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Friday, 24 February 2012

Hot public health topics worth reviewing: Provincial budgets, low sodium diets, smoking cessation and perinatal indicators.

Its spring time and that means two major events.  Curling season is in full swing and provincial budgets are being released.  How has the provincial budget impacted public health in your province?  Send the quotes and details to drphealth@gmail.com.  

Some solid reviews published recently on some important topics that should impact our public health practice.  
Low sodium diets reduce blood pressure – something that has been recommended for decades, but the proof was evasive.   A metanalysis available at Health-Evidence.ca suggests a benefit in blood pressure for hypertensives, but associated with increases in triglcerides and cholesterol.   It doesn’t answer the question though if dietary intervention modifies clinical outcomes.   http://www.health-evidence.ca/articles/show/17687 

Proactive counselling helps with smoking cessation – another intuitive finding, and the data analysis is suggesting a benefit of up to 40% after over a year.   http://www.health-evidence.ca/articles/show/21788   Another in a series of studies speaking to reaching out to clients by the phone.   There are some pilot projects and increased dissemination of technology that supports chronic disease suffers, mostly COPD and CHF, in telephone follow up and remote sensing.   Such interventions tend to be daily and high tech.   What are the odds that any jurisdictions will spring for a low tech prevention program with high long term benefit?    If there are successful smoking cessation telephone follow-up programs in Canada, time to share them so that others can invest wisely – let us know.

There is a an interesting piece coming out of the British Medical Journal via CIHR on how Canada’s child health indicators may not be as bad as previously indicated because perinatal reporting in Canada is relatively good.  This moves Canada from a dismal 18th to a moderately poor 12th. Even better news for our southern cousins who move from 22nd to 11th in the revised data.    CIHR release of BMJ study on child health indicators. 

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