To get a clearer sense of just how bad our drug overdose problem has gotten, look no further than this year’s County Health Rankings. The annual report found that after years of declining premature deaths, that rate is on the rise and due primarily to overdose deaths. It means we could be seeing the first generation of American kids with shorter life expectancies than their parents.
Corporal punishment in America’s public schools seems like a relic of the past — a practice we had surely banned long ago. The reality, however, is that it’s perfectly legal to physically discipline students as young as preschoolers in 19 states. And according to a new report, corporal punishment is most often used against black students and students with disabilities.
For public health workers, it’s no surprise that social, economic and political conditions shape the distribution and burden of disease. They’ve always known that it takes much more than medicine to keep people healthy. Still, when public health scientist Kristina Talbert-Slagle decided to study the impact of social and public health spending on HIV/AIDS, she wasn’t sure what she’d uncover.
Americans with lower incomes and educational attainment often live shorter, sicker lives than their wealthier, more educated counterparts. Contributors to these disparities can include access to care, hazardous living conditions, nutrition in early childhood, and personal behaviors. But what about workplace conditions? Do certain groups of people get sorted into jobs that exacerbate inequalities in life expectancy?
Poorer health, shorter lives and lower incomes: ‘We don’t really appreciate the magnitude of the problem’
Low income and poor health tend to go hand in hand — that’s not a particularly surprising or new statement. However, according to family medicine doctor Steven Woolf, we have yet to truly grasp the extent to which income shapes a person’s health and opportunity to live a long life. And if we don’t confront the widening income inequality gap, he says things will only get worse.
Thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, millions of low-income children have the opportunity to start the school day with a healthy meal. But does the program impact the brain as well as the belly? A new study finds that it does, with students at participating schools scoring higher in math, reading and science.
Children who have the opportunity to attend full-day preschool programs, versus part-day programs, tend to score higher on school readiness measures such as language, math, socio-emotional development and physical health, according to a recent study. So, why is this finding important to public health? Because education has literally been described as an “elixir” for lifelong health and wellbeing.
Recent pieces include suggestions for ending drunk driving and reducing poverty; the limits of education as a path to greater equality for African-Americans; and "the corporate crusade against low-wage workers."
Thanks to a unanimous vote of California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board last Thursday, workers get to hold on to a robust chemical right-to-know rule that puts their health and safety first. The vote also means that California workers will reap the benefits of more meaningful right-to-know rules than those at the federal level.
A new study finds that dropping out of high school greatly increases the risk of illness and disability in young adulthood. It's another example of why education is one of the greatest social determinants of health and a key leverage point in improving health across the lifespan.