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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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Staying Well: It's Like Money in Your Pocket (Dec. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

From 2003 to 2010, employer health insurance premiums increased 50 percent in every state. Employees' share increased 63 percent

According to a new Commonwealth Fund report examining state trends in health insurance costs, health insurance costs are outpacing income growth in every state in the country. At the same time, premiums are buying less protective coverage: Per-person deductibles doubled for employees working for large as well as small firms over the same time period.According to the report, "State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2010: The Need for Action to Address Rising Costs," by 2010, 62 percent of the U.S. population lived in a state where health insurance premiums equaled 20 percent or more of earnings for a middle-income individual under age 65. Today, there are virtually no states where premiums are relatively low compared to income. In 2003, there were 13 states where annual premiums constituted less than 14 percent of the median (middle) income; by 2010, there were none.

Employees Are Paying More for Less

The report finds that per-person deductibles increased an average of 98 percent across states from 2003 to 2010. By 2010, 74 percent of workers faced a deductible, compared to 52 percent in 2003. Average deductibles exceeded $1,000 in 29 states in 2010; in 2003, not one state had an average deductible of more than $1,000. Deductibles were up for employees working in large as well as small firms, although employees of small firms generally faced higher deductibles than employees of large firms did. Deductibles were highest in Wyoming, where the average was $1,479, and lowest in Hawaii, where the average was $519.

Future Trends

The report's authors suggest that if the historic rate of increase between 2003 and 2010—before enactment of the Affordable Care Act—were to continue, the average premium for family health insurance coverage would increase 72 percent by 2020, reaching nearly $24,000 a year.

What can workers do? In both the short and long term they can make changes that will reduce their need to pay against deductibles. Wellness programs and other preventive programs can have positive lasting impacts on an individual's overall health.

To see the November 11, 2011 report, visit The Commonwealth Fund.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health policy reform and a high performance health system.

Tags:  December 2011  Finance  Physical  ROI 

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Social Wellness: Exploring Our Fear Triggers and Social Biases (Dec. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Want to turn people against an idea? Just call it "extreme."

New research shows how support for a generally liked policy can be significantly lowered, simply by associating it with a group seen as "radical" or "extreme." In one experiment, researchers found that people expressed higher levels of support for a gender equality policy when the supporters were not specified than when the exact same policy was attributed to "radical feminist" supporters.

These findings show why attacking political opponents as "extremists" is so popular—and so effective, said Thomas Nelson, co-author of the study and associate professor of political science at Ohio State University. Nelson conducted the study with Joseph Lyons and Gregory Gwiasda, both former graduate students at The Ohio State University. The findings were published in a recent issue of the journal Political Psychology.

For the study, the researchers did several related experiments. In one experiment, 233 undergraduate students were asked to read and comment on an essay that they were told appeared on a blog. The blog entry discussed the controversy concerning the Augusta National Golf Club's "men only" membership policy. The policy caused a controversy in 2003 before the club hosted the Masters Tournament. Participants read one of three versions of an essay which argued that the PGA Tour should move the Masters Tournament if the club refused to change this policy.

One group read that the proposal to move the tournament was led simply by "people" and "citizens." Another group read that the proposal was led by "feminists." The third group read that the proposal was led by "radical feminists," "militant feminists," and "extremists." The findings showed that participants were more supportive of the golf club and its rules banning women when the proposal to move the tournament was attributed to "radical feminists." By associating a policy with unpopular groups, opponents are able to get people to lose some respect for the value it represents, like feminism or environmentalism, the study found. How people felt about the relative importance of these values depended on what version of the essay they read. These tactics can work when people are faced with competing values and are unsure what their priorities should be, said the study's author. One problem with this tactic for society, though, is that it can hurt support of the underlying values, as well as the specific policy.

To support your social wellness, make sure you evaluate statements containing words that indicate an opinion. After all, isn't it better to form your own thoughts?

Tags:  Biases  December 2011  Intellectual  Occupational  Racism  Social 

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Mid-Morning Snacking May Sabotage Weight-Loss Efforts (Dec.2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

While many of us have heard about the benefits of several small meals a day, new research warns against mid-morning mindless eating.

Specifically, the study found that women dieters who grab a snack between breakfast and lunch lose less weight compared to those who abstain from a mid-morning snack. The study was done by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and led by Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, a member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division and director of its Prevention Center. The results will be published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

In the course of the year-long study, the researchers found that mid-morning snackers lost an average of 7 percent of their total body weight while those who ate a healthy breakfast but did not snack before lunch lost more than 11 percent of their body weight. For the study, a snack was defined as any food or drink that was consumed between main meals. The researchers hypothesized that mid-morning snacking might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits rather than eating to satisfy true hunger.

