Public Health News Roundup: February 21
Expansion of Health Insurance Coverage Could Lead to Physician Shortage
A new study in Health Affairs finds that expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act could increase demand, on average, for primary care physicians more than 5 percent above the current number of available doctors. It also found that seven million people live in areas where the demand will exceed the supply of primary care providers by more than 10 percent. The researchers say the study emphasizes the need to promote policies that encourage more primary care providers to practice in areas where shortages will be very high. Read more on health disparities.
Institute of Medicine Launches ‘Roundtable on Population Health Improvement
The Institute of Medicine has launched a Roundtable on Population Health Improvement to provide opportunities for experts on education, urban planning, medicine, public health, social sciences and other fields to make recommendations on improving the nation’s health. "The evidence is now clear that broader social and environmental factors play major roles in a person's likelihood to have a low birth weight baby—a risk for many serious health problems— or die of a heart attack or complications from diabetes," said roundtable co-chair David Kindig, Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison. "That's why it's essential to engage all these sectors—education, housing, transportation, community organizations, and business among others— in efforts to improve health outcomes." The issues the roundtable will address include expanding reimbursement to include more nonclinical, population-based interventions; reorienting the relationship between clinical medicine and public health in ways that will benefit population health outcomes; and engaging professionals from nonhealth fields in health improvement efforts. Read more on community health.
CDC: 11% of Daily Calories for Adults Comes from Fast Food
From 2007 to 2010 approximately 11 percent of the calories in American adults' daily diets came from fast food, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While high, the rate was down from 2003 to 2006, when about 13 percent of daily calories came from restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Pizza Hut. "The good news from this study is that as we get older, perhaps we do get wiser and eat less fast food," said Samantha Heller, a clinical nutritionist at the NYU Center for Musculoskeletal Care in New York City. "However, a take-home message is that the study suggests that the more fast food you eat, the fatter you get." Read more on nutrition.