Public Health News Roundup: December 14
Hookahs a Growing Public Health Concern in California
The increasing number of cafes and lounges featuring hookahs poses a public health risk for the state of California, according to state officials. Hookah use in California increased 40 percent from 2005 to 2008, according to 2011 state tobacco survey published in the American Journal of Public Health. While there is a perception that hookahs are safe than cigarettes, tobacco smoke from hookahs includes the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, plus more carbon monoxide and extra carcinogens. "There is a very, very concerning misperception about the use of hookahs among youth, thinking it's somehow safer. In fact, it puts you at the same risk," said Ron Chapman, MD, the state director of public health. Watch a video interview with Ron Chapman.
HHS: Child Abuse Cases Down, But Thousands Still Need Help
While the number of child abuse cases dropped for the fifth year in a row in 2011, there are still thousands of U.S. children in need of help, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families. "We have made excellent progress over the past five years," said George Sheldon, acting assistant secretary of the administration, said in a release. "But what this report tells me is that we still have 681,000 children out there who need our help. We must continue coordination efforts among federal, state and local agencies to focus on child maltreatment prevention." About 11 percent of the abused children were physically or mentally disabled. In 2011, 1,570 died due to abuse or neglect. Read more on violence.
CDC Releases Tips on Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released Give the Gift of Health and Safety: Healthy Living Holiday Tips, a digital kit with advice on how to keep yourself, your friends and your family healthy during the holiday season. In addition to more obvious recommendation such as making sure all food is thoroughly cooked and not drinking and driving, there are also tips on how to stay warm (especially important for older adults), how to manage stress and how to travel safely. Read more on safety.