Dr. Thomas Frieden
Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has named the agency’s six top priorities. The items on this “short list” are obesity and nutrition, AIDS, smoking, teen pregnancy, auto injuries and health care infections. Frieden had deemed these problems “winnable battles” because proven programs can reduce the harm caused by each of these conditions and save lives. “In each of these areas we know what to do to make a difference and we need to do it to a much greater extent,” he said in an interview.
Frieden previously worked as New York City‘s health commissioner. At that post, he lead an anti-smoking campaign to ban cigarettes in the workplace. He worked to improve the diets of New Yorkers by banning artificial trans fat from all restaurant foods. He also worked to pass a law that requires chain restaurants to post calorie information about their food. Frieden was also a proponent of the hotly debated soda tax.
Two of my favorite snack foods, salsa and guacamole, have had a not-so-safe recent history of being linked to food poisoning. During the period of 1998 to 2008, the two tortilla dips have been the source of one of every 25 foodborne illness outbreaks connected to restaurants.
This period more than doubled the rate of the previous 10 years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 1984 and 1997, salsa and guacamole accounted for about 1.5 percent of all food poisonings started from restaurants. From 1998 and 2008, that figure almost reached four percent. According to researchers, 5,560 people got sick, and 145 people ended up in the hospital. Three deaths were attributed to the salsa and guacamole outbreaks. Here is how the illnesses broke down:
The federal government’s stimulus plan isn’t just for the fat cats of Wall Street. It’s also being aimed at reversing our country’s obesity epidemic.
The Obama administration is going to provide states and local governments with money to control obesity, which will include investing in public transportation to encourage more walking, says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Sebelius says that the majority of the $1 billion stimulus plan appropriated by Congress for disease prevention would go to a CDC-planned initiative to fight obesity, heart disease and other chronic conditions. (more…)
While worries over the economy and the wars we are conducting around the world dominate our consciousness, we continue to lose a battle on a different front. American waistlines are continuing the dangerous trend of expansion.
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and there’s no end in sight to this dangerous trend. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2007 25.6 percent of Americans were obese. But in 2008, it crept up to 26.1 percent. (more…)
The country is getting fatter, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is naming names. Well, not individual names, but towns. Burlington, Vermont was named the healthiest city in the U.S. The unhealthiest was Huntington, West Virginia.
There are a few similarities between the two. They’re both college towns of about 50,000 people; the populations are mostly white and of English, Irish and German decent; the names sound slightly alike… but that’s where the similarities end.
In fact, the differences may be a microcosm of what the demographics look like when comparing obese and fit groups. (more…)
According to the CDC in a report published yesterday, the obesity stats in the U.S. just continue to rise. The newest data shows that 25.6% of Americans can be categorized as obese. Obesity is when an individual’s BMI is greater than 30 (derived from your height and weight).
The CDC said that this percentage is probably a little conservative- considering people tend to say they are taller and weigh less than they actually do. The rate at which more people are being classified as obese is quite astonishing. Those numbers are 5.8% since 2000 and 10.3% since 1995.
See this story about which states have the highest and lowest obese populations.
A new report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that U.S. schools are getting better about promoting healthy eating. But improvements are still needed.
“Since the release of the previous SHPPS (School Health Policies and Programs Study) in 2000, America’s schools have made significant progress in removing junk food, offering more physical activity opportunities, and establishing policies that prohibit tobacco use,” CDC Director Dr. Julie L. Gerberding said.
But speaking for those of us who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, we had vending machines, and I know our school lunches weren’t all that nutritious. The only difference I can see is we were more active. We had recess and gym class. And then when we got home (after homework), we played in the yard.
It’s great to improve the food, but it seems that the sedentary lives kids are leading these days is the most troubling thing of all. While the report says the number of schools prohibiting junk food in vending machines has risen from eight percent to 32 percent since 2000, only four percent of elementary schools, eight percent of middle schools and two percent of high schools provided daily physical education for the entire year.