Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Addressing the Intersection: Preventing Violence and Promoting Healthy Eating and Active Living

From the PDF file of the Prevention Institute **

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“Lasting changes will come from deep work by individuals to create systemic change.”

Reducing violence in neighborhoods enhances the community environ- ment and allows people to thrive. The prevention of violence facilitates community cohesion and participation, fosters neighborhood improve- ments, expands employment and educational opportunities, and improves overall health and well-being.

Violence influences where people live, work, and shop; whether parents let kids play outside and walk to school; and whether there is a grocery store or places for employment in the community. Violence jeopardizes health and safety directly— causing injuries, death, and emotional trauma. Witnessing or directly experiencing violence, as well as the fear of violence, are damaging, with consequences that also contribute to unhealthy behavior and a diminished community environment. Vio- lence and fear undermine attempts to improve healthy eating and active living, there- by exacerbating existing illnesses and increasing the risk for onset of disease, includ- ing chronic disease. They affect young people, low-income communities, and com- munities of color disproportionately. Violence and food- and activity-related chron- ic diseases are most pervasive in disenfranchised communities, where they occur more frequently and with greater severity, making them fundamental equity issues.

Chronic disease is a major health challenge—it contributes to premature death, lowers quality of life, and accounts for the dramatic rise in recent healthcare spend- ing. One striking example is the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the United States. Researchers predict that by 2034, the number of people suffering from dia- betes will likely double to 44.1 million, and related health care costs will triple to $336 billion.1 Improving healthy eating and active living environments and behaviors is the crucial link to preventing many forms of chronic disease. Health leaders have been making great strides in mounting a strong, effective response to chronic disease and in improving community environments to support healthy eating and activity. However, chronic disease prevention strategies—designing neighborhoods that encourage walking and bicycling to public transit, parks, and healthy food retail, or attracting grocery stores in communities that lack access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables—are less effective when fear and violence pervade the environment. As more communities grapple with chronic disease, health practitioners and advocates are becoming increasingly aware of the need to address violence as a critical part of their efforts, and they are seeking further guidance on effective strategies.

The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance and deepen the understanding of the inter-relationship between violence and healthy eating and activity. It presents first-hand evidence based on a set of interviews Prevention Institute facilitated with community representatives—advocates and practitioners working in healthy eating and active living. Direct quotes from these interviewees appear in italics throughout this paper. In addition to the interviews, the Institute conducted a scan of peer- reviewed literature and professional reports that confirm the intersection between vio- lence and healthy eating and active living.3-12 …

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**Prevention Institute was founded in 1997 to serve as a focal point for primary prevention practice—promoting policies, organizational practices, and collaborative efforts that improve health and quality of life. As a national non-profit organization, the Institute is committed to preventing illness and injury, to fostering health and social equity, and to building momentum for community prevention as an integral component of a quality health system.
Publications are online and free.

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January 18, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HIV: Reaching Global Goals?

World AIDS Day was December 1.
However AIDS prevention and treatment goes on each day.

Excerpts from a recent post by Amy Croan, MPH on the  achievement goal of a world without AIDS, economic roadblocks, and how one can protect oneself. 

Thirty years of an infectious pandemic, drug research, public health education, and counseling have brought us to the point where we boldly announce the goal of an HIV-free generation in the next three years. This may seem attainable as HIV is a preventable disease. Personal behavior changes will determine the rate of infection. Assuming we will curb behaviors of all people who engage in IV drug use and unprotected sex, especially at a time when economies are struggling, is delusional.

Greece’s troubled economy has seen new infections rise by 52% in 2011, and that rate is expected to increase to 60% by the end of the year. (The US rate of increase is about 7%.) The rate of injected drug use is increasing because people can no longer afford other methods, and there have been heavy cuts to prevention in the form of free needles. …

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

HHS Announces $750 Million Investment in Prevention

HHS Announces $750 Million Investment in Prevention

New health care law provides new funding to reduce tobacco use, obesity and heart disease, and build healthier communities

From the news release

epartment of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced a $750 million investment in prevention and public health, funded through the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the new health care law.  Building on $500 million in investments last year, these new dollars will help prevent tobacco use, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cancer; increase immunizations; and empower individuals and communities with tools and resources for local prevention and health initiatives.

“Prevention is something that can’t just happen in a doctor’s office.  If we are to address the big health issues of our time, from physical inactivity to poor nutrition to tobacco use, it needs to happen in local communities,” said Sebelius.  “This investment is going to build on the prevention work already under way to help make sure that we are working effectively across the federal government as well as with private groups and state and local governments to help Americans live longer, healthier lives.”

The Prevention and Public Health Fund, part of the Affordable Care Act, is designed to expand and sustain the necessary capacity to prevent disease, detect it early, manage conditions before they become severe, and provide states and communities the resources they need to promote healthy living.  In FY2010, $500 million of the Prevention Fund was distributed to states and communities to boost prevention and public health efforts, improve health, enhance health care quality, and foster the next generation of primary health professionals.  Today, HHS posted new fact sheets detailing how that $500 million was allocated in every state. Those fact sheets are available at www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention02092011a.html.

This year, building on the initial investment, new funds are dedicated to expanding on four critical priorities:

  • Community Prevention ($298 million): These funds will be used to help promote health and wellness in local communities, including efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use; improve nutrition and increase physical activity to prevent obesity; and coordinate and focus efforts to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Clinical Prevention ($182 million): These funds will help improve access to preventive care, including increasing awareness of the new prevention benefits provided under the new health care law.  They will also help increase availability and use of immunizations, and help integrate behavioral health services into primary care settings.
  • Public Health Infrastructure ($137 million): These funds will help state and local health departments meet 21stcentury challenges, including investments in information technology and training for the public health workforce to enable detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and other health threats.
  • Research and Tracking ($133 million): These funds will help collect data to monitor the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health of Americans and identify and disseminate evidence-based recommendations on important public health challenges.

The Obama Administration recognizes the importance of a broad approach to addressing the health and well-being of our communities. Other initiatives put forth by the Obama Administration to promote prevention include:

  • The President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative aimed at combating childhood obesity.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that provides $1 billion for community-based initiatives, tobacco cessation activities, chronic disease reduction programs, and efforts to reduce healthcare-acquired infections.
  • The Affordable Care Act’s National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, composed of senior government officials, charged with designing a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy.

For more information about the FY2011 Prevention and Public Health Fund investments, visithttp://www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/prevention02092011b.html.


February 14, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New on NIHSeniorHealth: Creating a Family Health History

Photograph of a senior couple, a woman and a young girl sitting together

Creating a Family Health History includes tips on how to collect and organize information about a family’s medical conditions, lifestyle habits (for example, whether anyone in the family has smoked), and where and how family members grew up.

This family tree of health history will often prove useful in discussions with health care providers. For example, it may help in decisions about how early to undergo certain medical tests as prostate exams and mammograms.  The health history may also motivate one to change things like diet, physical activity, and medical care to try to prevent diseases that run in the family.

July 18, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

   

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