Public Health News Roundup: February 19
Better Nutrition Advice Comes From Doctors Who Cook
At the “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives – Caring for our Patients and Ourselves” conference presented by Harvard University and the Culinary Institute of America, health care professionals have been learning about both nutritional science and how to cook. The program was influenced by the idea that healthcare professionals practicing healthful behaviors—such as healthy eating, exercising, or wearing a seat belt—may be more likely to pass these same behaviors onto their patients.
A 2010 survey of 219 conference participants before the conference and 192 participants three months after found:
- 58 percent of healthcare professionals cooked their meals before the conference; 64% afterwards with reports of eating more whole grains, nuts and vegetables
- 46 percent said they could successfully advise an overweight patient on nutrition and lifestyle before the conference; 81% said they could afterwards
The researchers believe they “need enhanced educational efforts aimed at translating decades of nutrition science into practical strategies whereby healthy, affordable, easily prepared and delicious foods become the predominant elements of a person’s dietary lifestyle.” Read more on nutrition.
Caffeine During Pregnancy Linked to Smaller, Later Newborns
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages consumed during pregnancy might increase the odds for low birth weight or an extended pregnancy, according to a new study in BMC Medicine. The study looked at about 60,000 pregnancies tracked by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Researchers found that caffeine from all sources was tied to a higher risk for reduced birth weight and that every 100 mg of caffeine consumed per day extended pregnancy by five hours. Caffeine from coffee extended pregnancy by eight hours. The World Health Organization advises women to limit their caffeine consumption to 300 mg a day during pregnancy, while the United States recommends a 200 mg daily limit. Read more on maternal and infant health.
CDC: Reductions in Some Types of Health Care-Associated Infections
Progress in the fight against certain bloodstream and surgical-site infections continues in hospitals in the United States, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. The report looked at data submitted to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), CDC’s infection tracking system. CDC reported a 41 percent reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections since 2008 and a 17 percent reduction in surgical site infections since 2008. “The significant decrease in central line and surgical site infections means that thousands of patients avoid prolonged hospitalizations and the risk of dying in the hospital,” said Patrick Conway, chief medical officer of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The data indicates hospitals are making progress toward the goals established in 2008: 50 percent cut in central line-associated bloodstream infections and a 25 percent cut in surgical site infections in five years. Read more on injury prevention.