Archive for the 'Health, Disability & Mortality' Category

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Preventing Obesity and Its Consequences

Preventing Obesity and Its Consequences: Highlights of RAND Health Research
Source: RAND Corporation

Key findings:

  • Treating or preventing obesity would reduce rates of chronic disease and related health care costs, increase life expectancy, and improve birth outcomes.
  • Residential neighborhoods affect obesity rates by providing access to healthy and unhealthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.
  • It is not clear whether building more supermarkets in areas lacking access to healthy foods would help curb obesity.
  • Improving school meals may not help curb childhood obesity if food outlets surrounding schools make unhealthy food easy to get.
  • Full research brief
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The Nagging Effect: Better Health for Married Men

The Nagging Effect: Better Health for Married Men
Tara Parker-Pope | New York Times
July 19, 2011

Relationship researchers have long known that marriage is associated with better health, particularly for men. One reason is that wives often take on the role of caregiver, setting up doctor appointments and reminding, even nagging, their husbands to go.

Health and Well-Being in the Home

Health and Well-Being in the Home: A Global Analysis of Needs, Expectations, and Priorities for Home Health Care Technology
By: Soeren Mattke, Lisa Klautzer, Tewodaj Mengistu, Jeffrey Garnett, Jianhui Hu, Helen Wu
Source: RAND Corporation


In both industrialized and transitioning countries, population aging and better survivability have led to a rapid increase of the prevalence of chronic disease and disability. As a result, there is growing concern about the financial sustainability of health care systems, which is compounded by capacity constraints and workforce shortages. Advanced home health care solutions promise to mitigate these pressures by shifting care from costly institutional settings to patients’ homes and allowing patients to self-manage their conditions. A global study of the needs, priorities, and expectations of key stakeholders regarding home health care in six countries (China, France, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States) revealed that, despite their potential, such technologies face a number of barriers to adoption. Restrictive coverage and existing incentives for in-person home care create obstacles, as does limited patient readiness because of insufficient health literacy. Concerns about audience-appropriate product design and support and limited data on effectiveness and efficiency also impede uptake. Realizing the promise of telecare requires a concerted stakeholder effort, including creation of a conducive policy environment, design of convincing products, and development and dissemination of persuasive evidence.

Summary (PDF)
Full document (PDF)

CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2011

CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report — United States, 2011
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Supplement

From Foreword:

Since 1946, CDC has monitored and responded to challenges in the nation’s health, with particular focus on reducing gaps between the least and most vulnerable U.S. residents in illness, injury, risk behaviors, use of preventive health services, exposure to environmental hazards, and premature death. We continue that commitment to socioeconomic justice and shared responsibility with the release of CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities in the United States — 2011, the first in a periodic series of reports examining disparities in selected social and health indicators.

Health disparities are differences in health outcomes between groups that reflect social inequalities. Since the 1980s, our nation has made substantial progress in improving residents’ health and reducing health disparities, but ongoing racial/ethnic, economic, and other social disparities in health are both unacceptable and correctable.

Individual chapters
Full document (PDF)

Out of Sync? Demographic and other social science research on health conditions in developing countries

Out of Sync? Demographic and other social science research on health conditions in developing countries
By: Jere Behrman, Julia Behrman, and Nykia M. Perez
Source: Demographic Research


In this paper, we present a framework for considering whether the marginal social benefits of demographic and social science research on various health conditions in developing countries are likely to be relatively high. Based on this framework, we argue that the relative current and future predicted prevalence of burdens of different health/disease conditions, as measured by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), provide a fairly accurate reflection of some important factors related to the relative marginal social benefits of demographic and social science research on different health conditions. World Health Organization (WHO) DALYs projections for 2005-30 are compared with (a) demographic and other social science studies on health in developing countries during 1990-2005, and (b) presentations made at the Population Association of America annual meetings during the same time period. These comparisons suggest that recent demographic and social science research on health in developing countries has focused too much on HIV/AIDS, and too little on non-communicable diseases.

