Navigation Links
In an economic crash, public health improves

MAYWOOD, Il. The economic crash in Cuba following the fall of the Soviet Union has provided researchers with a unique natural experiment on obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

In the early 1990s, shortages of food and gasoline forced Cubans to eat less and do more walking and cycling. Adults lost, on average, 9 to 11 pounds, and type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease dropped sharply.

But after the economy began a slow but steady recovery, adults gradually gained back the weight they had lost, and then some. This weight gain was accompanied by a 116 percent increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. And while heart disease deaths continued to decline, the rate of decrease slowed markedly, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

"There was a serendipitous positive outcome that resulted from a negative experience," said Richard S. Cooper, MD, senior author of the study, which involved researchers from the United States, Spain and Cuba. Cooper is chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Researchers said the Cuba experience provides a "unique, 30-year natural experiment," which for the first time documents the impact that a population-wide cycle of weight loss and weight gain has on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

From 1991 to 1995, Cuba experienced a profound economic crisis due to the loss of Soviet subsidies and a tightening of the U.S. trade embargo. There were severe shortages of food and gasoline. Motorized transport virtually shut down, and more than one million bicycles were distributed. Energy intake from food dropped from about 3,000 calories per day to fewer than 2,400 calories per day. But by 2002, energy intake rebounded to above pre-crisis levels.

Researchers conducted four population surveys of Cubans aged 15 to 72. The surveys, conducted in the city of Cienfuegos on the southern coast of Cuba, were conducted in 1991 (1,657 participants) 1995 (1,351 participants), 2001 (1,667 participants) and 2011 (1,492 participants).

During the economic crisis years, 80 percent of the population was classified as physically active. That has since dropped to the current rate of 55 percent. The percentage of the population that was overweight or obese increased from 33.5 percent in 1995 to 52.9 percent in 2011.

Following the economic crisis years, mortality from coronary heart disease decreased sharply, at a rate of 6.5 percent per year. But after 2002, the rate of decline slowed to 1.4 percent per year, similar to pre-crisis years.

"The Cuban experience demonstrates that within a relatively short period, modest weight loss in the whole population can have a profound effect on the overall burden of diabetes," researchers wrote. "In Cuba, weight loss also had a major effect on trends in cardiovascular diseases and all-cause of mortality."

Researchers conclude that their findings provide a "dramatic illustration of the potential health benefits of reversing the global obesity epidemic."

In an accompanying editorial, Walter C. Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health writes that the findings "add powerful evidence that a reduction in overweight and obesity would have major population-wide benefits. To achieve this is perhaps the major public health and societal challenge of the century."


Contact: Jim Ritter
Loyola University Health System

Related medicine news :

1. UC Irvine study finds racial, economic disparities in ovarian cancer care, survival
2. Economic theory actually works in health care
3. Hospital readmission rates linked to availability of care, socioeconomics
4. Study finds socioeconomic status linked to weight gain and risk of obesity in African-American women
5. Neuroeconomics to study decision-making in anxious individuals
6. Classifying neural circuit dysfunctions using neuroeconomics
7. Socioeconomic disadvantage linked to breast cancer tumor disparity
8. Ethnic disparities in breast cancer survival remain despite socioeconomic similarities
9. Study Tallies Economic Fallout From Workers Heart Attacks
10. Socioeconomic status linked to childhood peanut allergy
11. Better Economic Status Tied to Peanut Allergy in Kids: Study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... Boulder, Colorado (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... launched the first high-tech foam roller with 11 hours of vibrating power. Tested ... to reduce recovery time and increase athletic performance. , Mark's background in sporting ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... The American Institutes ... college campus health staff caring for students who have experienced sexual assault and other ... the White House during the Violence Against Women Act's 21st anniversary. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... M.A. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... Sir ... service to the local Boston chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). This ... that has supported Sir Grout of Greater Boston since its inception. , “We believe ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... "My friend's son suffers from eczema, and he had a horrible habit ... Platteville, Colo. "I came up with this kit as a way to prevent children ... child from rubbing or scratching his or her face. This protects sensitive skin from ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... anesthesia and pain management services, today announced its partnership with WPC Healthcare ... data from disparate systems and organizes the data into an aggregated data repository ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Oct. 13, 2015 Attracting mid- to large-sized medical ... to growing Baltimore into a major ... by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) . ... pieces in place to support innovation hubs and a thriving ... Mtech Baltimore. "This study is important because we believe ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015  Graduate students ... care and medical research, will soon have the ... patient care – the drug discovery and development ... ) has collaborated with 10 leaders from academic ... "Making Medicines: The Process of Drug Development."  Lilly ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , October 13, 2015 ... expected to reach USD 26.8 billion by 2022, according ... Anesthesia and respiratory devices, owing to their capability to ... expected to witness a substantial growth. --> ... reach USD 26.8 billion by 2022, according to a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: