Friday, August 28, 2015

What’s New About the New Smoking Ban in China?

Being the world’s biggest tobacco producer and consumer, China has more than 300 million smokers consuming a third of the world’s cigarettes. Almost a third of adults and more than half of adult men regard themselves as regular tobacco users, according to the figures shown by WHO (World Health Organization). It is a common greeting among men in China to offer a cigarette, and a carton of cigarettes is often considered a popular gift.

Smoking could bring along many health risks including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Many smokers, however, are simply not aware of these risks. Each year, more than 1 million people in China die from smoking-related illness. Another 740 million of Chinese are exposed to second-hand smoke and more than 100,000 of them die from second-hand smoke. 

Chinese authorities declared in 2011 that smoking is prohibited in all public spaces nationwide including hotels and restaurants. But the rules were fairly vague and often flouted by Chinese smokers who are not keen in abiding the laws. Hence the smoking ban have more or less failed to curb the habit. Meanwhile, anti-smoking campaigners are accusing the authorities not offering sufficient warning to the smokers about the risks. Instead, the authorities are blamed to be addicted to the tax revenues generated by cigarette sales.

On June 1, 2015 (International Children's Day), a day after World No-Tobacco Day organized by WHO in 1987, Beijing (China) imposed a tough new smoking ban, threatening to name and shame repeat offenders and levying fines 20 times higher than existing penalties. Areas banned for smoking include offices, restaurants and public transport. Offenders will be fined up to 200 yuan (US$32), compared to 10 yuan (US$1.60) under a law passed in 2011.

Under the new law, anyone who is caught breaking the law 3 times will be named and shamed on a government website. 1,000 inspectors are deployed by the city government to enforce the law. It is expected that the new law will permanently bring clean air to all of Beijing’s indoor public places. It would also protect Beijing’s more than 20 million people from exposing to toxic second-hand smoke.

The new law does not seem to be a big deal, but the power of Internet should never be under estimated. Reaction of online citizens in Asia can be very harsh in condemning inappropriate behavior. In 2005, when a woman in South Korea who refused to clean up her dog’s waste was caught in photos that was posted online, the Internet users swiftly discerned her identity. She was harassed so badly that she finally quitted her university.

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Full-Service Restaurant Food Healthier Than Fast Food?

Fast food restaurants have always been blamed as the culprits that cause obesity epidemic by supplying to public food that is of high fat and high salt (sodium). Naturally, people might think that foods served in full-service restaurants should be healthier than those from the fast food chains. But… To find out more, check it out @Heart Disease Prevention - Are Full-Service Restaurant Food Healthier Than Fast Food?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Are People Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?

Daily consumption of adequate fruit and vegetable is part of a healthy diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults who have less than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day should consume 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. More active people may be able to consume more without adding too many calories to their diet.

Maintaining a healthy diet is important in preventing many diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. But a new study found that less than 15 percent of American adults eat enough fruits and even fewer adults eat enough vegetables daily to meet the guidelines.

From 2007 to 2010, half of total United States population consumed less than 1 cup of fruit and less than 1.5 cups of vegetables per day; 76 percent did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87 percent did not meet vegetable intake recommendations.

Researchers at CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control) analyzed the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey of 373,580 people across all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC). People in the survey were asked about the frequency of their fruit and vegetable intake, and their personal characteristics such as ethnicity, age and income into account were taken.

In the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released on July 10, 2015, the researchers pointed out that in 2013, only 13.1 percent of people in the United States reported eating sufficient fruit and 8.9 percent reported eating enough vegetables to meet that recommendation.

Fruits and vegetables add nutrients to the diet and they can protect people from developing many chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Eating fruits and vegetables instead of foods that are high in calories, added sugars and solid fat can prevent from gaining weight, too.

Hence, substantial efforts should be made to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables. All places including childcare, schools, grocery stores, communities and workplace should have access to fruits and vegetables that are competitively priced, prominently displayed and promoted. The CDC suggested workplaces, schools, childcare and other education providers meet or exceed current federal nutrition standards for meals and snacks by serving fruits and vegetables whenever food is offered.

While all types of fruits and vegetables count, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most of the fruit intake should come from whole fruit instead of fruit juice and that people should eat fruits and vegetables that have limited amounts of added sugars and solid fat. The guidelines also recommend that people should raise the intake of dark green and orange vegetables as well as beans.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Does Slim Hypertensive People Have Higher Cardiovascular Risk?

While overweight or obese people with hypertension (high blood pressure) could end up with disastrous outcome, some previous studies done in the past 30 years did suggest that thinner people with hypertension might have worse outcomes than overweight or obese people. Chronic events linked to hypertension include diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and cancer. Check it out at: Heart Disease Prevention - Does Slim Hypertensive People Have Higher Cardiovascular Risk?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Longer Life Expectancy Is Expected!

While most babies born in 1990 did not live beyond 50 years old, life expectancy around the world has increased steadily. The improvements in sanitation, housing and education, cause a steady decline in early and mid-life mortality that is due mainly to infection. The dramatic advances in health care also plays a role in making people live longer.

According to a report released on October 8, 2014 from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), American life expectancy has reached a new high. A baby born in the United States in 2012 can expect to live 78.8 years (from 78.7) on average.

By comparing final mortality data on deaths and death rates from 2012 with that of 2011, the researchers investigated age-adjusted death rates by ethnicity and sex, the 10 leading causes of death. The 10 leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.

It is expected that women can live till 81.2 years old whereas men till 76.4 years old. Despite relatively small changes in mortality from one year to the next, there is no doubt that the mortality rate is declining over the long-term. The rise in life expectancy was attributed to a reduction in many major causes of death including cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Age-adjusted death rate was found to decline in 8 of the 10 leading causes of death in 2011-12: 8.3 percent for Influenza and pneumonia, 2.2 percent for kidney disease, 1.8 percent for heart disease, 1.5 percent for cancer, 2.4 percent for chronic lower respiratory disease, 2.6 percent for stroke, 3.6 percent for Alzheimer's, and 1.9 percent for diabetes. The death rates for suicide, on the other hand, increased by 2.4 percent, while the death rates for unintentional injuries remained the same in 2012 as in 2011.

Mortality rates of infant were also found to decline. Comparing to 2011, there was a 1.5 percent reduction in 2012. The infant mortality rate is generally regarded as a good indicator of the overall health of a population. The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2012 were the same as reported in 2011 and accounted for 69.8 percent of all infant deaths in the United States. Besides a 12 percent decline in deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), there were no significant changes found in the remaining 9 leading causes of infant death.

The WHO (World Health Organization) already reported on May 15, 2014 that the average girl born in 2012 can expect to live to the age of 72, and the average boy to 68. People around the world are living longer, and the average life expectancy has gone up by 6 years since 1990.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Would Coffee Cut Diabetes Risk?

Health effects of coffee is controversial. Extensive scientific research has been carried out to find out the health effect of coffee consumption, and the general consensus among health experts is that moderate coffee consumption in healthy individuals is either essentially benign or mildly beneficial. Find out more at: Heart Disease Prevention - Would Coffee Cut Diabetes Risk?