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Delicious fatty food is addictive? April 2, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Mental Health, Prevention, Wellness.
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By Ashraf Faden, cross-post from For Our Health

Don’t you sometimes wonder why you could eat so many Krispy Kreme doughnuts, then some chocolate followed by ice cream and still feel like you could eat baklava and kunafah or even ma’soob?  Not that I actually do that, but I admit that I get the urge to do it once I start munching on some of those hearty sweets.  Who could blame us?  That stuff tastes really good!

It turns out tasty and delicious food, high in fat, could be as addictive as heroin! (more…)

Just Say No! To Sex? March 10, 2010

Posted by Nina Harrell in Prevention, Wellness.
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For years, the abstinence-only and the comprehensive sex education camps have been at war with one another concerning the best way to keep teenagers from engaging in sexual intercourse before their time.  For the first time, a study produced a hybrid solution to this lengthy debate – encourage teens to focus on life goals and how sexually transmitted infections or an unintended pregnancy can thwart those dreams.  Finally, the numbers seem to follow …

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Am I Statistically Insignificant? US Prevention Task Force Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines in the Media March 10, 2010

Posted by Nina Harrell in Health Communications & Marketing, Healthcare, Prevention.
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The Avon Foundation for Women recently held their National Forum in San Francisco, CA just this week.  Among 300 breast cancer outreach specialists, nurses, scientists and doctors, the room was nearly unanimous in its frustrations concerning the US Prevention Task Force recommendations, which were published at the end of 2009 concerning breast cancer screening guidelines.  Essentially, they recommended that women should begin their mammography screening at age 50 instead of the previously recommended age of 40.  Additionally, they stated that women should only obtain mammograms once every two years instead of annually.  Also of note, they said that breast self-exams were not useful and that women should no longer do them because it caused excess worry and anxiety and led to unnecessary biopsies.

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Syringe Exchange Program in D.C. March 4, 2010

Posted by Anita Balan in Prevention, Wellness.
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Washington D.C. has 3% of its residents living with HIV/AIDS. This rate is highest in the nation. According to December 2005 fact sheet CDC estimates that almost one fifth of all HIV infections are transmitted by Intravenous Drug Use (IDU). As an emerging public health professional who believes in prevention, and harm reduction, I think it is, once again, time to look at the benefits of needle exchange or Syringe Exchange Programs  (SEP) and the ways in which it is beneficial to prevent the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C.

SEP has been implemented in this country for more than twenty years and has helped in reducing the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C. The way it works is very simple: Those who share needles, either to inject drugs or hormones can exchange their used needles for sterile ones.  This prevents users from sharing contaminated needles with one another thereby preventing the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C and other blood borne diseases . SEP is administered throughout the country including D.C. by hundreds of not-for-profit and community- based organizations. SEP has been proven to  cost-effective, effective in reducing transmission and overall rates of HIV and Hepatitis C and do not promote substance use/abuse. SEP also reduce the sharing of needles among users and encourage users to use sterile needles until they are ready to quit using.

more after the jump…

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What is comparative effectiveness and why is it relevant to healthcare reform? March 4, 2010

Posted by mtaliafe in Healthcare, Uncategorized.
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We consider ourselves to be in a scientific society, right? You might be surprised to know that a lot of the science upon which medicine has been built has been conducted in silos. Researchers might investigate drugs in clinical trials, or medical devices in practice. However, the results of these studies as published are more case-based and don’t take into account the other treatment options. Essentially, they often don’t address how the new treatment compares to those already out there, or how it might be used in conjunction with other therapies. Healthcare providers sometimes lack knowledge of which therapies out of all possible treatments are the most effective ones.

The Obama Administration is proposing to spend $286 million in 2011 on comparative effectiveness research (CER) according to Carey and Appleby of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The topic of comparative effectiveness has been often picked up by the media in light of healthcare reform, since it has been identified as one tool to reduce healthcare spending. (more…)

Waiter, there’s a lobbyist in my burger! March 4, 2010

Posted by mtaliafe in Environmental Health.
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Have you ever considered the amount to which industry influences the regulations pertaining to your food? Consider one of the most popular American menu items– the hamburger. On average, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that Americans eat about 60 pounds of beef annually. But is this meat safe to eat?

You probably recall several recent recalls of beef, implemented by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). In fact, the FSIS indicates there have already been 2 this year totaling over 865,000 pounds of recalled meat due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination, (more…)

SOS: Free the Condoms March 4, 2010

Posted by Marquita Campbell in Health Communications & Marketing, Healthcare, Prevention, Uncategorized.
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Practicing safe sex using condoms is vital to not only decreasing the new cases of HIV infection in DC but also decreasing the number of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. However, despite their effectiveness, condoms are not always accessible to the people who are most at risk such as teenagers or individuals who live in low-income neighborhoods and/or communities of color.

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Smokers Beware: Baby on Board March 4, 2010

Posted by Marquita Campbell in Environmental Health, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention.
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Did you know that second-hand tobacco exposure has significant health risks to an expectant mother? Many times people only think of the risks of maternal smoking during pregnancy, but secondary smoke exposure can also have significant health implications. Every thing a mother is eating or breathing from prenatal vitamins to second-hand tobacco smoke is passed from the mother’s placenta to the baby.  (more…)

Soda Tax for Obesity Prevention – has the time arrived? March 4, 2010

Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Healthcare, Prevention, Wellness.
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A federal excise “soda tax” of one-cent per ounce for sugary beverages has been proposed to lower soda consumption and associated obesity. A secondary benefit would be raising tax revenue to subsidize health care reform for low income Americans, and healthy food options for the poor through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Obesity and overweight are substantial American problems decreasing productivity and increasing the incidence of many medical problems, most noteworthy type 2 diabetes, cardiac disease, and pre-mature death. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation obesity and its medical consequences have cost the American people $100-200 Billion dollars in excess health care costs.
learn more here (more…)

Junk Food Ads Add Up March 3, 2010

Posted by naj24 in Global Health, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention, Social Marketing, Wellness.
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Astonishingly, a child will likely watch up to 3600 fast-food advertisements on television each year or ten per day.   According to a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, marketers are interested in children and adolescents as consumers because they spend billions of their own dollars annually, influence how hundreds of billions are spent in household purchases and are future consumers.   A 2006 report by the U.S. Institute of Medicine concludes that food and beverage marketing “may contribute to negative diet-related health outcomes and risks among children and youth.”  The net effect is that fast-food ads contribute to rising rates of childhood obesity in America. (the problem)

The influence commercial food ads have on children was discussed in Oslo, Norway in 2006 by experts from the WHO, agreeing that,

WHO should support national actions to substantially reduce the volume and impact of commercial promotion of energy-dense,micronutrient-poor food and beverages to children; and consider the development of an international code on the marketing of food and beverages to children to address issues such as cross-border television advertising and global promotional activities, and to protect children in countries where national action has not been fully implemented.

After the WHO proposed that countries limit “junk food” ads aimed at children (one solution), the Bush administration claimed that there was insufficient proof that advertising causes obesity and did not take any action.  While not a priority of the Bush Administration, the issue of childhood obesity was likely to resurface under a future administration that would likely deal with expected higher rates of childhood overweight and obesity.  (more…)

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