Grameen Health Blog

Unhealthy Behaviors Could Slow Progress Against Heart Disease and Stroke

More than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, and a third say they do not get any exercise, according to a recent report from the American Heart Association (AHA).  Clinicians are worried that these trends will undermine the tremendous progress that has been made in combating heart disease and stroke.

In its “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update 2013,” the AHA reported that between 1999 and 2009, the rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) fell 32.7 percent, but still accounted for nearly one in three deaths in the U.S.  However, the organization estimates that heart health will only improve another 6 percent if current trends continue.

“Americans need to move a lot more, eat healthier and less, and manage risk factors as soon as they develop,” said Alan S. Go, M.D., chairman of the report’s writing committee and chief of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Conditions Section of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, Oakland, Ca.  “If not, we’ll quickly lose the momentum we’ve gained in reducing heart attack and stroke rates and improving survival over the last few decades.”

The data show that 68.2 percent of adults age 20 and over and 31.8 percent of children are overweight or obese. Meanwhile, 32% of adults, 17.7% of girls and 10 % of boys report fewer than an hour of aerobic activity in the past week.

The AHA is calling for healthcare systems to support and reward providers who help patients improve their health behaviors, insurers to cover preventive health services and reward positive health behaviors, and the education community to support healthy diets and physical activity for children among other interventions.

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Obesity in Young Is Seen as Falling in Several Cities by Sabrina Tavernise

After decades of rising childhood obesity rates, several American cities are reporting their first declines.

The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students.

“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.

The drops are small, just 5 percent here in Philadelphia and 3 percent in Los Angeles. But experts say they are significant because they offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course. Click here to read the full New York Times article from December 10, 2012.

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World Health Organization Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2010

The Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2010 is the first report on the worldwide epidemic of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, along with their risk factors and determinants.

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