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Various research reports that have been published in the last few months are available online, including:


[black small square] AIDS Epidemic Update 2004


Source: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organization

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Key points: Worldwide, the number of people living with HIV in 2004 reached an estimated 39.4 million-the highest level ever. Although East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia saw the steepest increases, sub-Saharan Africa remains by far the hardest hit; that's where almost two-thirds of people living with HIV reside, including more than three-quarters of all HIV-positive women. Although global funding and access to key prevention and care services have greatly improved, coverage remains uneven and highly unsatisfactory in some respects. For example, 9 out of 10 people who need antiretroviral treatments (most of them in sub-Saharan Africa) aren't getting it. Ultimately, treatment for AIDS will be affordable and sustainable only if HIV prevention is effective.


[black small square] Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General


Key points: This first-ever report on bone health warns that "by 2020, half of all American citizens older than 50 will be at risk for fractures from osteoporosis and low bone mass if no immediate action is taken by individuals at risk, doctors, health systems, and policy makers." To decrease their likelihood of developing osteoporosis, individuals are encouraged to get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active at least 30 minutes a day (including weight-bearing activities to improve strength and balance), and minimize the risk of falls by removing items that might cause tripping and improving lighting. Health care professionals are encouraged to evaluate risks for patients of all ages, recommend bone density tests for women over age 65 and for anyone who suffers even a minor fracture after age 50.

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[black small square] United States Cancer Statistics: 1999-2001 Incidence and Mortality


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries


Key points: The third annual United States Cancer Statistics offers official federal statistics on cancer incidence. Among the findings: The leading cancer among American men is prostate cancer, followed by lung cancer and colorectal cancer; among women, breast cancer; among children, leukemia.


[black small square] The State of Aging and Health in America 2004


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Merck Institute of Aging & Health, and Gerontological Society of America

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Key points: This report on older Americans' health status evaluates current trends and offers recommendations for improving mental and physical health. Older Americans' progress in meeting specific health targets proposed in Healthy People 2000 is revealed in both national and state-by-state statistics. Although developing a healthy lifestyle is the single most important factor in maintaining wellness, many older adults aren't following basic advice. For example, despite the proven benefits of being physically active and eating a healthy diet, one-third of older adults aren't taking part in any physical activities; two-thirds aren't eating the recommended daily five servings of fruits and vegetables; and almost one-fifth are obese. Among the 50 states, Hawaii has met the most federal targets for various health indicators, making it the healthiest for older adults; Kentucky has met the fewest, making it the least healthy state for older adults.