Healthy Communities- March 21, 2014


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Recommendations
On behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we would like to share with you the updated recommendations made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding the effectiveness of vitamin, mineral, and multivitamin supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. In the summary: Vitamin, Mineral, and Multivitamin Supplements to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: Recommendations From the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (February 2014), recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine,

  • USPSTF concluded that current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of the use of multivitamins or use of single or paired-nutrient supplements for the prevention of CVD or cancer.
  • An exception was the use of beta carotene or vitamin E supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer, where USPSTF recommended against their use.

New Collection of Web Resources Available from ASTHO Million Hearts Learning Collaborative
In the new Resource Library, ASTHO has compiled recommendations, tools, and research to support state health agencies and their partners to implement evidence-based strategies to improve blood pressure control. Resources are categorized into care coordination/team-based care; clinical guidelines and national recommendations; health IT, data, and measurement; practice/intervention; policy, protocols, and financing; quality improvement; and self-management information. ASTHO will continue to add to the library through the course of the ASTHO Million Hearts learning collaborative.

New Resources: How to Make Communities Healthier with Healthy Stores
ChangeLab Solutions has released some resources to assist communities in creating healthier stores. Data released from a survey of California’s markets, grocery outlets, and corner stores paint a disheartening picture for California residents: of 7,393 surveyed stores, a staggering percentage of those that sell tobacco products are located near schools and in low-income communities. More stores sell alcohol than fresh fruits or vegetables. Fifty-eight percent offer sugary drinks at or near the checkout, while 39 percent place tobacco products near candy. In many stores, flavored cigarillos are cheaper than a pack of gum. These statistics make clear that throughout the state, major changes are needed to make healthy options more readily available in our stores. The survey, part of the California Department of Public Health’s Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community Campaign, analyzes the availability of tobacco, alcohol, and food products in stores throughout the state.

In addition to California, ChangeLab Solutions has developed innovative strategies to make your local retail environments healthier for all, including several model policies that address many of the key findings of the Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community Campaign, including:

Plug-in policies for local tobacco retailer licensing ordinances include several policy options that are relevant to the Campaign’s findings, including policies that restrict the sales of cheap individual cigars and tobacco retailers from being too close to schools.
Electronic cigarette resources which provide an overview of the different policy options available to communities that want to address the use and sale of these devices.
Model policies to help cities and counties restrict the sales of flavored tobacco products.
Incentives for Change, a factsheet that provides an overview of ways to reward small food retailers who wish to make healthy changes to their business model.
Providing Fresh Produce in Small Food Stores, a factsheet that provides a range of strategies for overcoming this challenge
Factsheet on selling area which explains how to measure the total selling area of a store, including both floor area and shelf space, as well as calculate the total percentage of selling area devoted to a particular type of product like produce or staple foods. This factsheet is especially useful for communities who use selling area as a requirement for a healthy corner store certification program or business licensing policies.

Reports and Articles

Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link
The New York Times: March 17, 2014
Many of us have long been told that saturated fat, the type found in meat, butter and cheese, causes heart disease. But a large and exhaustive new analysis by a team of international scientists found no evidence that eating saturated fat increased heart attacks and other cardiac events.

The new findings are part of a growing body of research that has challenged the accepted wisdom that saturated fat is inherently bad for you and will continue the debate about what foods are best to eat.

Diabetes Linked With Lower Cancer Survival: Study
Medline Plus: March 14, 2014
Cancer patients with diabetes are more likely to die than those without diabetes, and the risk is especially high for those taking insulin, a new study finds.
The findings were published March 13 in the journal Diabetologia.

The risk of death “of cancer patients with pre-existing diabetes is higher relative to non-diabetic patients for all cancers combined and for most individual cancer sites,” study author Kristina Ranc, of the University of Copenhagen and the Steno Diabetes Center in Denmark, said in a journal news release.

In their study, Ranc’s team examined data from all patients diagnosed with cancer in Denmark from 1995 to 2009. The patients were divided into four groups based on their diabetes status at the time of cancer diagnosis: diabetes-free; diabetes without medication; diabetes and taking only diabetes drugs in pill form; and diabetes and taking insulin.

Patients who had diabetes and were taking insulin at the time of cancer diagnosis had a four-fold higher risk of dying within a year of their cancer diagnosis, and a five times increased risk of death within five years of diagnosis, the study found.

Elderly Diabetes Patients on Insulin Most Vulnerable to Low-Blood-Sugar Trouble
Medline Plus: March 10, 2014
A new look at diabetes patients in the United States who use insulin and wind up in the emergency room with low blood sugar shows the dangerous scenario is more than twice as likely to happen to those over 80 years old.

Not only that, elderly diabetes patients are five times more likely to be hospitalized than younger patients as a result of the low-blood-sugar episode, the study found.

“Managing insulin can be a complex endeavor,” said study author Dr. Andrew Geller, a medical officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We knew it would cause a lot of emergency-department visits for adverse events, but we didn’t expect the full severity of these events. Almost two-thirds involved things like passing out and seizures.”


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