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MMWR – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Distracted Driving — United States and Seven European Countries, 2011

Division of News & Electronic Media           

Distracted driving is a serious public health issue.  Fortunately, distracted driving is something that every driver can take steps to avoid—we can all pay attention behind the wheel and commit to distraction-free driving. One in three adult U.S. drivers read or sent texts or emails while driving. This study compared the percentage of drivers who reported using a mobile device while driving in the U.S. and seven European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.  A higher percentage of U.S. drivers talked on the phone and read or sent emails or texts while driving than drivers in several other European countries.  For example, the study found that among U.S. drivers’ ages 18-64 years old, 69 percent reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving in the last 30 days, compared with 21 percent of drivers from the United Kingdom. The study also found that about one-third of drivers in the United States reported that they had read or sent text messages or emails while driving, compared with just 15 percent of drivers from Spain.

2. HIV Infection Among Heterosexuals at Increased Risk — United States, 2010

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

A survey of heterosexuals with a low socioeconomic status (SES) in 21 major U.S. cities finds that 2.3 percent are infected with HIV.  Previous research has shown that low-SES heterosexuals are disproportionately affected by HIV.  For this study, researchers analyzed data on low-SES heterosexuals in 21 metropolitan areas with a high AIDS burden; “low-SES” was defined as having a household income at or below the federal poverty level, or no more than a high school education.  The data were collected as part of the 2010 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, which monitors HIV risk behaviors, testing patterns, and use of prevention services among populations at risk.  More than 70 percent of participants were African American. Overall, 2.3 percent of participants were infected with HIV, with the highest prevalence among persons reporting crack cocaine use or exchange sex, African Americans, those with the lowest levels of education or income, and those living in participating cities in the Northeast or South.  Overall, 26 percent had never been tested for HIV. Of those who tested positive and didn’t report a previous diagnosis, 44 percent had never been tested. The authors note that it is critical to reach this population with tailored HIV prevention and testing efforts, as well as linkage to care for those who test positive.  Efforts to address complex social, economic, and environmental factors are also needed.

3. Eligibility and Enrollment in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — 27 States and New York City, 2007–2008

Karin Rush-Monroe
(415) 502-NEWS (6397)

This study examined WIC participation during pregnancy and risk factors for poor health in 27 states and New York City, using data from the 2007-2008 PRAMS and MIHA surveys of women with a recent live birth.  The results of this analysis indicate that, although WIC covered many women who were eligible during pregnancy, the proportion of women eligible for WIC and WIC participation rates varied by state. WIC participants had a higher prevalence of markers of risk for poor maternal or infant health outcomes than eligible nonparticipants, but both groups had a higher prevalence of risk markers than ineligible women, suggesting that many eligible women and their children might benefit from WIC services. The results of this analysis can help identify the scope of WIC outreach needed to include more eligible nonparticipants in WIC and whom to target. WIC is enrolling high-risk women and most eligible nonparticipants also have social and economic characteristics that repeatedly have been linked to adverse maternal or infant health outcomes. Given current economic conditions, it is possible that many women and infants are socioeconomically vulnerable and hence in need of WIC services. These multistate findings suggest that expanded outreach to eligible nonparticipants should be considered.



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