Archive

Archive for the ‘public health’ Category

Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2014

March 30, 2015 Comments off

Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2014 (PDF)
Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

As one of the first two states in the nation to legalize retail marijuana, the Colorado Legislature mandated that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) study the potential public health impacts of marijuana. Though medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, it was largely viewed as an individual doctor/patient decision outside the scope of public health policy. However, the legalization of retail (non- medical) marijuana and the potential for greater availability of marijuana in the community, prompted a closer look at potential health impacts on the population at large.

Legalized retail marijuana presents a paradigm shift, grouping marijuana with other legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs, as opposed to illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin. As with alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs, misuse of marijuana can have serious health consequences. Standard public health approaches to alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs is to monitor use patterns and behaviors, health care utilization and potential health impacts, and emerging scientific literature to guide the development of policies or consumer education strategies to prevent serious health consequences. This report presents initial efforts toward monitoring the changes in marijuana use patterns, potential health effects of marijuana use, and the most recent scientific findings associated with marijuana use to help facilitate evidence-based policy decisions and science-based public education campaigns.

Strengthening the Detection of and Early Response to Public Health Emergencies: Lessons from the West African Ebola Epidemic

March 27, 2015 Comments off

Strengthening the Detection of and Early Response to Public Health Emergencies: Lessons from the West African Ebola Epidemic
Source: PLoS Medicine

Summary Points

  • The international response to the West African Ebola virus disease epidemic has exemplified the great potential of the global public health community. However, the protracted early response also revealed critical gaps, which likely resulted in exacerbation of the epidemic.
  • It is incumbent on international health partners to learn from missteps that occurred in the early stages of the epidemic and strengthen our public health capacity to better respond to future public health emergencies.
  • Strategies to consider include development of a more precise system to risk stratify geographic settings susceptible to disease outbreaks, reconsideration of the 2005 International Health Regulations Criteria to allow for earlier responses to localized epidemics before they reach epidemic proportions, increasing the flexibility of the World Health Organization director general to characterize epidemics with more granularity, development of guidelines for best practices to promote partnership with local stakeholders and identify locally acceptable response strategies, and, most importantly, making good on international commitments to establish a fund for public health emergency preparedness and response.
  • The recent success of the global action to stem the Ebola virus disease epidemic is laudable but should not encourage complacency in our efforts to improve the global public health infrastructure.

CRS — International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses (March 16, 2015)

March 25, 2015 Comments off

International Drug Control Policy: Background and U.S. Responses (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The global illegal drug trade represents a multi-dimensional challenge that has implications for U.S. national interests as well as the international community. Common illegal drugs trafficked internationally include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. According to the U.S. intelligence community, international drug trafficking can undermine political and regional stability and bolster the role and capabilities of transnational criminal organizations in the drug trade. Key regions of concern include Latin America and Afghanistan, which are focal points in U.S. efforts to combat the production and transit of cocaine and heroin, respectively. Drug use and addiction have the potential to negatively affect the social fabric of communities, hinder economic development, and place an additional burden on national public health infrastructures.

Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Energy, Sodium, Saturated Fat, and Trans Fat Content, United States, 1996–2013

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Temporal Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Energy, Sodium, Saturated Fat, and Trans Fat Content, United States, 1996–2013
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Introduction
Excess intakes of energy, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat are associated with increased risk for cardiometabolic syndrome. Trends in fast-food restaurant portion sizes can inform policy decisions. We examined the variability of popular food items in 3 fast-food restaurants in the United States by portion size during the past 18 years.

Methods
Items from 3 national fast-food chains were selected: French fries, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwich, and regular cola. Data on energy, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat content were collated from 1996 through 2013 using an archival website. Time trends were assessed using simple linear regression models, using energy or a nutrient component as the dependent variable and the year as the independent variable.

Results
For most items, energy content per serving differed among chain restaurants for all menu items (P ≤ .04); energy content of 56% of items decreased (β range, −0.1 to −5.8 kcal) and the content of 44% increased (β range, 0.6–10.6 kcal). For sodium, the content of 18% of the items significantly decreased (β range, −4.1 to −24.0 mg) and the content for 33% increased (β range, 1.9–29.6 mg). Absolute differences were modest. The saturated and trans fat content, post-2009, was modest for French fries. In 2013, the energy content of a large-sized bundled meal (cheeseburger, French fries, and regular cola) represented 65% to 80% of a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, and sodium content represented 63% to 91% of the 2,300-mg-per-day recommendation and 97% to 139% of the 1,500-mg-per-day recommendation.

Conclusion
Findings suggest that efforts to promote reductions in energy, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat intakes need to be shifted from emphasizing portion-size labels to additional factors such as total calories, frequency of eating, number of items ordered, menu choices, and energy-containing beverages.

Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: A Global Epidemic

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: A Global Epidemic
Source: Tobacco Control

The story has been told many times: waterpipe, a centuries-old tobacco use method in which smoke is passed through water before being inhaled, probably originated on the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. Over the years, it spread and became popular in the Middle East. During most of the 20th century, it seemed that waterpipe’s heyday had passed, in favour of easy-to-use types of tobacco such as cigarettes. Its use was not even registered in the expanding body of global tobacco surveillance systems. The medical and public health literatures made little note of it: Rakower and Fatal’s examination of lung cancer mortality rates by ethnic groups in Jerusalem that differed in their use of waterpipe, appearing in the British Journal of Cancer, was the first notice of waterpipe in Medline in 1962, and almost 20 years were to pass before any additional studies were to appear. But things suddenly changed in the 1990s: upticks in use were observed in the Middle East, especially among teenagers and young adults. This was mostly fuelled by the invention of flavoured and easier-to-use tobacco, a growing café culture in the Middle East, and expanding internet availability and globalisation. As a result, waterpipe use has snowballed globally at the start of the 21st century.

Pesticides in produce; Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Pesticides in produce; Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment
Source: Consumer Reports

Across America, confusion reigns in the supermarket aisles about how to eat healthfully. One thing on shopper’s minds: the pesticides in produce. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. So, are these worries justified? And should we all be buying organics—which can cost an average of 49 percent more than standard fruits and vegetables?

Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food. The risk from pesticides in produce grown conventionally varies from very low to very high, depending on the type of produce and on the country where it’s grown. The differences can be dramatic. For instance, eating one serving of green beans from the U.S. is 200 times riskier than eating a serving of U.S.-grown broccoli.

Health Canada Publishes Revised Human Exposure Limits for Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy

March 19, 2015 Comments off

Health Canada Publishes Revised Human Exposure Limits for Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy
Source: Health Canada

Today Health Canada published its revised Safety Code 6. Safety Code 6 is Health Canada’s guideline for recommended human exposure limits to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy, the kind of energy given off by various electronic devices such as cell phones and Wi-Fi, as well as broadcasting and cell phone towers.

Health Canada has updated Safety Code 6 based on the latest available scientific evidence, including improved modelling of the interaction of radiofrequency fields with the human body. The revised Safety Code takes into consideration recommendations from the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on Safety Code 6, as well as the scientific and technical feedback received by Health Canada during the public consultation on the proposed guideline. The updated Safety Code includes slightly more restrictive reference levels in some frequency ranges to ensure even larger safety margins to protect all Canadians, including newborn infants and children.

Health Canada reminds all Canadians that their health has always been protected from radiofrequency electromagnetic energy by the exposure limits in Safety Code 6. Safety Code 6 has always established human exposure limits that are far below the established, scientific threshold for potentially harmful health effects. The limits in Safety Code 6 are based on established, scientific evidence, and provide protection against all known harmful health effects for all individuals.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,023 other followers