A Population Health Report You Don’t Want to Ignore

April 29, 2016

The U.S. Government devotes billions of dollars to health care expenditures. It now spends more on health care than any other country in the world. Pretty much everyone can agree that pouring money into something is senseless without tackling the systemic problems that obstruct success. So, it’s time to turn heads to the subject of population health— the colossal canopy of environmental and social system health determinants. GPO makes available an Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health publication that meets this topic head on.

population

Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights (ePub)

This book takes a hard, systems-level look at the overall wellbeing of a population. Individual biology and specific diseases are still considered unignorably important areas of study. But that’s not the purpose of this book. The operating idea is this: if large population groups share common health risks, then population-based interventions have the potential to produce considerable impacts. The under-recognized casual relationships involving demographics and human behavior have a profound effect on life expectancy and health-related quality of life.

Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights The text is sectioned into 23 chapters that zero in on demographic and social epidemiological perspectives, behavioral risk policies, biological factors, healthcare investment and economics, and emergent population health tools. Here are a few takeaways to get you thinking…

  • “Despite spending far more on health care than any other nation, the United States ranks near the bottom on key health indicators. This paradox has been attributed to underinvestment in addressing social and behavioral determinants of health.”
  • “The vast majority of deaths in the United States and worldwide are due to non-communicable diseases (NCD) like cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and respiratory disease. The key determinants of these mortality rates are behavioral and social risk factors that include smoking, use of drugs and alcohol, poor diet, and lack of physical activity.”
  • “Of the $2.9 trillion in annual health-related expenditures, about 97 percent is devoted to health care, while only 3 percent is devoted to factors outside of the health care system. In other words, 97 percent of the investment is chasing the potential for 10 percent of the benefit, while as little as 3 percent of the expenditure is devoted to factors that may explain 50 to 90 percent of the potential benefit.”

This report is a push for more interdisciplinary, structural approaches to public health practice. Hopefully, an understanding of population-level health delivery and outcomes will hasten multi-level solutions. Altogether, there is still so much to learn about the effects of various behavioral and social factors on the way health and health care is improved upon. It’s the kind of learning that can’t come fast enough. Because the return on investment will likely be extended life expectancy and improved quality of life for everyone.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS FREE EBOOK?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Health in the United States—One Publication to Rule Them All

October 27, 2015

Health, United States, 2014, With Special Feature on Adults Ages 55 to 64; Health Statistics 2014 in BriefIn timely fashion for Health Literacy Month, the U.S. government has ONE HEALTH PUBLICATION TO RULE THEM ALL. Oh, sorry. Let me just turn off caps lock. Good…now where was I?

Health. Yes! Health, United States, 2014 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics is the source code you need if you want to know the health status of a nation. This annual overview of trends in national health and well-being contains pages of eye-widening statistics on all manner of health conditions and behaviors. Sure, it’s an omnibus of charts and trend tables. But it’s also an education in the health determinants of Americans. No contrivance or filter here. Just plain ‘ol actionable data. A heap of it. So, I will pull out a few choice pieces.

Take the special feature that explores baby boomer health. This graying 55-64 age group is fast approaching the Medicare years and the assemblage of chronic diseases that come with it. The book states that the two leading causes of death for this group are cancer and heart disease. No surprise there. But what is rather interesting to note is that this pre-retirement age group is the most diverse of its kind ever. Of course, the CDC’s health statisticians are wise to consider those socioeconomic and demographic differences and how they relate to key health measures. That’s good data work, folks.

There’s one data set I’m sure we’re all interested in: life expectancy at birth. It’s a measure, according to

Life expectancy at birth

Click image to enlarge.

the publication, that is “often used to gauge the overall health of a population.” Americans are living longer—in 2013, the average age reached 78 for men and 81 for women.

There’s such a bounty of telling stats that a summary here can’t do justice. That’s why the CDC included a trusty In Brief companion to the encyclopedic volume. And if any data nerds out there want to comb through spreadsheets, each section includes links to reference materials.

There’s something refreshingly empowering about reading health information in raw form, to stare down the portrait of American health straight on. So go ahead. Take this set of health facts and figures—the one health publication to rule them all—and use it for good.

How do I obtain this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Office of Public Affairs. 


Fighting Enemies or Disease, Asian Americans Offer a Rich Heritage

May 1, 2013

As Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month kicks off, and the anniversary of WWII’s VE (Victory in Europe) Day approaches (May 8), it’s a good time to talk about a major contribution of Asian and Pacific-Islander Americans.

Japanese Americans’ Battle of Wits with the Japanese in WW II

Nisei-Linguists-CMH_70-99-1The book Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service During WWII published by the Army’s Center of Military History is an excellent starting point to examine that history. When the United States entered WWII in 1941, the War Department knew that their intelligence efforts would not be successful without understanding of Japanese language and culture. However, few Americans other than the 300,000 or so Japanese Americans living mainly on the West Coast and Hawaii had such knowledge.

The War Department tapped the talents and skills of the second generation (Nisei) Japanese Americans. The Western Defense Command chose sixty Nisei soldiers for Japanese language training at the Fourth Army Intelligence School at the Presidio in San Francisco. The school moved to the Midwest after Pearl Harbor, first locating it in Camp Savage and later in Fort Snelling. The program, renamed the Military Intelligence Service Language School, ran until 1946. Nearly six thousand military linguists graduated from the school to enter the Military Intelligence Service (MIS).

MISCrissyField

Image: Nisei linguists undergoing training at MIS Crissy Field.

In addition to telling the story of the program and school, the book also describes how the Nisei served with every major unit and headquarters in the Pacific theater. It is testimony to the Nisei’s loyalty and smarts that it took the War Department only two years to get the Nisei military intelligence program up and running. The Nisei braved considerable prejudice to work for U.S. military intelligence, and there is no doubt their participation in American intelligence efforts made the war end earlier.

No one told the story of these linguists for years after WWII, and it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that people began to talk about their experiences with the program. Finally in 1994, Senator Daniel K. Akaka and some other Congressional members asked the Secretary of the Army to publish an official history of the Nisei linguists. This book is the result of that request.

Learn more about the Nisei language intelligence program by picking up a copy of this fascinating volume at the GPO Online Bookstore in Paperback edition or as an eBook.

Asian Americans Battle Disease Today

Epidemiologic-Profile-2010-Asians_coverHaving turned our thoughts to how Asian-Americans contributed to the care of our nation, it’s also a good time to think about how we care for the Asian-American and Pacific-Islander American portion of the United States population. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just published Epidemiologic Profile 2010: Asians and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.

According to the CDC, “This Epidemiologic Profile is the first compilation of infectious disease-specific data in a single report that focuses on two racial groups in the United States: the Asian population and the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population.” The volume includes a chapter in which the Census Bureau contributes to the description of the Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations who reside in the United States.

The report tracks the involvement of Asians, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in cases of endemic disease. Asians, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders make up a disproportionately large number of cases in some diseases (tuberculosis and hepatitis B), and in others, a smaller percentage of cases than their representation in the U.S. population (STDs and HIV). The report examines specific disease statistics, the challenges of public health education, treatment and disease risk factor mitigation for these populations.

Any public health official, student, social worker, or government employee who works with these populations would definitely want to read this book.

GPO has cataloged a record for the FREE electronic version that Federal depository libraries got in the April 2013 record load.

How can I access the records to both these publications?

How can I purchase Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service During WWII?

Our guest blogger is Jennifer K. Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP). (Article is adapted from an original  post in the FDLP Community site.)


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