Archive for the 'Health, Disability & Mortality' Category

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For Americans Under 50, Stark Findings on Health

By: Sabrina Tavernise
Source: New York Times

From article:

Younger Americans die earlier and live in poorer health than their counterparts in other developed countries, with far higher rates of death from guns, car accidents and drug addiction, according to a new analysis of health and longevity in the United States.

Researchers have known for some time that the United States fares poorly in comparison with other rich countries, a trend established in the 1980s. But most studies have focused on older ages, when the majority of people die.

This article is based on U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. The pre-publication edition is available to read online for free here.

An interactive graph comparing the United States and 16 “peer” countries is here and the project website is here.

Health at a Glance: Europe 2012

Source: OECD, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs

From publication website:

This second edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents a set of key indicators of health status, determinants of health, health care resources and activities, quality of care, health expenditure and financing in 35 European countries, including the 27 European Union member states, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries.

The selection of indicators is based largely on the European Community Health Indicators (ECHI) shortlist, a set of indicators that has been developed to guide the reporting of health statistics in the European Union. It is complemented by additional indicators on health expenditure and quality of care, building on the OECD expertise in these areas.

Each indicator is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, a brief descriptive analysis highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability.

Full text (PDF)

The Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report

A Global Index of Sustainable Well-Being
Source: The New Economics Foundation

From the Executive Summary:
There is a growing global consensus that we need new measures of progress. It is critical that these measures clearly reflect what we value – something the current approach fails to do.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures what matters. It tells us how well nations are doing in terms of supporting their inhabitants to live good lives now, while ensuring that others can do the same in the future, i.e. sustainable well-being for all.

The third global HPI report reveals that this is largely still an unhappy planet – with both high and low-income countries facing many challenges on their way to meeting this same overall goal. But it also demonstrates that good lives do not have to cost the Earth – that the countries where well-being is highest are not always the ones that have the biggest environmental impact.

The HPI is one of the first global measures of sustainable well-being. It uses global data on experienced well-being, life expectancy, and Ecological Footprint to generate an index revealing which countries are most efficient at producing long, happy lives for their inhabitants, whilst maintaining the conditions for future generations to do the same.

Full text available (PDF)

Olympic Britain

This is a book written by researchers of the House of Commons Library and published on 10 July 2012. It tells the story of social and economic change in the UK since the two previous London Games in 1908 and 1948, using data visualisations to bring to life a period during which our standards of living, the type of work we do, our leisure activities and our lifestyles have changed almost beyond recognition, much like the Olympics itself.

Full print version including charts and tables

Press release with sub-headings like Population, Housing and home life, Income and Education, etc.

First, the House prohibited funding for Political Science research; now it’s Economics

The House appropriations bill for Labor, Health & Human Services & Education attempts to eviscerate The Affordable Care Act by snuffing out NIH funding for health economics research. The scientific community reacts in the posts/tweets below:

NEWS ALERT: First, the House prohibited funding for Political Science research; now it’s Economics http://bit.ly/Q9OgWF

The dismal science gets dismal news from the 2013 Labor, Health & Human Services & Education Appropriations bill http://bit.ly/Q9OgWF

National Organizations and Universities Oppose NIH Economic Research Ban
Consortium of Social Science Associations
July 30, 2012

Panel Votes to End Prevention Fund, Cut Economic Studies, Freeze NIH
Jocelyn Kaiser | Science
July 2012

Last week, a House of Representatives panel passed a 2013 spending bill that would freeze the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), impose narrowly targeted cuts and restrictions on agencies that pay for science and health care analysis, and potentially strip $787 million from the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The draft bill, reflecting hostility to the Administration’s 2010 health care law and a desire to trim the Department of Health and Human Services, would wipe out HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a backer of evidence-based medicine. It would also bar NIH from funding about $200 million in economics studies.

In the end, this may all be resolved by a continuing resolution, which will extend funding for six months beyond Oct 1. This would delay final votes and compromises on these controversial appropriations bills.

House appropriations bill targets health economics and evidence-based medicine
Jocelyn Kaiser | ScienceInsider
July 18, 2012
First paragraph says it all:

A flat budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) isn’t the only unpleasant surprise for research advocates in a House of Representatives spending bill released yesterday. The draft bill, which reflects Republicans’ desire to undo the 2010 health care law and trim the Department of Health and Human Services, would wipe out HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the main supporter of evidence-based medicine. The bill also bars NIH from funding economics studies.

