May 21 2012

Public Health News Roundup: May 21

Men Over 50 Least Likely to Take Precautions Against Skin Cancer

Men over 50 have an increased risk of developing melanoma but most take few sun exposure precautions, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The survey found:

  • When outside in the sun, less than one-third of men (29 percent) say they "always" protect their skin, compared with 43 percent of women.
  • A significantly larger percentage of men (39 percent) than women (28 percent) agreed that they prefer to enjoy sunshine and not worry about what they should do to protect themselves from it.
  • Less than half of men (46 percent) indicated they knew how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer compared with 59 percent of women.

The AAD recently created a public service announcement about the risk of skin cancer, titled “Golf,” aimed at men over 50. Read more on cancer.

Obesity Rising Among Homeless People

A new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Oxford University finds that obesity is just as common among the homeless as it is among the general population. The authors say that while previously being underweight was a common problem for the homeless, rates of obesity are climbing. Reasons for the rise in obesity may include the fact that homeless people are eating inexpensive, though high-calorie, high-fat foods; bodies experiencing chronic food shortages may adapt by storing fat reserves; and homeless are prone to sedentary lifestyles; sleep deprivation and stress. Read more on homelessness.

Young Women, Younger Athletes, Take Longer to Recover from Sports Concussions

A study by researchers at Michigan State University finds that female athletes and younger athletes take longer to recover from concussions.

The study found that females performed worse than males on visual memory tests and reported more symptoms after their concussions and that high school athletes performed worse than college athletes on verbal and visual memory tests. The researchers say physicians and athletic trainers should take gender and age into account when evaluating injuries and return to play. Read more on injury prevention.

Tags: Cancer, Housing, News roundups, Safety