However, while snacking too close to a main meal may be detrimental to weight loss, waiting too long between meals also may sabotage dieting efforts, the study found. The study, part of a larger randomized clinical trial designed to test the effects of nutrition and exercise on breast cancer risk, involved 123 overweight-to-obese postmenopausal Seattle-area women, ages 50 to 75, who were randomly assigned to either a diet-alone intervention (goal: 1,200 to 2,000 calories a day, depending on starting weight, and fewer than 30 percent of daily calories from fat), or diet plus exercise (same calorie and fat restrictions plus 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day, five days a week). The women received nutrition counseling but were not given any specific instructions or recommendations about snacking behavior.

Overall, the study suggested that snacking may actually help with weight loss if not done too close to another meal, particularly if the snacks are healthy foods that can help you feel full without adding too many calories.

Nationwide surveys indicate that 97 percent of U.S. adults report snacking, and such behavior is consistent across age groups. For a woman on a weight-loss diet, a healthy snack should be nutritional and low in calories. The best snacks for a weight-loss program are proteins such as low-fat yogurt, string cheese, or a small handful of nuts; non-starchy vegetables; fresh fruits; whole-grain crackers; and non-calorie beverages such as water, coffee, and tea.

The National Cancer Institute funded the research and participated in the study, which also involved investigators from the University of Washington and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Tags:  December 2011  Diet  Physical  Weight Loss 

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The Runny Nose Season: Know When to Stay Home! (Dec. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some employees feel pressure to work when ill, according to a study from Concordia University's John Molson School of Business

Do you think going to work when you are sick makes you a better worker? The truth is, according to a new study, presenteeism (i.e., attending work when ill) isn't always a productive option. The study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, found that depending on individuals and their roles within an organization, sick employees can be present in body and not in spirit, while others can be ill and fully functional.

So why do employees with acute, chronic, or episodic illness work rather than stay home? Caregivers and people working in early education, for example, report higher rates of presenteeism compared to people from other fields. The study reported that often a person might feel socially obligated to attend work despite illness, or employees may feel organizational pressure to attend work despite medical discomfort.

Individuals who partook in the study reported three presenteeism days and just under two absenteeism days in a six-month period. The study surveyed 444 individuals. Moreover, the study found presenteeism was elevated among workers engaged in interdependent projects or teamwork, and among workers who were insecure about their employment.

According to this and previous studies, presenteeism is more frequent when people face job insecurity and impermanent job status. Absenteeism, however, is more elevated in unionized work settings or when unemployment is low.

The study concluded that organizations, employers, and human resources departments have traditionally examined ways to curb absenteeism, but have paid little attention to presenteeism. Most likely this is because absenteeism is easier to measure. Yet, the study concludes: A worker's absence—or presence—during illness can have both costs and benefits for constituents.

For more information visitThe Journal of Occupational Health

Tags:  December 2011  Occupational  Physical  Sick  Work 

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Quotes (Dec. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This month's quotes are brought to us by the spirit of giving highlighted in the holiday season.

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go. –Mother Teresa

Pity may represent little more than the impersonal concern which prompts the mailing of a check, but true sympathy is the personal concern which demands the giving of one's soul. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. –Maya Angelou

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. –Khalil Gibran

The giving of love is an education in itself. –Eleanor Roosevelt

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. –Lao Tzu

Time and money spent in helping men to do more for themselves is far better than mere giving. –Henry Ford

No one has ever become poor by giving. –Anne Frank

For it is in giving that we receive. –Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals

Tags:  December 2011  Inspiration  Quotes  Social  Spiritual 

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Fun Facts (Dec. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This month's fun facts are brought to us by International Volunteer Day, December 5. For more information visit WorldVolunteerWeb.org

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010:

  • 26.3 percent of the U.S. population volunteered in some capacity.
  • About 62.8 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2009 and September 2010.
  • Women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups, educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics.
  • Married persons volunteered at a higher rate (32.0 percent) in 2010 than did those who had never married (20.3 percent) and those with other marital statuses (20.9 percent).
  • Individuals with higher levels of educational attainment engaged in volunteer activities at higher rates than did those with less education.
  • Among employed persons, 29.2 percent volunteered during the year ending in September 2010. By comparison, 23.8 percent of unemployed persons and 22.0 percent of those not in the labor force volunteered.
  • In 2010, the main organization—the organization for which the volunteer worked the most hours during the year—was most frequently religious (33.8 percent of all volunteers), followed by educational or youth service related (26.5 percent). Another 13.6 percent of volunteers performed activities mainly for social or community service organizations.

