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Profound impact of smoking, alcohol and obesity on improvements in life expectancy

Fanny Janssen, Sergi Trias-Llimós and Anton Kunst Smoking, alcohol misuse and behaviours that result in obesity (such as an unhealthy diet and insufficient…

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Fanny Janssen, Sergi Trias-Llimós and Anton Kunst

Smoking, alcohol misuse and behaviours that result in obesity (such as an unhealthy diet and insufficient physical activity) have strong negative effects on individual health. Because these health behaviours are very common among people in Europe, smoking, alcohol and obesity also largely influence mortality rates and life expectancy in Europe.

However, the impact of these three lifestyle factors on life expectancy is likely changing over time. Smoking, obesity and alcohol misuse, like true epidemics, tend to first become more common in a population, followed (eventually) by a decline in their prevalence and associated mortality.

This raises the question of how changes in smoking, obesity and alcohol use have influenced improvements in life expectancy over time. Answering this question is particularly relevant because of the recently observed stagnation in life expectancy improvements in some European countries.

In our study recently published in the IJE, we examined, for the first time, the combined effects of smoking, obesity and alcohol on both life expectancy and secular trends in life expectancy for 30 European countries.

We found that, in these countries in 2014, the average combined impact of smoking, obesity and alcohol on life expectancy at birth was 5.8 years among men (3.4 years for smoking, 1.8 years for alcohol and 1.3 years for obesity). Among women, the impact was much lower, at 2.3 years (0.8 years for smoking, 0.5 years for alcohol, and 1.2 years for obesity). In other words, without these three lifestyle factors, life expectancy at birth in Europe would have been 5.8 years longer for men (currently 75 years) and 2.3 years longer for women (currently 82 years).

The impact of the three lifestyle factors on life expectancy is, however, not stable over time. Among men in the 30 European countries studied, the average combined impact of smoking, obesity and alcohol on life expectancy at birth declined from 6.6 years in 1990 to 5.8 years in 2014. This was mostly due to a decline in smoking-attributable mortality. Among women, the average combined impact of smoking, obesity and alcohol on life expectancy at birth actually showed an increase, from 1.9 to 2.3 years during the same period, due to, on average, increases in all three lifestyle factors.

The three lifestyle factors combined also affected improvements in life expectancy at birth over time. Across the 30 European countries, the observed average increase in life expectancy at birth between 1990 and 2014 was 5 years for men (from 69.3 to 74.3 years) and 4 years for women (from 77.3 to 81.2 years). Without the impact of smoking, obesity and alcohol, this increase would have been 4.2 to 4.3 years for both men and women. The resulting stable and more uniform increase in life expectancy – without the impact of the lifestyle factors – likely captures the underlying gradual increase in life expectancy in Europe, which was postulated as part of the epidemiological transition theory, and which is a result of overall socioeconomic growth and medical progress.

Our results indicate that lifestyle ‘epidemics’ have the tendency to distort this general gradual increase in life expectancy, albeit differently so by sex, by country and by time period. In Europe – particularly in the United Kingdom, but also in France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands – slowdowns in life expectancy increases have been observed since 2011. Increases in both obesity prevalence and alcohol misuse among adults have been mentioned as potential causes. For women, the rapid recent increases in smoking-attributable mortality, particularly in the abovementioned countries, are likely also a contributor.

The importance of lifestyle factors in determining past trends in life expectancy also has implications for future trends. In the coming years, projected further increases in smoking-attributable mortality for women in most European countries, coupled with expected further increases in obesity-attributable mortality, would likely result in less favourable life expectancy trends, particularly for women. Once declines in smoking-attributable mortality among women become more widespread, and the hypothesised declines in obesity-attributable mortality and alcohol-attributable mortality among selected Eastern European countries eventually also set in, more positive developments in life expectancy can be expected again. Achieving such declines in mortality requires dedicated efforts across Europe to combat the epidemics of smoking, obesity and alcohol misuse.

Read more:

Janssen F, Trias-Llimós S, Kunst AE. The combined impact of smoking, obesity, and alcohol on life-expectancy trends in Europe. Int J Epidemiol 2021; 11 January. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa273.

Acknowledgement

This work was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in relation to the research program ‘Smoking, alcohol, and obesity, ingredients for improved and robust mortality projections’, under grant no. 452-13-001.


Fanny Janssen is a senior researcher at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW) in The Hague and honorary professor in “Mortality and Longevity” at the Population Research Centre, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the role of health-related lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol, obesity) in shaping mortality differences and mortality trends, and on improving the estimation of future mortality and life expectancy. 

Sergi Trias-Llimós is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Demographic Studies (CED-UAB) in Barcelona, Spain. He is interested in a wide range of population health issues, particularly lifestyle-related health outcomes, causes of death, COVID-19 and inequalities therein.

Anton Kunst is a professor in social epidemiology at Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam. His research centres on two key problems in public health: socioeconomic inequalities in health and the health burden of tobacco. On both topics, he has coordinated national and European projects.

