Roundup: Obesity-Linked Cancers in Young Adults; Kids & Too Much Toothpaste; and e-Scooter Injuries

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February 8, 2019


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Cancers Linked to Obesity Increasing Among Young Adults

An obesity epidemic persists in the United States, and a new study has yielded a concerning side effect: six obesity-related cancers are on the rise in young adults.

While young adults are still less likely to develop cancer overall, researchers found that among millennials and generation Z — people in their 20s and their 30s — rates of diagnoses are rising for endometrial, gallbladder, kidney, multiple myeloma, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers, all of which have been linked to obesity.

The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, looked at data on 12 obesity-related cancers between 1995 and 2014, as well as 18 common cancers not associated with weight. The study found increasing rates of these obesity-linked cancers among adults age 24 to 49.

Researchers concluded that millennials (those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s) are twice as likely to develop four of those cancers — colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic and gall bladder — as baby boomers (born from 1946 to 1964) were at the same age. Most of these cancers usually are diagnosed in patients later in life, primarily in people in their 60s and 70s.

“The risk of cancer is increasing in young adults for half of the obesity-related cancers, with the increase steeper in progressively younger ages,” said co-author Ahmedin Jemal, who is the vice president of the Surveillance and Health Services Research Program for the American Cancer Society.

One striking example the study provided looked at pancreatic cancer. Typically, pancreatic cancer is diagnosed in people over age 65. But the study found the average annual increase for pancreatic cancer was 4.34 percent for ages 25 to 29; 2.47 percent in people aged 30 to 34; 1.31 percent for those in the 35 to 39 age bracket, and only 0.72 percent in those aged 40 to 44 years.

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Young Kids are Using Too Much Toothpaste, CDC Study Finds

A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that nearly 40 percent of children ages 3 to 6 used a tooth brush that was full or half-full of toothpaste. That amount exceeds the CDC’s recommendation of using only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste during those ages.

Kids younger than three should use even less — a “smear” — which the CDC asserts should be equivalent to a grain of rice in size. Young children often swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out, the study points out.

The study also found that about 60 percent of kids between ages 3 and 15 used a half or full toothbrush load of toothpaste when they brushed.

Why could too much toothpaste be a problem? Fluoride in both toothpaste and water has dental health benefits, including the prevention tooth decay and cavities. But the CDC says that “ingestion of too much fluoride while teeth are developing can result in visibly detectable changes in enamel structure such as discoloration” and dental fluorosis, the CDC said. Dental fluorosis causes streaks and spots on the teeth.

Researchers analyzed nationally representative survey data from parents with kids between the ages of 3 and 15 that was collected between 2013 and 2016. In all, data for 5,157 kids were included in the study.

It’s also recommended that adults also use about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, but this isn’t as much of an issue for grown-ups, health officials say.

Researchers also found that 80 percent of parents start brushing their children’s teeth later than recommended. Health experts advise parents to start brushing their child’s teeth when the first tooth erupts, which is usually at about 6 months of age.

 

E-Scooter Injury Tally at 1,500 Nationwide Since Late 2017, Says Consumer Reports

Electric scooters starting popping up on the streets of cities across the U.S. in 2017. Now an increasing amount of data is being released on the extent of injuries e-scooter riders have sustained.

The latest is an investigation by Consumer Reports (CR) published this week. It found that more than 1,500 people have been injured in e-scooter crashes since late 2017. CR’s report also concludes that it is difficult, at this point in the evolution of e-scooter availability, for medical professionals to get a sense of how risky the transportation mode may be.

CR said it contacted 110 hospitals and five agencies in 47 cities where at least one of the two biggest scooter companies, Bird or Lime, operates. CR stated that several doctors at trauma centers informed its researchers that they’ve been treating serious injuries related to e-scooters since the ride-share fleets launched on some city streets about a year and a half ago.

Medical professionals are struggling to make sense of the e-scoooter trend’s public health impact, says CR. A study published in late January by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that 249 people were injured in e-scooter-related crashes, but the findings were limited to two hospitals in Southern California. No national data on e-scooter crashes currently exist.

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