June 4th, 2013
Several doctors wrote in to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the growing epidemic of gun violence and its threat to the health & safety to children – calling it a public health crisis. While they may be located in St. Louis, this epidemic is most certainly here in Louisiana, and nationwide. Its a poignant letter worth reading. Below is an excerpt, but you can click here to read the letter in full.
“We are writing today as pediatric emergency and trauma physicians to share our concern about the epidemic of gun violence that threatens the safety, health, and well-being of our children in St. Louis and in the United States.
In 2010, seven American children age 19 and younger were killed every day. This is twice the number of children who die from cancer, five times the number from heart disease, and 15 times the number from infections. This is also the equivalent of 128 Newtown shootings.
It has been estimated at least 38 percent of American households have a gun. In homes with children younger than 18, 22 percent store the gun loaded, 32 percent unlocked, and 8 percent unlocked and loaded. The children in these homes know the gun is present, and many handle the gun in the absence of their parents. . . .”
May 21st, 2013
Miles of newly painted bike lanes have New Orleanians leaving their cars at home in favor of two-wheeled vehicles. Trading the truck for the Trek has not gone unnoticed, but the Big Easy is still far down the path to first-class cycling status. At the moment, New Orleans boasts more than 58 miles of bike lanes with ten on the way. This is a huge leap from the meager ten miles of bike lanes available before Katrina. This impressive new number transcends bikes to encompass the tremendous strides the city has made as they rebuild.
Click here to read the full article from NOLA Defender’s website.
May 7th, 2013
Many American children are not meeting recommended car passenger safety guidelines for their age group, a new study finds. The AAP advised that children be placed in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 2 years old. Next, children should use forward-facing car seats with a five-point harness until they reach the maximum height and weight requirement recommended by the seat’s manufacturer.
Children should continue to use a booster seat until they are about 57 inches tall (the average height of an 11-year-old child) and an adult seat belt fits them properly. Children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat, the AAP said.
April 10th, 2013
Every year sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cost the U.S. health care system $17 billion—and cost individuals even more in immediate and long-term health consequences. April is STD Awareness month, an annual observance to call attention to the impact of STDs and promote STD testing across the United States.
A new campaign targeted at Baton Rouge youth is helping to raise awareness about getting tested in Louisiana about these startling statistics. Check it out online here, or on Facebook for more information.
To read the CDC’s full story, click here.
March 27th, 2013
Researchers reported Tuesday that they have linked 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide to sugary drinks, including about 25,000 adult Americans.
Overall, 1 in 100 deaths of obese people globally can be blamed on too many sweetened beverages, according to a study presented at an American Heart Association scientific conference in New Orleans. Mexico leads the 35 largest nations in deaths attributable to over-consumption of sugary drinks, with the United States third. Japan, which has one of the lowest per-capita consumptions of sugary drinks, had the fewest sugar-related deaths.
In New Orleans, the Louisiana Public Health Institute and the Crescent City Beacon Community are striving to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes through the txt4health program. Txt4health is a mobile health information service designed to help people understand their risk for type 2 diabetes and become more informed about the steps they can take to lead healthy lives.
Click here to read the full story.
March 11th, 2013
The current poster child for global warming is a polar bear, sitting on a melting iceberg. Some health officials argue the symbol should, instead, be a child. That’s because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it’s portrayed as a health issue, rather than an environmental problem.
“This is a new topic for public health,” Luber says. “This is emerging largely as a result that the scientific evidence around climate change has evolved to the point that public health feels confident engaging the science; that this is a credible threat.”
January 23rd, 2013
You’re right to want to do whatever is in your power to stay flu-free this season, especially given the severity of this year’s outbreak. But before you put your personal flu-prevention plan in action, make sure those methods are actually going to do the trick. Pritish Tosh, M.D., an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic’s Division of Infectious Diseases, details some of the biggest mistakes people are making when it comes to flu prevention.
January 17th, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed sweeping rules to curtail food-borne illnesses that kill thousands of Americans annually — and, in the process, to transform itself into an agency that prevents contamination, not one that merely investigates outbreaks.
The rules, drafted with an eye toward strict standards in California and some other states, enable the implementation of the landmark Food Safety Modernization Act that President Obama signed two years ago in response to a string of deadly outbreaks of illness from contaminated spinach, eggs, peanut butter and imported produce.
The first proposed rule would require domestic and overseas producers of food sold in the U.S. to craft a plan to prevent and deal with contamination of their products. The plans would be open to federal audits. The second rule would address contamination of fruit and vegetables during harvesting.
Click here to read more from the LA Times.
January 14th, 2013
The nation’s early flu season continues to grow in the U.S., with no sign yet of a peak in the spread of coughing, achy, feverish illness, health officials said recently. Twenty-nine states and New York City reported high levels of flu activity, up from 16 states and NYC the previous week. Flu was widespread in 41 states, up from 31 states, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of the week ending Dec. 29, 2,257 people had been hospitalized with flu, and 18 children had died from complications of the illness, CDC reported.
Click here to read the full story from MSNBC.
January 7th, 2013
According to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC), when asked what would solve traffic problems in their community, 42 percent of Americans say more transit. Only 20 percent say more roads. And 21 percent would like to see communities developed that don’t require so much driving. Two-thirds support local planning that guides new development into existing cities and near public transportation.
Recently, New Orleans passed a Complete Streets ordinance, which you can read here. If you’re interested in more information about the work being done to make our streets safer for all on the road, check out these resources:
The Louisiana Public Health Institute’s Active Environments Planning initiative.