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Posted - Aug. 8, 2003 at 11:20 a.m.



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Aug 08, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- MANY COLLEGE STUDENTS PRACTICE "UNSAFE" SEX

New research shows many college students have had unprotected sex, thereby increasing their risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. The survey found more than half of those surveyed were sexually active while attending college. Of these, 73 percent said they had unprotected sex. In addition, although one out of five college students knew someone who had contracted an STD in college, almost 70 percent of them who have had unprotected sex said they did not think they were at risk of contracting an STD. Almost half of students who had been sexually active said they were never even tested for an STD. The study also showed few could recognize the symptoms of hepatitis B, a vaccine-preventable STD that is potentially cancer causing. Hepatitis B can also spread through body piercings, tattoing, razor or toothbrush sharing and contact sports -- all common practices among college students, according to the survey.

HOME OWNERSHIP LINKED TO FEWER HEALTH EMERGENCIES

A new report has found a link between home ownership and emergency room visits. Within a mile radius of The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, researchers found in areas where less than 20 percent of housing units were occupied by the owners, there were 53 emergency department visits per year per 100 people. Where more than 45 percent of housing units were owner-occupied, the number of emergency visits decreased to 27. The study also found that neighborhoods where all the residents were black had 51 emergency room visits whereas areas where less than half the population was black had 17 visits. "Residents in this community come to the ED not only for emergent care, but also for urgent and primary care because of financial, physical or cultural barriers to other sources of medical care," said Dr. Guohua Li, professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University. "To meet the health needs and reduce ED usage in these communities, it is imperative to deploy more resources."

PARENTS SHOULD REMEMBER THEIR CHILDREN'S TEETH

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics are reminding parents not to forget to have children's teeth checked. They recommend that parents make dental checkups a regular part of their children's back-to-school preparations. "Children with preventable or untreated health and development problems may have trouble concentrating and learning," said Dr. Alycia Rodgers, AAP spokeswoman. "When a child has serious tooth decay, it can affect overall health and can lead to problems in eating, speaking and paying attention in class." Every year, more than 51 million school hours are lost to dental-related issues. Tooth decay, however, is preventable with brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly.

SOME MALE ATHLETES REPORT FEELING INADEQUATE

A negative body image, something often associated with women, also is a problem for some male athletes, a new survey has found. Of the 882 Ohio State University athletes in the study, 4 percent of the males reported they were preoccupied by the inadequacy of their body size and had significant distress as a result. Nine percent reported using performance-enhancing drugs. "Some male athletes see pictures in men's fitness magazines of big, extremely muscular men and feel that they don't measure up," said Jennifer Carter, psychologist at OSU. Feeling they are not lean or muscular enough can lead to eating disorders. The survey found over 17 percent of athletes in "lean" sports -- in which there is pressure to be thin -- showed symptoms of eating disorders. Over 9 percent of athletes in non-lean sports showed such signs.

(Editors: For more information on STDs, contact Caren Wagner at 212-798-9744. For EMERGENCY, Karen Blum at 410-955-1534 or kblum@jhmi.edu. For DENTAL, Fred Peterson at 312-440-2806 or petersonf@ada.org. For BODY IMAGE, Jeff Grabmeier at 614-292-8457 or Grabmeier.1@osu.edu)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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