Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category
Monday, March 10th, 2014
NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:
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Friday, March 7th, 2014
On February 27th, 2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published several proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts label found on the majority of packaged foods in the United States. According to the FDA Guidance and Regulation page, the proposed changes include the following:
- Greater understanding of nutritional science
- Updated serving size requirements and new labeling requirements for certain package sizes
- Refreshed design
In order to encourage a greater understanding of nutritional science, the FDA will require that labels include information about added sugars, updated daily values, the amount of potassium and Vitamin D, as well as continuing to include “Total Fat”, “Saturated Fat”, and “Trans Fat” amounts while “Calories from Fat” will be removed.
The serving size requirements will be changed to reflect how people currently eat and drink, which is vastly different than 20 years ago–when serving sizes were first established. Serving size on labels will now include “what people actually eat, not what they ‘should’ be eating”. In addition, items usually consumed in a single sitting (ie, 20 oz sodas) will now be labeled as one serving instead of multiple. Larger packages that are usually consumed in multiple sittings will include “dual column” labels to include nutrition information for per serving as well as per package.
The new design of the label will feature larger text for caloric information and serving sizes. Consumers will also notice a shift of Percent Daily Values to the left of the label (for prominence) from it’s original position on the right. A clear explanation of Percent Daily Values will also be included.
For more information, details, and images of the proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts label, visit the FDA Guidance & Regulation page.
Monday, February 10th, 2014
The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a commentary this month that gives physicians guidance on their role in implementing health literate health care organizations. Physicians’ responsibilities to address health literacy are not restricted to improving the clinical encounter, declared authors Cindy Brach, Benard Dreyer, and Dean Schillinger. For health care organizations to become health literate, physicians must also be willing to serve as health literacy champions.
The authors detail actions physicians can take to implement each of the ten attributes of health literate health care organizations, as described in an Institute of Medicine discussion paper by Brach et al. The article also points readers to the Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit to help physicians lead their practices in implementing health literacy universal precautions.
Access the commentary, Physicians’ Roles in Creating Health Literate Organizations: A Call to Action at: http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/971/art%253A10.1007%252Fs11606-013-2619-6.pdf?auth66=1392224038_081914330454b30acba3690809766fb9&ext=.pdf
To access Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations, go to: http://iom.edu/~/media/Files/Perspectives-Files/2012/Discussion-Papers/BPH-Health-Lit-10-Attributes-of-Health-Lit-Orgs.pdf
To access the Health Literacy Universal PrecautionsToolkit, go to: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/quality-resources/tools/literacy-toolkit/index.html
Friday, February 7th, 2014
Looking for ways to connect to others interested in public health? Try Twitter! Tweet chats are a great way to interact with individuals and organizations involved in public health topics across the spectrum. Typically held on a regular basis, these chats are usually lively discussions between people approaching the subject from different perspectives. If you aren’t familiar with the topic or are hesitant to participate, simply following the hashtag makes it easy to lurk or monitor the chat.
Here are some hashtags and tweet chats to get you started (descriptions from Healthcare Tweet Chats):
#abcDrBchat – Chat with ABC News Chief Health/Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.
#hchlitss – Discussing health, health communication, health care, health and social media, health care disparities and social determinants of health. Every Thursday at 8pm EST. Moderators: @drkdhoffman @rv_rikard
#medlibs - The Medlibs Twitter chat occurs weekly on Thursday evenings at 6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern times. Topics are selected and published at the #medlibs chat blog, http://medlibschat.blogspot.com/ Inaugural chat held June 21, 2012. Coordinated by @eagledawg
#mladisparities - The Health Disparities SIG of the Medical Library Association’s monthly twitter chat about ways for medical libraries to be involved with raising awareness of healthcare disparities. Healthcare providers, librarians and others welcome.
#pubHT - The purpose of this chat is to establish a platform where public health professionals can have the opportunity to share their experiences and resources, while also learning and networking. All are invited to join the conversation, yet the target audience includes public health professionals from NGOs, government, academia, etc. Add @PubHealthTalks or follow #PubHT for updates and or visit www.pubht.com. Established August 2012 and co-founded by @NinaJTweets and @SaraRubin.
#RWJF1stFri - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s First Friday Google+ Hangouts are broadcast live the first Friday of every month at 12 pm ET. Moderated by Susan Dentzer, senior policy adviser, this initiative keeps friends of the Foundation up to speed on its activities.
#sm4ph - #sm4ph is a Twitter hashtag dedicated to exploring aspects of social media use and how it affects public health, including Public Health the field and the public’s health at large. Moderated by Jim Garrow, the #sm4ph chat is held every Wednesday evening at 9pm Eastern Time, and is open to anyone interested in public health or social media. @phsocmed
#smem - Social media for emergency management is a live Twitter chat on Fridays at 12:30 PM Eastern Time. It begin and persists as a regular hashtag.
For a full list of healthcare tweet chats, descriptions, and transcripts visit the Healthcare Tweet Chats page via Simplur.
For a list of healthcare hashtags visit the Healthcare Hashtag Project.
Monday, January 20th, 2014
With flu season still in swing, it’s more important than ever to get that flu shot and practice good health behavior! As of the week ending on January 4, 2014 at least 35 states are now showing widespread geographic influenza activity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition to the activity across the country, every state in the South Central Region is showing the highest level of influenza activity. The unusually high number of those affected by the flu prompted the CDC to issue an official health advisory notice to clinicians.
