Double Dose: U.S. Infant Mortality Improves, Slightly; PETA's Defense of Sexist Ads; Disability Blog Carnival; Love Your Body Reminder; Proposed Wellness Trust for Preventative Health Services
By Christine Cupaiuolo — October 20, 2008
U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Still High: Infant deaths in the United States declined 2 percent in 2006, according to the latest government statistics, reports The New York Times, but we’re still ranked pretty darn low. Gardiner Harris writes:
Infant mortality has long been considered one of the most important indicators of the health of a nation and the quality of its medical system. In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world, but by 2004, the latest year for which comparisons were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ranking had dropped to 29th lowest.
This international gap has widened even though the United States devotes a far greater share of its national wealth to health care than other countries. In 2006, Americans spent $6,714 per capita on health — more than twice the average of other industrialized countries.
Some blame cultural issues like obesity and drug use. Others say that the nation’s decentralized health care system is failing, and some researchers point to troubling trends in preterm births and Caesarean deliveries.
Many agree, however, that the data are a major national concern. More than 28,000 infants under the age of 1 die each year in the United States.
“Words of Choice”: Check out the list of upcoming dates in Colorado, part of the Go-Vote Tour for reproductive freedom.
PETA’s Options: Ann Friedman dissects PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s rationale for using sexist advertising, which Newkirk discussed in a recent Q&A with Mother Jones.
Disability Blog #47: This carnival, with the theme of “Policy,” is up at Day in Washington. It kicks off with issues affecting women with disabilities around the world, including this post at Hoyden About Town about an Australian report (PDF) on barriers to justice when rapists attack women with disabilities.
On the Sexual Exploitation of Women: Ann Bartow connects the film “Trade,” which is about sex trafficking, to a discussion about the law and proposed legal remedies:
It won’t even begin to solve everything, but one step that will offer help rather than arrest to trafficked women, and will increase resources to combat trafficking of all varieties, is passage of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3887).
It is being opposed by the Bush Justice Department, which has a particularized objection to “wasting money” on the adult victims of sex trafficking, who are seen as less worthy of help than victims forced to work in other industries, due to the sexualized nature of their servitude.
Trust Wellness: “New legislation dropped in the final days of a Congressional session obviously isn’t going anywhere. But it does signal what that legislator thinks is important and plans to push next year. And when that legislator is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the bill involves health care, it merits close attention,” writes Merrill Goozner, who offers a good analysis of the bill, S. 3674.
The proposed legislation, explains Goozner, would “channel existing payments by both public and private insurers for preventive health services into a new Wellness Trust, which would then pay for all preventive services in this society. You can think of it as Medicare Part ‘P,’ except that it isn’t just for the nation’s elderly.”
Love Your Body (Every) Day: The annual reminder to love who you are was Oct. 15. Hijas Americana has posted a very cool pledge to be your own body champion (via Viva La Feminista, which has more good links).
Women’s Health Research Journalism Award: The Society for Women’s Health Research this week honored the work of five journalists with its annual Excellence in Women’s Health Research Journalism Award. The winning entries are from Vogue magazine, KCET-TV, CURE, The Courier-Journal, and healthtalk.com radio.
“Stopping a Killer: Cervical Cancer in India,” from The Courier-Journal, was a special report written by Laura Ungar and photographed by Kylene Lloyd. Their impressive coverage is available in full online.
Health Care & Long Term Care Policy: Alina Salganicoff, Ph.D., vice president and director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, provides an overview of health care coverage and cost challenges for women over age 65. The narrated slide tutorial addresses the role of Medicare and Medicaid as sources of coverage for older women and presents the health and socioeconomic factors that predispose older women to comprise the majority of the long-term care population. Long-term care financing and older women’s out-of-pocket health spending are also addressed.
So I’m Not as Effective as I Think I Am?: I thought this report from NPR on multitasking was interesting. According to scientists, “New research shows that we humans aren’t as good as we think we are at doing several things at once. But it also highlights a human skill that gave us an evolutionary edge.”
Somehow I’m comforted knowing there’s an “executive system” section in my brain, even if it’s getting smaller …
In other news, all this web surfing may be good for me.
While I am hardly an expert when it comes to the care of developmentally disabled infants, I’m troubled by the way Sarah Palin was carrying her four-month old at a recent campaign spot, apparently by the neck the way a child might carry a doll. This would seem to be very dangerous since I understand that developmentally disabled infants are especially susceptible to neck injuries. Nor does it seem to be wise to carry an infant while getting off a plane and wearing high heels. Not being a woman maybe I am exaggerating the risks of falling, but why take any risks whatsoever with the health and safety of an especially vulnerable infant?