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OECD outlines action for governments to tackle heavy cost of harmful drinking

May 15, 2015 Comments off

OECD outlines action for governments to tackle heavy cost of harmful drinking
Source: OECD

Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy says that the increase of risky drinking behaviours is a worrying trend as it is associated with higher rates of traffic accidents and violence, as well as increased risk of acute and chronic health conditions. The report shows that several policies have the potential to reduce heavy drinking, regular or episodic, as well as alcohol dependence. Governments seeking to tackle binge drinking and other types of alcohol abuse can use a range of policies that have proven to be effective, including counselling heavy drinkers, stepping up enforcement of drinking-and-driving laws, as well as raising taxes, raising prices, and increasing the regulation of the marketing of alcoholic drinks.

Vital Signs: Hispanic Health

May 14, 2015 Comments off

Vital Signs: Hispanic Health
Source: CDC

Hispanics or Latinos are the largest racial/ethnic minority population in the US. Heart disease and cancer in Hispanics are the two leading causes of death, accounting for about 2 of 5 deaths, which is about the same for whites. Hispanics have lower deaths than whites from most of the 10 leading causes of death with three exceptions—more deaths from diabetes and chronic liver disease, and similar numbers of deaths from kidney diseases. Health risk can vary by Hispanic subgroup—for example, 66% more Puerto Ricans smoke than Mexicans. Health risk also depends partly on whether you were born in the US or another country. Hispanics are almost 3 times as likely to be uninsured as whites. Hispanics in the US are on average nearly 15 years younger than whites, so steps Hispanics take now to prevent disease can go a long way.

EU Expenditure On Animal And Plant Health And A Safe Food Chain

May 12, 2015 Comments off

EU Expenditure On Animal And Plant Health And A Safe Food Chain
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The agri-food sector plays a significant role in the EU’s economy, employing close to 50 million people. EU expenditure on ‘food and feed’ aims to contribute to safety along the food chain, mainly by preventing, controlling and eradicating serious pests and diseases, in animals or plants, and strengthening related controls. Key objectives include safeguarding public health and consumers as well as animal and plant health, and protecting the value of economic sectors related to the food chain.

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year
Source: Global Commission on the Economy and Climate/Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs. Correcting this problem provides an opportunity to increase economic productivity, improve public health and protect the environment. The report identifies specific smarter growth policies that can lead to healthier, safer and wealthier communities in both developed and developing countries.

HHS issues final recommendation for community water fluoridation

April 28, 2015 Comments off

HHS issues final recommendation for community water fluoridation
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released the final Public Health Service (PHS) recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The new recommendation is for a single level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. It updates and replaces the previous recommended range (0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter) issued in 1962.

The change was recommended because Americans now have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States. As a result, there has been an increase in fluorosis, which, in most cases, manifests as barely visible lacy white marking or spots on the tooth enamel. The new recommended level will maintain the protective decay prevention benefits of water fluoridation and reduce the occurrence of dental fluorosis.

Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children
Source: New England Journal of Medicine

Background
Air-pollution levels have been trending downward progressively over the past several decades in southern California, as a result of the implementation of air quality–control policies. We assessed whether long-term reductions in pollution were associated with improvements in respiratory health among children.

Methods
As part of the Children’s Health Study, we measured lung function annually in 2120 children from three separate cohorts corresponding to three separate calendar periods: 1994–1998, 1997–2001, and 2007–2011. Mean ages of the children within each cohort were 11 years at the beginning of the period and 15 years at the end. Linear-regression models were used to examine the relationship between declining pollution levels over time and lung-function development from 11 to 15 years of age, measured as the increases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) during that period (referred to as 4-year growth in FEV1 and FVC).

Results
Over the 13 years spanned by the three cohorts, improvements in 4-year growth of both FEV1 and FVC were associated with declining levels of nitrogen dioxide (P<0.001 for FEV1 and FVC) and of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μm (P= 0.008 for FEV1 and P<0.001 for FVC) and less than 10 μm (P<0.001 for FEV1 and FVC). These associations persisted after adjustment for several potential confounders. Significant improvements in lung-function development were observed in both boys and girls and in children with asthma and children without asthma. The proportions of children with clinically low FEV1 (defined as <80% of the predicted value) at 15 years of age declined significantly, from 7.9% to 6.3% to 3.6% across the three periods, as the air quality improved (P=0.001).

Conclusions
We found that long-term improvements in air quality were associated with statistically and clinically significant positive effects on lung-function growth in children. (Funded by the Health Effects Institute and others.)

Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death: Summary of a Workshop (2015)

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death: Summary of a Workshop (2015)
Source: Institute of Medicine

Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death is the summary of two workshops conducted by The Committee on Population of the National Research Council at the National Academies to address the data sources, science and future research needs to understand the causes of premature mortality in the United States. The workshops reviewed previous work in the field in light of new data generated as part of the work of the NRC Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries (NRC, 2011) and the NRC/IOM Panel on Understanding Cross-National Differences Among High-Income Countries (NRC/IOM, 2013). The workshop presentations considered the state of the science of measuring the determinants of the causes of premature death, assessed the availability and quality of data sources, and charted future courses of action to improve the understanding of the causes of premature death. Presenters shared their approaches to and results of measuring premature mortality and specific risk factors, with a particular focus on those factors most amenable to improvement through public health policy. This report summarizes the presentations and discussion of both workshops.

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