Nov 13 2012

Public Health News Roundup: November 13

Study: Graphic Warning Labels on Tobacco Effective on At-risk Populations
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s graphic warning labels on tobacco products may be more effective than written labels at convincing less-educated, lower-income populations of the dangers of tobacco use, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This population is also linked to higher smoking rates and high rates of death and disease related to tobacco. The labels show graphic images of the results of tobacco use—from the effects of cancer to death. "Research on cigarette warnings in the United States and other countries has repeatedly shown that pictures work better than text," said James Thrasher, MD, an associate professor in the department of health promotion, education and behavior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. "Our research supports this finding while also showing what tobacco researchers have assumed for a while—that warnings with pictures work particularly well among smokers with low levels of literacy." Read more on tobacco.

Clinton Foundation to Combat Health Disparities, Preventable Illness
The William J. Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Matters Initiative is partnering with major corporations in an effort to combat health disparities and preventable illness. Beginning with Verizon, General Electric Co., Tenet Healthcare Corp. and NBC/Universal, the program will implement and support workplace and community wellness programs. The efforts will include free exercise classes, walking groups in poor neighborhoods, farmers' markets in underserved areas and smoking-cessation programs, according to Reuters. Read more on health disparities.

Cost a Factor When Doctors Choose Heart Disease Treatments
Doctors are increasingly considering the financial costs when deciding exactly how to treat heart disease, according to attendees at an annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA believes the annual cost of treating heart disease—the number one cause of death in the United States—will rise to $800 billion by 2030. Factors include rising costs of drugs and equipment; to insurance reimbursements; and changes anticipated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "We have an unsustainable economic model in healthcare delivery in the U.S.," said Elliott Antman, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the AHA Scientific Sessions Committee, according to Reuters. "We all have to be conscious of ways we can be more cost efficient, and that includes understanding what the big breakthroughs mean in terms of cost." Multiple studies presented at the meeting covered the overlap between quality patient care and cost. Read more on heart health.

Tags: Health disparities, Heart and Vascular Health, News roundups, Public and Community Health, Tobacco