The FDA made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (the primary dietary source of trans fat in processed foods) are not “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. Their review of the research has led them to conclude that consuming trans fat raises LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and increases the risk of coronary heart disease. The FDA opened a 60-day comment period this week. Folks can submit electronic comments and scientific data and information until January 7.
Posts Tagged ‘heart disease’
Public health embarked on a smoking revolution over the last few decades, kicking it into high gear to provide programs and policies to help Arizonans change their smoking habits. While by no means has the tobacco battle been won, America is currently undergoing another revolution—a walking revolution. Physical activity is not new territory in public health. Public health professionals have been encouraging adults to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week. Now, though, the public health world is taking a step back and promoting the simplest of physical activities: walking or biking. A recent study from Kansas State University looked at the association between sitting time and chronic diseases. The study found that people who sat for more than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The Surgeon General has started the “Everybody Walk” campaign, releasing a document entitled “A Walking Revolution: The moving making Americans Happier and Healthier,” developing a free App that tracks all aspects of your walk, and hinting at writing a call to action on walking. This call-to-action is being compared to the famous 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on the dangers of smoking, translating that message into the dangers of sitting.
Here at ADHS we take an innovative approach to promote more walking and less sedentary behavior. Our focus is to create environments where the healthy choice, walking, is the easy choice. Our Empower program establishes policies in child care centers that decrease sedentary time and screen time, and increases physical activity of youngsters. The Arizona Nutrition Network has been infusing traditional nutrition education with physical activity. Community design initiatives have worked to establish environments where walking or riding a bike are the predominant means of transportation in a community, rather than driving a car. With walking being so simple, the question remains: how will you walk or bike today?
A new report from the CDC shows some good news for older adults in Arizona. According to the report, people in Arizona have a life expectancy of more than 20 years after the age of 65, with 15 of those years healthy. This places Arizona as one of the top states in the nation for life expectancy, with a good quality of life in the later years of life. Some of the reasons for the good health outcomes for older adults in the State are better injury prevention through education and programs and lower rates of chronic disease such as heart disease and some types of cancer.
Our Healthy Aging Program has several resources for older adults in Arizona, including a Healthy Living Guide, reports on the health status of people 65 and older and links to events and agencies that provide services for older adults. The Healthy Aging Program is looking to the future to develop a framework for addressing emerging health trends with older adults, which is a fast growing segment of our population.
Some of the emerging issues are increased suicide attempts, sexually transmitted disease rates including HIV, and Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We’ll be looking for ways to address these health factors so Arizona will continue to be a place where we can have long, healthy lives after retirement age.
September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and is a great time for us to take stock of where we are in the “Winnable Battle” of combatting obesity. Last month, we got some good news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that obesity rates in children and adults are leveling off after decades of going up.
Now we’ve learned that we are also making progress in school policies to promote healthy eating and physical activity. CDC just released the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study which shows the amazing changes that have occurred in schools to help students be healthy and ready-to-learn. For example, the number of school districts that prohibit offering junk food in vending machines has increased from just 4.1% in 2000 to nearly half in 2012 (43.3%).
Even with these encouraging signs, there is still work to do. The childhood obesity epidemic puts nearly one third of America’s children at risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease – conditions usually associated with adulthood. Even greater disparities exist among young Hispanics and children of color. There are opportunities every day to change these trends and the results can last a lifetime. All children deserve a healthy start in life and it’s our responsibility to make that possible. Let’s use Childhood Obesity Month to renew our resolve and use this opportunity to build awareness and take action where we live, learn, work, play, and receive care throughout Arizona.
The Departments of Economic Security and Health Services are working together to raise awareness of childhood obesity . I invite you to view a similar blog piece by my agency counterpart, Director Clarence Carter.
There’s a new CDC Sortable Stats web application that went live a couple of weeks ago that provides an interactive tool to analyze behavioral risk factors and health indicators compiled from various published CDC and federal sources. You can search by state for things like death rates (e.g. infant mortality, heart disease, motor vehicle death rates, etc.); health burden (e.g. obesity, Hepatitis B & C, diabetes, teen birth rate, etc.); risk factors (e.g. smoking, physical activity, seat belt use, etc.); and preventive services (colorectal cancer screening, flu vaccine, and child vaccination coverage).
A good place to start are the individual fact sheets for individual states or territories. Here’s a link to the Arizona report.
