A Reminder That Education Helps Us Live Healthier | Psychology Today

I am often asked, if I could choose just one policy intervention to improve health what would it be? The more I reflect on this question, the more convinced I am that the answer is to invest in quality education for all children, with special emphasis on education in early childhood. Education helps us live longer, think better, and be healthier. As graduation season is upon us, here are a few reflections on the central role of education in shaping our physical and mental health. 

Study after study has shown that the higher our education level, the longer we will potentially live and the healthier those years are likely to be. College graduates live almost nine years longer than those who did not graduate from high school. Those years of higher education can also lead to a range of health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The health effects of education are also intergenerational—the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births for mothers who did not graduate from high school is close to double that of women who earned college degrees. 

The Public's Health: Pain Drain | Public Health Post

We live in a country that is in pain. Approximately 20% of Americans suffer from chronic pain. Through lost work and often ineffective treatment, chronic pain costs us $600 billion annually, more than cancer and heart disease combined. The emotional and social toll is uncountable. 
Pain is lodged at the crossroads of the two epidemics that have distinguished this decade: opioid addiction and suicide. Pain and its mitigation were the rationale for the profligate (and deceptive) marketing of opioids when prescription pill sales quadrupled between 1999 and 2014. That widespread misuse and addiction followed was, perhaps, not surprising. Physical pain is sometimes at the root of psychic pain; sometimes isolation and despair produce another form of suffering, leading to suicide. Our two epidemics meet at a crisis of pain.

It Is Time to Think Differently About Health | Fortune

Our health is a public good.

I suspect that statement runs at odds with how most readers think about their health. Is our health not, after all, determined by what we do, what we eat, and how much we exercise? While that is indeed the case, fundamentally, our behaviors are shaped by the world around us, inescapably so. Let me explain.

Public goods are common resources that need to be supported by collective investment. Libraries, parks, highways, national security—these are all examples of public goods, supported by all and accessible to all. The reason they are public goods, rather than individual commodities, is we have decided that they are so fundamental to our wellbeing that they should not be entirely the province of private investment or market forces. Education, for example, benefits everyone—there is no one whose life it does not stand to improve. It is therefore supported by everyone, as a public good.

The Public's Health: Maybe the End of HIV | Public Health Post

For 40 years, HIV has been our most politically charged illness and the defining health challenge of our time. Our recollection of these decades contains visceral images of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a quilt that covered the National Mall, bodies of Giacometti emaciation, of Silence=Death written under overpasses, of fake blood thrown on politicians. HIV has been a disease of private hiding and public protest. It has been the disease of demands: for civil rights, for medical rights, for open and shared science, for enhanced and coordinated funding. HIV and its trail of discontent has driven the study of health disparities and animated global health.
At the same time, the world of HIV care over the last two decades has seen a great, almost miraculous, revolution. Today, a 35 year old who was HIV-infected in 2018 and takes her daily medication adherently has the life expectancy of a 35 year old without HIV infection. Monthly injections of long-acting HIV drugs look to be as good as daily pills at suppressing the virus, creating easier treatment. Medication to prophylactically prevent infection is 95% effective. Recent reports of two persons “cured” of HIV have created hope and impatience.

We need a national conversation about health — not just about health care | STAT News

Last year, Americans borrowed approximately $88 billion to pay for health care. One in four of us skipped medical appointments because of concern about costs. Such statistics reflect a trend that has been going on for decades. In 1970, the U.S. spent $74.6 billion on health. By 2000, this figure had risen to around $1.4 trillion and by 2017 it was $3.5 trillion. Not incidentally, medical debt is now the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.

This question — Are we paying too much for health? — has defined much of the health conversation in the U.S. over the years. Unfortunately, it is the wrong question. Here’s the right one: Is our spending making us healthier?

The answer, sadly, is no.

The Public's Health: Immigration and the Health of the Public | Public Health Post

Throughout his political career, the current President has defined himself in large part by his antipathy towards immigrants; from hisdisparaging remarksabout Mexican immigrants (and judges) at the start of his presidential campaign, to his administration’sban on immigrants from several majority-Muslim countries. Leaving aside the callousness of such statements and actions, they have drowned out a conversation that we should be having about the health of immigrants.

Immigration is neither a new issue, nor an exclusively local one. In 2017, there were more than250 million immigrants living worldwide, and about 2.4 million migrate across national borders each year. It is estimated that more than750 million people live within their country of birth but in a different region, having migrated within national borders. Economic, political, and social forces drive migration. Migrants who are forced to leave their country due to war or persecution become refugees; there were 65 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2017. 

Sri Lanka's Tragedy and the Global Health Burden of Trauma | Psychology Today

Yesterday, a series of bombings in Sri Lanka killed over 200 people and injured hundreds more, in what police have called coordinated terrorist attacks. While the attacks may be over, their health consequences have only begun. In addition to physical injuries, the survivors of the bombings will be at risk of a range of mental health challenges, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are, sadly, not alone in experiencing this risk. The drivers of trauma are all around us—from natural disasters, to gun violence, to racism, homophobia, and the many forms of interpersonal abuse. The bombings are just the latest reminder that trauma is a ubiquitous human experience that touches millions daily and should be of concern to public health.

The Public's Health: Housing and the Public's Health | Public Health Post

Housing is a foundational determinant of health and has been recognized as such since the early days of public health. In the 19th century, outbreaks of infectious diseases sparked interest in housing reform to address poor sanitation, crowding, and inadequate ventilation. One hundred and fifty years later, a report from the WHO commission on the social determinants of health has returned to the concept of “safe housing” as key to the health of populations.
There are ample data connecting poor housing conditions to a broad range of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, injuries, childhood development and nutrition issues, and to mental health. For example, substandard housing conditions such as poor ventilation, pest infestation, and water leaks are directly associated with the development and exacerbation of respiratory diseases, such as asthma. There are about 24 million Americans with asthma, and it is the most common chronic disease in children worldwide. About 40 percent of diagnosed childhood asthma is attributed to exposures at home.