- Detroit Leads Nation in Teen Births: Report
- New York City to Offer Free Swine Flu Vaccine to School Children
- 2-in-1 Heart Device Cuts Heart Failure
- Communities Can Do More to Stop Childhood Obesity: Report
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Detroit Leads Nation in Teen Births: Report
Detroit and Cleveland hold the dubious distinction of landing at the top of the list of U.S. cities with the highest rates of teen births, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and other sources. The data was tabulated in 2006, the latest year for which information is available.
As reported in the 2009 edition of Child Trends' Facts at a Glance, 20 percent of births in the Motor City were to women under the age of 20, while Cleveland came in second place with 19 percent of all births occurring among teen moms. Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., followed with 18 percent.
On the other end of the scale, San Francisco had the lowest percentage of births among teen mothers (3 percent), followed by Seattle (4 percent) and Honolulu (6 percent).
There was also data on repeat births (two or more births) to teenage mothers. Dallas scored worst in this category with 28 percent of all teen births in that city involving repeat births. Boston had the lowest rate of repeat births among teens, at 11 percent.
New York City to Offer Free Swine Flu Vaccine to School Children
In a bold move to combat the anticipated return of swine flu this fall, the New York City school district will provide free vaccinations to its 1 million-plus students.
New York City was the first large U.S. city to be hit hard when the H1N1 swine flu virus first surfaced last spring. Hundreds of children in the city were sickened by the disease. Officials estimate as many as 1 million city residents fell ill, and more than 50 people died. Nationwide, swine flu has killed about 500 people, the Associated Press reported.
"We know New Yorkers are concerned, very understandably, about the risks that they might face," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday. "Our job is to plan in case it is a big deal."
The vaccine given to school children -- in private as well as public schools -- will mostly be a nasal mist rather than a shot, the AP said.
Hundreds of school districts nationwide have agreed to allow vaccinations in school buildings, once the vaccine becomes available in mid- to late October, the news service said.
2-in-1 Heart Device Cuts Heart Failure
A device that combines defibrillation with a resynchronization of the heart's rhythm did reduce heart patients' odd of developing heart failure, but it didn't save any more lives, a new study found.
Many patients already in serious heart failure are given the dual-purpose devices, which cost up to $40,000 each (not counting the cost to implant), according to the Associated Press.
But researchers led by Dr. Arthur Moss, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, wanted to see if the devices might benefit those with milder illness. "The answer is a clear, unequivocal yes," Moss told the AP. He presented the findings Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain, at the European Society for Cardiology meeting.
In the study, Moss and his team tracked the four-year outcomes of over 1,800 patients with mild heart disease -- half of whom received a defibrillator and half of whom got the defibrillator/resynchronization devices. Patients who got the combo devices had a 41 percent lower risk of developing heart failure, as well as lowered odds for hospitalization, the team said. However, the overall death rate was the same between the two groups.
Given the devices' expense, not all experts are convinced they need to be more widely used. According to the AP, Dr. Douglas Zipes, past president of the American College of Cardiology and now at the Indiana University School of Medicine, said the combination devices are already too widely used. And the AHA's current president, Dr. Clyde Yancy, called the study results "incremental (improvement), not a breakthrough."
Communities Can Do More to Stop Childhood Obesity: Report
Incentives to increase the local availability of healthy food and better policing to give kids safe places to walk and play are just some things U.S. communities can do to help children stay at a healthy weight, according to a federal report released Tuesday.
The report, drafted by experts appointed by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, notes that almost a third of the nation's children between 2 and 19 are now overweight or obese -- about 23 million kids. Overweight increases a child's odds for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and a myriad of other health troubles.
But communities can turn the child-obesity epidemic around by helping kids and their parents make healthy choices easier. According to the report, communities could offer tax and other incentives to get smaller shops (often the only source of groceries in underserved areas) to offer more fruits and vegetables, or to encourage larger supermarkets to settle in the area. Schools should be situated near shops or restaurants that offer healthy food options, and away from fast-food outlets.
Kids might also be encouraged to walk or bike to school if better policing resulted in safer streets, the report said.
In many neighborhoods right now, finding exercise or healthy food isn't easy, and "too often the easiest thing to do is the least healthy, and that goes for kids," family physician Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chairman of the expert committee that prepared the report and vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, told USA Today.
Some of the initiatives outlined in the report will cost money, but Sanchez said that "(benefits from) the relative costs involved far outweigh the cost of doing nothing. Obesity in children leads to some diseases, and the cost of their medical care will go up fairly quickly."
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