So why is this important to your overall wellness? A 2009 Harvard Business School White Paper summarizing the available research concluded that giving and volunteering does, in fact, make us happier! For more information, read the white paper, Feeling Good about Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behavior, from The Harvard Business School.

Tags:  December 2011  Fun Facts  Intellectual  Social  Volunteer 

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The New Standard in Stopping Obesity (Nov. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, a conglomeration of consumer, provider, government, labor, business, health insurer and quality-of-care organizations, made recommendations for policy makers last month.

The Alliance's core principles are as follows:

  • Reducing overweight and obesity is about improved health, not appearance.
  • The work to end obesity cannot end with personal responsibility. Individuals need support and environments that facilitate healthy decisions to accomplish their goals. The Alliance sees roles for employers, schools and educators, health care professionals, community leaders, families, and the government in creating an environment that will help overcome and prevent overweight and obesity.
  • Prevention and intervention go hand in hand.

The Alliance's core recommendations are as as follows:

  • Redefine Success: Explore the use of a 5 to 10 percent sustained reduction of current weight as the appropriate measure of success for the purpose of determining whether treatment interventions and innovations are effective. Current standards of success vary greatly but a growing body of evidence suggests losing between 5 to 10 percent of current weight leads to major improvements in key health areas, including diabetes, lipid blood levels, and even mortality.

  • Encourage Innovation and Multifactorial Interventions to Strengthen the System of Care for Overweight and Obesity: There is a need to develop, test, and evaluate interventions that include multiple components (surgery + behavioral treatment + diet, for instance, or personal trainer + diet + drugs, diet and exercise plan) among diverse populations at lower levels of overweight and obesity, before co-morbidities develop. Eventually, this effort may lead to the creation of screening tools that could help match an individual patient's characteristics and needs with appropriate interventions.

  • Address and Reduce Stigma as a Barrier to Improving Health Outcomes: Cultivate a positive environment by promoting awareness and open discussion among health professionals, opinion leaders, role models (e.g., parents, teachers, coaches) and the public of the harmful impact of stigmatizing people with overweight and obesity and promote interventions that provide support for sustained weight loss and that go beyond recognizing the role of personal responsibility.

  • Broaden, Intensify and Coordinate the Research Agenda for Obesity: Encourage an interdisciplinary research environment that addresses the obesity epidemic as a result of a complex interplay of biological, genetic, behavioral, cultural, environmental, social, policy, and economic factors.

  • Encouraging Physical Activity for Improved Health: Encouraging interventions and creating environments that support physical activity will improve health, independent of weight or weight loss, resulting in a healthier population. Interventions and environments (such as the workplace, community, home, parks and public recreation areas, etc.) and systems aimed at promoting and increasing physical activity to improve fitness can have wide-ranging benefits.

For more information on the Alliance and its recommendations, click here.

Tags:  November 2011  Obesity  Physical  Policy  Weight Loss 

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CommonWealth Fund Grades U.S. Health System 64 out of a possible 100 on National and International Health Benchmarks (Nov. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2011, updates a series of comprehensive assessments of U.S. population health and health care quality, access, efficiency, and equity. It finds substantial improvement on quality-of-care indicators that have been the focus of public reporting and collaborative initiatives. However, U.S. health system performance continues to fall far short of what is attainable, especially given the enormity of public and private resources devoted nationally to health. Across 42 performance indicators, the United States achieves a total score of 64 out of a possible 100, when comparing national rates with domestic and international benchmarks. (That's a "D" people!). Overall, the U.S. failed to improve relative to these benchmarks, which in many cases rose. Costs were up sharply, access to care deteriorated, health system efficiency remained low, disparities persisted, and health outcomes failed to keep pace with benchmarks. The Affordable Care Act targets many of the gaps identified by the Scorecard.

According to the report, variations in health care delivery persist throughout the United States, and opportunities to prevent disease are often missed. At the same time, the Scorecard finds notable gains in quality of care in those areas where the nation has made a commitment to accountability and undertaken targeted improvement efforts. Although the Scorecard draws on the latest available data, primarily from the period 2007 to 2009, the results do not fully reflect the effects of the recent economic recession on access to and use of care.

