IHP news 526: NCDs

By on June 14, 2019

Guardian – Two-hour ‘dose’ of nature significantly boosts health – study


“A two-hour “dose” of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing, research suggests, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace. The physical and mental health benefits of time spent in parks, woods or the beach are well known, but the new research is the first major study into how long is needed to produce the effect. If confirmed by future research, two hours in nature could join five a day of fruit and veg and 150 minutes of exercise a week as official health advice….”

Independent – Tens of millions of premature deaths could be avoided by cutting out salt and trans fats, study finds


Cutting down on salt, getting rid of trans fats and treating high blood pressure could prevent almost 100 million premature deaths globally, a new study has revealed. Harvard researchers estimate that reducing salt intake by 30 per cent would save 40 million people from premature death from cardiovascular disease (CVD)….”

“The study [co-authored by Tom Frieden ] published in the journal Circulation –  “Three Public Health Interventions Could Save 94 Million Lives in 25 Years Global Impact Assessment Analysis” – used global data from multiple studies and estimates from the World Health Organisation….   “Focusing our resources on the combination of these three interventions can have a huge potential impact on cardiovascular health through to 2040….”

Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (Comment) – Diabetes in humanitarian crises: the Boston Declaration


“…To date, diabetes and other NCDs have largely been underserved in humanitarian settings….”

“… To begin to address these major gaps, Harvard University convened a meeting in Boston (MA, USA; April 4–5, 2019) of humanitarian and other actors in global health to discuss the immediate needs and barriers to tackling diabetes in humanitarian crises, and to adopt a unified, action-oriented agenda to address this pressing global health issue. 

We have set four major targets to work towards over the next 3 years: unified and strengthened advocacy; universal access to insulin and other essential medicines and diagnostics for glycaemic and blood pressure control in humanitarian crises; establishment of a unified set of clinical and operational guidelines for diabetes in humanitarian crises; and improved data and surveillance. We intend to hold annual meetings to monitor progress. …”

Guardian – Prevention: the new holy grail of treating mental illness


Far more attention should be devoted to preventing mental illness rather than simply treating it as it arises, health experts say, comparing the current approach to only treating heart disease after a cardiac arrest. At the start of a new Guardian series on illnesses estimated to affect almost a billion people worldwide, leading researchers say money and lives could be saved by investing more in keeping people well. They say the revolution in personal fitness, diet and medicine over the past 50 years has transformed physical health, but that there have been few similar efforts to keep people well mentally. “Prevention is much less developed in mental disorders than in other areas of medicine,” said Ron C Kessler, a Harvard Medical School professor. “In psychiatry and psychology it is like we are practising 1950s cardiology, where you wait for a heart attack and once it happens you know what to do. …” “We need to go upstream a bit more.”…”

For a related publication, you might also want to read  The Economic case for the Prevention of Mental illness.  (Annual Review of Public Health, 2019)

HP&P – Emerging threats of global preemption to nutrition labelling

E Crosbie et al; https://academic.oup.com/heapol/advance-article/doi/10.1093/heapol/czz045/5512300?searchresult=1

“… In this comment, we look to the history of tobacco control to gauge the potential threat that trade and investment agreements pose to innovative policies regulating nutrition labelling as a case in point….”

Time – Why Alcohol Companies Are Betting on Non-Alcoholic ‘Booze’


Cfr a tweet: “The trend of millennials cutting back on #alcohol has been well documented. Alcohol companies have realized they’ll need to invest in a drier future if they want a seat at the bar – especially since signs point toward the trend continuing.”

Bloomberg – New Report Finds 195,000 Deaths and Serious Injuries Could Be Prevented in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil if Vehicle Safety Regulations Were Applied


A new report commissioned by Bloomberg Philanthropies reveals that more than 25,000 Latin American lives could be saved and over 170,000 serious injuries prevented by 2030 if United Nations (UN) vehicle safety regulations were applied by four key countries in the region—Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil….”

Lancet Letters related to Alcohol & the GBD

Check out perhaps the Authors’ reply :

They conclude: “Overall, our findings show that the health burden attributable to alcohol is massive and about half that of tobacco use. Debates concerning whether the safest level of consumption is zero or near zero are missing the point. There is a major obligation of the public health community to address the massive disease burden due to alcohol.”

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