Jul 23 2016

WHO: Global Report on Diabetes

On the occasion of World Health Day 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) issues a call for action on diabetes, drawing attention to the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease. The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. This dramatic rise is largely due to the rise in type 2 diabetes and factors driving it include overweight and obesity. In 2012 alone diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. The new report calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes. It encourages us all as individuals to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain. The Report: Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or glucose), or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Diabetes is an important public health problem, one of four priority noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) targeted for action by world leaders. Both the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes has been steadily increasing over the past few decades GLOBAL BURDEN Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living ...

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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 06 2011

Superbad E. coli 0104: H4 – The Update. Graehm Gray

The deadly bacteria E. coli 0104 also known as enterohaemorrhagic  E. coli (EHEC) has spread to all parts of Germany as well as most of Europe and several cases have been confirmed in the United States. Most cases involve young women between the ages of 20 – 50. Besides Germany, Sweden has the highest number of confirmed cases of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (a blood infection and kidney failure) as a result of the EHEC infection. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the EHEC determined in the laboratory is the serotype 0104:H4 and the specific strain is the enteroaggregative Verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (EAggEC VTEC) 0104:H4. Initially reported by German health officials, bean sprouts grown at an organic farm in northern Germany (Gaertnerhof farm in the village of Buenenbuettel) were implicated as a cause of the lethal bacteria. Now that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Lower Saxony agriculture ministry did an about face and retracted the bean sprout story, apparently finding no evidence of the EHEC after testing. So the search goes on. After initially implicating Spanish cucumbers, now bean sprouts are out as a suspect, at least for now. So where do we go next? The advisory is still in effect: DO NOT EAT RAW TOMATOES, LETTUCE, BEAN SPROUTS OR CUCUMBERS when traveling in the northern part of Germany. Seek medical care if you have eaten these raw vegetables and or ...

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