Archive for the ‘U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Category

Vitamin D and Calcium: A Systematic Review of Health Outcomes (Update)

September 18, 2014 Comments off

Vitamin D and Calcium: A Systematic Review of Health Outcomes (Update)
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

In 2009, the Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature on vitamin D and calcium intakes as related to status indicators and health outcomes. The purpose of this report was to guide the nutrition recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).

In September 2007, the IOM held a conference to examine the lessons learned from developing DRIs, and future challenges and best practices for developing DRIs. The conference concluded that systematic reviews would enhance the transparency and rigor of DRI committee deliberations. With this framework in mind, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) EPC program invited the Tufts EPC to perform the systematic review of vitamin D and calcium.

In May and September 2007, two conferences were held on the effect of vitamin D on health. Subsequently, a working group of scientists from the United States and Canadian Governments convened to determine whether enough new research had been published since the 1997 vitamin D DRI to justify an update. Upon reviewing the conference proceedings and results from a recent systematic review, the group concluded that sufficient new data beyond bone health had been published. Areas of possible relevance included new data on bone health for several of the life stage groups, reports on potential adverse effects, dose-response relations between intakes and circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations and between 25(OH)D concentrations, and several health outcomes. Throughout the remainder of this summary and in the report, new text is presented in boldface type.

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HHS OIG — Hospital Emergency Preparedness and Response During Superstorm Sandy

September 18, 2014 Comments off

Hospital Emergency Preparedness and Response During Superstorm Sandy
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

Federal regulations require that hospitals prepare for emergencies including natural disasters. The strength of Superstorm Sandy and the population density of the affected areas placed high demands on hospitals and related services. Prior studies by OIG found substantial challenges in health care facility emergency preparedness and response. In a 2006 study, we found that many nursing homes had insufficient emergency plans or did not follow their plans. In a 2012 followup study, we found that gaps continued to exist in nursing home emergency preparedness and response.

For this study, we surveyed 174 Medicare-certified hospitals located in declared disaster areas in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York during Superstorm Sandy. We also conducted site visits to 10 purposively selected hospitals located in areas most affected by the storm. Additionally, we examined information from State survey agency and accreditation organization surveys of hospitals conducted prior to the storm and spoke to surveyors about their survey process related to emergency preparedness. We also interviewed State hospital associations and health care coalitions in the three States.

Most hospitals in declared disaster areas sheltered in place during Superstorm Sandy, and 7 percent evacuated. Eighty-nine percent of hospitals in these areas reported experiencing substantial challenges in responding to the storm. These challenges represented a range of interrelated problems from infrastructure breakdowns, such as electrical and communication failures, to community collaboration issues over resources, such as fuel, transportation, hospital beds, and public shelters. Hospitals reported that prior emergency planning was valuable during the storm and that they subsequently revised their plans as a result of lessons learned. Prior to the storm, most hospitals received emergency-related deficiency citations from hospital surveyors, some of which related to the challenges reported by hospitals during Superstorm Sandy.

The experiences of hospitals during Superstorm Sandy and the deficiencies cited prior to the storm reveal gaps in emergency planning and execution that might be applicable to hospitals nationwide. Given that insufficient community-wide coordination among affected entities was a common thread through the challenges identified by hospital administrators, we recommend that ASPR continue to promote Federal, State, and community collaboration in major disasters. We also recommend that CMS examine existing policies and provide guidance regarding flexibility for reimbursement under disaster conditions. ASPR and CMS concurred with the recommendations.

Prenatal Breastfeeding Counseling — Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, United States, 2010

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Prenatal Breastfeeding Counseling — Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, United States, 2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Breastfeeding is a highly effective preventive measure a mother can take after birth to protect the health of her infant, as well as her own. Immunologic and antiinflammatory properties of breast milk protect against numerous illnesses and diseases in children (1). Benefits of breastfeeding for infants include a lower risk for ear infections (2), atopic dermatitis (3), lower respiratory tract infections (4), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (2,5), necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in preterm infants (2), type 2 diabetes (6), asthma (7), and childhood obesity (8–10). For mothers, benefits of breastfeeding include a lower risk for breast cancer (11–13) and ovarian cancer (2). Increasing rates of breastfeeding and therefore its health benefits might lower health-care costs. A recent study found that if higher rates of mothers complied with medical recommendations for breastfeeding, an estimated $2.2 billion in additional direct medical costs would be saved annually in the United States (14).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated in its 2012 policy statement on breastfeeding that exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life is sufficient to support optimal growth and development and recommended that breastfeeding be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond (15). In 2010, the Joint Commission included exclusive breastfeeding during the newborn’s entire hospitalization as part of a set of five nationally implemented measures that address perinatal care, endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF #0480) (16). Within the last decade, breastfeeding rates have been increasing; however, despite overall improvements, rates for breastfeeding duration remain relatively low, with only 49.4% of U.S. infants breastfed to any extent at age 6 months and only 18.8% of children exclusively breastfed through the recommended age of 6 months (17). Healthy People 2020 national breastfeeding objectives are to increase the proportion of infants who are ever breastfed to 81.9%, who are breastfed to any extent at 6 months to 60.6% and at 1 year to 34.1%, and who are exclusively breastfed through 3 months to 46.2% and through 6 months to 25.5% (objectives MICH-21.1, 21.2, 21.3, 21.4 and 21.5) (18).

