Welcome to our media digest for the week of May 6, 2016! Below you’ll find summaries of news coverage on the issues of preventing violence, trauma, nutrition, health equity, mental health, and more. The views expressed in these articles do not reflect those of Prevention Institute.
Food and activity environments—and tobacco control!
The FDA finally moved this week to introduce regulations on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, including cigars and hookahs. Until now, the FDA exercised no regulatory authority over the $3 billion e-cigarette industry. The regulations include prohibiting sales to minors, requiring manufacturers for products introduced since 2007 to undergo a regulatory approval process, requiring warning labels on nicotine content of e-cigs, and banning free samples. The regulations fell short of what many advocates called for, failing to prohibit the use of candy and other flavors that appeal to kids, and giving e-cigarette makers up to three years to bring their products through the FDA approval process, leaving dangerous products on the market in the meantime. Read NY Times article for more.
This week marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jane Jacobs, an activist and key thinker about urban planning issues. CityLab writes: “Pushing back against the fortress-like high-rises and new urban highways of the 1960s, Jacobs observed and articulated the qualities of truly thriving cities: They are built with communities, not single-use sectors, in mind. They allow organic interactions and support creative exchange. Their streets and architecture are oriented to the human scale.”
Tobacco companies continue to defy federal rulings that ban tobacco companies from spread false health claims about their products, with Phillip Morris still perpetuating the idea that “low-tar cigarettes” are safer than other tobacco products.
The USDA released a final rule updating nutrition standards for the Child and Adult Care Food Program for the first time in more than four decades, requiring more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and fat. The new rule will take effect in October 2017.
A new study finds that building subsidized low-income housing in poor neighborhoods can help lower crime rates and raise property values.
Governor Brown signed into law a package of tobacco control bills that raise the legal buying age for tobacco products from 18 to 21, extend workplace smoke-free protections, and regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. Unfortunately, Brown vetoed the bill that would have empowered municipalities to set higher tobacco taxes.
On May 3, the Oakland City Council voted to put a penny-per-ounce soda tax on the November 2016 ballot. Community members turned out to express their support and no one spoke in opposition.
Berkeley released its Resilience Strategy, funded by the Rockeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which outlines a plan for addressing the challenges the city faces, with community building at the center. “By putting community building at the core of citywide resilience, Berkeley aims to invert the tendency for neighborhoods and communities to come together in the wake of a disaster, Burroughs says. The neighborhoods that fare best after an emergency are often the ones where people know each other. Berkeley’s resilience strategy “is designed to foster these connections before the next earthquake, rather than having too many of us realize their importance only in the aftermath,” Burroughs adds.”
An investigative report in the LA Times blames Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, for making the drug even more addictive through a 12-hour dosing schedule. “Experts said that when there are gaps in the effect of a narcotic like OxyContin, patients can suffer body aches, nausea, anxiety and other symptoms of withdrawal. When the agony is relieved by the next dose, it creates a cycle of pain and euphoria that fosters addiction, they said. OxyContin taken at 12-hour intervals could be “the perfect recipe for addiction,” said Theodore J. Cicero, a neuropharmacologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a leading researcher on how opioids affect the brain.” Instead of altering the dosing schedule—OxyContin’s competitive advantage in a crowded pharmaceutical market—Purdue pressured doctors to prescribe larger amounts of pills.
Science Daily reports on a study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting: "The Relative Contributions of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Healthy Environments to Child Flourishing." The study looks at ACEs exposure as well as family, social and community assets that could serve to moderate that risk or enhance resilience. Among the protective factors the study identifies: mothers and fathers in excellent mental health, community supports and living in a neighborhood with amenities such as sidewalks, a library, a park and a recreation center. Lead author Iman Sharif, MD, MPH, chief of the division of general pediatrics at Nemours/Alfred says, "This shows there are things we can do. With appropriate screening to identify children at risk we can support children and families through the patient-centered medical home, linking parents to mental health services, and building community social supports to help children succeed."
An editorial in the Courier-Journal highlights opioid addiction and mental health provider shortages in rural Kentucky.
A new Health Affairs study, Variation In Health Outcomes: The Role Of Spending On Social Services, Public Health, And Health Care, “states with a higher ratio of social to health spending (calculated as the sum of social service spending and public health spending divided by the sum of Medicare spending and Medicaid spending) had significantly better subsequent health outcomes for the following seven measures: adult obesity; asthma; mentally unhealthy days; days with activity limitations; and mortality rates for lung cancer, acute myocardial infarction, and type 2 diabetes."
The Atlantic illustrates the recent public health crisis in Austin, Indiana, a city which "went from having no more than three cases [of HIV] per year to 180 in 2015, a prevalence rate close to that seen in sub-Saharan Africa." The author discusses the way that poverty, drug use, and a myriad of other issues come together to form a "syndemic," a new term that attempts to capture how both biological and social conditions intertwine to create public health problems.
Child care workers and personal care aides are among the lowest-paid employees in the US, according to a report released by the US Census Bureau. The Society Pages examines why care work is so undervalued: “It is a gender issue because past research shows that, in general, the more a job is dominated by women the less it pays, other things being equal… But there is another factor going on with care work. We are so used to women providing care for their families out of love and duty that it seems only “natural” that care will always be available, and we won’t have to pay much if anything for it.”
African-American women filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York Times this week, alleging that the CEO “cultivated a climate of "deplorable discrimination" against older staff members and staff members of color, that heavily favored "young, white, unencumbered" employees.”
Sarah Kendzior covers the geography of the unequal economic recovery in the US: “Coastal cities with thriving economies have become unaffordable for the average worker; heartland cities that are affordable have few jobs, and most Americans cannot afford to move.”
FiveThirtyEight crunched the numbers on what a representative American community looks like in 'Normal America' Is Not A Small Town of White People.” Using U.S. Census and American Community Survey data to compare various metropolitan areas' demographic balance against the US as a whole, the author concludes that major metropolitan areas better represent the US as a whole than small towns.
One year after her daughter’s death, Sandra Bland’s mother is raising awareness of other suspicious deaths of black women in police custody.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association merges data on tax records and mortality to find that the wealthiest 1% are living on average 15 years longer than the poorest Americans.
Preventing violence and unintentional injury
A new report published by the Justice Policy Center has found that the majority of African Americans and Latinos believe that dealing with the root problems of gun violence will help improve community-police relations. The study contains telling statistics and a 'road map' of recommendations.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that during one week in April four toddlers around the country killed themselves with guns, and a mother was fatally shot by her two-year-old. Mother Jones summarizes the latest data collected on accidental shootings by children and the gun lobby’s reaction: "It's clearly a tragedy, but it's not something that's widespread," said Larry Pratt, a spokesman and former executive director of Gun Owners of America. "To base public policy on occasional mishaps would be a grave mistake."
Health systems transformation
Physicians for a National Health Program shared a plan for single-payer coverage for all US residents. According to Politico, “the advocacy group argues that value-based payment programs such as ACOs haven't really worked. Instead, under its plan hospitals would be paid based on global budgets and physicians could be paid fee-for-service at unspecified rates or by salary.”