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Apr 10 2014

PHLR Infographics: A Look at How Research is Improving Public Health Laws

Happy National Public Health Week! All week we've been sharing stories on the value of public health across all aspects of life, and all ages and stages.

Public Health Law Research (PHLR), a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has also been participating in the week by contributing graphics and posts on the particular role of public health law—when backed by evidence and grounded in research—to save lives and make a difference. Below, we are highlighting some of the critical statistics PHLR has shared, along with some context on the research behind the numbers.

Child Seat Safety

Today, every state has a law requiring children to be restrained in federally-approved child safety seats while riding in motor-vehicles. These laws differ from state to state based on number of factors (e.g., age, height and weight of the children requiring safety seats). All current child safety seat laws allow for primary enforcement, meaning a police officer can stop a driver solely for a violation of such laws.


Lead Laws

In 1990 approximately 20 percent of all U.S. children had elevated levels of lead in their blood. However, only a decade later that percentage was down to 1.6 percent, thanks to public health laws researched and crafted to look out for the wellbeing of children. One of the most significant pieces of legislation was The Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988, which was already on the path to improving public health in 1990.

Watch this video on Philadelphia's lead court.

Sodium Laws

Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, which raises the risk for heart disease and stroke—the first- and fourth-leading causes of death in this country. A variety of laws and legislatively enabled regulations attempt to reduce sodium in the food supply, including lowering the amount of salt in foods served in schools and child care facilities or purchased by state-regulated elder and health care facilities and prisons. Almost half of all U.S. states have laws to help reduce tghe sodium in processed foods.


Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries

As many as 300,000 kids suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from playing sports each year. TBIs can have serious short- and long-term health effects. Can public health law make a difference? The latest study finds that while all 50 states have laws in place to combat this problem, they haven't helped stop kids with concussions from playing. However, the research does help provide some context on how those laws have been implemented and how they might be revamped to work better.

Dec 31 2013

Top 10 NewPublicHealth Posts of 2013

Infographics, public health news and innovative efforts to improve community health were the topics of the most widely read posts on NewPublicHealth this year.

Take a look back at our most popular posts:

  1. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America will release new recommendations on early childhood education and improving community health on Monday January 13. Earlier this year, new city maps to illustrate the dramatic disparity between the life expectancies of communities mere miles away from each other. Where we live, learn, work and play can have a greater impact on our health than we realize.
  2. Three of the infographics created for the NewPublicHealth series on the National Prevention Strategy, a cross-federal agency emphasis on public health priorities, were among the most popular posts of 2013. Stable Jobs = Healthier Lives, the most widely viewed NPH infographic, tells a visual story about the role of employment in the health of our communities. One example: Laid-off workers are 54 percent more likely to have fair or poor health and 83 percent more likely to develop a stress-related health condition.
  3. Better Transportation =Healthier Lives, another 2013 infographic, tells a visual story about the role of transportation in the health of our communities. Consider this important piece of the infographic as we head into 2014: The risk of obesity increases 6 percent with every additional mile spent in the car, and decreases 5 percent with every kilometer walked.
  4. Top Five Things You Didn’t Know Could Spread Disease was the best read of the very well read stories on NewPublicHealth during Outbreak Week—an original series created by NPH to accompany the release in late December of Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Disease, a pivotal report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health.
  5. Better Education=Healthier Lives, another widely viewed—and shared—infographic on NewPublicHealth, shared the critical information that more education increases life span, decreases health risks such as heart disease and—for mothers who receive more years in school—increases the chance that her baby will die in infancy.
  6. How Healthy is Your County? In 2014 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will release the fifth County Health Rankings, a data set more and more communities rely on to see improvements—and room for change—in the health of their citizens. NewPublicHealth’s 2013 coverage of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps included posts on the six communities that won the inaugural RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize for their innovative strategies to create a culture of health by partnering across sectors in their communities.
  7. The Five Deadliest Outbreaks and Pandemics in History, was our seventh best read post of the year. Read it again and ask: Are we prepared as a nation for the next big outbreak?
  8. What does architecture have to do with public health? Visit the Apple Store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, Texas’ Red Swing project, or....view our post from earlier this year.
  9. Less than a month after the shootings in late 2012 at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, the Harvard School of Public Health held a live webcast town hall meeting on gun violence on the legal, political, and public health factors that could influence efforts to prevent gun massacres. And toward the end of 2013, NewPublicHealth sat down with former Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, MPH, to talk about the role of research in preventing gun violence.
  10. NewPublicHealth covered the release of a report by Trust for America’s Health that found that most states are not implementing enough proven strategies to prevent prescription drug abuse. But the year ended with some better news on the critical public health issue. An NPH news roundup post reported on a study funded by the National Institutes of Health which found that rates of prescription drug abuse by high school students have dropped slightly.