Publication of Arizona’s very first State Health Assessment is just around the corner- probably in September. The 2013 Arizona State Health Assessment will use AZ quantitative and qualitative data to assess the public health status of the state. The end product will be a comprehensive summary of the 15 leading health issues that have the greatest impact in Arizona.
Over 10,000 community members participated across the state in helping provide valuable input. Our county health departments did the heavy lifting and engaged the public and their local partners to develop county level community health assessments. Primary data was collected through local community participation in surveys, focus groups and strategy meetings to establish local priorities and really capture the community’s concerns. Secondary data from public data banks such as hospital discharge data, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the disease registries was also part of the analysis.
The State Health Assessment uses a combination of the Community Health Status Indicator Project and the Healthy People 2020 Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track Models. The 15 leading health issues identified in the Assessment were compiled from county and state priority rankings. Each indicator is summarized for its significance and scope, trending over the past few years, and comparative analysis against national data.
The 15 priority health issues that’ll be identified in the Report are (in no particular order): obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, healthcare associated infections, suicides, teen pregnancy, creating healthy communities, behavioral health services, diabetes, heart disease, other chronic diseases (cancer, respiratory disease, asthma), accidents and injuries, oral health, access to well care, and access to health insurance.
Next month’s State Health Assessment will provide the starting point for our first ever State Health Improvement Plan in 2014… which will outline actionable and specific strategies, tactics and interventions for improving population health. The Improvement Plan will provide a roadmap for Arizona policy makers at the state, county and local level as well as our partners in the private sector to take serious concrete steps to improve population health outcomes while reducing health care costs in AZ.
This week is Men’s Health Week – the worldwide event happens every year before Father’s Day calling attention to the issues that affect men’s health. Many groups take the opportunity to talk about men’s health – we should be thinking about our health every week. The top health issues that impact men’s health are also some of the easiest issues to prevent. Heart disease and cancer are leading causes of death for men. The best way to fight heart disease is exercise and sensible eating. Our Healthy Living website has some interesting ideas on being active and choosing healthy foods.
If you’re 50 or older or at higher risk, make a pledge to yourself and your family get checked for prostate and colorectal cancer. Men’s Health Week is the perfect opportunity to schedule an appointment.
Stress also leads to health problems in men, including depression. If you’re suffering from depression, it’s harder to be physically active and eat well. Sometimes a chat with a professional can put you back on track or a doctor may prescribe medication to help put your life back in balance. Most employers offer an Employee Assistance Program that will offer free or low cost access to a mental health professional. The parity law also makes your regular health insurance provide access to mental health care.
If you’re still smoking, stop. Every puff of a cigarette or cigar takes time off your life. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance – quitting isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. If you need help, call the ASHLine at 1-800-556-6222.
Finally, consider getting a physical this year to identify hidden health conditions. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your family.
What’s a Promotora? In simple terms, a Promotora is a community health worker who’s a trusted member of the community and serves as a link between people and services to promote the overall health of family, friends and neighbors. Creating effective linkages between vulnerable populations and the health care system can be challenging in Arizona. Like many other agencies in Arizona, we’ve called on Promotoras to bridge the gap between community members and health care service providers.
We have a long history of working with Promotoras. In 1994 our Health Start Program was established and began utilizing them to link women, children, and families to services to reduce low birth weights and the number of children affected by childhood diseases. There are now 45 Promotoras in the Health Start Program who reflect the ethnic culture of their communities and receive extensive training on pregnancy, child growth and development, and community resources. Eligible families receive home visits by Promotoras during their pregnancy and after the birth of their children up to two years of age.
Our Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program uses Promotoras to help manage services for high blood pressure in Yuma and Maricopa Counties. We partner with the U of A to train Promatoras on identification, treatment and management of high blood pressure and the risk factors related to cardiovascular disease. In Yuma County, more than 1,400 patients are currently enrolled in this hypertension management program. The Maricopa County Hypertension Project is now underway at Wesley Community Health Center and is demonstrating a 100% compliance rate that patients get follow up services if needed. Any behavioral health patients seen at Wesley are referred to the Hypertension Project if they meet the requirements.
As we look to the future, Promotoras will probably have an increasingly essential role in outreach, reducing health care disparities and emergency room costs within the changing healthcare environment. We’ve partnered with the U of A to call upon nationally respected experts to create the best strategy for Arizona to move forward in building a sustainable Promotora program. To learn more about this exciting program contact Sara Rumann at email@example.com or David Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oral health is more than a nice smile. Having good oral health improves a person’s ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, and eat. Plus, tooth decay and gum disease have been linked with other health problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as premature births. Given the link between oral diseases and other systemic health problems, it’s critical to maintain good oral health.