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Best Stocks To Buy Today? 3 Travel Stocks in Focus

Check out these travel stocks as China loosens its lockdown restrictions.
The post Best Stocks To Buy Today? 3 Travel Stocks in Focus appeared first on…

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3 Travel Stocks For Your Watchlist Now

As we’re approaching Independence Day, travel stocks may seem attractive for investors today. Since parts of the world are already moving towards the endemic phase, consumers could be increasingly keen on traveling. Moreover, with summer vacations continuing, families are excited to enjoy a vacation somewhere in the world. According to an estimate by the American Automobile Association, 42 million Americans are likely to travel for the long weekend ahead. Therefore, it would make sense that investors are considering travel stocks now.

On top of that, China has just cut the quarantine period for international travelers. This would make for a milestone in its loosening of Covid restrictions in the past two years. According to the revised government protocol, international travelers only have to quarantine at centralized facilities for seven days, and an additional three days spent at home before venturing out. This decision is made as Chinese officials continue to get a hold of the pandemic locally.

The slash in quarantine times has benefited many companies, and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) are some of them. Since both companies operate casinos in Macau, both companies are gaining in the stock market today. Evidently, both LVS stock and WYNN stock are now gaining by over 7% at the opening bell today. With a great weekend coming ahead, here are three more travel stocks for your watchlist today.

Travel Stocks To Watch Today

Trip.com Group Ltd.

First up on our list today we have an international online travel agency, Trip.com. In short, the company offers hotel reservations, flight tickets, package tours, corporate travel management, and train ticketing services. All of which are readily available to consumers via its one-stop mobile app. With hotel and transportation information given, leisure and business travelers can make reservations. Travel packages and guided tours are also offered for corporate clients to manage their travel needs. For independent leisure visitors, Trip.com also provides package trips, including those for tour groups, semi-tour groups, and private groups.

TCOM
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Yesterday, Trip.com released its first fiscal quarter financial results. Among its highlights, net revenue was $649 million, remaining stable year-over-year. The reason is because of the impact of the latest wave of Covid in China. However, staycation travels have been a major contributor to the recovery of the Chinese domestic market. In particular, local hotel bookings are up by over 20% year-over-year. At the same time, Trip.com’s air-ticket bookings on its global platforms are also up by 270% over the same period.

Despite China’s strict lockdown measures in most of the first half of 2022, Trip.com is maintaining its overall growth. According to CEO Jane Sun, the company’s “results demonstrated our resilience amidst a confluence of challenges and uncertainties.” Sun also adds, “While we may continue to see short-term fluctuations, demand for travel is still strong and shows a bright outlook in the long-term.” Pair all this with China loosening its restrictions and TCOM stock could be an attractive buy amongst its travel stock peers. Would you say the same?

[Read More] Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Edge Higher; Trip.com Stock Surges From China Covid Easing

Spirit Airlines Incorporated

Next, we have Spirit Airlines, an ultra-low-cost carrier. The company operates across the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. In fact, it is a leader in providing customizable travel options that start with an unbundled fare. Its Fit Fleet is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the U.S. as well. In recent weeks, the company has been locked in a fierce battle as companies like JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) and Frontier Group (NASDAQ: ULCC) have been trying to bid for Spirit.

The saga could be heading towards a climax this week as Spirit shareholders will vote on fellow budget airline Frontier’s acquisition offer on Thursday. However, JetBlue has been on the offensive, even boosting its offer price for Spirit on Monday evening. Diving in, JetBlue’s new offer raises the reverse break-up fee to $400 million from $350 million if regulators do not approve the deal. It also includes a dividend to Spirit shareholders of $2.50 a share, up from its previous offer of $1.50. On Frontier’s end, however, the company dismissed JetBlue’s claims that its acquisition of Spirit will lead to lower airfares.

Separately, TIG Advisors, an investment adviser that owns a stake of approximately 2 million Spirit Airlines shares, says that it has just sent a letter to the board of directors at Spirit regarding its intention to vote against the company’s proposed merger agreement with Frontier Group. It believes that its merger with JetBlue is the far superior outcome for Spirit shareholders due to its all-cash bid. This would also eliminate execution risk and maximize certainty of value. All things considered, should investors be looking at SAVE stock right now?

SAVE stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] 5 Top Leisure Stocks To Watch This Summer

Airbnb Inc.

Topping our list today, we have Airbnb, a travel company that offers an online marketplace for lodging and tourism activities. It mainly earns its income through commissions from each booking. Today, it has over 4 million hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guests across the globe.

Today, the company announced that it is officially codifying the ban of all parties and events in its listings as part of its policy. This follows a temporary ban that was initiated in August 2020 on all parties and events. In that time since the company says it saw a direct correlation between the implementation of its policy in August 2020 and a 44% year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports. The ban has also been well received by its host community and it has also received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials.