Some good news can be found in an exception to the overall pattern of U.S. performance: rapid progress on quality metrics that have been the focus of national initiatives and public reporting efforts. Hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care agencies are showing marked improvement in patient treatment and outcomes for which data are collected and reported nationally on federal websites and as part of improvement campaigns. There has also been significant improvement in the control of high blood pressure, a measure that is publicly reported by health plans; increasingly, physician groups are being rewarded for improving their treatment of this and other chronic conditions. Better management of chronic diseases also has likely contributed to reductions in rates of avoidable hospitalizations for certain conditions, though rates continue to vary substantially across the country.

Of great concern, access to health care significantly eroded since 2006. As of 2010, more than 81 million working-age adults—44 percent of those ages 19 to 64—were uninsured during the year or underinsured, up from 61 million (35%) in 2003. Further, the United States failed to keep pace with gains in health outcomes achieved by the leading countries. The United States ranks last out of 16 industrialized countries on a measure of mortality amenable to medical care (deaths that might have been prevented with timely and effective care), with premature death rates that are 68 percent higher than in the best-performing countries. As many as 91,000 fewer people would die prematurely if the United States could achieve the leading country rate.

Sharply rising costs are putting both access and budgets at risk. Health care spending per person in the United States is double that in several other major industrialized countries, and costs in the United States continue to rise faster than income. We are headed toward spending $1 of every $5 of national income on health care. We should expect a better return on this investment.

Of particular concern from a wellness standpoint, the following areas saw declining improvement:

  • Primary and preventive care: In 2008, more than 2 of 5 (44%) non-elderly adults lacked a regular primary care provider who is easy to get to and consult with by phone during office hours, and only half received a set of basic preventive services— representing little change from 2002. The vaccination rate for young children recovered in 2010 following a sharp decline caused by a vaccine shortage in 2009, yet one-quarter of children still lacked full protection against communicable diseases.
  • Childhood obesity: Nearly one-third (32%) of children ages 10 to 17 were overweight or obese as of 2007, with rates ranging from 24 percent to 39 percent among the top and bottom five states. Unless there is an improvement in healthy eating and weight control, obesity and related health problems are likely to rise—and could wipe out recent health gains from declining smoking rates.
  • Disparities: Minorities and low-income or uninsured adults and children were generally more likely than their white, higher-income, or insured counterparts to wait to see a doctor when sick, to encounter delays and experience poorly coordinated care, and to have untreated dental caries, uncontrolled chronic disease, avoidable hospitalizations, and worse outcomes. And they were less likely to receive preventive care or have an accessible source of primary care.


The 2011 National Scorecard comprises an expanded set of 42 indicators within five dimensions of health system performance: healthy lives, quality, access, efficiency, and equity. The Scorecard compares U.S. average performance with benchmarks drawn from the top 10 percent of U.S. states, regions, health plans, and hospitals or other providers, as well as from the top-performing countries. If average U.S. performance came close to the top rates achieved here at home or abroad, then average scores would approach the maximum of 100.

For more information: The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, Why Not the Best? Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2011, The Commonwealth Fund, October 2011.

Tags:  Health  November 2011  Physical  Policy  Social  Spiritual  Wellness 

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Emerging Public Health Crisis Linked to Mortgage Default and Foreclosure (Nov. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers find mortgage default associated with substantially increased risk of depression.

Researchers warn of a looming health crisis in the wake of rising mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures. The study, released October 2011 in the American Journal of Public Health, is the first long-term survey of the impact the current housing crisis is having on older Americans. The study focused on adults over 50 and found high rates of depression among those behind in their mortgage payments and a higher likelihood of making unhealthy financial tradeoffs regarding food and needed prescription medications.

"More than a quarter of people in mortgage default or foreclosure are over 50," says the study's principal investigator, Dawn E. Alley, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "For an older person with chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension, the types of health problems we saw are short-term consequences of falling behind on a mortgage that could have long-run implications for that person's health."

The study was prompted in part by the rapid rise in foreclosure rates that began in 2007 following a dramatic increase in subprime lending. By 2009, 2.21 percent of all homes in the United States, a total of more than 2.8 million properties, were in some stage of foreclosure. Previous research had shown that home ownership is associated with better health while financial strain is associated with worse health and higher death rates.

"This study has pinpointed an issue that until now has been somewhat under the radar, but which threatens to become a major public health crisis if not addressed," says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Through research such as this, faculty epidemiologists and public health specialists provide valuable information and perspectives that are useful for government and private policy makers as they work to meet the health and economic needs of Americans."

