The OECD in December 2019 published updated versions of the 2019 series of its E.U. Country Health Profiles. The profiles provide a concise overview of health and health systems in the EU/European Economic area, emphasizing the particular characteristics and challenges in each country against a backdrop of cross-country comparisons. Each Country Health Profile provides a short summary of: Health status Risk factors The organization of the health system Its
As concerns over vaping continue to grow, researchers and public health officials are investigating the causes of more than 40 deaths and 2,000 illnesses. It’s confusing even for experts. The term “e-cigarette” refers to a battery-powered device used to inhale an aerosol that typically, but not always, contains nicotine, along with flavorings and other chemicals, but not tobacco. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognize e-cigarettes as a broad category that includes a variety of different products that operate similarly and contain similar components.
Exercise is recommended for people who are overweight or obese as a way to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But people don’t always have time to exercise as much as they would like, so finding ways to increase the health benefits of exercise is important. Our latest research has found a way to do just that, and it’s to do with timing. This means you might be able to get away with doing less exercise if other commitments, such as family and work, always seem to get in the way.
I tend to be overweight, and for the last few years my blood glucose levels have been putting me on the brink of Type 2 diabetes. I love my food, and it is often part of my social commitments. I’m a Spaniard, so there’s also the occasional tapas and glass of wine, or maybe a martini on Saturdays. As a physiologist, I know I need to take steps to control my blood glucose and weight. So early every morning, I spend a considerable amount of time pedaling away on a stationary bike.
The OECD in November 2019 released its annual Health at a Glance report for 2019. It provides the latest comparable data and trends on different aspects of the performance of health systems in OECD countries, while providing striking evidence of large variations across countries in indicators of health status and health risks, as well as in the inputs and outputs of health systems. Gains in longevity are stalling, with
Obesity-related diseases will claim more than 90 million lives in OECD countries in the next 30 years, with life expectancy reduced by nearly 3 years. Obesity and its related conditions also reduce GDP by 3.3% in OECD countries and exact a heavy toll on personal budgets, amounting to USD 360 per capita per year, according to a new OECD report published in November 2019. The OECD’s The Heavy Burden
It’s something most people do everyday, often without really thinking about it, but how you wash your hands can make a real difference to your health and the wellbeing of those around you.
Ageing is inevitable and is influenced by many things – but keeping active can slow ageing and increase life expectancy. Evidence shows that ageing alone is not a cause of major problems until you are in your mid-90s. And strength, power and muscle mass can be increased, even at this advanced age.
To understand how healthy a food is, we generally look at its components – carbohydrates, fats and proteins, or the vitamins, minerals and other substances it may contain. But this purely “nutritional” vision overlooks one property that’s a key part of a food’s health potential – its structure. For example, serving a child a breakfast cereal made up of whole wheat or rice may seem like a good idea, but research shows that processing can significantly impact its nutritive qualities. Extrusion-cooking or puffing can transform wheat and rice into primarily a source of sugars that the child’s body rapidly absorbs, and many of the nutritive values of the original grains are lost.
The human body needs a tiny amount of sodium to function properly and this is typically found in salt (sodium chloride). But today most people consume way too much salt, increasing the burden of cardiovascular disease around the world. Health professionals have been trying to tackle this problem for decades, but face several barriers, including research that muddies the water about what safe levels of salt intake are. This has cast unnecessary doubt on the importance of reducing intakes. But our latest research has found flaws in these studies and suggests that salt intake should be reduced even further than current recommendations.
It isn’t surprising that employers are looking for ways to improve the health and engagement of their employees when their challenges are so evident: Medical inflation rates continue to be high globally, with the 2019 global average being 7.8%, reported by Aon1. Indeed, in many countries, this is much higher, even exceeding the local inflation rate by double-digit percentage points.
In June 2019, much of Europe was struck by early heatwave, with temperatures reaching nearly 46 Centigrade (115 Fahrenheit) in France, an all-time record. A heat wave is characterised by extremely high temperatures over the course of several days and nights. They have significant impact on our daily lives – we feel overheated and tired. When a heat wave strikes, many governments activate a “heat action plan”, advising those affected to drink water, avoid strenuous exercise, and stay cool. If not, one risks having a heat stroke, which can be potentially life-threatening.
People in China have used salt to prepare and preserve food for thousands of years. But consuming lots of salt raises blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, now accounts for 40% of deaths in China.
