Public Health
Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. (What is Public Health? Association of Schools of Public Health )

Five Minutes Or Less For Health


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(From Future Diets,  a publication of the Overseas Development Institute -ODI)

Obesity: Africa’s new crisis

The arrival of fast food has triggered the latest health epidemic to hit developing countries. As doctors begin the fightback against morbid obesity, Bénédicte Desrus travels round Africa photographing people living with the condition, while Ian Birrell reveals why South Africa now faces its biggest challenge since HIV.

Naomi Kavindu Magutu, right, a 60-year-old former teacher with morbid obesity, at the Ceragem Ukunda Centre in Kenya. Photograph: Benedicte Desrus

‘My belly gives me so much’: Ugandan dancer Moses Kawooya, 59, weighs 243lb and performs for visiting presidents with his ‘magic belly’. His dad and grandfather had the same physique, and it earns him a living. Photograph: Benedicte Desrus

‘I was born big. I was always like this’: Susan Kalai, aka Mama Safi, is 53, has seven children and lives in Kawangware slum in Nairobi. She can barely walk and suffers from numerous weight-related diseases. Photograph: Bénédicte Desrus
(Read full article by Ian Birrell in The Guardian)
(Top graphic: Future Diets, publicatoin of the Overseas Development Institute-ODI)

Obesity: Africa’s new crisis

The arrival of fast food has triggered the latest health epidemic to hit developing countries. As doctors begin the fightback against morbid obesity, Bénédicte Desrus travels round Africa photographing people living with the condition, while Ian Birrell reveals why South Africa now faces its biggest challenge since HIV.

Obesity in Kenya

Naomi Kavindu Magutu, right, a 60-year-old former teacher with morbid obesity, at the Ceragem Ukunda Centre in Kenya. Photograph: Benedicte Desrus

Obese Ugandan dancer Moses Kawooya

‘My belly gives me so much’: Ugandan dancer Moses Kawooya, 59, weighs 243lb and performs for visiting presidents with his ‘magic belly’. His dad and grandfather had the same physique, and it earns him a living. Photograph: Benedicte Desrus

Mama Safi: 'I was born big'

‘I was born big. I was always like this’: Susan Kalai, aka Mama Safi, is 53, has seven children and lives in Kawangware slum in Nairobi. She can barely walk and suffers from numerous weight-related diseases. Photograph: Bénédicte Desrus

(Read full article by Ian Birrell in The Guardian)

(Top graphic: Future Diets, publicatoin of the Overseas Development Institute-ODI)


Gap in Diet Quality Between Wealthiest and Poorest Americans Doubles, Study Finds
Higher costs and limited supermarket access are cited as barriers to health.


By Tracie McMillan (Published Sept. 1, 2014)
The diets of low-income Americans have worsened in the past decade, even as the diets of the wealthiest Americans have improved, according to a new study that is among the first to measure changes in diet quality over time by socioeconomic status. Overall diet quality in the United States remains poor, said the lead author of the study, published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.
Although the study found that the diet of all Americans improved on average between 2005 and 2010, the progress masked a decline in diet quality among the poor. The result: a doubling of the gap in diet quality between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest.
The study attributed the change to the higher cost of convenient and healthy meals, as well as limited access to quality supermarkets in some poorer neighborhoods.
Frank Hu, a study author and co-director of the Program in Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health, cautioned against taking the improvements as a sign that Americans eat well. “This is really almost like an American diet report card,” Hu said. “This has the good news that there has been some improvement in overall diet quality, but the report card still doesn’t look very good.”
The report comes at a time when the food choices of low-income households are in the national spotlight. Legislators and advocates have suggested restricting what foods can be bought with the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) in an effort to promote health. First Lady Michelle Obama has made healthy diets a central part of her campaign to end childhood obesity. Today two-thirds of Americans of all classes are overweight or obese, with higher rates among the poor.
(More …..)

(From National Geographic)

By Tracie McMillan (Published Sept. 1, 2014)

The diets of low-income Americans have worsened in the past decade, even as the diets of the wealthiest Americans have improved, according to a new study that is among the first to measure changes in diet quality over time by socioeconomic status. Overall diet quality in the United States remains poor, said the lead author of the study, published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

Although the study found that the diet of all Americans improved on average between 2005 and 2010, the progress masked a decline in diet quality among the poor. The result: a doubling of the gap in diet quality between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest.

The study attributed the change to the higher cost of convenient and healthy meals, as well as limited access to quality supermarkets in some poorer neighborhoods.

Frank Hu, a study author and co-director of the Program in Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health, cautioned against taking the improvements as a sign that Americans eat well. “This is really almost like an American diet report card,” Hu said. “This has the good news that there has been some improvement in overall diet quality, but the report card still doesn’t look very good.”

The report comes at a time when the food choices of low-income households are in the national spotlight. Legislators and advocates have suggested restricting what foods can be bought with the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) in an effort to promote health. First Lady Michelle Obama has made healthy diets a central part of her campaign to end childhood obesity. Today two-thirds of Americans of all classes are overweight or obese, with higher rates among the poor.

(More …..)

