Swimming safety


Roundup: Water Safety Urged as CDC Reports Rise in Drowning Deaths; and More News

U.S. Drowning Deaths Suddenly Increase, With Young Children Most at Risk, CDC Reports

With summer here, the importance of water safety intensifies – and it’s more vital now as U.S. drowning deaths are on the rise after decades of declines, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Young children are most at risk, according to the CDC’s data of drownings between 2020 and 2022. Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1–4, increasing by 28 percent in 2022, compared to 2019. Adults 65 years of age and older had the second highest rate of drowning, increasing by 19 percent in adults ages 65–74 in 2022, compared to 2019.

The COVID pandemic was likely a contributing factor to the increase in drownings, the CDC indicates, as many children were home, and often unsupervised, near pools and other bodies of water.

The CDC states: “During the pandemic, many public pools closed, which limited the availability of swimming lessons. Once pools reopened, many facilities faced shortages of trained swimming instructors and lifeguards. This has further reduced access to swimming lessons.”

However, socio-economic barriers remain that limit access to swimming lessons. The CDC: ‘Swimming lessons can be expensive or may not be available in some communities. When swimming lessons are available, some people may be hesitant to participate due to complex social and cultural factors. Everyone should have access to basic swimming and water safety skills training.”

The CDC reports that some groups of people are less likely to report taking swimming lessons.

  • More than 1 in 3 Black adults (37 percent) reported not knowing how to swim, compared to 15 percent of all adults;
  • About 2 in 3 Black adults (63 percent) reported never taking a swimming lesson.
  • About 3 in 4 Hispanic adults (72 percent) reported never taking a swimming lesson.

Measuring Daily Exercise: Minutes vs. Steps – Which is Best? New Study Says: Either One

With smartwatches, anyone can monitoring daily step counts. However, the U.S. physical activity guidelines still issue exercise recommendations based on measurements of time. A new study from researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that both step and time-based activity targets are equally associated with lower risks of early death and cardiovascular disease.

The bottom line, researcher conclude: The most important factor is to be active using either measurement standards. Their results are published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Stated lead author Rikuta Hamaya, M.D., a researcher in the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH. “With more people using smartwatches to measure their steps and overall health, we saw the importance of ascertaining how step-based measurements compare to time-based targets in their association with health outcomes – is one better than the other?”

For the study, researchers collected data from 14,399 women who participated in the Women’s Health Study, and who were healthy -- free from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

They found that participants engaged in a median of 62 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week and accumulated a median of 5,183 steps per day. Participants aged 62 years and older were asked to wear wearables that could measure steps.

“During a median follow-up of 9 years, about 9 percent of participants had passed and roughly 4 percent developed cardiovascular disease,” states a news release on the study’s results. “Higher levels of physical activity (whether assessed as step counts or time in moderate-to-vigorous activity) were associated with large risk reductions in death or cardiovascular disease. The most active quarter of women had 30-40 percent risk reductions, compared with the least active quarter.”

For substantial health benefits, U.S. guidelines call for adults to get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling. Adults should also do some muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week. Guidelines also urge less time sitting. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.

Among the many health benefits of regular physical activity are lower risks of: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy.

Analysis of 49 Studies: Plant-Based Diets Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Early Death

A plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and early death, according to a large-scale review of 49 previously published studies published from 2000 to 2023. The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, represent the latest research to conclude that such diets offer the most health benefits.

The analysis of previous studies found that “overall, vegetarian and vegan diets have a robust statistical association with better health status on a number of risk factors associated with cardiometabolic diseases, cancer, and mortality, such as blood pressure, management of blood sugar, and body mass index. Such diets are associated with reduced risk of ischemic heart disease, gastrointestinal and prostate cancer, and death from cardiovascular disease,” states a news release on the findings.

A vegan diet is based on plants, such as fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts, and foods made from plants. Vegans do not eat foods that come from animals, including dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian diet is similar and often excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood. However, there are a few variations of a vegetarian diet that may include eggs, dairy and fish.

The U.S. government’s dietary guidelines, also known as My Plate, focus on plant-based options. About half of the government’s My Plate is fruits and vegetables, while the other half consists of grains and protein. Overall, 75 percent of the plate has always been plant-based. The Mediterranean Diet — highly rated by dietitians — focuses on fruits and vegetables, but makes allowances for lean proteins from fish and poultry. Both plans strongly restrict red meat, overly processed meats and sugary drinks.

In the new analysis of 49 previously published studies, the researchers noted that the strength of this association between plant-based diets and health benefits is limited by “the many differences between past studies in terms of the specific diet regimens followed, patient demographics, study duration, and other factors.” More research should be conducted, they stated.

Nonetheless, the study’s authors concluded that plant-based diets “can be beneficial to human health and be one of the effective preventive strategies for the two most impactful chronic diseases on human health in the 21st century.”

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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