New recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics consider long-acting reversible contraception, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and progestin implants, the “first-line contraceptive choices for adolescents.”
The pediatrician group made the recommendation given the contraceptives “efficacy, safety and ease of use.” But, the group said, pediatricians should also encourage the consistent and correct use of condoms for every sexual act.
“Every year, approximately 750,000 adolescents become pregnant, with more than 80 percent of these pregnancies unplanned, indicating an unmet need for effective contraception in this population,” according to the pediatrician group.
Nearly half of high school students in the U.S. report ever having had sexual intercourse, and condoms are the most frequently used form of contraceptive, according to the group.
In a survey, 52 percent of females reported condom use the last time they had sex. The use of more effective hormonal methods, including oral contraceptives and other hormonal methods, was lower – 31 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Use of highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives was much lower, less than 5 percent, according to the pediatrician group.
IUDs are small T-shaped devices that doctors insert inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The device can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years and has a failure rate of about 0.8 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An implant is a single, thin rod that is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. The rod releases progestin into the body for three years and has a failure rate of 0.05 percent, according to the CDC.
Oral contraceptives, taken daily, contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. They have a failure rate of about 9 percent. Male condoms can prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections but have a failure rate of about 18 percent, according to the CDC.
The last set of recommendations from the pediatrician group came in 2007.]]>
Most parents of school-age children support strong national nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold to kids during school, according to a new poll.
The poll was released earlier this month by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association.
The poll asked parents’ opinions of nutrition standards for school meals, snack foods and beverages. About 80 percent of parents polled are concerned by the state of children’s health; 74 percent are concerned about childhood obesity, according to the poll.
Here are some more findings from the poll:
-72 percent favor national standards for school meals.
-72 percent support standards for school snacks.
-91 percent support requiring schools to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with every meal.
-75 percent think salt should be limited in meals.
-72 percent think snacks and beverages sold in school stores are only somewhat healthy or not at all healthy; 81 percent feel the same way about vending machine snacks and drinks.
The Agriculture Department’s “Smart Snacks” standards, which took effect on July 1, 2014, represent the first major updates to national guidelines for school snack foods and beverages in more than 30 years, according to the Pew report.
To meet the standards, a snack food must be a fruit, a vegetable, protein, dairy, or whole grain; have fewer than 200 calories; and be low in fat, sodium, and sugar, according to the Pew report.
These guidelines follow similar nutrition standards for school lunches that took effect during the 2012-13 school year and are being met by approximately 90 percent of school districts, according to the Pew report.]]>
If the Food and Drug Administration was to reverse its policy prohibiting blood donation by men who’ve had sex with men, the total annual blood supply could increase by 2 to 4 percent, according to a new report.
The FDA’s ban prohibits any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from ever donating blood.
The Williams Institute, a national think tank at UCLA Law, used population data to estimate the size of the banned population and blood donation patterns in the U.S to predict the impact of lifting the ban.
The analysis found that lifting the ban could add 345,400 to 615,300 pints of blood to the total blood supply each year.
In recent years, both the U.K. and Canada have made changes to their laws, shifting from a ban to a 12-month and 5-year deferral, respectively, according to the report.
The American Red Cross, American Association of Blood Banks and America’s Blood Centers have called for a modification of the lifetime deferral and consideration of a 12-month deferral, according to the report.
The Williams Institute analysis looked at the potential impact on the nation’s blood supply in three scenarios: lifting the ban entirely, a 12-month deferral and a 5-year deferral.
The report found lifting the donation ban entirely would result in an additional 4.3 million eligible donors. Of those, they estimate 360,600 men would be likely to donate, generating an additional 615,300 pints of blood.
Under a 12-month deferral, an additional 2.2 million men would be eligible to donate blood. About 186,000 would be likely to donate, resulting in an additional 317,000 pints of blood, according to the report.
And under a 5-year deferral, an additional 2 million men would be eligible. Of those, 172,000 men would be likely to donate, adding 293,000 pints of blood to the total supply, according to the report.]]>
Flu season is approaching, so let’s talk flu shots.
During the 2013-14 influenza season, about 52 percent of pregnant women were vaccinated before or during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend all pregnant women, regardless of trimester, receive influenza vaccination.
According to the CDC, women who received a recommendation and offer for a shot from their provider were more likely to be vaccinated than those who did not – even among women with negative attitudes toward influenza vaccination.
During the 2013-14 flu season, 65 percent of pregnant women reported receiving a clinician recommendation and offer of influenza vaccination, an increase of about 10 percentage points from the 2012-13 season, according to the CDC.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommends that all health care personnel be vaccinated annually against influenza.
About 75 percent of health care personnel reported receiving a flu shot during the 2013-14 influenza season, according to the CDC. During the previous flu season, 72 percent of health care personnel were vaccinated.
Coverage was highest among people working in hospitals (89.6 percent) and lowest among those working in long-term care settings (63 percent), according to the CDC.
And for the first time, coverage among nurses reached 90 percent – up from 85 percent in the 2012-13 flu season.]]>
In addition to the growing waistlines, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number of Americans with abdominal obesity increased by about eight percentage points, according to a Reuters article.
Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference of about 40 inches for men and about 35 inches for women, according to researchers.
The researchers looked at the waist circumferences of nearly 33,000 adult men and women age 20 and older. Overall, the average circumference increased from 37.6 inches in 1999-2000 to 38.8 inches in 2011-12, according to the article.
Men had the smallest average increase (.8 inches) while the average increase among women was larger (1.5 inches), according to the article.
During the same time period, the prevalence of abdominal obesity increased from 46.4 percent a decade ago to 54.2 percent. Women had the greatest increase in that category, too, according to the article.
Past studies have found no change in body mass index, which is a measurement of weight in relation to height, between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. But BMI doesn’t measure how weight is distributed.
“We’re still at a high level of obesity regardless of how you want to measure it,” Dr. Earl Ford, the study’s lead author, told Reuters.]]>
A single doorknob can spread viruses to 40 to 60 percent of people in an office building in just a few hours.
Think about that for a minute. One doorknob can spread viruses – such as norovirus, an infection responsible for a lot of nasty symptoms – to more than half of the people in an entire workplace in just two to four hours.
A new study found the viruses from the doorknob are also spread to a majority of most commonly touched objects within office buildings, hotels and health care facilities.
Researchers placed a surrogate for norovirus on one or two commonly touched surfaces (a doorknob or table top at the beginning of the day in office buildings, a conference room and a health care facility.
After various periods of time (two to eight hours), they took samples from numerous surfaces within the buildings: light switches, bed rails, table tops, counter tops, push buttons, coffee pots handles, sink tap handles, doorknobs, phones and computer equipment.
“Within two to four hours between 40 to 60 percent of the fomites sampled were contaminated with the virus,” said Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, Tucson, who presented the study at an annual infectious disease meeting.
“What we really learned was the hand is quicker than the sneeze in the spread of disease,” Gerba said during his presentation, according to a Washington Post article.
Viruses, such as norovirus and the flu, can cause illness when people have the viruses on their hands and then touch their faces – something people do once every three to four minutes, according to Gerba.
There is a solution, though. Hand washing, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer use significantly reduces the spread of viruses, Gerba said.
“Using disinfecting wipes containing quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATS) registered by EPA as effective against viruses like norovirus and flu, along with hand hygiene, reduced virus spread by 80 to 99 percent,” he said.
Anybody else need some hand sanitizer?]]>
Olive Garden is offering Never Ending Pasta Passes for 1,000 pasta-lovers willing to shell out $100 for the seven-week pass.
Don’t do it. Just. Say. No.
The Pasta Pass gets Olive Garden fanatics seven weeks of unlimited pasta, salad, bread and Coca-Cola soft drinks.
Time did a little calorie math on the offer.
If you were to eat a standard Olive Garden meal once a day for each of the 49 days of the deal, you would consume 113,190 calories, according to the Time article.
The Time estimate comes out to about 2,100 calories for dinner – about what the recommended total daily caloric intake is for an adult.
Time’s estimate assumes the diner is eating a salad, one order of bread sticks, spaghetti and sausage entree and a Coke. The estimate also assumes you don’t take advantage of the “all you can eat,” and instead eat just one serving of each item.
