Mar 31 2017

The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year, says World Health Organization!

News release from the World Health Organization (WHO) 6 MARCH 2017 | GENEVA - More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age are attributable to unhealthy environments. Every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, say two new WHO reports. The first report, Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment reveals that a large portion of the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years – diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia – are preventable by interventions known to reduce environmental risks, such as access to safe water and clean cooking fuels. "A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children," says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water." Harmful exposures can start in the mother’s womb and increase the risk of premature birth. Additionally, when infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Top 5 causes ...

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Dec 10 2016

CDC Reports Improvement in Childhood Obesity among Young Children

A new study shows that 34 of 56 WIC State Agencies are seeing modest decreases in obesity among young children from 2010-2014. The percentage of low-income children (ages 2-4) with obesity enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) decreased from 15.9% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2014. These findings come from a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Researchers analyzed obesity trends from 2000 to 2014 among young children aged 2-4 years from low-income families enrolled in (WIC). The study was recently published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly ReportTrends in Obesity among Participants Aged 2-4 Years in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—United States, 2000-2014 Summary What is already known about this topic? Previous analyses using Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) data found that during 2008–2011, obesity prevalence among children aged 2–4 years who participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other nutrition and health programs declined slightly overall, among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and in 19 of 43 states and U.S. territories. What is added by this report? The WIC Participants and Program Characteristics (WIC PC) census data replace the PedNSS system to report obesity prevalence among low-income young children from more jurisdictions consistently. This is the first study to use WIC ...

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Nov 30 2016

World AIDS Day 2016

A WHO News Release: On 29th November, to mark World AIDS Day 2016, WHO will launch new guidelines on HIV self-testing to encourage countries to promote self-testing and empower more people to test for HIV. WHO is also launching a new progress report "Prevent HIV: test and treat all – WHO action for country impact". The report shows that more than 18 million people living with HIV have access to HIV treatment, but many more lack HIV diagnosis and consequently are missing out on treatment. The global HIV epidemic claimed fewer lives in 2015 than at any point in almost twenty years. Prevention programs reduced the number of new HIV infections per year to 2.1 million in 2015, a 35% decline in incidence since 2000. The massive expansion of antiretroviral therapy has reduced the number of people dying of HIV-related causes to approximately 1.1 million 2015 – 45% fewer than in 2005. Having achieved the global target of halting and reversing the spread of HIV, world leaders have set the 2020 “Fast-Track” targets to accelerate the HIV response and to END AIDS BY 2030. On World AIDS Day 2016, WHO will be promoting these new innovative HIV testing policies, urging countries and communities deploy high-impact prevention services, and further expand early and quality treatment for all, addressing geographical disparities and leaving no one behind. WHO issues new guidance on HIV self-testing ahead of World AIDS ...

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Mar 09 2016

Have You Checked Your Child For Hearing Loss?

From A World Health Organization news release....... Nearly 32 million children across the world live with disabling hearing loss. A new WHO report, "Childhood hearing loss: act now, here’s how", suggests that 60% of this can be prevented. It also highlights that if hearing loss is detected early enough, and if children receive the care they need, they can reach their full potential. “A child who struggles to hear may also struggle to learn to speak, underachieve at school and end up socially isolated,” says Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. “But this doesn’t have to happen. We have a range of tools to help prevent, detect and treat childhood hearing loss.” Most childhood hearing loss can be prevented There are many causes of childhood hearing loss. It is estimated that 40% is attributable to genetic causes; 31% to infections such as measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis; and 17% to complications at birth, including prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal jaundice. In addition, an estimated 4% results from expectant mothers and newborns unknowingly using medicines that are harmful to hearing. To prevent childhood hearing loss, immunizing children against diseases and regulating certain medicines and noise levels are vital. Mitigating the impact of hearing loss Early identification of those children with hearing loss helps to trigger the needed interventions, such as the provision of hearing devices and ...

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Nov 29 2015

Remember The Obesity Epidemic? Still Here!

Overweight and obesity: the basics, just the facts..... Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese. 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese. More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight. 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013. Obesity is preventable. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.   Overweight and obesity: definitions Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2). The WHO definition is: a BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity. BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight ...

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Dec 07 2014

WARNING: CDC Reports Severe Flu Season Coming!

Early data suggests that the current 2014-2015 flu season could be severe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges immediate vaccination for anyone still unvaccinated this season and recommends prompt treatment with antiviral drugs for people at high risk of complications who develop flu. So far this year, seasonal influenza A H3N2 viruses have been most common. There often are more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths during seasons when these viruses predominate. For example, H3N2 viruses were predominant during the 2012-2013, 2007-2008, and 2003-2004 seasons, the three seasons with the highest mortality levels in the past decade. All were characterized as “moderately severe.” Increasing the risk of a severe flu season is the finding that roughly half of the H3N2 viruses analyzed are drift variants: viruses with antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from that season’s vaccine virus. This means the vaccine’s ability to protect against those viruses may be reduced, although vaccinated people may have a milder illness if they do become infected. During the 2007-2008 flu season, the predominant H3N2 virus was a drift variant yet the vaccine had an overall efficacy of 37 percent and 42 percent against H3N2 viruses. “It’s too early to say for sure that this will be a severe flu season, but Americans should be prepared,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We can save lives with a three-pronged effort ...

