Kim Krisberg

Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for more than a decade. You can reach her at kkrisberg@yahoo.com.

Low income and poor health tend to go hand in hand — that’s not a particularly surprising or new statement. However, according to family medicine doctor Steven Woolf, we have yet to truly grasp the extent to which income shapes a person’s health and opportunity to live a long life. And if we don’t confront the widening income inequality gap, he says things will only get worse.

Today, nearly every state in the country has a law that bans texting while driving. But do these laws make a difference?

Occupational Health News Roundup

Advocates work to expand consumer concern from humanely treated food to humanely treated workers; workers with children face struggles in Silicon Valley; Texas lawmakers introduce bill aimed at fertilizer plants; Microsoft to require paid leave policies at its suppliers; and the McDonald’s wage hike is too small for too few.

Thanks to the federal School Breakfast Program, millions of low-income children have the opportunity to start the school day with a healthy meal. But does the program impact the brain as well as the belly? A new study finds that it does, with students at participating schools scoring higher in math, reading and science.

For years, advocates have been calling on policymakers to reform the nation’s outdated chemical safety laws. Today, two such bills stand before Congress — one that advocates say better protects the public’s health and another that advocates warn is a dangerous step backward.

In a somewhat frightening illustration of anti-vaccine trends, a new report estimates that among groups affected in the recent measles outbreak, the rates of measles-mumps-rubella immunization might have been as low as 50 percent.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Reporters investigate the state of safety at oil refineries following the 2005 Texas City explosion; fast food workers file OSHA complaints; farm workers go on strike in Baja California; and San Francisco officials vote in support of fair working conditions for shuttle bus workers.

For all you city-dwellers out there, next time you walk by a vacant lot that’s been refurbished with green gardens and budding trees, take note of your heart rate. You might find the pleasantly green view caused a welcome moment of relaxation and lowered stress.

Workplace suicides took a sharp upward turn in 2008, with workers in the protective services, such as police officers and firefighters, at greatest risk, a new study finds. Researchers say the findings point to the workplace as a prime location for reaching those at risk with potentially life-saving information and help.

In the first study of its kind, researchers have found that improved air quality in southern California had a direct effect on children’s respiratory health. The findings point to the effectiveness of smart public health policy — in other words, even as southern California experienced increases in traffic and commerce, aggressive air pollution policies resulted in cleaner air and healthier kids.