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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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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…)

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…)

Sarah Palin’s Exception or Family Guy’s Acceptance? February 22, 2010

Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Blogging, Health Communications & Marketing, Mental Health, Prevention.
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With the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) the United States government took huge strides to facilitate acceptance of persons with disabilities into typical American life.  No longer would curbs or steps block entry into society. And with mainstreaming in schools and the workplace disabled Americans can fulfill their American Dreams and contribute, rather than burden society. Families and teachers work hard to incorporate children just as employers, mass transit, and architects have adapted.

So when disabled Americans join the entertainment industry and characters are portrayed as real life people, with real disabilities and real senses of humor – in spite of their limitations, shouldn’t they jump for joy at their inclusive acceptance? Special interest groups from commercial Coca Cola to advocates for public safety position themselves for subtle and not-so-subtle product placement to increase awareness.

Sarah Palin doesn’t agree.  She want exceptions made for her and for Trig, the former governor’s son, born with Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disability with a numerous potential limitations of varying severity. Palin criticised the comedy show for being ‘cruel and cold-hearted” and “not really funny” on the cable show O’Reilly Factor, although she makes exception for Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word retard because he used “satire.”

The front page New York Times Feb 20, 2010 headline read Family Guy vs. Palin: Can Disability Be Funny?” The article fairly portrays the inherent tension between making exceptions for the disabled and accepting the disabled as a part of society, including being teased, poked fun at, laughed at… and laughed with! Furthermore, the article presents the facts; readers easily see the hypocrisy.

read on…

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Impulsive and Addicted-The challenges of addressing teen texting while driving February 5, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Health Communications & Marketing, Mental Health, Prevention, Social Marketing.
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As I drove home one night this week my cell phone rang and I reached over and hastily struggled through my purse to see who was texting me.   When I saw the text message from a friend with some exciting news, I felt a rush. Then the traffic light turned red and I considered texting a quick “Woo Hoo,”  trying to figure out if the timing would work and I wouldn’t be honked at by the cars behind me.  I decided to wait until I was out of heavy traffic to pull over and text her back. But I found it odd that, after about a minute, the urge passed and I realized I could wait another half hour until I got home.

Looking back at that one minute experience, it seems I could almost feel those proverbial twins of conscience as they pulled me to and fro. I like to think that my age and experience gave me a slight edge in resisting the impulse, but what about younger drivers?  A Washington Post article provides recent statistics showing that texting is now responsible for increasing numbers of teenage driving deaths. They also have a link to a graphic video of the horrible consequences of this common activity.

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To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, has it come to an end? February 4, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Health Communications & Marketing, Healthcare, Prevention.
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The title summarizes the unnecessary dilemma that many parents have gone through when it came to making the decision on whether to give their children the combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine or not.  More than a decade ago, a study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield was published in the Lancet and suggested a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).  Unfortunately, many parents became confused and uncertain when their children’s health risks and benefits were on the table regarding the MMR vaccine.  The proper approach for those parents was to vaccinate their children against these dangerous diseases, which some of them might become deadly, because many studies have shown the safety of the vaccine despite what Dr. Wakefield suggested in his study.

Fortunately, this dilemma might be coming to an end! (more…)

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

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

Why do you run? January 29, 2010

Posted by Renee in Blogging, Health Communications & Marketing, Prevention, Wellness.
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Why do I run? I get asked this all the time.  There are lots of different reasons I run and I’m never really sure how to answer the question, but I started out running for me.  Not in a selfish way, but in a survival sort of way.  It is “me” time, it is my way of coping with life.  I am almost always in a better mood when I get back from a run.  When I run I am just alone in my head, whether I am with a group or running by myself.  Sometimes I clear my head and other times I think about anything and everything.  And I love to be outside, the fresh air is amazing and running makes it so I spend time outside all year round.  Also, I’m actually convinced the treadmill is a torture device.  I know that physical activity is good for me and all of my running has definitely made me healthier, but that was never my big motivator.  Now that’s just me.  There are a lot of people out there who run for a greater purpose, run for a cause.

Take for example, Sarah Stanley, a local DC runner, who released her 2010 project Run Ride Inspire on Friday January 22, 2010.  She has decided to run or ride (or a combination of the two) 50 miles in all 50 states during a five-month period to raise awareness for childhood obesity and the nonprofit Fitness Forward, based in San Francisco, CA.  According to Sarah’s website, Run Ride Inspire, her challenge will begin on March 8, 2010 in California and end sometime in August back in DC.

Keep reading to learn more about the staggering childhood obesity statistics that inspire Sarah’s Run Ride Inspire project: (more…)

Go ahead, get some sun! January 28, 2010

Posted by Gretchen Giannelli in Health Communications & Marketing, Mental Health, Prevention.
4 comments

During the past few decades health officials have waged a campaign urging us to avoid excessive sun exposure in order to prevent skin cancer. We’ve been told to slather on the sunscreen– the higher the SPF, the better– and stay indoors during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. Statistics have shown increasing rates of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.  While it makes sense to prevent skin cancer, the advice to avoid the sun may have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction and created a new problem. (more…)