Close runners up included How Do You Transform a Community After a Century of Neglect?, which looked at how Bithlo, Fla. is working to bring much-needed services to its main street through the “Transformation Village” initiative, as well as ‘Unprecedented Destruction’: Ocean County Public Health Continues to Respond to Hurricane Sandy, which brought together a NewPublicHealth video and a Q&A to illustrate how public health officials and departments worked together to help their regions recover from the devastating superstorm. Also in the top 20 for year was an interview with New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, on the release of the 2013-17 Prevention Agenda: New York State’s Health Improvement Plan—a statewide, five-year plan to improve the health and quality of life for everyone who lives in New York State.

Aug 20 2013

Public Health Campaign of the Month: Who's Next?

NewPublicHealth is looking to highlight some of new and captivating public health education and outreach campaigns through our Public Health Campaign of the Month series. Have you worked with a successful and innovative campaign to help spread awareness of public health issues and engage your community in healthier behaviors? We want to recognize the great effort put into those campaigns and the positive work they are doing, so nominate them!

Campaigns could include videos, public service announcements in print or in video, websites, infographics, social media efforts, or other ways to spread the word about a particular public health issue.

To submit a campaign to be considered for the Public Health Campaign of the Month please send the following items to

  • Name of the Campaign
  • Location
  • Website
  • Related image
  • What public health issue does it address, and what's the scope of the problem?
  • What methods are being used to address the issue?
  • What results have you seen thus far? Is it catching a lot of attention?
  • Contact information

Complete submissions will then be evaluated based on innovation, the ability for the campaign to be replicated in other areas, its potential for impact on the community. If your campaign is selected to be featured as an upcoming Public Health Campaign of the Month, we will contact you with any further questions.

>>Don’t forget to check back to see the latest innovative public health campaigns at NewPublicHealth!

Mar 20 2013

Kick Butts Day! 2013: The Fight Against Youth Tobacco Use Continues


Today is “Kick Butts Day!”—an annual Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids effort to emphasize the dangers of tobacco while empowering kids to lead the fight against its use by encouraging their peers, family and community members to stay tobacco-free.

The United States continues to make great strides when it comes to combating youth smoking. According to the Tobacco-Free Kids report “America’s Most Wanted Tobacco Villains: The Usual Suspects, New Villains and Emerging Threats,” about 18.1 percent of high school students smoked in 2011, down from a high of 36.4 percent in 1997. Even still, about 1,000 kids become regular smokers each day. The report highlights the biggest tobacco threats and how they’re working to get kids addicted to the deadly substance.

As part of Kick Butts Day 2013, Tobacco-Free Kids created two infographics.

Read More

Mar 15 2013

County Health Rankings 2013 Launch: Join our Twitter Q&A

To mark the launch of the 2013 County Health Rankings, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will be taking questions and leading a group discussion via Twitter on March 20, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Q&A will focusing on what's new in the 2013 County Health Rankings and how individuals and organizations can make use of the Rankings to create change for better health in their communities. Submit your questions to: @RWJF_PubHealth or @CHRankings and make sure to use the hashtag #healthrankings.

You can follow the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps on Facebook and Twitter to learn about the new data, find stories about how the project has improved health in communities like yours and get ideas for taking action where you live. The Facebook page will be posting useful new infographics, videos, quotes and images all week. On Twitter, join the Q&A, share your #healthrankings to fill in the “Race to 50” map, and ask an expert for help by tweeting your county to #myrankings.

Jan 14 2013

Stable Jobs = Healthier Lives

Jobs and Health Infographic

The NewPublicHealth National Prevention Strategy series is underway, including interviews with Cabinet Secretaries and their National Prevention Council designees, exploring the impact of jobs, transportation and more on health. “Stable Jobs = Healthier Lives” tells a visual story on the role of employment in the health of our communities.

Some highlights:

  • Since 1977, the life expectancy of male workers retiring at age 65 has risen 6 years in the top half of the income distribution, but only 1.3 years in the bottom half.
  • 12.3 million Americans were unemployed as of October 2012.
  • Laid-off workers are 54% more likely to have fair or poor health, and 83% more likely to develop a stress-releated health condition.
  • There are nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries each year.
  • The United States is one of the few developed nations without universal paid sick days.

Also check out our previous infographics exploring the connection between transportation and health, and education and health.

>>For more on employment and health, read a related issue brief.

View the full infographic below.

Read More

Sep 27 2012

Public Health in Pictures

NewPublicHealth recently made its first foray into infographics with "Better Education=Healthier Lives," a visual exploration of the relationship between education and health. We plan to continue this infographic series with visuals exploring how other aspects of where we live, learn, work and play can affect the health of our communities.

In the meantime, we've been seeing public health infographics everywhere! Take a look at the repost of an interesting graphic below titled, "The World of Public Health," created by an Online MPH Degree site (tip of the hat to GovLoop, where we discovered the graphic). The infographic explores the wide-ranging impact of public health, and showcases both incredible successes as well as formiddable barriers. It also paints a picture of job and education prospects in public health.

The Harvard School of Public Health also released a graphic on, "The Dollars and Sense of Chronic Disease," which shows the economic and health toll of chronic disease.

>>WEIGH IN: Share your favorite public health infographics in the comments below.

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