beneficial to the health and wellbeing of individuals and the population. By combining social and biological information from UK Longitudinal studies (life-course studies) researchers have identified that the more ‘social medicines’ you have, the better your physical and mental health. These include a stable family life, stress-free childhood, alcohol-free culture for young people, secure and rewarding employment, positive relationships with friends and neighbours, and a socially active old age…

..

The booklet is available to download free of charge from the ICLS website at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/icls/publications/booklets. Hardcopies are also available on request…

Researchers from the International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health (ICLS) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are releasing a plain English guide to their research demonstrating how ‘Life gets under your skin’ as part of the Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science in November.

A stable family life where children have secure routines, including being read to and taken on outings by their parents, is more likely to result in them being ready to take in what will be offered at school (school-readiness). Getting a flying start at school is one of the most important pathways towards wellbeing later in life.

An environment free of constant bombardment with cigarette and alcohol advertisements helps adolescents avoid the first steps towards addiction. People with more friends have higher levels of health and wellbeing — and researchers have found this to be almost as important as avoiding smoking over the longer term. A supportive social network can make all the difference as people confront the problems of aging, helping them to maintain a high quality of life for many years.

The booklet demonstrates how social policy related to family life, education, employment and welfare can have beneficial effects for the health of individuals. It also shows how multi disciplinary, longitudinal research can deliver findings valuable to the individual, society and the economy.

 

 

 

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Take A Break

Always thought it was a good idea to take a break from sitting every hour or so…
This came from a post at LearnStuff.org
Take A BreakIf you think working overtime, skipping your lunch hour and staying chained to your desk will make you more productive, you need to cut yourself some slack and take a break.Working non-stop without taking a break can increase your chances of weight gain, heart disease and worse. Staring at a computer screen for more than 2 hours per day can cause Computer Vision Syndrome, a real affliction, which causes blurry vision, headaches, dry eyes and can lead to long-term nearsightedness. However, getting up and away from your desk for just 5 minutes can alleviate eye strain and reduce fatigue in addition to making you feel better. The mere act of standing at your desk instead of sitting at it can help you burn up to 2500 calories per week. Not bad for just standing around.Work hard and break hard; doing so will make you a healthier, happier and more productive employee.

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Children of Our Fields

An insightful article about the high health risks associated with farm workers.
Something to ponder when thinking about and discussing who has a “right” to health care.
education, and a fair wage.

 

 

From the 1November post by Amy Croan, MPH at To Your Health

trackback

Every time we sit at a table at night or in the morning to enjoy the fruits and grain and vegetables from our good earth, remember that they come from the work of men and women and children who have been exploited for generations. -Cesar Chavez

Of the three to five million U.S. migrant and legal immigrant workers, about 600,000 of them are children. It’s difficult to ascertain an accurate count, because they are under-reported.

Most industries allow minors to work from the age of 16, but for agriculture the minimum age drops to 12. The migrant field worker families often have several children whom each year they uproot from their homes and schools to travel sometimes many states away, to work in endless fields 10-14 hours per day from the age of 12. Sometimes as young as 7 because there is no childcare. And they do this because they feel they have no other choice.

From today’s Latin American Herald Times,

North Carolina’s regional coordinator of Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, Emily Drakage’s, mission is to document the amount of child labor in the agricultural sector, educate the public and local leaders about the conditions in which the children work and seek support from other organizations to get these minors out of the fields.

“It’s a very tough problem. There are cultural and linguistic barriers, economic interests, immigration, educational and health problems, but someone has to speak for these workers who have no voice and are unaware of their rights,” Drakage said.

Farm workers earn an average of just $7,000 a year and must pay part of their salary to their employer to cover transport and housing costs. Children earn $1,000 a year.

Usual migrant housing is filthy, rusted and cramped. Poverty levels are extremely high. Little to no access to health care is common. Health insurance is unheard of. One hundred thousand children are injured by sharp blades and other farm machinery each year.

Farmworkers are among the highest risk groups for:

  • Poverty–among 97% of migrant workers
  • Lack of basic education, literacy and language skills, job training
  • Poor health: respiratory and dermatological illnesses, dehydration, heat stroke and heat illness, chronic muscular and skeletal pain, direct exposure to sanitation chemicals and pesticides, infectious disease, chronic disease, work-related injuries, depression and substance abuse, lack of sanitation
  • Death
  • Sexual abuse
  • Gang activity
  • Marginalization
  • Slave wages and wage fraud
  • Failure to thrive under provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and child labor laws

In 1960, Edward R. Murrow’s “Harvest of Shame” aired the day after Thanksgiving. Fifty years later, CBS News revisits the very topic and details again the deplorable working conditions of the migrant family.
Feeling grateful this month as you prepare the bounty for your Thanksgiving table? In a nation where 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of children are overweight or obese from making poor choices about food, one-fifth of our farm workforce is children. These workers drive the agricultural sector and provide fresh food the millions of the rest of us enjoy everyday.

Related Reading:

Itinerant LIfe Weighs on Farmworkers’ Children (www.nytimes.com)

NOW With Bill Moyers  (www.pbs.org)

Shame On Obama Administration For Sacrificing Children to Keep Agribusiness Happy (www.citizen.org)

United Farm Workers (www.ufw.org)

 

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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