Public Health News Roundup: August 28
National Hurricane Center Update on Tropical Storm Isaac
According to the most recent advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Isaac is on the verge of growing to hurricane strength and significant storm surge and flooding are expected for the northern Gulf Coast. A tropical storm watch—which can bring significant and deadly high winds, rainfall and flooding even if it does not grow to hurricane levels—has been expanded along the northern Gulf Coast. A hurricane warning is in effect for points along the Gulf Coast, including metropolitan New Orleans. A warning means that those weather conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area and that people in the full area should be finalizing their safety preparations. A watch means those weather conditions are possible within the watch area. The center of the storm could reach Louisiana between this evening and tomorrow morning. Because the storm will cover such a wide area up until, during and after that time, life threatening conditions are possible and people in the path of the storm should follow all precautions. Tornadoes and rip current conditions are possible from now until the storm ends. Read regular updates from the National Hurricane Center.
People Physically Fit in Midlife Face Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases Later On
Being fit in midlife is linked to a lower risk of chronic disease later in life in men and women older than 65 years and enrolled in Medicare, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication. The researchers examined the association between midlife fitness and chronic disease outcomes later in life by linking Medicare claims with participant data from the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, a large group of individuals who were examined at the Cooper Clinic from 1970 to 2009. The study of 14,726 healthy men and 3,944 healthy woman (overall median age 49 years at baseline) looked at eight chronic conditions: congestive heart failure; ischemic heart disease; stroke; diabetes mellitus; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; chronic kidney disease; Alzheimer’s disease; and colon or lung cancer. The median follow up was 26 years and at that time the highest level of midlife fitness was associated with a lower incidence of chronic conditions, compared with the lowest midlife fitness group, based on treadmill times. Read more on aging.
Exercise May Help Curb Cigarette Cravings
A review of close to twenty clinical trials suggest that exercise can help cut back on cigarette cravings, perhaps by being a distraction, or by putting the smoker in a better mood. However, the researchers do not yet know whether the reduced cravings also lead to quitting cigarettes. Read more on tobacco.
Broken Arms in African American Kids May Foretell Bone Strength
A new study of 150 African American children published in Pediatrics finds that African American children with forearm fractures are at higher risk of low bone mineral density and vitamin D deficiency compared to African American children without fractures. The study also finds obesity may increase the risk of fractures in this population. The authors also found that every increased unit of vitamin D level led to a 10 percent decrease in fracture risk. Read more on pediatrics.