All posts in tag: public health

Claude Fischer When epidemic hysteria made sense

As I write this post, it has been about three weeks since Thomas Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Texas. The media and political hysteria that has ensued in this country is amazing, statistically and historically. Unlike, say, tuberculosis or the flu, it is extremely hard to get infected with … More >

Stephen Sugarman Berkeley’s proposed soda tax would cut sugar intake, and that’s a good thing

The bottom line is that the proposed one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley would reduce sugar consumption, and that would be good for the health of the population.

Were the measure to pass, it seems pretty clear that the tax would be passed on to consumers in the form … More >

Dan Farber Lessons from an epidemic

Ebola’s natural reservoirs are animals, if only because human hosts die to too quickly. Outbreaks tend to occur in locations where changes in landscapes have brought animals and humans into closer contact. Thus, there is considerable speculation about whether ecological factors might be related to the current outbreak. (See this … More >

Claude Fischer Eco-Puritanism

For years, political divisions over the environment have had the seemingly odd feature that Americans farthest from the open country have tended to be most supportive of protecting the environment, while those nearest to it — farmers and other rural residents — have been most resistant. This split has been … More >

Claude Fischer Public health

The health of the American people has risen and fallen with fluctuations in the health of its poorest. Although more vulnerable in the past, the affluent have generally managed, major epidemics aside, to stay healthier than other Americans. Going back centuries, they regularly had nutritious food, usually clean water, decent … More >

Malcolm Potts Oral contraceptives should be in vending machines and cigarettes on prescription

I am continuing my weekly blog built around the large undergraduate class I co-teach on Poverty and Population.  The philosophy of the class has been well summarized by the economist Partha Dasgupta in a recent Science article. He pointed out that, “Family planning is not subject to the play of … More >

Tomás Aragón San Francisco plastic-bag ban associated with 46% increase in foodborne illness deaths — Not!

In my role as Health Officer of San Francisco I received a flurry of concerned calls about a research study that claimed that the 2007 San Francisco ban on plastic bag resulted in an immediate, very large increase in foodborne illnesses and deaths. From their conclusions:

“We examine deaths and emergency … More >

Claude Fischer We’re # last!

If you ask young Americans how good their health is, they’ll tell you it’s great. The U.S. ranks #1 among 17 affluent, western countries in that regard, in the percentage of people aged 5 to 34 who rate their health as good. Unfortunately, when doctors look at people’s actual health, … More >

Dan Farber The NAACP and the politics of race and regulation

There’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on about the NAACP’s defense of over-sized soft-drinks.  In an amicus brief challenging New York City’s new ban on the super-size, the NAACP (joined by the Hispanic Federation and an association of Korean grocers) takes a surprisingly libertarian stance against government regulation.  It … More >

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