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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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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.

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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…)

Your favorite make-up: beauty product or dangerous product? March 3, 2010

Posted by Renee in Healthcare, Prevention, Wellness.
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Millions of people get up everyday and put make-up on, varying amounts and varying products, but many do not leave the house without make-up.  Now personally I have never thought of make-up as a health risk, but it makes sense.  MSNBC published an article titled Your old mascara may spoil your looks: Out-of-date make-up can be a magnet for germs.  This caught my attention.  I don’t wear a lot of make-up and don’t necessarily wear it every day, but thought this was interesting. Keep reading to find out how long you should be keeping your favorite products. (more…)

Get out of the car and into the fresh air February 25, 2010

Posted by Lindsey Realmuto in Environmental Health, Wellness.
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Of course everyone knows (or probably has heard) that vehicle emissions contribute to air pollution that can adversely affect your health. But do you actually know how much cars are contributing to the degradation of our air quality? Or what they’re actually emitting?

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Hypersexual Disorder February 11, 2010

Posted by Ashraf Faden in Healthcare, Mental Health, Prevention, Wellness.
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This is one of the proposed terms, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), to be considered as a mental disorder and to be included in the new completely revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is considered the bible for mental disorders.  As noted in the DSM-5 development website, the criteria for a hypersexual disorder would include:

A.    Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:
(1) A great deal of time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior.
(2) Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability).
(3) Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events.
(4) Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
(5) Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.
B.    There is clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
C.     These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to the direct physiological effect of an exogenous substance (e.g., a drug of abuse or a medication).

So, what implications might this decision have on public health? (more…)

Teen Pregnancies on the Rise February 8, 2010

Posted by Renee in Healthcare, Prevention, Uncategorized, Wellness.
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A new report from the Guttmacher Institute was released January 26, 2010 with surprising data on teen pregnancy.   According to the report from the Guttmacher Institute approximately 7% of teen girls became pregnant in 2006, which is a 3% rise from 2005.  There is an issue, a problem, whatever term you want to use, but no matter what we call it: teenage girls in the United States are getting pregnant at increasing rates and something needs to change.

Keep reading to find out more about the rise in teen pregnancy. (more…)

Choice is the Issue February 4, 2010

Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Healthcare, Wellness.
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In Touch Magazine paid former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her daughter, unwed, teenage mother Bristol, $100,000 for the cover article: “We’re Glad We Chose Life.
The irony of the title appears lost on some. Bristol Palin has become the spokesperson for virginity and abstinence, even though she chose neither path. She represents Candies Foundation, supported by a company who advertises, “Oops, I did it again…” and markets sexy and suggestive clothing to teens. So, is the message: dress like a slut but keep your panties on? Don’t fund education about the consequences of being unprepared? Unprepared with contraception to prevent pregnancy? Unprepared to be a parent? Unprepared to make a decision about pregnancy?
Rather than promoting the sex education information she never received on how to avoid pregnancy and infection, Bristol Palin now espouses abstinence . Ironic, after having pre-marital and unprotected sex, the new teen-mother now pushes the do what I say, not what I do message. We all know hypocrisy is an eye-roller for teens.
On Oprah, and in her autobiography, “Going Rogue”, Sarah Palin revealed she understood why women choose abortion. I am sooooo impressed. She understood, even perhaps felt, for a brief moment she could empathize with some women, any woman with the same or different and unique circumstances, who might make a different choice than Palin’s!
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