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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Socioeconomic Differences in Binge Drinking Among Adults – 14 States, 2004

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Binge drinking (defined as having 5 or more drinks on an occasion) is a dangerous and common unhealthy behavior among U.S. adults – particularly among whites, males, persons age 18-34 years and those making $50,000 or more annually.  Effective population-based interventions to prevent excessive and binge drinking (e.g. maintaining and enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age, increasing alcohol excise taxes, decreasing alcohol outlet density, and increasing screening and counseling for alcohol misuse) should be widely implemented.  Binge drinking is most common among whites, males, persons age 18-34 years, and those making $50,000 or more annually, according to a new CDC study. The study, which analyzed data from 62,684 respondents to the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 14 states, also reported that binge drinkers reported an average of 4 binge episodes per month, and consumed an average of 8 drinks per binge − ranging from 9.8 drinks per binge among 18-24 year olds to 6.4 drinks per binge for those age 65 and older. Binge drinkers who were black or American Indian/Alaska Native binge drank more frequently (4.9 times per month) than other populations, and binge drinkers who were black (8.4 drinks per binge) or Hispanic (8.1) reported a higher intensity (i.e., more drinks/binge episode) of binge drinking compared to whites (6.9).  Binge drinkers with lower household incomes also reported a somewhat higher intensity of binge drinking. However, in general, binge drinkers engaged in this behavior frequently and at drinking levels that exceeded the dangerous 5-drink binge threshold by an average of about 60 percent across all socio-demographic groups.

Tobacco Use Among Students Ages 13-15 Years – Baghdad, Iraq, 2008

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Future declines in adolescent tobacco use in Iraq could be enhanced by fully implementing comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs, including legislation that eliminates pro-tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and exposure to secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces. In 2008, the Iraqi Ministry of Health conducted the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) in Baghdad. GYTS is a school-based survey of students aged 13–15 years. According to the report, smoking tobacco in shisha (also known as hookahs or water pipes) appears to be a preferred form of tobacco use for young people. This is a concern because the harmful health effects of shisha can exceed those of cigarette smoking. Results found that boys were 97 percent more likely to have ever smoked shisha than to have ever smoked cigarettes (14.6 percent versus 7.4 percent, respectively); whereas girls were 51 percent more likely to have ever smoked shisha. Overall, 13.0 percent of never smokers indicated they might initiate cigarette smoking in the next year. The likely initiation of cigarette smoking by girls who have never smoked cigarettes (11.8 percent) is significantly higher than the current cigarette smoking rate for girls (2.7 percent) and may result in an increase in the future burden of disease caused by tobacco use in Iraq.

Progress Toward Interruption of Wild Poliovirus Transmission – Worldwide, 200

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There have been major challenges to polio eradication in 2008 that require more local political accountability and continued campaign efforts in insecure areas to be successful.  Only four countries have never interrupted wild poliovirus circulation. However, the number of polio cases increased by 26 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, and 14 previously polio-free countries have had polio cases after importation of poliovirus in 2008. Of the four endemic countries, India came closest to interrupting transmission, but increased poliovirus circulation occurred in other countries in 2008. In Afghanistan, the increase is due to security problems, in Pakistan due to security problems and management problems even in secure areas, and in Nigeria due to continued inadequate management and planning of vaccination campaigns on top of a weak health system. All these issues prevent appropriate vaccination of young children. Management improvements in some areas in Pakistan and Nigeria demonstrate effective interventions that could be scaled-up.

Use of Northern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccines by Travelers to the Southern Hemisphere

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Talk to your health care provider and considering getting influenza vaccine before travel at any time of the year.  Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease among travelers. Influenza viruses circulate during October-March in the northern hemisphere, from April – September in the southern hemisphere, and year round in the tropics. This year, influenza vaccines used in the northern hemisphere during the 2008-09 season are the same as those recommended for the upcoming 2009 southern hemisphere season. Persons from the northern hemisphere who are recommended for annual vaccination or who want to avoid influenza illness should be being vaccinated before travel to the southern hemisphere or the tropics, or when traveling as part of a tour group that includes persons from areas where influenza circulates during April–September (e.g., the southern hemisphere).

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Historical Document: March 26, 2009
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