The researchers examined data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of Americans older than age 50. In 2008, 2,474 participants were asked if they had fallen more than two months behind on mortgage payments since 2006. The survey included questions designed to measure psychological impairment, general health status, and access to important health-relevant resources. In predicting these health outcomes, researchers controlled for demographic factors, health behaviors, chronic diseases, sources of debt and annual household income.

Among participants who were mortgage delinquent, 22 percent developed elevated depressive symptoms over the two-year period compared to only 3 percent of non-delinquent respondents. Twenty-eight percent of mortgage-delinquent participants reported food insecurity compared to 4 percent in the non-delinquent group. In addition, the delinquent group reported much higher levels of cost-related medication non-adherence (32 percent compared to 5 percent).

The study also found that lower-income and minority homeowners were at higher risk for mortgage default. "Our results suggest that the housing crisis may be making health disparities worse," says Dr. Alley, "because these groups had poorer health, lower incomes and higher levels of debt even before the current mortgage crisis." The researchers note that it will likely take decades for African American and Hispanic communities to recover the wealth lost during the housing crisis and that minority communities are disproportionately affected by declining home values and lost tax revenue.

The study began just as mortgage delinquencies and subsequent home foreclosures began to rise in the United States, driven mainly by increases in mortgage payments related to adjustable rate loans. Dr. Alley says the health picture is much worse today because rising mortgage defaults are compounded by unemployment. "Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of Americans with depression has been increasing along with rising unemployment."

Dr. Alley adds that mortgage counselors are seeing a rising tide of health issues. "We did a separate nationwide survey of mortgage counselors and found that almost 70 percent of them said many of the clients they worked with were depressed or hopeless. About a third of [the mortgage counselors] said they had worked with someone in the last month who expressed intent for self harm or suicide. These are very serious and clearly ongoing issues."

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted with support, resources and use of facilities from the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center in conjunction with the Organized Research Center on Aging at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Alley DE, Lloyd J, Pagan JA, Pollack CE, Shardell M, Cannuscio C. "Mortgage delinquency and changes in access to health resources and depressive symptoms in a nationally representative cohort of Americans older than 50 years. "American Journal of Public Health. Published online October 20, 2011. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011. 300245

Tags:  Emotional  Health  November 2011  Physical  Policy  Social  Wellness 

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Secondhand Smoke: Know the facts! (Nov. 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

These secondhand smoke facts are brought to us by The Great American Smokeout, November 17. For more information, visit the American Cancer Society online!

Secondhand smoke defined: Secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or passive smoke. It is a mixture of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco: sidestream smoke (smoke that comes from the end of a lighted cigarette, pipe, or cigar) and mainstream smoke (smoke that is exhaled by a smoker). Even though we think of these as the same, they aren't. The sidestream smoke has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) than the mainstream smoke. And, it contains smaller particles than mainstream smoke, which make their way into the body's cells more easily. Non-smokers who breathe in secondhand smoke take in nicotine and other toxic chemicals just like smokers do. The more secondhand smoke you are exposed to, the higher the level of these harmful chemicals in your body.

Why should we care?

  • Secondhand smoke causes cancer: Secondhand smoke is classified as a "known human carcinogen" (cancer-causing agent) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds. More than 60 of these are known or suspected to cause cancer.

  • Secondhand smoke causes other kinds of diseases and deaths, such as:

    • an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are currently non-smokers;

    • about 3,400 lung cancer deaths as a result of breathing secondhand smoke;

    • other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function;

    • 50,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually;

    • increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma; and

    • more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children.

    • Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of having low-birthweight babies.

  • Secondhand smoke may be linked to breast cancer: Both mainstream and secondhand smoke contain about 20 chemicals that, in high concentrations, cause breast cancer in rodents. And, we know that in humans, chemicals from tobacco smoke reach breast tissue and are found in breast milk.

  • Secondhand smoke kills children and adults who don't smoke, and makes others sick (2006 Surgeon General's report). This report concluded:

    • Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke.

    • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes breathing (respiratory) symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.

    • Secondhand smoke immediately affects the heart and blood circulation in a harmful way. Over a longer time it also causes heart disease and lung cancer.

    • The scientific evidence shows that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

    • Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite a great deal of progress in tobacco control.

    • The only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke indoors is to prohibit all smoking in that indoor space or building. Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot keep non-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke.

What can you do? Quit for someone you love, someone you don't know who has people who love them, or help someone to quit!

Tags:  November 2011  Physical  Quitting Smoking  Second-hand Smoke 

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