Drop in deaths from measles considered major public health victory; CDC reports that cholesterol levels have dropped, attributed to lower smoking rates; federal report says mental care for veterans delayed. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Tuesday, April 24, 2012.
Huffington Post – Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice: Eliminating Health Disparities
Chronic diseases — such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes — are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. Obesity alone is related to more than 30 illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
MSNBC.com – Measles Deaths Falling Worldwide
Deaths from measles fell 74 percent worldwide between 2000 and 2010, but progress is still short of the World Health Organization’s target, health officials reported Monday. “This is one of the most remarkable victories in the history of public health,” said Anthony Lake, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), during a morning press briefing, while calling for increased vaccination efforts.
Associated Press – CDC: Cholesterol levels continue to drop
U.S. health officials say only 13 percent of U.S. adults have high total cholesterol. That may seem incredible in a nation where two-thirds of adults are overweight. Experts believe it’s largely because so many Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs, but dropping smoking rates and other factors also contributed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Tuesday. The numbers come from interviews and blood tests of nearly than 6,000 U.S. adults in 2009 and 2010.
CBS News – Report: VA failing to provide timely mental care
Federal investigators reported Monday that nearly half of the veterans who seek mental health care for the first time waited about 50 days before receiving a full evaluation, a much longer lag-time than cited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has been saying that 95 percent of new patients seeking mental health treatment get a full evaluation within the department’s goal of 14 days. But an inspector general’s report said that the department’s tracking is flawed and that the VA was overstating its success when it comes to how quickly veterans get care.
LATimes – California’s working poor would lose a lot if health reform law dies
If the healthcare reform law is thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court — as many fear could happen based on the comments of conservative justices — more than 700,000 low-income Californians could lose a once-in-a-lifetime chance to obtain affordable health insurance. At stake is what’s known as a Basic Health Plan. This is a system provided for by the reform law, fully funded by the federal government, that would extend coverage to people who may not be able to afford conventional insurance policies but don’t qualify for Medi-Cal.