Roundup: CDC Urges Zika Testing for Pregnant Women in Miami-Dade; New Facts on Exercise Benefits for Diabetics

U.S. health officials are recommending Zika testing for all pregnant women who have recently spent time any amount of time anywhere in Miami-Dade County.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendation and now urges pregnant women to be tested for Zika “who have lived in, traveled to, or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to any area of Miami-Dade County.”

Miami-Dade is the only area in the continental U.S. where mosquitoes have been spreading the virus since the summer. Testing is recommended for pregnant women who lived in — or visited — Miami-Dade since August 1, whether or not they have symptoms.

The CDC had previously encouraged pregnant women to be tested if they had been in one of the county’s Zika “active transmission” zones. Currently, a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach and one-square-mile area in Little River are designated as “red areas.” The rest of Miami-Dade County is a “yellow area” where there is also ongoing mosquito testing for Zika.

For the most up-to-date designation of red and yellow areas, check the CDC website on Florida’s Zika situation.

In order to be tested for the Zika virus at a Baptist Health South Florida facility, all patients must have a prescription from a physician, in addition to a completed provider questionnaire and Florida Department of Health laboratory form. Read more about Zika testing here.


New Facts on Exercise Benefits for Diabetics

New studies focusing on the timing and quantity of exercise provide more detailed proof that regular physical activity can help people with type 2 diabetes.

One study by researchers in New Zealand found that walking 10 minutes after meals, and especially after dinner, was more beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetics — compared to doing 30 minutes of exercise all at once during the day. The study, published in Diabetologia, found that after-dinner walks lowered post-meal blood sugar levels by 22 percent on average.

In a separate study, researchers from the United Kingdom analyzed results from 28 smaller studies. They concluded that the more people exercised, the lower their risk of type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps insulin work more efficiently on cells and allows muscles to use glucose more effectively, the researchers said.

The research, also published in Diabetologia, found that people who doubled their amount of exercise to about 300 minutes per week, instead of the recommended 150 minutes per week, reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 36 percent.

“Our study suggests that notable health benefits of physical activity can be realized even at relatively low levels (of exercise), but also that considerable additional decreases in risk for type 2 diabetes are afforded when substantially exceeding the current physical activity guidelines.

Only 49 percent of Americans regularly exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week, at a moderate level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That is the recommended amount of minimal physical activity recommended by the American Heart Association.

The rate of new cases of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is levelling off, but the numbers are still very high, reports the CDC. More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 86 million are living with prediabetes, a serious health condition that increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Close to 86 million U.S. adults have prediabetes, and the vast majority of them don’t know it, the CDC says.

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CDC Says More Kids Need Dental Sealants to Prevent Cavities

Federal health officials are urging more parents and schools to help make sure kids get dental sealants, thin coatings that can prevent cavities for many years.

Sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities in school-age children, according to a new Vital Signs report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sealants are protective coatings painted onto the teeth to help prevent bacteria from seeping in and contributing to tooth decay. The CDC found that many children are not getting sealant treatment. About 60 percent of children ages 6 to 11 don’t get dental sealants, and kids who don’t have them get almost three times as many cavities, the CDC says.

Moreover, a separate study in the American Journal of Public Health found that students whose oral health was rated “good, fair or poor” were about three times more likely to miss school because of dental pain compared with kids with “very good or excellent” oral health.

In a press conference this week, CDC officials said more health care providers, school administrators and parents need to be aware of the benefits of the procedure.

“Although the overall number of children with sealants has increased over time, low-income children are 20 percent less likely to have them and 2 times more likely to have untreated cavities than higher-income children,” the CDC states. “Untreated cavities can cause pain, infection, and problems eating, speaking, and learning.”

State government officials can help millions more children prevent cavities by starting or expanding programs that offer dental sealants in schools, the CDC says.

The CDC says that state officials can:

  • Target school-based sealant programs to areas where children are at higher risk for cavities. Track the number of schools and children participating in sealant programs.
  • Implement policies that allow school-based sealant programs to operate in the most cost-effective manner.
  • Help schools connect to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), local health department clinics, community health centers, and dental providers in the community to foster more use of sealants and reimbursement of services.

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Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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