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Preventing Chronic Disease Dialogue

Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD) welcomes your comments on selected published articles and posts from experts from CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. PCD encourages an open dialogue among chronic disease prevention researchers, practitioners, and advocates. Check in weekly for new content.

Increasing Dental Sealant Use to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children


Tooth decay continues to be one of the most common chronic diseases of children and adolescents in the United States. By age 17, nearly 70% of adolescents have had tooth decay; most of the decay occurs in the pits and fissures of the back teeth. Children from low-income homes are about 20% more likely to have tooth decay than children living in higher income (> 200 percent of the federal poverty level) families. Tooth decay can lead to pain and infection as well as problems in learning.

First for Thirst: Increasing Access to Drinking Water


What we drink can affect our health, and calories from drinks can add up quickly. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) such as regular sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, coffees and teas, and sports and energy drinks, are the largest source of added sugars and are major contributors of calories to Americans’ diets.

Daily SSB intake is associated with adverse health consequences, including tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Water is a zero-calorie and thirst quenching beverage that when substituted for SSBs provides health benefits such as reduced tooth decay and improved weight management. Increasing access to free drinking water is one strategy to support individuals who want to decrease SSB and caloric intake.

Creating Environments for Students to Eat Healthy and Be Active


Over the past 30 years, obesity rates have soared in every sector of the country, especially among children. Childhood obesity has more than doubled among children age 6-11 and quadrupled among adolescents age 12-19 in the past 30 years. As of 2012, 1 in 3 children or youth was overweight or obese. The good news is, we know that prevention works, and preventing obesity early, in childhood, is easier and makes a big difference.

Mall Walking Programs Can Help Promote Physical Activity and Health


Public health practitioners, ideally with support from one or more community partners, can help promote physical activity through mall walking programs. These programs can provide safe, convenient, and comfortable places for residents to be physically active and make social connections. Using existing malls to provide spaces where people can walk regularly has the potential to address barriers some people face in getting regular physical activity.

Mall walking can address barriers such as weather (malls can be used for walking regardless of seasonal changes); fear of neighborhood crime (mall security staff are often present); fear of injury (level surfaces and eliminating trip hazards reduce risk of injuries); lack of social support (there is support from other walkers and there may be a mall walking leader); and expense (most mall walking programs are free; no equipment needed-just a good pair of walking shoes). Malls also offer benches and places to rest, free accessible water, and restrooms.

Early Detection of Breast and Cervical Cancer


A new study published in Preventing Chronic Disease looks at screening and survival for women in the Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.

Detect. Connect. Control.: How Expanded Insurance is Improving Cardiovascular Health


An estimated 78 million Americans—that’s 1 in 3 people—have high blood pressure, and only about half of them have their condition under control, putting them at risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney and heart failure. People with uncontrolled blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease.

Are We on Track to Reducing Illness and Death from Cancer by 2020?


In the near future, cancer is predicted to become the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s already the leading cause of premature deaths. Every year, the number of cancer deaths increases. And that is unlikely to change in coming years, as the proportion of older people – those at greatest risk of dying from cancer – increases. Many of these deaths are avoidable, either by preventing the cancer in the first place or by diagnosing it early and providing high-quality cancer treatment.

Early Evidence of Success for a National Asian Smokers’ Quitline


Almost 70% of all smokers say they want to quit. Many find help through telephone quitlines, which are shown to increase quit rates and have broad reach with diverse populations.

Voluntary Smoke-Free Home Rules: Successes and Challenges


Home is where the heart is, according to the proverb. But home is also where children are most likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke from burning tobacco products. Nearly 58 million Americans — including almost 25 million children between ages 3 years and 19 years old — are still exposed to this totally preventable health hazard, many of whom are exposed in their homes.

Reducing Alcohol Outlet Density Can Reduce Violent Crime


Approximately 2 in 5 violent deaths and 1 in 4 emergency department visits for violence-related injuries are due to excessive alcohol use. Previous research has shown that having a high concentration or density of retail alcohol outlets – places that sell alcohol – in neighborhoods can increase the chances of violent crime, and the Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends regulating alcohol outlet density to reduce excessive drinking and harms related to it, including violence. However, few studies have examined the impact of reducing alcohol outlet density on violent crime, in part because alcohol outlet density has been increasing in many communities. 

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