Public Health News Roundup: March 1
First Grade Math Skills Set Foundation for Critical Skills Needed Later in Life
Children who failed to acquire basic math skills in first grade scored far behind their peers by seventh grade on a test of the mathematical abilities needed to function in adult life, according to new research supported by the National Institutes of Health. The basic skills tested include the ability to relate a quantity to the numerical symbol that represents it, to manipulate quantities and to make calculations. The researchers say these skills, called numeracy, are the foundation of all other mathematics abilities, including those necessary for functioning as an adult member of society. Starting with poor number knowledge can put children so far behind that they never catch up, according to the researchers, who also reported that more than 20 percent of U.S. adults do not have the eighth grade math skills needed to function in the workplace. Read more on education.
About One in Five U.S. Adult Cigarette Smokers Have Tried an Electronic Cigarette
In 2011, about 21 percent of adults who smoke traditional cigarettes had used electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, up from about 10 percent in 2010, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, about six percent of all adults have tried e-cigarettes, with estimates nearly doubling from 2010. During 2010-2011, adults who have used e-cigarettes increased among both sexes, non-Hispanic Whites, those aged 45–54 years, and those living in the South, according to the CDC. In both 2010 and 2011, e-cigarette use was significantly higher among current smokers compared to both former and never smokers. Awareness of e-cigarettes rose from about four in 10 adults in 2010 to six in 10 adults in 2011. Read more on tobacco.