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Sep 01 2014

World Health Organization Issues Report on E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes and similar devices are frequently marketed by manufacturers as aids to quit smoking, or as healthier alternatives to tobacco, and require global regulation in the interest of public health, this new World Health Organization (WHO) report states. The report states that while e-cigarettes represent an “evolving frontier filled with promise and threat for tobacco control,” regulations are needed to: Impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people; Minimize potential health risks to e-cigarette users and nonusers; Prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes; and Protect existing tobacco control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. It explains that while additional research is needed on multiple areas of e-cigarette use, regulations are required now to address health concerns, in particular for: Advertising: An appropriate government body must restrict e-cigarette advertising, promotion and sponsorship, to ensure that it does not target youth and non-smokers or people who do not currently use nicotine. Indoor use: legal steps should be taken to end use of e-cigarettes indoors in public and work places. Evidence suggests that exhaled e-cigarette aerosol increases the background air level of some toxicants, nicotine and particles. Since 2005, the e-cigarette industry has grown from one manufacturer in China to an estimated US$3 billion global business with 466 brands, a market in which the tobacco industry is taking a greater stake. The report highlights WHO’s concern about the role of the tobacco industry in this market.   The regulations ...

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Mar 07 2014

World Health Organization To Focus On Global Sugar Intake

From a World Health Organization (WHO) Report: Free sugars contribute to the overall energy density of diets. Ensuring energy balance is critical to maintaining healthy body weight and ensuring optimal nutrient intake. There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in both reduced intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories and an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Also of great concern is the role free sugars play in the development of dental diseases, particularly dental caries. Dental diseases are the most prevalent NCDs globally and though great improvements in prevention and treatment have occurred in the last decades, dental diseases continue to cause pain, anxiety, functional limitation and social handicap through tooth loss, for large numbers of people worldwide. The treatment of dental diseases is expensive—costing between 5 and 10% of health budgets in industrialised countries—and would exceed the financial resources available for the whole of health care for children in the majority of lower-income countries. The objective of this guideline is to provide recommendations on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of NCDs in adults and children, with a particular focus on the prevention and control of weight gain and dental caries. When finalized, the recommendations in this guideline can be used by program managers and policy planners to assess current intake of free sugars relative to a benchmark and develop measures to decrease intake of ...

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Feb 28 2014

New CDC Data Shows Decline In Childhood Obesity Rates

The latest CDC obesity data, published in the February 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, show a significant decline in obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years. Though overall obesity rates remain unchanged, rates in young children improve. Obesity prevalence for this age group went from nearly 14 percent in 2003-2004 to just over 8 percent in 2011-2012 – a decline of 43 percent – based on CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. Although the JAMA study does not specifically compare 2009-2010 with 2011-2012, NHANES data does show a decline in the 2 to 5 year old age group during that time period – from just over 12 percent in 2009-2010 to just over 8 percent in 2011-2012. “We continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping. This report comes on the heels of previous CDC data that found a significant decline in obesity prevalence among low-income children aged 2 to 4 years participating in federal nutrition programs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We’ve also seen signs from communities around the country with obesity prevention programs including Anchorage, Alaska, Philadelphia, New York City and King County, Washington. This confirms that at least for kids, we can turn the tide and begin to reverse the obesity epidemic.” While the precise reasons for the ...

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Jun 26 2011

E. coli 0104 Blamed For New French Outbreak. Graehm Gray

Hello my fans and yes, the Shiga-toxin producing bacteria E. Coli 0104:H4 is now being blamed for the hospitalizations and  infections of seven people from the French city of Bordeaux. Over 40 people have been killed and thousands have been infected as a result of the German outbreak of enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) associated with bean sprouts grown at an organic farm in the northern part of Germany ((Gaertnerhof farm in the village of Buenenbuettel). The culprit this time, according to French authorities, is a vegetable sprout grown from fenugreek and  mustard seeds that apparently came from a British mail order company (Thompson & Morgan). The infected victims recalled eating gazpacho topped with sprouts. The British Food Standards Agency is advising all people not to eat sprouted seeds including alfalfa, mung beans (or bean sprouts) and fenugreek unless “they are cooked until steaming hot throughout.” France also stopped the sale of fenugreek, mustard and arugula sprout seeds from the British company. No one is sure if the seeds used to make the sprouts are from the same group of seeds used to make the German sprouts. One week ago, seven children in the French city of Lille, were infected with E. coli linked to frozen ground beef.  The children, ranging in ages from 18 months to 8 years old, were being treated for the hemolytic uremic syndrome- which is a serious blood and kidney ailment. ...

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