STATE VITALS: ALASKA

January 10, 2014

The state known as “The Last Frontier” has the highest suicide rate and ranks 6th in accidents. Alaska also has mortality rates that are higher than the U.S. for the following causes: cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and influenza/pneumonia.

However, Alaska had the lowest rates in the country for low birthweight rate (6% of all births) and cesarean delivery rates (20.8% of all births).  The state also ranks among the 10 lowest rates for heart disease mortality, with an age-adjusted death rate of 151.5.

 


Fact or Fiction: Suicides Increase During the Holiday Season and Winter Months

January 10, 2014

PREMISE:  It is commonly believed that more people are likely to commit suicide during the holidays and winter months as a result of stress, depression, and/or loneliness.

Fact or Fiction:    FICTION

Contrary to popular belief, the number of suicides do not increase during the holiday season or winter months. In fact, after sorting suicides by month for all years (1999-2010), December ranked as the lowest or second to lowest month for suicide in all 12 years. November also fell in the bottom 5 months for suicide during all 12 years, and February was either lowest or second to lowest for 10 out of 12 years. The number of suicides varied widely during the month of January, and no consistent trend was found.

Suicides were actually most numerous during the late spring and summer months of May, June, July, and August. May appears to be the month with the highest incidence of suicide. May was among the top 3 months for suicide during all 12 years. June was listed in the top 3 for 3 out of 12 years, July for 8 out of 10 years, and August for 6 out of 12 years.

Criminologists and psychologists have followed this phenomenon for decades, and argue that high temperatures may increase discomfort and facilitate disinhibition, aggression and violence, generating an increase in suicidal acts (Anderson, 1989; Kim, Y., Kim, H., & Kim, D., 2011; Page, L., Hajat, S. & Kovats, S. R., 2007).

More Information:

LINK TO EXCEL SPREADSHEET

References

Anderson, 1989; Page, L., Hajat, S. & Kovats, S. R. (2007). Relationship between daily suicide counts and temperature in England and Wales. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 191, 106-112.

Anderson, C. (1989). Temperature and aggression: ubiquitous effects of heat on occurrence of human violence. Psychological Bulletin, 106, 74– 96.

Kim, Y., Kim, H., & Kim, D. (2011). Association between daily environmental temperature and suicide mortality in Korea. Psychiatry Research, 186(2–3), 390-396.

http://WONDER.cdc.gov


National Birth Defects Prevention Month

January 9, 2014

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.  Major birth defects are conditions present at birth that cause structural changes in one or more parts of the body. They can have a serious, adverse effect on health, development, or functional ability.

Birth defects – also known as congenital anomalies – are a leading cause of infant death that account for more than 1 of every 5 infant deaths.  On the topic of infant deaths, the infant mortality rate decreased 3.8% in 2010 from 2009, to a record low of just over 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.  The neonatal mortality rate decreased 3.1% in 2010 from 2009, and the postneonatal mortality rate decreased 5.4% for the same period.  The infant mortality rate was 2.2 times greater for the black population than for the white population.

A few years back, NCHS posted a trends report entitled Spina Bifida and Anencephalus in the United States from 1991-2006.”  Spina bifida is a major birth defect of a person’s spine and Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that women of childbearing age increase consumption of the vitamin folic acid after it was found that it could help prevent spina bifida and anencephalus. In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized that all enriched cereal grain products be fortified with folic acid. Using updated birth certificate data available for the U.S. since 1989, NCHS followed a 16-year trend from 1991 to 2006 for the two neural tube defects.

After a significant increase in the spina bifida rate from 1992 to 1995, a significant decline occurred from 1995 to 1999.  The rate continued to decline after 2000, and the 2006 rate was nearly the same as that in 2005 – the lowest ever reported

After a decline in the early part of the decade, the anencephalus rate was stable during the mid-1990s (1994–1997).  The rate was also stable, but generally lower than in earlier years, during 1998–2002 . The rate for 2003–2006 was higher than for the 1998–2002 period.

For more information on birth defects, please click here.

For more information on how folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects click here.


1 out of 4 Adolescents Engaged in Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity

January 8, 2014

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which have been adopted by the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that youth participate in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes. This report presents the most recent national data from 2012 on self-reported physical activity among youth aged 12–15 years, by sex and weight status. This report also describes the most common types of physical activities—outside of school-based physical education (PE) or gym classes—in which youth engage.The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which have been adopted by the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that youth participate in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes. This report presents the most recent national data from 2012 on self-reported physical activity among youth aged 12–15 years, by sex and weight status. This report also describes the most common types of physical activities—outside of school-based physical education (PE) or gym classes—in which youth engage.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2012, about one-quarter of U.S. youth aged 12–15 years engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily.
  • Basketball was the most common activity reported among active boys, followed by running, football, bike riding, and walking.
  • Running was the most common activity among active girls, followed by walking, basketball, dancing, and bike riding.
  • The percentage of male youth who were physically active for at least 60 minutes daily decreased as weight status increased.

Quick Stat of the Week: Percentage of Adults with Hypertension Reporting Treatment and Control of Their Condition,by Race/Ethnicity — 2011–2012

January 6, 2014

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During 2011–2012, 75.6% of adults with hypertension were taking medication to lower their blood pressure, and 51.8% had their blood pressure under control. Non-Hispanic Asian adults with hypertension were less likely to be taking medication (65.2%) than were non-Hispanic black (77.4%) and non-Hispanic white (76.7%) adults with hypertension. No difference was observed in controlled hypertension among adults in the different race and Hispanic ethnicity groups.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6251a9.htm?s_cid=mm6251a9_w


STATE VITALS: ALABAMA

January 2, 2014

Alabama ranks among the top ten states for rates of preterm births, teen births and low birthweight.  Alabama also ranks higher than the entire U.S. in mortality for all ten leading causes of death, which include:  heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, influenza/pneumonia and suicide.

However, since 2005 mortality rates in Alabama for 8 out of 10 of these leading causes of death has declined (all causes except kidney disease and suicide).