Wednesday, February 3, 2010

12 steps to improve public health?

The UK Faculty of Public Health has proposed 12 "practical steps to tackle serious public health concerns from obesity and heart disease to alcohol and sexually transmitted infections". These steps were proposed to call upon all political parties to introduce robust public health policies to improve the nation's health. The 12 steps are:
1. A minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol sold
2. No junk food advertising in pre-watershed television
3. Ban smoking in cars with children
4. Chlamydia screening for university and college freshers
5. 20 mph limit in built up areas
6. A dedicated school nurse for every secondary school
7. 25% increase in cycle lanes and cycle racks by 2015
8. Compulsory and standardised front-of-pack labelling for all pre-packaged food
9. Olympic legacy to include commitment to expand and upgrade school sports facilities and playing fields across the UK
10. Introduce presumed consent for organ donation
11. Free school meals for all children under 16
12. Stop the use of transfats

In its manifesto, the Faculty of Public Health claims that endorsing these steps will significantly improve the health of the UK population.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Professor Paul van der Maas gives his farewell lecture

On Friday January 29 professor Paul van der Maas gave his final lecture in the main auditorium of the Erasmus University. Prof. van der Maas was professor of Public Health since 1983. He was dean of the Erasmus University Medical Center and chair or member of many key advisory board and committees for public health and public health research in the Netherlands. He has conducted and led cutting edge research projects on cancer screening, aging, and end-of-life care.
Eight of his PhD students are now professors in different areas of public health research, and they have produced a ‘liber amicorum’ for prof. van der Maas.
His final lecture as professor of Public Health stated that public health can be shaped and influenced, but that public health is also fragile; based on the last century one may think that our public health can only go up, given the impressive increases in for example life expectancies in most countries around the world. But great threats to public health such as the growing food shortages, ecological downfall, and emerging infectious diseases will be enormous challenges that public health researchers, policy makers and practitioners will have to face.
Prof. van der Maas ‘retirement’ does not mean that he will not remain active in the field. For one thing, he will chair the grant application committee for the assessment and evaluation of grant applications submitted to the Dutch Cancer Society grant schemes funded by the Alpe D’Huzes foundation.