Two recent surveys have revealed that American employees have a wide-ranging interpretation of when to take time off work due to illness reports the San Francisco Chronicle. In a study by NSF International, a global health and safety organisation, more than half of American workers reported they had gone to work while sick.
A fear of work piling up, and looming deadlines, were the most popularly cited reasons. Though people also said they couldn’t afford to miss a day, and their boss expected them to be there, as why they went to work when sick. Men were twice as likely as women to report going into work when sick.
International Ear Care Day is celebrated on March 3 every year. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘ear care can avoid hearing loss’. The aim is to work on an international, regional, and local level to promote ear care and to reduce hearing impairment.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that disabling hearing loss affects 5.3% of the world’s population, with different age groups affected. It is the most prevalent sensory disability, and is increasing globally, reported WHO. About a quarter of hearing problems start in childhood, and an ageing population is contributing to the increase in cases.
International health news
- Schizophrenia risk double in city dwellers - Living in a city linked to anxiety and stress disorders, and can double the risk of developing schizophrenia.
- Bacteria getting the upper hand - As pharma companies neglect research into new antibiotics experts warn bacteria could soon be resistant to available treatment.
- White noise machines bad for babies’ hearing - Noise machines used to sooth babies may be capable of making sounds loud enough to damage hearing.
This week the European Parliament voted in favour of stricter anti-smoking laws which will make health warnings on packets larger. Graphic warnings can already be found in some EU countries, but now they will have to be bigger and used in all 28 member states from 2016.
The new warnings will have to cover 65 percent of the front and back of packets, and half of the sides. They will also have to include written warnings such as “smoking kills”. Currently warnings only cover 30-40 percent of packages.
According to the latest figures the number of people classified as obese in the United States in levelling off. The study, from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found there was little change in the number of obese teenagers and adults between 2003 to 2012.
One-third of adults, and 17 percent of children and teens are obese, said researchers who studied more than 9,000 people in 2011-2012. A comparison with five studies since 2003-04 show changes within specific age groups, representing no changes overall.
“We found overall that there was no change in youth or adults,” said study author and epidemiologist Cynthia Ogden. However, within age groups significant changes were noted. Increasing numbers of older women are obese, but for young children the number is dropping.
Not traditionally found in Chinese cuisine, wealthy Chinese consumers are buying up olive oil for its health benefits. This spike in demand is being felt by olive oil producers globally, reports the Wall Street Journal.
A string of domestic food-safety scares including tainted milk and antibiotics-laced chicken have spurred consumers to look for healthy, imported food products. Advertising campaigns championing the health benefits of olive oil in cooking are further boosting demand.
Last year China spent US$184 million on imported olive oil, up 9.3% from 2012, and a huge increase from US$1 million a decade ago. The oil’s popularity is driving companies to buy Australian olive groves in order to secure the supply. As a result of recent deals, Chinese and Asian investors now own 10% of all of Australia’s olive oil output, Tim Smith, sales and marketing director at Boundary Bend Ltd., Australia’s largest producer of extra-virgin oil told the WSJ.
International health news
- Plastic food packaging concerns misplaced – A recent study which fueled suspicions over the safety of plastic food packaging has been criticized by scientists.
- Soaring elderly Asian suicide rate – The suicide rate in over-65s has spiked over the last decade, particularly in wealthier Asian countries.
- Largest ever stem cell heart trial starts – A trial to test whether stem cells can mend damaged heart tissue has started in London involving patients in 11 countries.
Expats in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can now access the opinions of 350 medical experts from around the world. AXA Gulf has introduced its Sure Health offering that allow customers to request a second opinion from specialists when faced with serious health diagnoses.
AXA Sure Health will work with a network of internationally accredited, recognized and highly-qualified experts who will extend their knowledge and advice regarding the client’s condition.
Twenty-six countries, including the United States, have this month formed a global coalition to improve prevention, detection, and response to infectious international health threats. Launched in the U.S., the coalition will be joined by three international organisations, to form the Global Health Security Agenda.
The Agenda was formed to take on outbreaks, whether they are natural, accidental, or intentional, reported Reuters. The countries include those which have been the originating site for several recent fatal infectious outbreaks. H7N9 bird flu, which was first reported in China, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which was detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Feeling extremely lonely on a regular basis is worse than obesity for increasing health risks which lead to premature death, say researchers. The study from the University of Chicago found feeling lonely can increase the risk of premature death in an older person by 14 percent. A 2010 study found extreme loneliness has double the impact of obesity on early death in older people.
The findings mean extreme loneliness is nearly as bad as disadvantaged socioeconomic status in increasing the risk of premature death. Studies have shown people who are of low socioeconomic status have a 19 percent higher risk of early death than those in a better socioeconomic position.