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How can adults with disabilities prevent chronic diseases?

Categories: Disease Detectives, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

Photo: Man in wheelchair, holding basketball

Did you know that more than 21 million US working age adults (between 18 and 64) have a disability? Adults with disabilities are 3 times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. The best way to avoid these chronic diseases is through aerobic physical activity, and most activities may be modified, adapted, to get everyone physically active, shows a new CDC Vital Signs report.

Nearly half of adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity. Yet adults with disabilities do follow healthcare provider guidance.

“Physical activity is key to better health for people of all abilities and all ages,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Too many of the more than 21 million US adults with disabilities don’t get aerobic physical activity, but we can change that. Doctors can play an important role. Our research has found that adults with disabilities were more than 80 percent more likely to be physically active if a doctor recommended it.”

Take a look at key findings of the CDC Vital Signs report:

  • Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.
  • Inactive adults with disabilities were 50 percent more likely to report at least one chronic condition than were active adults with disabilities.
  • Nearly half of all adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, an important protective health behavior to help avoid these chronic diseases.
  • Adults with disabilities were 82 percent more likely to be physically active if their doctor recommended it.

Doctors and other health professionals can recommend physical activity options that match the abilities of adults with disabilities and resources that can help overcome barriers to physical activity. These barriers include limited information about accessible facilities and programs; physical barriers in the built or natural environment; physical or emotional barriers to participating in fitness and recreation activities, and lack of training in accessibility and communication among fitness and recreation professionals.

For this report, CDC analyzed data from the 2009-2012 National Health Interview Survey, specifically looking at the link between physical activity levels and chronic diseases among US adults aged 18-64 years with disabilities, by disability status and type. Adults with disabilities have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs; hearing; seeing; or concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.

Steps to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Categories: Public Health Partners

Photo - Doctor and TeenTeen births in the US have declined over the last 20 years to the lowest level ever recorded but still nearly 1,700 teens between the ages of 15 to 17 give birth every week, according to this month’s CDC’s Vital Signs report.

CDC researchers who analyzed birth data from the National Vital Statistics System and adolescent health behavior data from the National Survey of Family Growth also found out that racial and ethnic disparities in teen pregnancy rates remained in 2012. The birth rate to younger teens is higher for Hispanic, non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native teens.

The report recommends targeted and culturally appropriate interventions and services.

Doctor, nurses, and other healthcare providers can provide confidential, respectful, and culturally appropriate services; Encourage teens who are not sexually active to continue to wait; Offer sexually active teens a broad range of contraceptive methods, and encourage them to use the most effective methods; Counsel teens about the importance of condom use to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers can: Talk with teens about sex, including normal sexual development, and how and when to say “no” to sex, having a mutually respectful and honest relationship and using birth control if they have sex and a condom every time.

Parents can also know where their teens are and what they are doing, particularly after school and be aware of their teen’s use of social media and digital technology (e.g. cell phones, computers, tablets).

Teens can: Know both they and their partner share responsibility for preventing pregnancy and resisting peer pressure to start having sex and wait until they are older; Talk openly about sexual health issues with parents and other people they trust; and see a health care provider to learn about the most effective types of birth control and use it and condoms correctly every time.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. This Vital Signs report was created to help communities continue the dialogue about teen pregnancy and its burden on our nation’s youth. Visit CDC’s Teen Pregnancy website for more information.

How Poor Antibiotic Prescribing Puts Patients at Risk for Deadly Infections

Categories: Disease Detectives, Public Health Partners, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

 Yellow-green fluorescence of Clostridium difficile (or C.diff)

Antibiotics save lives, but poor prescribing practices are putting patients at unnecessary risk for preventable allergic reactions, super-resistant infections, and deadly diarrhea. Errors in prescribing practices also contribute to antibiotic resistance, making these drugs less likely to work in the future. Because we’ve used antibiotics so widely and for so long, the infectious organisms antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them and made the drugs less effective. Over time, if we don’t use antibiotics correctly, we’ll lose them.

“Part of [CDC’s] role is to sound the alarm about health threats and do whatever we can to address those threats,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., “As an infectious disease doctor myself, I recall running out of antibiotic options for my patients, and I don’t want to see that kind of situation spread in this country.”

Antibiotic resistance is already a serious problem in U.S. healthcare. Each year in the United States, more than 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 people die as a result.

Keeping Tabs on Deadly Diseases

Categories: Disease Detectives, Emergency Preparedness & Response, Innovative Labs

(Above photo: Created by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.)

This post originally appeared in CDC’s blog Public Health Matters.

CDC is responsible for protecting the public from a host of health threats, including some pretty scary pathogens, like Ebola virus or anthrax for example. One way we do this is through our Select Agents Program which is responsible for governing and regulating the use of certain pathogens by research facilities and labs around the world. In the beginning of December I had the remarkable opportunity to accompany the inspection team who helps regulate the Select Agents Program on one of their routine lab inspections. I was invited to an inspection of a laboratory in the Southeast region of the U.S. that handles rare and dangerous pathogens to get a glimpse of how the Inspection team operates, what they look for, and what they do to protect us.

New Mobile App Helps Providers Prevent Life-threatening Infections in Newborns

Categories: Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners

The phrase, “…time is of the essence,” often rings true when working to protect people from health threats. It is especially true when caring for infants.  CDC launched a new app—Prevent Group B Strep (GBS) — in October 2013 created specifically for busy health care providers on the go.

Each year about 1,200 infants less than 1 week old get early-onset group B strep disease in the United States. Group B Streptococcus bacteria, or GBS, are a leading cause of infection and death within the first week of life. These bacteria can cause life-threating infections, such as sepsis (infection of the blood), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain).

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