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Published

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program Published
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Family & Youth Services Bureau)

The Family & Youth Services Bureau is pleased to announce the release of the Report to Congress on the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

The report documents FYSB’s commitment to the national goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020. For 40 years, the Bureau has worked closely with its non-profit partners across the country to make sure young people have somewhere to turn when their homes no longer offer safety or support.

In FY 2012 and 2013:

  • Each Street Outreach Program grantee got an average of 151 youth off the streets and into shelter for at least one night.
  • Each Basic Center Program grantee provided emergency care and counseling to an average of 114 youth.
  • Each Transitional Living Program grantee provided intensive, long-term support to an average of 18 transition-aged young people.
  • The National Runaway Safeline handled an average of more than 263 calls a day from youth, parents, and allies.

National, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2013

September 16, 2014 Comments off

National, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2013
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

In the United States, among children born during 1994–2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths during their lifetimes (1). Since 1994, the National Immunization Survey (NIS) has monitored vaccination coverage among children aged 19–35 months in the United States. This report describes national, regional, state, and selected local area vaccination coverage estimates for children born January 2010–May 2012, based on results from the 2013 NIS. In 2013, vaccination coverage achieved the 90% national Healthy People 2020 target* for ≥1 dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) (91.9%); ≥3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine (HepB) (90.8%); ≥3 doses of poliovirus vaccine (92.7%); and ≥1 dose of varicella vaccine (91.2%). Coverage was below the Healthy People 2020 targets for ≥4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTaP) (83.1%; target 90%); ≥4 doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) (82.0%; target 90%); the full series of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib) (82.0%; target 90%); ≥2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine (HepA) (54.7%; target 85%); rotavirus vaccine (72.6%; target 80%); and the HepB birth dose (74.2%; target 85%).† Coverage remained stable relative to 2012 for all of the vaccinations with Healthy People 2020 objectives except for increases in the HepB birth dose (by 2.6 percentage points) and rotavirus vaccination (by 4.0 percentage points). The percentage of children who received no vaccinations remained below 1.0% (0.7%). Children living below the federal poverty level had lower vaccination coverage compared with children living at or above the poverty level for many vaccines, with the largest disparities for ≥4 doses of DTaP (by 8.2 percentage points), full series of Hib (by 9.5 percentage points), ≥4 doses of PCV (by 11.6 percentage points), and rotavirus (by 12.6 percentage points). MMR coverage was below 90% for 17 states. Reaching and maintaining high coverage across states and socioeconomic groups is needed to prevent resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Vital Signs: Sodium Intake Among U.S. School-Aged Children — 2009–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

A national health objective is to reduce average U.S. sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily to help prevent high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Identifying common contributors to sodium intake among children can help reduction efforts.
Methods: Average sodium intake, sodium consumed per calorie, and proportions of sodium from food categories, place obtained, and eating occasion were estimated among 2,266 school-aged (6–18 years) participants in What We Eat in America, the dietary intake component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010.

U.S. school-aged children consumed an estimated 3,279 mg of sodium daily with the highest total intake (3,672 mg/d) and intake per 1,000 kcal (1,681 mg) among high school–aged children. Forty-three percent of sodium came from 10 food categories: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups. Sixty-five percent of sodium intake came from store foods, 13% from fast food/pizza restaurants, 5% from other restaurants, and 9% from school cafeteria foods. Among children aged 14–18 years, 16% of total sodium intake came from fast food/pizza restaurants versus 11% among those aged 6–10 years or 11–13 years (p<0.05). Among children who consumed a school meal on the day assessed, 26% of sodium intake came from school cafeteria foods. Thirty-nine percent of sodium was consumed at dinner, followed by lunch (29%), snacks (16%), and breakfast (15%).

Implications for Public Health Practice:
Sodium intake among school-aged children is much higher than recommended. Multiple food categories, venues, meals, and snacks contribute to sodium intake among school-aged children supporting the importance of populationwide strategies to reduce sodium intake. New national nutrition standards are projected to reduce the sodium content of school meals by approximately 25%–50% by 2022. Based on this analysis, if there is no replacement from other sources, sodium intake among U.S. school-aged children will be reduced by an average of about 75–150 mg per day and about 220–440 mg on days children consume school meals.

Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are public health problems known to have a negative impact on millions of persons in the United States each year, not only by way of immediate harm but also through negative long-term health impacts. Before implementation of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) in 2010, the most recent detailed national data on the public health burden from these forms of violence were obtained from the National Violence against Women Survey conducted during 1995–1996.

This report examines sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization using data from 2011. The report describes the overall prevalence of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization; racial/ethnic variation in prevalence; how types of perpetrators vary by violence type; and the age at which victimization typically begins. For intimate partner violence, the report also examines a range of negative impacts experienced as a result of victimization, including the need for services.


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