HEALTH

Survey: 1-in-10 patients don’t tell their healthcare practitioner they’re still smoking

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Approximately 13% of smokers do not disclose their tobacco habit to their healthcare provider, according to a survey released Friday by Legacy.

And while a majority of smokers did admit their smoking status, only some 25% sought help from their doctors or healthcare providers during their last quit attempt.

"Healthcare providers play a critical role in reaching smokers with appropriate messages and resources for quitting, especially now that insurance coverage has expanded to include some smoking-cessation treatments," stated Cheryl Healton, Legacy president and CEO. "It becomes a missed public health opportunity if what amounts to more than 6 million smokers in the United States [who] do not talk to doctors and nurses about smoking and quitting."

To address the void between doctors and all smokers, Legacy has developed a guide for healthcare providers with strategies on how to conduct more meaningful and effective conversations with their patients about smoking and quitting. For a copy of the guide, click here. (And for a Spanish-language guide, click here.)

The survey included 3,146 adult participants in the United States, both smokers and former smokers.

Legacy is the national, independent public health foundation that was created in 1999 out of the landmark Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry, 46 state governments and five U.S. territories.

 


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Study: Low levels of vitamin D linked to depression symptoms

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study in a release issued Thursday.

This new study — published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings — helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression. Major depressive disorder affects nearly 1-in-10 adults in the United States.

“Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients — and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels — might be useful,” stated Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, done in conjunction with the Cooper Institute in Dallas.

UT Southwestern researchers examined the results of almost 12,600 participants from late 2006 to late 2010. Brown and colleagues from the Cooper Institute found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression.

Low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms, particularly in those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels. The study did not address whether increasing vitamin D levels reduced depressive symptoms.

The scientists have not determined the exact relationship — whether low vitamin D contributes to symptoms of depression, whether depression itself contributes to lower vitamin D levels or how that happens chemically. But vitamin D may affect neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers and other factors, which could help explain the relationship with depression, Brown said.

 


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Vitamin Shoppe launches line of supplements certified for sport by NSF

BY Michael Johnsen

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. — The Vitamin Shoppe on Thursday announced the launch of a sports nutrition supplement line called True Athlete.

True Athlete is the only retailer line to become part of NSF International’s NSF Certified for Sport program, minimizing the risk of unwanted contaminants, according to Vitamin Shoppe. "We are proud to offer effective, high-quality, sports nutrition formulas that every athlete and health-conscious individual can trust and be confident in, without the addition of artificial ingredients," stated Marvin Barton, sports nutrition expert at The Vitamin Shoppe.

"With Vitamin Shoppe True Athlete products earning the NSF Certified for Sport designation, professional, amateur and student athletes will have a wider range of products to choose from that they know have been screened for athletic banned substances and contaminants," added Ed Wyszumiala, general manager of NSF International’s Dietary Supplement Certification Programs.

The True Athlete line will include five products, including a creatine powder, a whey protein and a multivitamin.

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