On Friday, August 21, staff from the UT Health Science Center Libraries exhibited at Colonial Hills Elementary in San Antonio for their Welcome Back to School day. The staff shared the National Library of Medicine’s reliable health information resources: MedlinePlus, South Texas Go Local, ToxMystery, and Household Products Database. The students and parents received information that could be used for school projects and for their families’ health.
Promoting Reliable Health Information to Elementary School Students
Public and Medical Library Team Up for Consumer Health Information
Working in partnership with the Alamo Area Library System (AALS), the UT Health Science Center Briscoe Library recently provided a health information presentation for the Universal City Public Library. Promoting the use of public libraries for consumer health information is part of an effort to address the information needs of growing numbers of Texas residents who are being diagnosed with diabetes. National Library of Medicine resources such as MedlinePlus and NIHSenior Health were demonstrated for attendees as examples of reliable sources of diabetes information.
Responding to the Epidemic: Strategies for Improving Diabetes Care in Texas
An alarming rate of increase is projected for the incidence of diabetes in Texas over the next 30 years. Based on statistics from the Office of the State Demographer, Texas will see an increase of 156,000 new cases of diabetes each year. A newly released report from the Texas Health Institute (THI) recommends a plan of action to curtail these predictions. According to the report, “The State Demographer projects a quadrupling of the number of adult Texans with diabetes from approximately 2.2 million in 2010 to almost 8 million by 2040.” Counties in the Texas border region are expected to be particularly hard hit. Given that rates of diabetes in Hispanic populations are higher than the national average, “There are a large number of Hispanic residents at high-risk of developing diabetes, particularly in South Texas, where obesity rates are very high and insurance coverage is very low.”
Return of the “Health Lotería” #13: El cantarito
First of all, your humble blogger and “lotería caller” wishes to ask your indulgence for the long and unexpected break in the “Health Lotería;” a series of conflicts and technical problems interfered with the lotería for a while. The good thing is that we’re back — and hopefully for a good while this time.
This week — from 19 to 25 October 2008 — is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. The image of the “cantarito” from the lotería reminds us that toxic lead can not only reach us in work materials, old pipes or house paint, but also in clay or ceramic containers like some handcrafts for sale in Mexico and along the border, as well as home remedies such as “greta” and “azarcón”. Lead is a silent poison — high levels of lead in the blood do not show obvious symptoms until they are already causing permanent damage in the brain and body. Children run an even greater risk from lead because they can be affected by smaller quantities of lead than adults.
Please read the following documents to understand what are the possible sources of lead that could affect you and your family. If you believe that it’s possible that you or a member of your family could have been exposed to lead, it’s very important that you or your family member goes to the doctor and gets tested for the level of lead in the blood.
- From MedlinePlus: Lead poisoning (summary and medical encyclopedia)
- From the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency): A video program (6 min 38 sec)
- From the DSHS (Department of State Health Services): “Lead in Your Food and Home Remedies.”
- From the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Enviromental Quality): Lead Poisoning: What are the Sources? What are the Risks?
Sites for a Healthier New Year
With 2010 right around the corner, you may have resolutions for the new year. One of your new resolutions may be to exercise more, to eat healthier, or to make healthy choices. The Executive Office of the President and the US Office of Health and Human Services have a site, HealthierUS.gov, that “provides credible, accurate information to help Americans choose healthier habits.” The site has information about physical activity, nutrition, preventive screenings, and healthy choices.
For more information about physical fitness, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports’ site, Fitness.gov, offers information on health, physical activity, fitness and sports. Medlineplus.gov provides information on exercise routines and staying motivated on the exercise and physical fitness, exercise for children, and exercise for seniors topic pages.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!
Spot the Block
Some of the more recent efforts in the promotion of health literacy focus on the use of food labels for nutritional information. This would seem to be a simple method for consumers to make informed nutritional decisions. Consumers, however, often do not or cannot use food lables to full advantage. For some ‘food for thought’, check out the newly redesigned website for the National Agricultural Library’s Food Nutrition Center (FNIC). The site has a wealth of information and visual aids to assist consumers in getting the most out of reading food labels. The site also features a program to promote food label reading called Spot the Block. Although aimed at teens, the program and materials could be adapted for other ages as well.
There is even a health literacy assessment tool, available in English and Spanish, based on an ice cream nutrition label. Named the Newest Vital Sign (NVS), the tool poses six questions that test the ability of an individual to read and use the information on the label to make health related nutritional decisions. Take the test and see what you think!
State of Texas Launches New Disaster Planning and Preparedness Website
The Texas Department of State Health Services has launched a new Website, “Ready or Not? Have a Plan,” designed to help Texans prepare for emergencies such as hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks. As part of the awareness campaign, the State of Texas encourages businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and others to co-brand, distribute and display these materials by providing prepared campaign materials.
State Rankings of Health
The report America’s Health Rankings 2008 is now available from the United Health Foundation. It reports that Texas is now ranked 46th in the nation – dropping from 37 in 2007. Only Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana ranked lower than Texas. According to the report, Texas faces challenges due to limited access to primary care, a high rate of uninsured population, a high percentage of children in poverty, and a high incidence of infectious disease.
The complete national report or state-by-state reports can be downloaded from http://www.americashealthrankings.org/2008/index.html.
Surgeon General’s Workshop on Improving Health Literacy
Proceedings from the Surgeon General’s Workshop on Improving Health Literacy, held on September 7, 2006, were recently made available on the DHHS Web site. A separate panel focused on the needs of special populations, with findings and recommendations especially relevant to health literacy initiatives in South Texas and along the US-Mexico border.
Swine Flu – how to stay informed
With the recent Swine Flu outbreak, many of us want to stay informed about the latest information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have created a site for information on Swine Flu (http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu). The World Health Organization (WHO) has also created a site (http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html) to post information about swine flu and the latest news.
- Check the WHO Disease Outbreak Center: http://www.who.int/csr/don/en/
- Set up a Google News Alert Use the keywords “swine flu” and the news stories about “swine flu” will be emailed to you
- Check HealthMap for outbreaks.
If you are on twitter, you can follow http://outbreak.tweetmeme.com/ for the most popular links on twitter about the swine flu. The CDC has http://www.twitter.com/cdcemergency with the latest information about swine flu.
Thanks, Mashable for great ideas.