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Latest Top (4) News


U.S. Government Participates in Fifth Annual Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting

On November 4-6, 2018, Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan will attend the Fifth Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting in Indonesia, which will officially launch the next five-year phase of GHSA, known as GHSA 2024. Delivering on President Trump’s commitment to global health security, he will lead the multi-sectoral U.S. delegation, including representatives from the Departments of Health and Human Services, State, Defense, Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Security Council.

In Indonesia, the U.S. delegation will hold bilateral meetings with government officials from GHSA member countries to discuss ongoing collaborations between the U.S. and our partners on global health security. At the meeting HHS Secretary Alex Azar will deliver a video message and Deputy Secretary Hargan will deliver remarks on behalf of the Trump Administration, reaffirming U.S. support for GHSA and underscoring the goal to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases.

Following the GHSA Ministerial Meeting, Deputy Secretary Hargan will travel to Thailand and Laos to underscore the U.S. commitment to global health security and to meet with partners in the region who are crucial to our efforts in addressing global health security concerns such as influenza, artemisinin-resistant malaria, dengue, and tuberculosis.

On November 7, Deputy Secretary Hargan will travel to Thailand where he will visit the CDC Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute laboratories, Bumrungrad Hospital, and meet with his Thai counterparts as well CDC staff in country. This is the 200th year of friendship between the U.S. and Thailand, and his visit will highlight the important work on health we do together as nations. On November 9, Deputy Secretary Hargan will arrive in Vientiane, Laos, to meet with the Ministry of Health before traveling back to the U.S. on November 10.  Laos is an important partner in our global efforts to combat emerging and re-emerging disease threats.

Additional information regarding Deputy Secretary Hargan’s meetings is forthcoming and will be released via social media posts.

Background:

Launched in 2014, GHSA is a worldwide effort to help build countries’ capacity to help create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and elevate global health security as a national and global priority. Through a growing multisectoral partnership of international organizations, non-governmental stakeholders, and more than 60 countries, GHSA is accelerating efforts to build countries’ capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases.



Friday, November 2, 2018 - 16:00


HHS Releases Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition

(Chicago) – Today, Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health, announced the release of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting. The second edition provides evidence-based recommendations for youth ages 3 through 17 and adults to safely get the physical activity they need to stay healthy. There are new key guidelines for children ages 3 through 5 and updated guidelines for youth ages 6 through 17, adults, older adults, women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, adults with chronic health conditions, and adults with disabilities.

The United States currently has low levels of adherence to the guidelines -- only 26 percent of men, 19 percent of women, and 20 percent of adolescents meet the recommendations. According to the guidelines, these low levels of physical activity among Americans have health and economic consequences for the nation, with nearly $117 billion dollars in annual healthcare costs and 10 percent of all premature mortality attributable to failure to meet levels of aerobic physical activity recommended in the guidelines. Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week, with muscle strengthening activities on two days during the week to stay healthy. Youth ages 6 through 17 need 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.

“The new guidelines demonstrate that, based on the best science, everyone can dramatically improve their health just by moving – anytime, anywhere, and by any means that gets you active,” said Adm. Giroir. “That’s why we need to come together as a nation to get Americans moving. When we move more, we have better cardiovascular health, we are stronger and less susceptible to disease, and we feel better. The updated guidelines include evidence-based strategies that leaders across the nation can use to help Americans fit more physical activity into their daily lives.”

The second edition, based on a comprehensive scientific review, reflects new knowledge about immediate and long-term health benefits from physical activity, as well as new evidence that physical activity can help manage chronic conditions that many Americans have.  

“The American Heart Association has long recognized physical activity as a proven way to lower chances of heart disease and live a longer, healthier life. Our organization is committed to developing programs and advocating for polices that make it easier for everyone to get more physically active, regardless of where they live,” said Ivor Benjamin, M.D., American Heart Association president. “In 2008, the American Heart Association adopted the Physical Activity Guidelines and again we are proud to lead the call for health groups across the country to view these guidelines as beneficial to both public health and a worthy tool for clinicians.”

Notable updates:

  • The previous guidelines stated that only 10-minute bouts of physical activity counted toward meeting the guidelines. This requirement has been removed because all activity counts.
  • There are immediate health benefits, attainable from a single bout of activity, including reduced anxiety and blood pressure, improved quality of sleep, and improved insulin sensitivity.
  • There are more long-term benefits from physical activity, including improved brain health, reduced risk of eight types of cancer (previously two), reduced risk for fall-related injuries in older adults, and reduced risk of excessive weight gain.
  • Physical activity helps manage more chronic health conditions.
    • It can decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis, reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • There are new key guidelines for preschool children to be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. 

For more information about the latest Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans visit www.health.gov/paguidelines.



Monday, November 12, 2018 - 08:00


Secretary Azar Comments on Data Showing Rising E-Cigarette Use Among Youth

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement regarding the sharp uptick in e-cigarette use among youth reported in the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey:

“America’s youth are facing a public health crisis that threatens an entire generation: skyrocketing use of nicotine products, brought on by access to flavored products in particular. Use of these products, including e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes, and cigars, put our youth at risk for a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

E-cigarettes present an important, potentially lifesaving opportunity to help currently addicted adult smokers quit combustible cigarettes. But in trying to build this off-ramp from a deadly addiction, we cannot let e-cigarettes become an on-ramp for kids to enter a lifetime of nicotine addiction and tobacco use.

New data from the National Youth Tobacco survey show the number of teenagers using e-cigarettes almost doubling in just the last year. But we can use a targeted approach to tackle this challenge: The data also show that kids not only choose flavored products more often than adults do, but also that flavors are a major reason they use these products in the first place. Flavors increase the likelihood of kids progressing from experimentation to regular use, and a portion of them will go on to use combustible tobacco products, with the huge added dangers of tobacco-related disease.

FDA’s enforcement efforts and policy framework would restrict access to most flavored e-cigarettes and limit the chances of youth beginning to use these products, while ensuring the products are available to adult smokers as an alternative to combustible cigarettes.

Our obligation at HHS is always to the public health, and we believe FDA’s goals strike the right public health balance in addressing the multifaceted challenge we have before us today.”



Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 09:45


HHS Secretary Azar Declares Public Health Emergency in California due to Wildfires

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar today declared a public health emergency in California due to wildfires. The declaration follows President Trump’s emergency declaration for the state and gives the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs created by the wildfires.

“We are working closely with state health authorities and monitoring the needs of healthcare facilities to provide whatever they may need to save lives and protect health,” Secretary Azar said. “This declaration will help ensure that Americans who are threatened by these dangerous wildfires and who rely on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have continuous access to the care they need.”

So far, the wildfires have forced the evacuation of at least two hospitals and eight other healthcare facilities. A smoke advisory was issued for portions of Los Angeles County. Smoke can present a significant health threat for people with asthma and other lung conditions.

HHS has deployed regional emergency coordinators (RECs) to coordinate with state and local health authorities and emergency response officials. RECs serve as HHS’ primary representatives for emergency response and recovery throughout the country at the regional level and work with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officials and healthcare representatives to plan for public health and medical emergencies.

Staff from HHS’ National Disaster Medical System and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are prepared to provide medical care and public health support if needed.

In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline is available to assist residents in the impacted areas in coping with the stress of the wildfires. The Disaster Distress Helpline provides immediate 24/7, 365-days-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions in disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 toll free or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

In declaring the public health emergency in California and authorizing flexibilities for CMS beneficiaries, Secretary Azar acted under his authority in the Public Health Service Act and Social Security Act. These actions and flexibilities are retroactive to Nov. 8, 2018.



Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 23:15