The health advisory notice states:
From November through December 2013, CDC has received a number of reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults, many of whom were infected with influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 (pH1N1) virus. Multiple pH1N1-associated hospitalizations, including many requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and some fatalities have been reported. The pH1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 caused more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults, although severe illness was seen in all age groups.
One common misconception of the flu is that fatalities are more likely to occur in the very young and very old–this is not the case with the pH1N1 strain. According to the Influenza Associated Hospitalizations in the CDC FluView Weekly Index, those ages 18-64 account for 61% of hospitalizations. This means everyone is at risk for catching the flu, regardless of age and health status. Despite these numbers, those in 18-64 age range are still the least likely to get vaccinated.
To do your part in preventing the spread of flu germs, here are the CDC’s Good Health Habit tips:
1. Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
4. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
January 11, 2014 marked 50 years since U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released the landmark report that concluded smoking causes cancer. Since the report was released in 1964, the United States has seen a number of tobacco control campaigns and litigation in an attempt to improve public health. Here are some of the highlights, taken from JAMA’s interactive timeline of Tobacco-Related Events, United States, 1900-2014.
- In 1965 the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act is passed and US Congress requires health warnings on cigarette packages.
- In 1966 warning labels reading “Caution—Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” begin to appear on cigarette packaging.
- 1967 marks the first World Conference on Smoking and Health in New York.
- 1969/1970 Congress passes the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969 which requires a stronger warning label on packaging. The act also bans cigarette advertising on television and radio.
- January 2, 1971 sees the television and radio advertisement ban go into effect.
- In 1975 Minnesota becomes the first state to enact the Clean Indoor Air Act, which “requires separate smoking and nonsmoking areas in public settings”.
- 1983 marks the beginning of workplace smoking restrictions.
- In 1984 the Food and Drug Administration approves “nicotine gum as a pharmacologic aid for smoking cessation”.
- In 1988 California voters approve Propsition 99, ” increasing the cigarette tax from 10 cents to 35 cents per pack. Revenues are earmarked for tobacco-related public health initiatives and research.”
- 1990 marks the end of smoking on airplanes.
- In 1996 the Clinical Practice Guideline on Smoking Cessation is published by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
- After being denied in 2000, the FDA gains regulatory authority over tobacco products in 2009.
- In 2012-2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launch the first fully federally funded “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign encouraging smokers to quit.
Although much progress has been made in the past 50 years, there is still much work to be done; according to the CDC an estimated total of 43.8 million people are still smokers who put themselves and others at risk every day. Cigarette smoking is also the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, something which many organizations are working to change. Examples of anti-tobacco organizations and campaigns include Smokefree Women and Tobacco Free Kids.
For more information on the Surgeon General’s Report and tobacco control, check out the following resources:
In addition to the interactive timeline, JAMA has also designated this month’s theme as “50 Years of Tobacco Control“.
To read more about the original 1964 report, visit the CDC’s page on the History of the Surgeon General’s Reports on Smoking and Health.
To read an interview with acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak on “The past, present and future of tobacco”, visit the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Public Health Newswire Voices page.
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Check out the January issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:
Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has created a new tool to “asses the understandability and actionability of print and audiovisual patient education materials”, entitled the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (or PEMAT). Patient education materials such as brochures and other aids are often complex and difficult for patients to understand, especially across various healthcare providers. This tool is designed to help health care providers, health librarians, and other health professionals in charge of providing materials to consumers evaluate their print and audiovisual materials. If the materials meet a certain score, then most patients and consumers should be able to understand these materials and act on the information provided.
The AHRQ website includes the instrument that can be used for both print and audiovisual materials, as well as a user guide and instructions on scoring.
To access or find more information regarding the PEMAT, visit the AHRQ PEMAT webpage.
Monday, December 16th, 2013
On December 3, 2013 the NN/LM SCR office hosted a webinar entitled, Healthy Beginnings: Information Resources for Maternal and Infant Health. Geared towards public health professionals, this presentation showcased free Internet resources used to promote health education and better prenatal care. This webinar came about as a direct result of the NN/LM SCR’s Public Health Regional Advisory Council meeting .
To view the video and presentation documents, visit the NN/LM SCR’s Presentations page.
Monday, November 25th, 2013
It’s that time of year again! Cooking meals for friends and family is one of the best parts of the holidays–be sure you know how to do it safely.
The four biggest health issues when preparing a turkey include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. It’s also important to be aware that turkeys must be thawed at a safe temperature; between 40 and 140°F is when foodborne bacteria multiply the fastest!
As always, be mindful that preparing raw poultry includes the risk of spreading bacteria. Preparation areas (including hands, utensils, and work surfaces) should always be thoroughly cleaned before and after working with the turkey!
From the CDC: “For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. ” If you decide to cook your stuffing inside the turkey, however, use a food thermometer to make sure it’s been cooked to a safe temperature.
When cooking a turkey, be sure that you use a food thermometer to guarantee that it’s been cooked thoroughly and to a safe temperature (minimum internal temperature of 165°F) . If you are unfamiliar with using a food thermometer, get familiar with them here and learn to calibrate thermometers that haven’t been used in a while.
For more information on food preparation safety, visit the following resources.
Foodsafety.gov — Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Medline Plus — Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service – Leftovers and Food Safety
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — 4 Basic Steps to Food Safety at Home