U.S. Launches Interactive HIV/AIDS Database on Census.gov

[MONDAY, JULY 23, 2012] The U.S. Census Bureau today launched an interactive global resource on the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS cases and deaths. The database was developed in 1987 and now holds 149,000 statistics, an increase of approximately 10,800 new estimates in the last year, making it the most complete of its kind in the world. The launch comes as thousands of people worldwide meet in Washington, D.C., for the International AIDS Conference this week.

The resource is maintained by the Census Bureau with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of PEPFAR, said on the launch, “This release of the HIV/AIDS database will expand global access to data that are critical to understanding the epidemic. This information is invaluable for the evidence-based response PEPFAR is championing.”

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said “This database provides the people who need it with quality statistics — supporting the life-saving efforts of our partners at PEPFAR and USAID and the doctors, nurses and public health officials working to reach the end of AIDS.”

The tool is a library of statistics from more than 12,000 articles in international scientific and medical journals, individual countries’ annual HIV/AIDS surveillance reports, and papers and posters presented at international conferences.

The menu-driven access tool permits users to search for statistical information in countries and territories across the world, as well as by subpopulation, geographic subarea (such as urban and rural), age, sex and year (back to 1960).

Statistics for the United States are available separately from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An Overview of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Source: Congressional Budget Office

From the Director’s Blog:

In fiscal year 2011, federal expenditures for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps)—$78 billion—and participation in the program were the highest they have ever been. In an average month that year, about one in seven U.S. residents received SNAP benefits.

In a report issued today, CBO describes the program, its beneficiaries, recent trends in participation and spending, and some possible approaches to changing how it operates. To provide a handy summary of some of the most pertinent information about SNAP, CBO also published an infographic on SNAP.

Report (PDF)
Infographic (PDF)

Global Monitoring Report 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals

Source: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

From Press Release:

The developing world’s progress is seriously lagging on global targets related to food and nutrition, with rates of child and maternal mortality still unacceptably high, says the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) 2012, released today by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Recent spikes in international food prices have stalled progress across several of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the report says.

GMR 2012: Food Prices, Nutrition and the Millennium Development Goals reports good progress across some MDGs, with targets related to reducing extreme poverty and providing access to safe drinking water already achieved, several years ahead of the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs. Also, targets on education and ratio of girls to boys in schools are within reach.

In contrast, the world is significantly off-track on the MDGs to reduce mortality rates of children under five and mothers. As a result, these goals will not be met in any developing region by 2015. Progress is slowest on maternal mortality, with only one-third of the targeted reduction achieved thus far. Progress on reducing infant and child mortality is similarly dismal, with only 50 per cent of the targeted decline achieved.

Full report (PDF)
Overview (PDF)
See publication website for related materials

Reproductive Health

Childbirth is Taking Longer, Study Finds
Nicholas Bakalar | New York Times
March 31, 2012

Changes in labor patterns over 50 years
S.K Laughon, D.W. Branch, J. Beaver, and Jun Zhang | American Journal of Obstretrics and Gynecology
In press, available March 10, 2012

Puberty Before Age 10: A New ‘Normal’?
Elizabeth Weil | New York Times
March 30, 2012

Investing in America’s Health

A State-By-State Look At Public Health Funding And Key Health Facts
By: Jeffrey Levi, Laura M. Segal, Rebbeca St. Laurent, and Albert Lang
Source: Trust for America’s Health

From publication website:

Investing in disease prevention is the most effective, common-sense way to improve health. It can help spare millions of Americans from developing preventable illnesses, reduce health care costs, and improve the productivity of the American workforce so we can be competitive with the rest of the world.

Tens of millions of Americans are currently suffering from preventable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And, today’s children are in danger of becoming the first generation in American history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

For eight years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has supported the Trust for America’s Health in releasing an annual Investing in America’s Health report to examine public health funding and key health facts in states around the country.

Where you live should not determine how healthy you are. But, we’ve found that disease rates vary dramatically from city to city and region to region – and funding for public health and disease prevention programs also vary dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood, community to community, city to city and state to state.


Full report (PDF)

Individual community reports