Health Updates 23 January 2012

  • Doctors more likely to suspect abuse in poor kids: “When a toddler has a broken bone, pediatricians may be more likely to suspect abuse if the family is low-income, a new study finds.  Researchers found that pediatricians who read a fictional case report of a toddler with a leg fracture were more likely to suspect abuse if the child was described as coming from a lower-income family.  The hypothetical child’s race, on the other hand, did not appear to influence doctors’ opinions.  The second finding is somewhat surprising, according to the researchers.  Studies looking at real-world cases have found that minority children are more likely to be evaluated for abuse than white children.  And it’s well known that the child welfare system in the US has a disproportionate number of minority kids.” (Reuters)
  • US work-related injuries, illnesses take toll on the till: “Job-related injuries and illnesses in the United States cost the nation an estimated $250 billion per year, according to a new study. The figure is much higher than generally assumed and is $31 billion more than the direct and indirect costs of all cancers, $76 billion more than the costs of diabetes, and $187 billion more than the costs of stroke, the researchers say.  ‘It’s unfortunate that occupational health doesn’t get the attention it deserves,’ said study author J. Paul Leigh, a professor of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis.  ‘The costs are enormous and continue to grow.  And the potential for health risks are high, given that most people between the ages of 22 and 65 spend 40 percent of their waking hours working’.  The costs of job-related injuries have increased by more than $33 billion (inflation adjusted) since 1992, said Leigh in a university news release.” (NIN/HealthDay)
  • Poorer folks may find it harder to quit smoking: Quitting smoking is much more difficult for poor people than for those who have greater financial and social status, US researchers have found….The investigators found that, compared to people with the lowest socioeconomic status, those with the highest socioeconomic status were 55 percent more likely to have quit smoking after three months, and 2.5 times more likely after six months.  The term socioeconomic status takes into account factors such as income, education, occupation and where a person lives.  In addition, the study authors found that people with a low socioeconomic status received less treatment, and had few resources and less support to sustain abstinence from smoking.” (American Journal of Public  Health)
  • Study highlights features of high-quality primary care: “Americans with access to three key features of high-quality primary care have a lower risk of death, according to a new study.  These features are comprehensiveness, patient-centeredness and evening and weekend office hours, the University of California, Davis researchers said.  Comprehensiveness includes providing care for new health problems, preventive care and referrals to other health care professionals.  Patient-centeredness means that health care providers listen to and seek a patient’s advice when deciding on treatments. (Univ. of Calif. Davis news release, HealthDay)

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