Health
Thursday, November 20, 2003
DPH Programs spur dramatic decline in youth smoking
Delaware youth smoking rates continued to decline dramatically, especially among middle school students, according to the Division of Public Health's (DPH) 2002 Delaware Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey shows decreasing smoking rates and strong awareness of the hazards of tobacco use among students ages 11-18. The Delaware Youth Tobacco Survey was administered to 5,296 students in grades 6-12 in the spring of 2002. The report, “Incidence and Prevalence of Youth Tobacco Use In Delaware,” contains the following highlights:

•A 63 percent decrease in middle school students who reported smoking a whole cigarette before age 11, from 27 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2002.

•A 23 percent decrease in the number of middle school youth who have ever tried a cigarette, from 44 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2002. There was a 3 percent decrease among high school students, from 66 percent in 2000 to 63 percent in 2002.

•A 27 percent decrease in smoking during the past 30 days among middle school students, from 15 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2002. Current tobacco use for high school students decreased slightly from 27 percent in 2002 to 26 percent in 2002.

The survey found that most Delaware students know smoking is addictive and that they believe it is a health risk to smoke for only a year or two. Most students know that exposure to secondhand smoke is harmful. While the results show that the trends are moving in the right direction, those students who do smoke face more social and knowledge barriers than their non-smoking peers. Three of four middle school students who smoke live with someone who smokes. This is an increase of 8 percent since 2000.

Outreach campaign target caregivers
An estimated 70,000 people in Delaware are caring for an elderly relative or friend at home. In November, CARE Delaware is working to reach these individuals with an important message: “We’re here to help.” “Caregivers are often isolated and under a great deal of stress. They’re juggling full-time jobs with the responsibilities of caring for an elderly person. Many people find themselves in this situation somewhat suddenly, when a family member falls ill or becomes disabled. We want them to know that they can turn to us for help,” said Leah Jones, administrator. For more information about CARE Delaware resources and information, call the Delaware Helpline at 1-800-464-HELP, contact the DHSS’ Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) at 1-800-223-9074, or visit their website at www.DSAAPD.com. For those who are caring for a loved one from a distance and need to find the agency on aging in their elder's local area, assistance is also available through the Elder Care Locator. Those who need help should call 1-800-677-1166 or online at www.eldercare.gov.
  Steps to prevent and manage diabetes
November is American Diabetes Month. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States. A third of the 17 million Americans with diabetes are unaware that they have the disease. About 90-95 percent of people living with diabetes have type 2, or adult onset diabetes, a devastating illness with potentially life-threatening complications. Those at highest risk include:

•People over the age of 45

•Those with a family history of diabetes

•People who are overweight or do not exercise regularly

•Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy

•People of African American, Latino, Native American or Asian decent

•Children who are overweight and in middle to late puberty

Fortunately there are several ways to prevent and manage diabetes. Dr. Kandeel suggests the following:

•Eat a well-balanced diet

•Exercise regularly and shed the extra pounds

•Manage physical and mental stress factors

•Practice good personal hygiene, including oral health, skin care, foot care and eye care

For more information about diabetes research and treatment at the City of Hope Leslie & Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes & Genetic Research Center, call 1-800-826-HOPE.