Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Weighing in on the Alabama Obesity Debate

Here is a headline from Alabama in mid-July:

Alabama Obesity Ranking (WBHM - NPR News and Classical Music)

Montgomery -- Alabama has once again been ranked as one of the most obese states in the country. The latest survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Mississippi was the most obese state, with 32 percent of adults having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Alabama followed closely in the number two spot with 30.3 percent of adults being obese.
It was in all the local papers and local news shows too.

Then we have the latest:

Alabama workers to pay for extra pounds - Diet and nutrition-

"MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama, pushed to second in national obesity rankings by deep-fried Southern favorites, is cracking down on state workers who are too fat.

The state has given its 37,527 employees a year to start getting fit — or they’ll pay $25 a month for insurance that otherwise is free."
Suspiciously I have seen this all over the net but nothing has been reported on it on the local level.

I live in Alabama---big surprise :)

Granted it's a itty bitty college town smack dab in the middle of the state. Yet we do get Birmingham's TV, radio and newspapers.

This latest makes as much sense as that absurd law in Mississippi did earlier this year. I could go on and on how idiotic this whole thing is. But others, who are much better writers have done it for me. Check these posts out then contact the Alabama State Employee's Insurance Board and let them know how you feel.

Alabama | Big Fat Blog

Two Things « Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose

Junkfood Science: Taking a step back and thinking about the real story

Junkfood Science: Update: More than a little plan — the trial balloon is off and flying

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Take This Survey!

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is preparing to grade each of the 50 states on public mental health services in 2009 and needs your help. Please take this online survey and forward it to others. It includes a Spanish version.

Anyone age 18 or older who has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness or who has an adult family member with a diagnosed mental illness can take the survey. The survey will remain online until September 30, 2008, and takes about 15 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous.

Specific survey questions include whether public mental health services in a state are easy to find, convenient, affordable and without waiting lists—as well as whether they are sensitive to cultural backgrounds.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Out of the Darkness---Community Walks

2008 Out of the Darkness Community Walk

registration is now open!

If you haven't done so already, please visit to register for a walk in your area!

Thank you for your dedication and participation in the

AFSP Out of the Darkness Community Walks

I will be participating in a walk in September of this year. Please take a few minutes of your time and lend your support for this effort.

Facts about Depression and Suicide


  • Over 32,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
  • In 2005 (latest available data), there were 32,637 reported suicide deaths.
  • Suicide is fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years in the U.S., with approximately 26,500 suicides.
  • Currently, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • A person dies by suicide about every 16 minutes in the United States. An attempt is estimated to be made once every minute.
  • Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females as males attempt suicide.
  • Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own life, and 1,500 more attempt to do so.


  • Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among those 5-14 years old.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old.
  • Between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s, the suicide rate among U.S. males aged 15-24 more than tripled (from 6.3 per 100,000 in 1955 to 21.3 in 1977). Among females aged 15-24, the rate more than doubled during this period (from 2.0 to 5.2). The youth suicide rate generally leveled off during the 1980s and early 1990s, and since the mid-1990s has been steadily decreasing.
  • Among young people aged 10-14 years, the rate has doubled in the last two decades.
  • Between 1980-1996, the suicide rate for African-American males aged 15-19 has also doubled.
  • Risk factors for suicide among the young include suicidal thoughts, psychiatric disorders (such as depression, impulsive aggressive behavior, bipolar disorder, certain anxiety disorders), drug and/or alcohol abuse and previous suicide attempts, with the risk increased if there is situational stress and access to firearms.

Older People

  • The suicide rates for men rise with age, most significantly after age 65.
  • The rate of suicide in men 65+ is seven times that of females who are 65+.
  • The suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45-54 years old, and again after age 75.
  • About 60 percent of elderly patients who take their own lives see their primary care physician within a few months of their death.
  • Six to 9 percent of older Americans who are in a primary care setting suffer from major depression.
  • More than 30 percent of patients suffering from major depression report suicidal ideation.
  • Risk factors for suicide among the elderly include: a previous attempt, the presence of a mental illness, the presence of a physical illness, social isolation (some studies have shown this is especially so in older males who are recently widowed) and access to means, such as the availability of firearms in the home.


  • Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
  • Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 19 million people.
  • More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (12 million), cancer (10 million) and HIV/AIDS (1 million).
  • About 15 percent of the population will suffer from clinical depression at some time during their lifetime. Thirty percent of all clinically depressed patients attempt suicide; half of them ultimately die by suicide.
  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.

Alcohol and Suicide

  • Ninety-six percent of alcoholics who die by suicide continue their substance abuse up to the end of their lives.
  • Alcoholism is a factor in about 30 percent of all completed suicides.
  • Approximately 7 percent of those with alcohol dependence will die by suicide.

Firearms and Suicide

  • Although most gun owners reportedly keep a firearm in their home for "protection" or "self defense," 83 percent of gun-related deaths in these homes are the result of a suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.
  • Firearms are used in more suicides than homicides.
  • Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.
  • Firearms account for 52 percent of all suicides.

Medical Illness and Suicide

  • Patients who desire an early death during a serious or terminal illness are usually suffering from a treatable depressive condition.
  • People with AIDS have a suicide risk up to 20 times that of the general population.

Studies indicate that the best way to prevent suicide is through the early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics for the year 2005.