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Researchers Call For Increased Regulation Of Food, Drink Companies For Improvement Of Global Public Health

“Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. In a study published in the Lancet, “[t]he researchers said that through the aggressive marketing of ultra-processed food and drink, multinational companies were now major…

Examining Politics Of Reaching NCD Targets

Writing in the PLoS blog “Translational Global Health,” Greg Paton, a public health consultant, discusses the history of and current discussions taking place surrounding global targets for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Noting the goals include reducing the consumption of salt and trans-fats and increasing access to exercise and healthy food, among others, he…

Integrating NCD Efforts Into Larger ‘Sustainability Agenda’

“The time has come for the ‘[non-communicable disease (NCD)] agenda’ to be integrated with the broader ‘sustainability agenda,’ and this was the focus of a joint meeting this week between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Lancet,” Richard Smith, director of the United Health Group’s chronic…

WHO Discusses ‘Zero Draft’ Of New Global Mental Health Action Plan

“The World Health Organization (WHO) discussed the ‘zero draft’ of a new Global Mental Health Action Plan last week, which, if adopted, would set clear goals for progress and aim to improve accountability in improving mental health care around the world,” GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog reports. “The action plan will…

Cervical Cancer Vaccine, Increased Awareness Could Help Lower Disease Rate In Kenya

AllAfrica.com/Guardian examine efforts to prevent and treat cervical cancer among women in Kenya, where an estimated 3,400 women die of the disease each year and only five percent receive screening. “Kenya’s national reproductive health strategic plan has addressed cervical cancer largely through the roll-out of a low-cost screening tool known as VIA (visual inspection of the cervix using ascetic acid),” but experts agree that more widespread use of cervical cancer vaccines and public education campaigns about the disease would be more effective at preventing and catching cases earlier, the news service reports. “Once the public owns this problem and pushes for it, … then the government would be forced to implement [a vaccine] strategy in full,” Lucy Muchiri, a pathologist specializing in cervical cancer at Kenyatta National Hospital and the University of Nairobi, said, the news service notes (Njoroge, 6/12).

WHO Agency Classifies Diesel Exhaust As 'Carcinogenic'

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the WHO’s cancer arm, on Tuesday announced it has reclassified diesel engine exhaust from “probably carcinogenic” to “carcinogenic,” the U.N. News Centre reports, noting the decision came “after a week-long meeting of international experts, and [the agency] based its decision on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer” (6/12). “IARC said large populations all over the world are exposed to diesel exhaust every day,” Reuters notes. “‘People are exposed not only to motor vehicle exhausts but also to exhausts from other diesel engines … (such as diesel trains and ships) and from power generators,’ it said,” according to the news service (Kelland, 6/12).

Global Cancer Rates Could Go Up 75% By 2030, Study Suggests

“The number of people with cancer is set to surge by more than 75 percent across the world by 2030, with particularly sharp rises in poor countries as they adopt unhealthy ‘Westernized’ lifestyles,” according to a study published Friday in the Lancet, Reuters reports (Kelland, 5/31). “If current population trends continue, the number of people with cancer worldwide will go up to 22.2 million by 2030, up from 12.7 million in 2008,” CNN’s “The Chart” notes, adding, “Cases are expected to surge in poorer parts of the world, which are ill-equipped to handle the burden” (5/31).

Blogs Recognize 'World No Tobacco Day'

“By the end of the 21st century, more than one billion people are expected to die from illnesses related to tobacco use primarily in low to middle income countries,” Amie Newman, communications officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and editor of the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog, writes in this blog post in recognition of World No Tobacco Day. “We’ll continue to support efforts which reduce the number of deaths and diseases due to tobacco use — especially in developing countries,” she adds (5/31). An AIDS.gov blog post addresses tobacco use by people living with HIV, writing, “Smoking rates of people living with HIV are estimated to be two to three times higher than the national average, and smoking weakens the immune system, making it harder to fight off HIV-related infections” (5/31).

Blog, Opinion Piece, Press Release Address Health Aspects Of Rio+20

More than 100 world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, are meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week for Rio+20, the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, to address ways to reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection. The following blog post, opinion piece, and press release address health aspects of the conference.

U.S., India Can Work Together To Fight NCDs

“Secretary Clinton’s inspiring piece on how the interests of the U.S. and India are aligned on issue after issue compelled me to articulate one more way in which the world’s two biggest democracies could pave the way for international co-operation. This is a remarkable opportunity for the U.S. and India to join together in addressing NCDs, chronic non-communicable diseases,” Nalini Saligram, founder and CEO of Aroyga World, writes in the Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health” blog. She describes several initiatives underway to curb NCDs, including the mDiabetes text-messaging program being implemented by Aroyga World in India. Both the U.S. and India “have the bold leadership and technology advances needed [to tackle NCDs], and both countries consider the pursuit of healthy living a worthy aspiration and believe fully in the power of innovation,” she states (6/15).