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Dear Restaurants January 31, 2009

Posted by Michael Valladares in Blogging, Environmental Health.
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The saying goes you can’t judge a book by its cover, but rather its contents.   If that is the case for books I would state the opposite is true for most restaurants.  Notice I say “most”, there are a select few that fall outside the line and do shine, but those are rare. 
I am sure everyone has seen or caught a glimpse of the television reality show Kitchen Nightmares, and is acquainted with the horrors the host of the show finds in various kitchens throughout the US. Yes, I am talking about that three month old shrimp which the chef bought in the summer and is still in the refrigerator waiting for some poor soul to consume and die from poisoning.  The kitchen cook who comes to work sick and sneezes all over the food while cooking, and even the customers whom are allowed to dine and socialize in the kitchen area within hands reach of all the food orders.   
You restaurants know who you are.  You are the ones who tell me:

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Today Calls it Quits. Now it’s your turn, viewers. January 30, 2009

Posted by Nalini Padmanabhan in Health Communications & Marketing.
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I was sipping my coffee and watching the Today Show earlier this week when hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira introduced a new miniseries within the show called “Today Calls it Quits” (available here on AOL Video). As I saw over the next several minutes, the series – produced in partnership with national nonprofit the American Legacy Foundation – aimed to help smokers kick the habit by providing medical information about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting, concrete solutions and tips, and helpful resources.

As a public health student and former American Lung Association intern, I was immediately intrigued. (more…)

Obesity Now Outweighs Overweight January 26, 2009

Posted by Nalini Padmanabhan in Uncategorized.
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America’s obesity epidemic has reached a new milestone.

It’s hardly news that the prevalence of overweight and obesity has been growing steadily over the past few decades. However, recent survey data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows that while rates of overweight have remained fairly steady at about 33%, obesity rates have increased from 23% to 34% since the early 1990s.

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Government Goes Online January 26, 2009

Posted by Liz Borkowski in Blogging.
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There are plenty of signs of change already from the new administration, but here’s one I almost missed: The White House has a blog (hat tip to Ezra Klein). It’s not much like the blogs I’m used to reading – there are no comments, and the content seems to be mostly press releases – but it could be a good resource for keeping up with government news. And it shows that the Obama administration recognizes the importance of the blog medium.

There’s already plenty of blogging by government entities, and one particularly noteworthy blog has been Congressional Budget Office’s
Director’s Blog
. It’s written, as you might expect, by the CBO Director, and until recently that was Peter Orszag, who stepped down after Obama picked him to head the White House Office of Management and Budget. Douglas W. Elmendorf started his term as the new CBO Director on January 22nd, and I hope he continues the tradition Orszag started: writing about the results of CBO number-crunching – which include budget projections and estimates of the long-term impacts of tax proposals – while also providing some welcome perspective on challenging issues like healthcare. For instance, here’s his explanation of why the current economic problems shouldn’t displace healthcare reform on the national agenda:

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Need More Blogs to Visit? January 26, 2009

Posted by Target Population Author in Blogging.
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If you’re still looking for public health-related blogs to visit, check out the latest Friday Blog Roundup at The Pump Handle. You can find past versions here.

Blog Type Examples January 12, 2009

Posted by Liz Borkowski in Blogging.
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For our first class, here are examples of a few different types of blogs.

Political blogs: Daily Kos is a major left-wing blog, and it’s noteworthy having posts from the site’s official writers (the “front pagers”) as well as from users. (Registered users can post diaries, and the most-recommended diaries are featured in a Top Ten list.) Front-pager DemFromCT covers public health topics — see recent posts on flu season and Obama’s Surgeon General pick. Advertising revenue supports the site.

For a different model of political blog, see Cato@ Liberty, the blog of the Cato Foundation; their Director of Health Policy Studies, Michael  F. Cannon, covers healthcare issues.

Subject blogs: Many blogs cover a single topic, like healthcare or the environment. Gristmill, the blog portion of the nonprofit Grist, is an environmental blog featuring content from the organization’s staff and from a long list of contributors. RH Reality Check, which is funded by the UN Foundation and dedicated to reproductive health issues, also publishes content from both staff and guest writers. For a narrower topic, see Superbug, a blog run by a freelance writer and dedicated to the issue of antibiotic-resistant infections.

Newspaper/Magazine-affliated blogs: Newspapers and magazines support hundreds of blogs, most of them written by reporters who juggle blogging with their regular reporting responsibilities. These blogs highlight stories from the print edition and cover news items that aren’t substantial enough to be print stories; sometimes they also let reporters provide details or backstories that didn’t make it into the print version of a story. See the Boston Globe’s White Coat Notes, which addresses medical issues, and the Seattle PI’s Secret Ingredients, which tackles food safety and other public health topics.

Nonprofit blogs: Nonprofit organizations use blogs to highlight their issues and campaigns (and sometimes to request donations). Switchboard, the blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, posts content from several staff people working on different environmental issues.

First-person blogs: Bloggers’ personal stories can provide insights into how public health issues affect individuals. At Signout, a pseudonymous medical resident shows us what it’s like inside a hospital; for instance, see posts on family members attending loved ones’ resuscitation attempts and the roles of hospital interns.

Feel free to add your own blog types or examples in the comments!

Welcome January 9, 2009

Posted by Target Population in Blogging.
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Target Population is a blog by public health students at the George Washington University. Students enrolled in the course Blogging Skills for Public Health (PUBH 209.11) will be posting here, along with other graduate and undergraduates from GW public health classes.

The views expressed on this blog are solely those of its authors, and do not reflect the opinions of the George Washington University.