Jan 29 2013

Public Health News Roundup: January 29

Survey: Majority of Americans Support Stronger Gun Policies
The majority of Americans support all but four of 31 gun policies asked about in a recent survey by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The policies are designed to reduce gun violence and include measures such as universal background checks (supported by 89 percent), banning the sale of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons (69 percent) and banning the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines (68 percent). “This research indicates high support among Americans, including gun owners in many cases, for a wide range of policies aimed at reducing gun violence,” said study author Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP, an associate professor at the university. “These data indicate broad consensus among the American public in support of a comprehensive approach to reducing the staggering toll of gun violence in the United States.” Read more on violence.

CDC: Pregnant Women Should Receive Pertussis Vaccine Booster
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends pregnant women should get a booster tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to help protect their newborn children from whooping cough. The vaccine schedule for children has them receiving their first pertussis vaccine at two months of age and they are not fully protected until six months. Vaccinating pregnant women will protect them whooping cough and also allow them to pass on immune cells to their children, according to Reuters. "It turns out that immunity wanes pretty quickly," said H. Cody Meissner, MD, a pediatrician from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. "Without boosting with each pregnancy, a mother's immunity will wane and she will have much less immunity to pass on to the baby." Read more on maternal and infant health.

Study: Eating Your Main Meal Earlier May Improve Weight Loss
Eating an earlier lunch may improve your chances to lose weight, according to a new study in the International Journal of Obesity. The study found people in a weight-loss program who consumed lunch after 3 p.m. lost about 25 percent less weight than those who ate earlier. Researchers were careful to note that the study was performed in Spain—where lunch is often the day’s main meal—so are unsure how the results would apply to countries such as the United States. Still, the findings back up the traditional advice to eat your larger meal earlier in the day. "This is the first large-scale, long-term study to show that it is an important factor in weight-loss success for overweight and obese individuals," senior researcher Frank Scheer, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Read more on obesity.

Tags: Maternal and Infant Health, News roundups, Obesity, Public and Community Health, Violence