“No matter how much we talk about epidemic obesity and diabetes, we have not yet caught up with the times,” Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and editor of a journal on childhood obesity, told Time. “The last thing we need is more refined pasta at no extra charge. It seems like a great deal until the money you saved goes to the endocrinologist.”
The restaurant chain is only selling 1,000 passes (Whew! At least they aren’t unlimited, too.) in conjunction with the ever-so-popular Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion. During last year’s promotion, the restaurant served more than 13 million bowls of pasta.
The two promotions run Sept. 22 through Nov. 9.]]>
The number of women undergoing double mastectomies for early-stage breast cancer increased significantly from 1998 to 2011, but, according to researchers, the surgeries were not associated with a lower mortality rates.
Researchers looked at the data of 189,734 patients diagnosed with stages 0 to 3 unilateral breast cancer in California.
Among those patients, the rate of bilateral mastectomies increased from 2 percent in 1998 to more than 12 percent in 2011. Among women younger than 40, the rate increased from 3.6 percent in 1998 to 33 percent in 2011, according to the report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Bilateral mastectomies were more often performed on white women, those with private insurance and those who received care at a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, according to the report.
In contrast, unilateral mastectomies (removal of one breast) were more often performed on ethnic minorities and those with Medicaid insurance coverage, researchers found.
Despite the increase, researchers concluded bilateral mastectomies showed no significant all-cause mortality difference when compared with breast-conserving surgery and radiation.
Those with bilateral mastectomies had a 10-year mortality rate of 18.8 percent. The 10-year mortality rate for breast-conserving surgery with radiation was 16.8 percent, according to researchers.
Unilateral mastectomy, however, was associated with a higher mortality rate when compared to breast-conserving surgery and radiation. The mortality rate for unilateral mastectomy was 20.1 percent, according to researchers.]]>
Alcohol may be the most commonly consumed drug among athletes, but that the alcohol can impact your workouts days later.
While it takes the average person about 90 minutes to metabolize one drink, the effects can linger in your system much longer, Dr. David Spinner, a physical rehabilitation specialist at The Mount Sinai Hospital, told the Daily Beast.
The effects can become apparent in many ways.
Research has shown athletes who consume alcohol at least once a week are more than twice as likely as nondrinkers to get injured (55 percent injury rate compared with 24 percent).
That may be partly due to the hangover effect of alcohol, which has been shown to reduce athletic performance by more than 11 percent.
Alcohol also disrupts normal sleep – which is when your body produces human growth hormone needed for building and maintaining mass, Barbara Lewin, a Florida-based sports nutritionist, told Daily Beast.
And then there’s the dehydration.
“If you go out drinking on a Saturday night and then wake up Sunday and go for a long run, you can expect about a 10 to 12 percent decrease in aerobic performance,” Spinner told Daily Beast.
Spinner recommends athletes limit alcohol consumption and drink plenty of water. Waiting several days before between a night of partying and resuming intense exercise is also a good idea, Spinner said in the article.
When prepping for a marathon, triathlon or other competitive event, however, Spinner said cutting out all alcohol two weeks before the event is the best course of action.]]>
Youth who have tried electronic cigarettes are nearly twice as likely to say they would try a conventional cigarette compared with those who have never tried an e-cigarette, according to a new study.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was based on nationally representative youth surveys.
The study found that more than 263,000 adolescents and teens who had never smoked a conventional cigarette use electronic cigarettes in 2013. That’s a threefold increase from 2011 when 79,000 kids tried e-cigarettes, according to a Reuters article.
Among the nonsmoking youth who tried e-cigarettes, about 44 percent said they planned to smoke conventional cigarettes in the next year. That’s compared with 22 percent of youth who never used e-cigarettes, according to the study.
Health experts have raised concerns that e-cigarettes would reverse the declining youth smoking rate that has taken decades to curb. In 2013, less than 16 percent of teens reported smoking – the lowest rate ever recorded, according to Reuters.
In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. The rules would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, all of which public health advocates argue appeal to minors, according to the article.
Earlier this month, attorneys general from 29 states – including Washington – urged the FDA to strengthen those rules.]]>