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Health Questions & Answers #62 ~ [Issue 0305-4]  Wellness Weekly
 Mar 25, 2005 10:00 PST 

Q & A #1:
As a parent, how can I make sure that my children are physically fit?

Set a good example by practicing heart-healthy habits yourself. Limit
sedentary activities such as television, movies, videos, and computer
games to no more than two hours a day. Plan active family outings and
vacations. Assign household chores (mowing lawns, raking leaves,
scrubbing floors, etc.) that require physical exertion. Observe what
sports and activities appeal to your children, then encourage their
development with lessons or by joining teams. If it is safe to walk
or bike rather than drive, do so. Use stairs instead of elevators and
escalators. Make sure that your children's physical activities at
school or in daycare are adequate. When your children are bored,
suggest something that gets them moving.

Q & A #2:
What is chlamydia and how prevalent is it?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by
the bacterium, "Chlamydia trachomatis," which can damage a woman's
reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually
mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage,
including infertility, can occur "silently" before a woman ever
recognizes a problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the
penis of an infected man. Chlamydia is the most frequently reported
bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In 2002,
834,555 chlamydial infections were reported to CDC from 50 states and
the District of Columbia. Under-reporting is substantial because most
people with chlamydia are not aware of their infections and do not
seek testing. Also, testing is not often done if patients are treated
for their symptoms. An estimated 2.8 million Americans are infected
with chlamydia each year.

Q & A #3:
Can you provide me with some general information regarding "smokeless
tobacco?"

Yes, the following information was obtained directly from a recent
Center's For Disease Control (CDC) fact sheet:

The two main types of smokeless tobacco in the United States are
chewing tobacco and snuff. Chewing tobacco comes in the form of loose
leaf, plug, or twist. Snuff is finely ground tobacco that can be dry,
moist, or in sachets (tea bag-like pouches). Although some forms of
snuff can be used by sniffing or inhaling into the nose, most
smokeless tobacco users place the product in their cheek or between
their gum and cheek. Users then suck on the tobacco and spit out the
tobacco juices, which is why smokeless tobacco is often referred to
as spit or spitting tobacco. Smokeless tobacco is a significant
health risk and is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes.

Smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing agents (carcinogens). It
is a known cause of human cancer, as it increases the risk of
developing cancer of the oral cavity. Oral health problems strongly
associated with smokeless tobacco use are leukoplakia (a lesion of
the soft tissue that consists of a white patch or plaque that cannot
be scraped off) and recession of the gums. Smokeless tobacco use can
lead to nicotine addiction and dependence. Adolescents who use
smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers.

Statistics. Smokeless tobacco use in the United States is higher
among young white males; American Indians/Alaska Natives; people
living in southern and north central states; and people who are
employed in blue collar occupations, service/laborer jobs, or who are
unemployed. Nationally, an estimated 3.5% of adults are current
smokeless tobacco users. Smokeless tobacco use is much higher among
men (6.7%) than women (0.5%). In the United States, 9.3% of American
Indian/Alaska Natives, 4.4% of whites, 1.8% of African Americans,
0.6% of Hispanics, and 0.2% of Asian-American adults are current
smokeless tobacco users. An estimated 6.7% of high school students
are current smokeless tobacco users. Smokeless tobacco is more common
among males (11.0%) than female high school students (2.2%).
Estimates by race/ethnicity are 7.6% for white, 4.7% for Hispanic,
and 3% for African American high school students. An estimated 3.7%
of middle school students are current smokeless tobacco users.
Smokeless tobacco is more common among male (5.6%) than female (1.8%)
middle school students. Estimates by race/ethnicity are 4.0% for
white, 3.6% for Asian, 2.9% for African American, and 2.9% for
Hispanic middle school students. During 2001, the five largest
tobacco manufacturers spent $236.7 million on smokeless tobacco
advertising and promotion. The two leading smokeless tobacco brands
for users aged 12 years or older are Skoal (29.5%) and Copenhagen (18.6%).
	
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