HEALTH

Study: Most diabetics fall short on healthy eating

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK The complications that can result from unhealthy eating among middle-aged and elderly Americans with Type 2 diabetes have consequences for the whole healthcare system, but it’s not just diabetes, which already costs the U.S. healthcare system $116 billion. Unhealthy eating habits contribute to and exacerbate obesity, hypertension and kidney disease, diseases that often have causal relationships to one another. Obesity and diabetes already cost the healthcare system $147 billion and $116 billion, respectively.

 

A recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that 85% of middle-aged and elderly Americans with Type 2 diabetes ate too much saturated fat, while 92% ate too much sodium, while less than half get the minimum amount of fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains. This increases their already high risk of hypertension, kidney disease and heart disease.

 

 

Encouraging healthy eating could do a lot to reduce the costs of healthcare in America and allow a greater focus on unpreventable disease states rather than having $263 billion go toward treating preventable ones.

 

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Pharmavite launches new company, supplement program

BY Allison Cerra

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. Pharmavite, the manufacturer and marketer of Nature Made vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements and SOYJOY snack bars, announced the establishment of its Internet-based, direct-to-consumer sales and marketing company.

Pharmavite Direct, the Internet-based subsidiary of the company, launched the Nature Made vitaminID program last week. The supplement program provides a customized daily vitamin plan tailored to fit individuals’ unique nutritional needs. Based on information provided by the user, the program can deliver up to 100,000 different recommended vitamin combinations.

“The Nature Made vitaminID program was created in direct response to consumers’ desire for individualized approaches to their general health and wellness routines,” said Gary Kuchta, president, Pharmavite Direct.

Consumers can order their own vitaminID kits containing supplements from Nature Made, by visiting www.vitaminID.com and taking a confidential health survey created by a nutritionist. Upon completion, consumers will receive a customized daily vitamin plan. Consumers may then order a convenient 28-day supply of the vitamins, minerals, and other supplements recommended, which will be sent directly to their homes. For additional ease, users may participate in an autoship program, which automatically reorders a user’s vitaminID kit every 28 days. To further customize their order, consumers can select their preferred style of packaging from three styles offered. Consumers also have the capability to chat online with a dietitian should they have any questions about the program while on the Web site. A regular newsletter packed with nutrition information and self-help tools is available to all registered members of www.vitaminID.com.

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IOM recommends N95 respirators and more for health workers

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Healthcare workers who interact with patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with novel H1N1 influenza should wear fitted N95 respirators to help guard against respiratory infection by the virus, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine released Sept. 3.

The report endorses the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for respiratory protection against the novel flu virus. However, wearing N95 respirators should be only one element of workers’ and healthcare organizations’ infection control strategies, stressed the committee that wrote the report.

While the CDC guidelines and the report’s recommendations are based on the best available information and evidence, scientists do not know to what extent flu viruses spread through the air or whether infection requires physical contact with contaminated fluids or surfaces. The report calls for a boost in research to answer these questions and to design and develop better protective equipment that would enhance workers’ comfort, safety and ability to do their jobs.

“Based on what we currently know about influenza, well-fitted N95 respirators offer healthcare workers the best protection against inhalation of viral particles,” stated committee chair Kenneth Shine, executive vice chancellor for health affairs, University of Texas System and former president of the Institute of Medicine. “But there is a lot we still don’t know about these viruses, and it would be a mistake for anyone to rely on respirators alone as some sort of magic shield,” he said. “Healthcare organizations and their employees should establish and practice a number of strategies to guard against infection, such as innovative triage processes, handwashing, disinfection, gloves, vaccination and antiviral drug use.”

In the event that the new pandemic virus creates a surge of patients during the upcoming flu season, it will be critical to protect healthcare workers from infection given their central role in treating sick people and lessening the pandemic’s overall impact, the committee reported.

The Institute of Medicine was asked to evaluate personal protective equipment designed to guard against respiratory infection specifically, and therefore the committee focused on the efficacy of medical masks and respirators. Studies have shown that inhalation of airborne viruses is a likely route of flu infection, supporting the use of respiratory protection during an outbreak even though it is not clear whether airborne transmission is the sole or main way the disease spreads.

N95 respirators and medical masks cover the nose and mouth. Although similar in appearance, medical masks fit loosely on wearers’ faces, and respirators are designed to form a tight seal against the wearer’s skin. If properly fitted and worn correctly, N95 respirators filter out at least 95% of particles as small as 0.3 micrometers (the definition for the N95 rating), which is smaller than influenza viruses, the report noted.

Given the short time frame of this study, the committee was not asked to discuss issues associated with implementing its recommendations, such as costs and supplies, or to assess the impact of other infection control measures, such as vaccination or prophylactic use of antiviral drugs. However, the committee underscored the importance of using a range of infection control strategies to minimize the chances for exposure and infection for healthcare workers.

The study was sponsored by the CDC and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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