Full text (PDF)

Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report, 2010

Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report, 2010
Source: UNICEF

From press release:

Achieving an AIDS-free generation is possible if the international community steps up efforts to provide universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, and social protection, according to “Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report 2010,” which was released today in New York. Attaining this goal, however, depends on reaching the most marginalized members of society.

While children in general have benefited enormously from the substantial progress made in the AIDS responses, there are millions of women and children who have fallen through the cracks due to inequities rooted in gender, economic status, geographical location, education level and social status. Lifting these barriers is crucial to universal access to knowledge, care, protection, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) for all women and children.

Full report (PDF)

Adolescent Obesity in the United States

Adolescent Obesity in the United States: Facts for Policymakers
Susan Wile Schwarz and Jason Peterson
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University


Adolescent obesity in the United States has many important implications for both the health and well-being of the individual and society. Specific negative impacts of obesity on health include increased susceptibility to a host of diseases, chronic health disorders, psychological disorders, and premature death, which in turn add billions of dollars in health care costs each year. Excess medical costs due to overweight adolescents are estimated at more than $14 billion per year.3 Furthermore, adolescent obesity affects our nation’s ability to protect itself; more than a quarter of 17- to 24-year-olds are not fit to enroll in the military due to their weight.

Adolescence is a crucial period for establishing healthy behaviors. Many of the habits formed during this developmental stage will last well into adulthood.5 Although obesity is a complex problem not yet fully understood by researchers, by addressing the known factors that contribute to obesity in adolescence, policymakers can help ensure a healthy and productive adulthood for our nation’s youth.

Obesity and poor nutrition – combined with mental health disorders and emotional problems, violence and unintentional injury, substance use, and reproductive health problems – form part of a complex web of potential challenges to adolescents’ healthy emotional and physical development.

Fact Sheet(PDF)

World Health Report, 2010

The world health report – Health systems financing: the path to universal coverage

World Health Report
“Good health is essential to human welfare and to sustained economic and social development. WHO’s Member States have set themselves the target of developing their health financing systems to ensure that all people can use health services, while being protected against financial hardship associated with paying for them.

In this report, the World Health Organization maps out what countries can do to modify their financing systems so they can move more quickly towards this goal – universal coverage – and sustain the gains that have been achieved The report builds on new research and lessons learnt from country experience. It provides an action agenda for countries at all stages of development and proposes ways that the international community can better support efforts in low income countries to achieve universal coverage and improve health outcomes.” (From website announcement)

Full report

Factors Influencing Rural Residents’ Utilization of Urban Hospitals

Factors Influencing Rural Residents’ Utilization of Urban Hospitals
By: Margaret Jean Hall, Jill Marsteller, and Maria Owings
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Objective—To examine, using nationally representative data, which patient, hospital, and county characteristics influence rural residents’ urban hospitalization.
Methods—Rural residents hospitalized in urban hospitals (crossovers) are compared with those hospitalized in rural hospitals (noncrossovers). National Hospital Discharge Survey data were merged with Area Resource File and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data to study rural inpatients’ characteristics; hospital descriptors; and county or state socioeconomic and health service variables. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified covariates of the likelihood of being a crossover.
Findings—About one-third of the rural resident hospitalizations in 2003 were in urban hospitals. Other factors constant, those requiring greater resources had higher odds of crossing over, as did younger inpatients, those transferred from other hospitals, receiving surgery, and with mental diagnoses or congenital anomalies. Males, emergency admissions, and intervertebral disk disorder inpatients had lower odds of crossing over compared with those who were not in these categories. Crossover patients’ hospitals had higher Medicare case mix indices than hospitals used by noncrossovers. Rural inpatients in government hospitals, rather than proprietary or non-profit hospitals, had greater odds of crossing over, as did rural patients from counties with lower population density, fewer hospital beds, more hospitals, more commuters, and lower per capita income compared with those in other categories.
Conclusions—Rural hospitals continue to be an important source of inpatient care, but rural residents travel to urban hospitals in some specific instances.

Full text (PDF)

Data Sharing: Leads to advances in science

Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s
Gina Kolata | New York Times
August 12, 2010

The key to a collaborative Alzheimer’s project was an ambitious agreement to share all the data, making every single finding public immediately.