On June 27, 2022, the company also reported that family travel and long-term stays will trend across the U.S. this Independence Day. For instance, from February 2022 to March 2022, searches for stays over July 4th have increased by nearly 50%. Also, hosts could stand to earn a lot during the holiday. After all, last year’s Independence Day yielded the biggest payout for U.S. hosts in 2021 compared to other holiday weekends, a major moment for hosts to earn. All things considered, is ABNB stock worth investing in right now?

ABNB stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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The post Best Stocks To Buy Today? 3 Travel Stocks in Focus appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts and Financial Information | StockMarket.com.

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Maternal mortality jumped during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts have taken a disproportionate toll on American mothers who were pregnant or just gave birth. Maternal mortality (i.e.,…

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The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts have taken a disproportionate toll on American mothers who were pregnant or just gave birth. Maternal mortality (i.e., deaths during pregnancy or in the early postpartum period) increased by 18% in 2020, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, exceeding the ~16% increase in overall US mortality in 2020. Yet according to a new analysis from the University of Maryland and Boston University, the maternal death rate after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was even higher, and disproportionately impacted Black and non-white Hispanic mothers. 

Credit: Marie E. Thoma, PhD; Eugene R. Declercq, PhD in JAMA Network Open

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts have taken a disproportionate toll on American mothers who were pregnant or just gave birth. Maternal mortality (i.e., deaths during pregnancy or in the early postpartum period) increased by 18% in 2020, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, exceeding the ~16% increase in overall US mortality in 2020. Yet according to a new analysis from the University of Maryland and Boston University, the maternal death rate after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was even higher, and disproportionately impacted Black and non-white Hispanic mothers. 

A research letter published in JAMA Network Open by Marie Thoma in the UMD School of Public Health and Eugene Declercq in the BU School of Public Health compared maternal mortality data from 2018-March 2020, when the pandemic began, to April-December 2020. Overall, they found large increases in maternal death (33%) and late maternal deaths (41%) after March 2020 compared with before the pandemic, and conspicuous increases among Black and Hispanic mothers. 

“The increase was really driven by deaths after the start of the pandemic, which are higher than what we see for overall excess mortality in 2020,” said Dr. Thoma, assistant professor of family science in the UMD SPH. The study also showed that existing and new disparities emerged after the pandemic with a 40% jump among already high rates for non-Hispanic Black women and a 74% jump among formerly lower rates in Hispanic women.  

Strikingly, said Dr. Declercq, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, “for the first time in more than a decade, the maternal mortality rate for Hispanic women during the pandemic was higher than that for non-Hispanic white women, a shift that may be related to COVID and deserves greater attention moving forward.”  

COVID-19 was listed as a secondary cause of death in 14.9% of maternal deaths in the last nine months of 2020, with it being a contributing factor for 32% of Hispanic, 12.9% of Black and 7% of non-Hispanic white women giving birth.

In their analysis of causes of maternal death, they found the largest increases were due to conditions directly related to COVID-19 (respiratory or viral infection) and conditions made worse by COVID-19 infection, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. However, interruptions to the health care system could have led to delayed prenatal care that could have meant that risk factors for pregnancy complications went undetected. 

“We need more detailed data on the specific causes of maternal deaths overall and those associated with COVID-19,” Dr. Thoma said. “Potentially we could see improvements in 2021 due to the rollout of vaccines, as well as the extension of postpartum care provided for Medicaid recipients as part of the American Rescue Act of 2021 in some states. We’re going to continue to examine this.”


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U.S. FDA will decide on redesigned COVID vaccines by early July

U.S. regulators plan to decide by early July on whether to change the design of COVID-19 vaccines this fall in order to combat more recent variants of…

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U.S. FDA will decide on redesigned COVID vaccines by early July

By Michael Erman

“The better the match of the vaccines to the circulating strain we believe may correspond to improve vaccine effectiveness, and potentially to a better durability of protection,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at a meeting of outside advisers to the regulator.

Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine labels are seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The committee is scheduled to vote on a recommendation on whether to make the change later on Tuesday.

The updated shots are likely to be redesigned to fight the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, experts say. read more The exact composition of the retooled shots and whether they also will include some of the original vaccine alongside new components will be considered at the meeting.

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Novavax Inc. (NVAX.O) are scheduled to present data at the meeting. All three companies have been testing versions of their vaccines updated to combat the BA.1 Omicron variant that was circulating and led to a massive surge in infections last winter.

Both Moderna and Pfizer with partner BioNTech (22UAy.DE) have said that their respective redesigned vaccines generate a better immune response against BA.1 than their current shots that were designed for the original virus that emerged from China.

They have said that their new vaccines also appear to work against the more recently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, even though that protection is not as strong as against BA.1.

Experts also want to know if the new shots will boost protection against severe disease and death for younger, healthier people or merely offer a few months’ additional safeguard against mild infection.

Scientists who have questioned the value of booster shots for young and healthy people have said a broad campaign is not needed with an updated shot either.

Other experts have championed any additional protection new vaccines may offer.

Reporting by Michael Erman Editing by Bill Berkrot and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters

 

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