To help folks who desperately need dental care, the Central Arizona Dental Society Foundation will host its first AZ Mission of Mercy event at the Arizona Fairgrounds December 7-8 using portable dental equipment and 1,000 volunteers. Dental screenings and services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis at no charge. About $1M in free care is expected to be delivered to 2,000 patients (both adults and kids). They’ll focus on basic dental care such as fillings, extractions and cleanings. More than 70 Mission of Mercy dental programs have been conducted since 2000- providing free dental care to local residents who otherwise couldn’t get care. We’re supporting the event through Title V funds and providing health information and resources.
Thanks go out to the following folks from Team ADHS that have volunteered to help out at this important event: Anna Alonzo, Amber Asbury, Stacy Beauregard, Brian Beebe, Elena Beeman, Anita Betancourt, Karen Boswell, Jennifer Botsford, Tracy Chisler, Omar Contreras, Juanita Dailey, Ali De La Trinidad, Willie Dennis, Erica Ferguson, John Fiorentino, Jan Ford, Amanda Gainey, Tiana Galindo, Ann Gardner, Cecilia Gaytan-Newberry, Margaret Hensell, Victoria Mieth, Kimberly Oneill, Elie Partida, Nicholas Pigg, Carmen Ramirez, David Ramirez, Deborah Reardon, Matthew Roach, Crystal Rodriguez, Ruthann Smejkal, Nicole Thurlow, Tina Wagner, Julia Wacloff, Virginia Warren, and Chelley Weber. Also, thanks go out to Maricopa County Public Health for organizing the vaccine clinic that’ll be there too.
Injuries are the leading cause of death for Arizonans from age 1 to 44. That means for the majority of the young and the middle-aged injury is more lethal than cancer, heart disease, hypertension and influenza combined. The effectiveness of a State’s pre-hospital and Trauma System makes the difference when it comes to saving lives (and quality of life) from injuries. That’s why we invited the American College of Surgeons to assess AZ’s Trauma System back in 2007… to evaluate the effectiveness of our trauma system and to make recommendations.
The main 2007 recommendations were to improve trauma care in the rural parts of the state by recruiting Level IV trauma centers in rural AZ, strengthen the State’s trauma registry, and to assess our system and make necessary updates to our state trauma plan. We have.
Over the last 3 ½ years, our EMS and Trauma System team has been able to recruit 17 rural hospitals (up from 0) into our trauma system. For the first time, Arizona’s rural trauma patients have timely access to good trauma care. Our State Trauma Registry has been strengthened by undergoing validation checks and audits and is now one of the best in the country, allowing us to conduct all kinds of research to improve care across the state. Arizona’s trauma system today bears little resemblance to our system 4 years ago, and like any system, it’s important to re-assess how we’re doing and set new priorities to maximize our effectiveness.
That’s why we invited the American College of Surgeons back last week… to evaluate our system- to take a look at the progress we have made over the last several years and give us feedback on the best way to move forward- both in rural and urban Arizona. The ACS met with our team and our EMS and hospital trauma Stakeholders- and we had great participation.
The ACS had about a dozen nuts and bolts recommendations and 3 larger recommendations regarding AZ’s Trauma System in their report-out presentation. Their written report (in about 6 weeks) will recommend (among other things):
- A moratorium on new trauma center designations in the Valley and Tucson and at the same time recommending that the Department explore the statutory authority to have a “needs based” system for designation.
- During the moratorium (if we have one)- they recommend that we put together a destination protocol for the Valley for ambulance providers.
- Their report will recommend that we explore more effective ways to use the Prop 202 money that currently only goes to Level I Centers.
We’ve just begun to explore the who, what, when, where, and how their initial recommendations. Once the actual written report comes in 5 or 6 weeks we’ll be in a better position to evaluate the recommendations.
Finally… three cheers for Dan Didier, Noreen Adlin, Donna Meyer, and Betty Yunick for preparing for this week’s evaluation. To get ready, they had to respond to a detailed trauma system pre-review questionnaire; identify, copy and scan approximately 400 pages of trauma system reports developed over the past 5 years; and coordinate hotel and meeting room space for approximately 80 participants. Thanks!