Feb 11 2013

Public Health News Roundup: February 11

More Moms Are Breastfeeding
Across all groups, the percentage of mothers who start and continue breastfeeding is rising, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 2000 to 2008, the number of mothers who started breastfeeding increased more than 4 percentage points from 70.3 percent to 74.6 percent. And the number of mothers still breastfeeding at six months jumped nearly 10 percentage points, from 35 percent to nearly 45 percent.

The CDC also reports that gaps in breastfeeding rates between African American and white mothers have narrowed from 24 percentage points in 2000 to 16 percentage points in 2008. To help increase breastfeeding rates among African American mothers The CDC is funding Best-Fed Beginnings, which provides support to 89 hospitals, many serving minority and low-income populations, to improve hospital practices that support breastfeeding mothers. CDC has also recently awarded funds to six state health departments—Indiana, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, California, and Washington—to develop community breastfeeding support systems in communities of color.

Read more on maternal and infant health.

Study: Nutrition Information for Fast Food Should Add Energy Expenditure Needed to Burn off the Calories
A study by researchers at the University Of North Carolina School of Public Health finds it would be useful to have nutritional labeling that describes real-time energy expenditure required to burn calories in fast foods. The study was published in the journal Appetite.

The researchers randomly assigned one of four types of menus to 800 study participants including 1) no nutritional information, 2) calorie information, 3) calorie information and minutes to walk to burn those calories, and 4) calorie information and miles to walk to burn those calories.

The researchers found a statistical difference in the number of calories ordered, based on menu type. An average of 1,020 calories were ordered from a menu with no nutritional information; an average of 927 calories from a menu with only calorie information; 916, from a menu with calorie information and statement of minutes one must walk to burn those calories; and 826, from a menu with calorie information and statement of number of miles to walk to burn the calories.

Read more on obesity.

New York City Reports Significant Increases in Prescription Opioid Overdoses
The rate of drug overdose from prescription opioids increased seven-fold in New York City over a 16-year period, especially among whites, according to a study by researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The researchers say the study is one of the most comprehensive analyses of how the opioid epidemic has affected an urban area. 

The Food and Drug Administration held a hearing last week to discuss ways to limit prescription opioid misuse and recently issued draft recommendations for reformulating opioid oral pills to make it harder for people to crush them for snorting or injecting.

Read more on substance abuse.

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