(From National Geographic)

(From the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, IHME)
Prevalence* of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State, BRFSS, 2013
Obesity prevalence in 2013 varies across states and regions
No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.
7 states and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity between 20% and <25%.
23 states had a prevalence of obesity between 25% and <30%.
18 states had a prevalence of obesity between 30% and <35%.
2 states (Mississippi and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity of 35% or greater.
The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.2%), followed by the Midwest (30.1%), the Northeast (26.5%), and the West (24.9%).
Source: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance Systems, CDC.
*Prevalence estimates reflect BRFSS methodological changes started in 2011. These estimates should not be compared to prevalence estimates before 2011.
(From CDC)

Prevalence* of Self-Reported Obesity Among U.S. Adults by State, BRFSS, 2013

Obesity prevalence in 2013 varies across states and regions

  • No state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.
  • 7 states and the District of Columbia had a prevalence of obesity between 20% and <25%.
  • 23 states had a prevalence of obesity between 25% and <30%.
  • 18 states had a prevalence of obesity between 30% and <35%.
  • 2 states (Mississippi and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity of 35% or greater.
  • The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (30.2%), followed by the Midwest (30.1%), the Northeast (26.5%), and the West (24.9%).

Source: Behavorial Risk Factor Surveillance Systems, CDC.

*Prevalence estimates reflect BRFSS methodological changes started in 2011. These estimates should not be compared to prevalence estimates before 2011.

(From CDC)

Behind the Scenes: Big Beverage

Soda companies spend big money to influence public health initiatives meant to decrease sugary drink consumption. But policies like taxes on sugary beverages can encourage people to make healthier choices. The beverage industry is doing everything in its power to keep that from happening.

Get the latest research, news, and information about public health policies aimed at reducing sugary drink consumption at
http://yaleruddcenter.org/what_we_do….

(From the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity)

Americans More Likely to Avoid Drinking Soda Than Before
July 28, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. &#8212; Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they avoid soda in their diet, while more than half say they avoid sugar. Meanwhile, more than nine in 10 Americans claim they try to include fruits (92%) or vegetables (93%) in their diet &#8212; slightly more than said this previously.
These data are from a July 7-10 Gallup poll that asked Americans about their consumption habits. Americans have become increasingly wary of drinking soda since Gallup began asking them about their dietary choices in 2002. At that time, only 41% said they actively tried to avoid soda, a percentage that has now jumped to 63%.
Studies continue to reveal the adverse health effects of consuming soda, and high-profile attempts to ban the purchase of large individual servings of soda or to tax it have apparently raised Americans&#8217; consciousness about drinking it, even if closer to half still consume the beverage. At this point, 13% of Americans say they don&#8217;t think about soda intake, down from 24% a decade ago.
(From Gallup)

Americans More Likely to Avoid Drinking Soda Than Before

July 28, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they avoid soda in their diet, while more than half say they avoid sugar. Meanwhile, more than nine in 10 Americans claim they try to include fruits (92%) or vegetables (93%) in their diet — slightly more than said this previously.

These data are from a July 7-10 Gallup poll that asked Americans about their consumption habits. Americans have become increasingly wary of drinking soda since Gallup began asking them about their dietary choices in 2002. At that time, only 41% said they actively tried to avoid soda, a percentage that has now jumped to 63%.

Studies continue to reveal the adverse health effects of consuming soda, and high-profile attempts to ban the purchase of large individual servings of soda or to tax it have apparently raised Americans’ consciousness about drinking it, even if closer to half still consume the beverage. At this point, 13% of Americans say they don’t think about soda intake, down from 24% a decade ago.

(From Gallup)

Soda companies spend big money to influence public health initiatives meant to decrease sugary drink consumption. But policies like taxes on sugary beverages can encourage people to make healthier choices. The beverage industry is doing everything in its power to keep that from happening.

(From Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity)

Neighbourhoods with more fast-food restaurants linked to higher BMIs among residents: Ontario study
ORONTO — Neighbourhoods with a high number of fast food restaurants are no place for the weight conscious, a new study suggests.
The research reveals that the average body mass index of Canadians living in areas with a high density of fast food outlets is higher than the average BMI of people who live in neighbourhoods with more full-service restaurants.
The work was conducted by scientists at the University of Western Ontario, in London, and published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
Some earlier studies done in the United States have revealed similar findings, as have a couple of small studies looking only at children in two different centres in Canada. The authors say this paper is the first to show the possible link in the Canadian adults based on individual-level data.
And they say the finding could be used to justify government action, whether that’s zoning bylaws aimed at restricting the density of fast food outlets or requiring fast food restaurants to post calorie counts for the food items they serve.
(More on National Post, Toronto, Canada)

Neighbourhoods with more fast-food restaurants linked to higher BMIs among residents: Ontario study

ORONTO — Neighbourhoods with a high number of fast food restaurants are no place for the weight conscious, a new study suggests.

The research reveals that the average body mass index of Canadians living in areas with a high density of fast food outlets is higher than the average BMI of people who live in neighbourhoods with more full-service restaurants.

The work was conducted by scientists at the University of Western Ontario, in London, and published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

Some earlier studies done in the United States have revealed similar findings, as have a couple of small studies looking only at children in two different centres in Canada. The authors say this paper is the first to show the possible link in the Canadian adults based on individual-level data.

And they say the finding could be used to justify government action, whether that’s zoning bylaws aimed at restricting the density of fast food outlets or requiring fast food restaurants to post calorie counts for the food items they serve.

(More on National Post, Toronto, Canada)

(From New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)

(From New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene)