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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Suicide Among Adults Aged 35–64 Years — United States, 1999–2010

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The increasing suicide rate among middle-aged Americans underscores the importance of prevention efforts for this population. Suicide rates among male and female middle-aged Americans (ages 35-64 years old) increased 28.4 percent from 1999 to 2010.  This upward trend was geographically widespread across the United States. The highest increases occurred within the non-Hispanic white and American Indian/Alaska Native subgroups. Increases in suicide rates among males and females were observed for the three leading mechanisms – suffocation/hanging, poisoning, and firearm. These findings underscore the importance of preventive measures aimed at middle-aged populations.

2. Adult Participation in Aerobic and Muscle-Strengthening Physical Activities — United States, 2011

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About 20 percent of U.S. adults are meeting both the aerobic and muscle strengthening components of the federal government’s physical activity recommendations. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as walking, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging, or an equivalent combination of both. The guidelines also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups or activities using resistance bands. Muscle-strengthening activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days per week.  Today’s report finds that nationwide nearly 50 percent of adults are getting the recommended amounts of aerobic activity and about 30 percent are engaging in the recommended muscle-strengthening activity. Although only 20 percent of adults are meeting the overall physical activity recommendations, it is encouraging that half the adults in the United States are meeting the aerobic guidelines and a third are meeting the muscle-strengthening recommendation. This is a great foundation to build upon, but there is still much work to do. Improving access to safe and convenient places where people can be physically active can help make the active choice the easy choice.

3. State-Specific Prevalence of Walking Among Adults with Arthritis — United States, 2011

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Most adults with arthritis do no or low amounts of walking, which is an effective and safe way to achieve the proven arthritis benefits of physical activity.  Programs are available in the community that can help adults with arthritis start and maintain a walking program and achieve those benefits. For adults with arthritis physical activity is an essential self-management strategy proven to reduce pain and increase function.  Walking is a low impact, acceptable, and feasible way of obtaining these benefits and one preferred by those with arthritis, in part because it can be done in bouts as short as 10 minutes. However, almost two-thirds of adults with arthritis report no or low (<90 minutes) walking per week. Community-based programs, such as Walk With Ease, are available to help adults with arthritis increase their walking.  Public health efforts that link such programs with environmental/policy strategies that increase access to safe walking environments and communication campaigns that build awareness of the benefits of walking can help adults with arthritis increase their walking.

4. Progress Toward Eradication of Polio — Worldwide, January 2012–March 2013

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The number of polio cases confirmed globally and the geographic extent of wild poliovirus transmission have reached the lowest levels ever reported.  Since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, cases have fallen by more than 99 percent and >100 countries have stopped transmission. However, circulation of wild poliovirus has continued uninterrupted in three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. In 2011, there were 12 other countries with polio cases. In 2012, only Afghanistan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Pakistan reported polio cases. With the exception of Nigeria, where cases nearly doubled compared to 2011, the number of cases in each of the other countries have decreased. New security risks following targeted attacks on health workers delivering polio vaccine have impeded progress in certain areas of Pakistan and Nigeria and need addressing by enhanced security measures. As highlighted by the cessation of wild poliovirus transmission in India and having fewer cases in fewer places in 2012, polio eradication is within reach. However, the challenges that remain require sustained commitment and continued coordinated efforts.

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