Taking a walk on a wooded path, spending an afternoon in a public park, harvesting your backyard garden and even looking at beautiful pictures of Hawaii can all make us feel good. Certainly, for many of us, it’s beneficial to have time outside in natural environments. Being cooped up inside can feel unnatural and increase our desire to get outside. The renowned biologist E.O. Wilson created a theory called the biophilia hypothesis, where he stated that people have an innate relationship to nature.
We know we should eat less junk food, such as crisps, industrially made pizzas and sugar-sweetened drinks, because of their high calorie content. These “ultraprocessed” foods, as they are now called by nutritionists, are high in sugar and fat, but is that the only reason they cause weight gain? An important new trial from the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) shows there’s a lot more at work here than calories alone.
U.S. health insurer and administrator Cigna and pharmacy benefit management organization Express Scripts in May 2019 announced they collaborated with Amazon Alexa, a virtual assistant device, to produce two new voice skills. Express Scripts customers who use prescription home delivery services will now be able to manage their pharmacy prescriptions using voice technology. By saying “Alexa, open Express Scripts”, users can monitor their prescription order status and receive notifications
Perhaps your GP has recommended you exercise more, or you’ve had a recent health scare. Maybe your family’s been nagging you to get off the couch or you’ve decided yourself that it’s time to lose some weight.How do you find the motivation, time and resources to get fit, particularly if you haven’t exercised in a while? How do you choose the best type of exercise? And do you need a health check before you start?
Australians are increasingly using prescription or over-the-counter painkillers to ease emotional, rather than physical, pain. Our cultural understanding of pain is changing, and as a result it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish intoxication from relief.
When “Jeopardy!” episode 7059 aired on April 30, 2015, the category was “The Human Body,” the price was $2,000, and the clue was “This gland’s main duct, the duct of Wirsung, collects its juices & empties into the duodenum.” The question was “What is the pancreas?” Unbeknownst to Alex Trebek, the show’s beloved host, the cells that line the duct of his pancreas would develop into pancreatic cancer, or pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Trebek announced on March 6, 2019 that he has pancreatic cancer, but that he will fight the disease and keep hosting the show. And in fact, he was back at work March 12.
In 2018, Congress initiated a series of actions that represent a shift away from placing the full responsibility – and blame – on individual people to make their own healthier choices. These actions also show a growing recognition that many stakeholders – including the government – are accountable for a healthier, more equitable food system. This shift in thinking reflects an understanding that government can and should play a role in improving the diet of Americans.
For most people, light physical activity makes up the bulk of their daily physical activity. Yet government guidelines focus almost exclusively on moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. The difficulty of measuring a person’s lightintensity physical activity largely explains this disconnect. It is not possible to measure light physical activity with a questionnaire. The amount of light-intensity physical activity a person thinks they have done bears almost no resemblance to what they have actually done. This means it has been difficult to study the effects of light-intensity physical activity on long-term health.
The Retire Vitally conference, where participants gathered to discuss best practices pertaining to retiring in good health in the European Union, was held 24 January 2019 at PGGM headquarters in Zeist, the Netherlands. The event was organized by AEIP, TELA (Finland) and PGGM (The Netherlands).
A measles vaccine protects against measles infection. By introducing a bit of weakened virus, the immune system learns how to deal with it, so when a real measles virus comes along, it can eliminate it. But does the immune system learn more from the vaccine? Recent research suggests, rather intriguingly, that it does.
Every surface we touch has its own unique chemical properties. It’s because of these properties that some materials stick to surfaces, while others slide off. For a person, a sticky surface may be a minor annoyance, but for a bacterial cell, surface attachment can be a matter of life and death. Bacteria have evolved their own surfaces to be sticky, like Velcro.
For over a century, we have relied on a simplistic measure to determine if someone is a “healthy” weight or not. This is the body mass index (BMI) – the ratio of a person’s weight to the square of their height. The limits of this ratio are clearly demonstrated by professional rugby players; most of whom would be classified as “overweight”, despite having less than 10% body fat.
We’re often told by the popular press and well-meaning family and friends that, for good health, we should fall asleep quickly and sleep solidly for about eight hours – otherwise we’re at risk of physical and psychological ill health.
Generali Employee Benefits (GEB) in September 2018 announced the launch of CIAO, a mobile health app designed to help clients promote healthy behaviors within their organizations, encourage employees to improve their overall health and address lifestyle-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, stress, and heart disease. The CIAO app has been developed in partnership with UK-based health tech firm Tictrac. Through research and a deep understanding of consumer behavior and