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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…)


Nanotechnology-what are the implications for public health? March 1, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Environmental Health, Global Health, Healthcare, Occupational Health.
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There are lots of products showing up on the market touting “nanotechnology” on the label.  The Project on Emerging Technologies has an online nanomaterials database for consumers which reveals there are thousands of “nano” products used in the electronics, automotive, cosmetic, and food and beverage industries. But what does nanotechnology mean and what are its advantages in all these applications? Are there any risks to health and the environment? (more…)

Antibiotic use in livestock contributes to MRSA’s menace February 22, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Environmental Health, Global Health, Occupational Health, Prevention.
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Recently, CBS’s Katie Couric highlighted a public health problem that keeps resurfacing —the use of antibiotics in livestock to promote growth and the link to antimicrobial resistance in humans.  The well-documented two-part story focused in part on farmers who have contracted life threatening infections such as MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) by working with chickens and pigs  dosed with antibiotics which have, in turn, become breeding grounds for super drug resistant bacteria.

MRSA is one of the most common types of antimicrobial resistant bacterial infections, but there are many others such as E Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, which are monitored by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These bacterial diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans by different types of exposures including physical contact, and in air, water, and food and are called zoonotic diseases. The report did not discuss the most common ways humans acquire MRSA, such as in hospital settings, or that a new type of MRSA called C-MRSA is increasingly being found in community settings such as athletic facilities.

According to the CBS report:

Drug resistant infections have sky-rocketed over the past two decades, killing an estimated 70,000 Americans last year alone. It’s an emerging health crisis that scientists say is caused not only by the overuse of antibiotics in humans, but in livestock as well. (more…)

Vehicle deaths major killer in Saudi Arabia! February 2, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Environmental Health, Global Health, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention.

According to the Traffic division of the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh, the average annual economic loss related to traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia is estimated at 21 billion Saudi riyals.  That is equivalent to $5.6 billion dollars a year.  In addition, Muhammad Humaidan reported in the Arab News newspaper in an article about traffic accidents in Saudi on December 14, 2009:

The number of people killed in traffic accidents in Saudi roads has risen almost 10 percent to just over 7,000 in the past year, according to Dr. Khaled Al-Eisa, supervisor general of King Abdul Aziz Hospital in south Jeddah. This figure works out at 19.1 death every day and makes the Kingdom’s roads some of the most dangerous in the world.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in males 16 to 36 years as stated in a briefing on the Country Cooperation Strategy for the World Health Organization (WHO) and Saudi Arabia.  Furthermore, according to the Mortality Fact Sheet of 2006 by WHO, road traffic accidents are the fifth leading cause of death in Saudi Arabia.

Yet, car safety is not exactly strongly enforced in Saudi.

Read more by clicking.. (more…)

Cadmium in jewelry: when will product quality finally outweigh a cheap price? January 28, 2010

Posted by Lindsey Realmuto in Environmental Health, Global Health, Occupational Health.
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This is not a time to be envious of all those young parents out there. Beyond the normal pressures of raising a child, parents nowadays have to worry about bisphenol-A in baby bottles, lead paint in toys, whether or not to eat fish while pregnant or breast-feeding, and now most recently, cadmium in jewelry. Cadmium? Really? I am referring to the latest safety notice to parents about cadmium in jewelry imported from China, reported by Justin Pritchard at the Associated Press.

What about my peanut butter? March 2, 2009

Posted by Nora in Environmental Health, Global Health.
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I feel that as an American, I am often outraged at slips in our system, for example, the recent contamination of a particular brand of peanut butter by salmonella. However, I recently learned some information that managed put my outrage into perspective. (more…)

Polio Gets Screen Time February 26, 2009

Posted by yostliketoast in Global Health.

A recent CNN article shed light on an important and often overlooked issue, polio eradication. The article describes an Oscar nominated documentary entitled, “The Final Inch” which explores

“the final stages of a 20 year initiative.”

A producer for the film states that the main goal of the documentary was to bring polio to the forefront of peoples minds stating that,

“ordinary American people have forgotten polio.”

Although I was excited to see that the issue to polio eradication was receiving new attention from the mainstream media, I thought the article did a poor job on explaining how and why polio remains a problem today.


Avian Influenza in Egyptian Slum Settlements- The Epidemiology February 9, 2009

Posted by Nora in Environmental Health, Global Health.
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The influenza pandemic of 1918 was one of the greatest causes of mortality of its time. It resulted in the deaths of up to 50 million individuals worldwide.  According to Dr. Trampuz, the avian influenza ( H5N1) virus has fulfilled two of the three criteria that lead to the pandemic of 1918; the current strain of avian influenza has the capability to infect humans and result in high mortality, and the human population is, as a whole, immunologically naïve . The final criterion, human to human transmission of this virus has not been fulfilled.  Achievement of this criterion would require mutation of the avian influenza virus genome. Since viruses mutate often and easily it is reasonable to extrapolate the H5N1 realization of the third criterion . As you probably know, Egypt as a country has been tackling cases of avian influenza as of  March 2006. According to the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, nineteen out of a total of fourty-threeindividuals who contracted avian influenza died as a result.  I think that the squatter settlements or the Ashwaiayat in Cairo, are particularly relevant when trying to demonstrate Cairo’s unique vulnerability to avian influenza. For the purposes of this blog, I will use “Manshiet Nasser” to represent the slums of Cairo, as they are all relatively similar. (more…)

Avian Influenza in Egyptian Slum Settlements- An Action Plan February 9, 2009

Posted by Nora in Environmental Health, Global Health, Prevention.
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This is a continuation of the post “Avian Influenza in Egyptian Slum Settlements- The Epidemiology”.

Given the frequency of avian influenza cases in Egypt, and the settlement dwellers evident predisposition to contract, and possibly induce a global avian influenza pandemic; environmental, occupational, and policy changes must be made. Unfortunately, several issues will confront a health professional attempting to communicate risks to this particular population.According to Dr. Fahmy the first and foremost of these is

“The Egyptian squatter’s lack of trust in others, and thus his/her tendency to live in a highly individualistic environment”.