FDA Consumer – information about various health issues available on web site – information about various health issues available on web site – Brief Article

John Henkel

Healthy Topics: Easy Does It

Here’s a great way to learn more about a variety of health subjects: Check out the FDA’s collection of 21 easy-to-read brochures. Originally issued in printed form, the publications are available in English and Spanish. You can choose text-only versions or PDF format, which retains the graphics and layout of the printed versions.

Among the topics covered:

* Keeping food safe

* Protecting your child from poisons

* Arthritis treatments

* Losing weight safely

* Mammograms and breast cancer

* Bladder problems

* Safe sunning

These brochures are loaded with helpful hints. For example, “Eating for a Healthy Heart” includes a chart that suggests healthier options as substitutes for high-fat products such as butter and whole milk, or for high-sodium foods such as smoked meats. Another brochure, on choosing medical treatments, gives tips on how to spot fake or fraudulent therapies.

You can find these easy reads at 7lowlit.html.

Taking Off Some of the Pressure

Having high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. It has no warning signs, usually lasts a lifetime, and can affect any race, age or gender. Though about 1 in 4 Americans has this disorder, it can be prevented and controlled with some basic steps. How? A Web site called “Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure” explains. Maintained by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the site, at, describes the basics of blood pressure, such as the meaning of the two numbers–systolic and diastolic pressure–that are recorded when blood pressure is measured. The site also has helpful information on what causes high blood pressure, its effect on the body, and the proper devices to use for measuring your own blood pressure.

A Cool Site for Kids (or Kids at Heart)

You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate all the neat stuff on the new “FirstGov for Kids” Web site, but kids will have an especially good time checking out all the site’s goodies at Sure, there are plenty of cool destinations such as “music,” “plants and animals,” “science,” and “recreation.” But what if you need some help with that school paper? Click on the “homework” page. Want to know more about fighting crime, how your government works, how to spend money wisely, or how to stay safe at all times? The info is a click away. In the site’s health section, you’ll find the FDA’s Kid’s Page, along with a dozen other sites that carry information including how drugs affect your body, how to preserve your hearing, and the real facts about cigarette smoking. And if you’re in the mood for something less serious, there’s even a page called “fun stuff,” where you can play games such as matching mascots with their teams.

FirstGov for Kids is hosted by the Federal Consumer Information Center and is one of the latest “cross-agency portals” sponsored by FirstGov (, a site that gives users easy access to information from federal and state agencies.

Lots of Info, A Page at a Time

Fighting rare disorders. Preventing “mad cow disease” in the United States. Keeping the country’s food supply safe. Improving American public health. These are a few of the subjects found in a series of 12 short information sheets about FDA’s work available now on the agency’s Web site.

These “one-pagers” give a quick overview of many of the important health issues facing FDA and how the agency deals with them. For example, “FDA’s Sentinel of Public Health …” gives a glimpse into how FDA regulates the 115,000 business establishments that produce, store, import and transport $1 trillion worth of consumer goods. Another sheet reveals the challenges in regulating gene therapy, vaccines, and other emerging biomedical technologies.

For a peek at FDA and its workings, go to justthefacts/.

COPYRIGHT 2001 U.S. Government Printing Office

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group