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עמוד בית
Mon, 15.07.24

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July 2008
D. Dicker, Y. Belnic, R. Goldsmith, D. Nitzan Kaluski

Background: It has been suggested that increased calcium intake plays a role in preventing obesity and promoting weight loss.

Objectives: To assess the association between calcium intake, body mass index and waist circumference in Israel.

Methods: MABAT is a cross-sectional survey based on a random sample of 3246 Israelis aged 25 to 64. Of the 3246 survey participants, height and weight measurements were recorded for 2782 (1371 men and 1411 women). These were divided into three groups according to their BMI[1] (group A ≤ 24.9, group B 25–29.9, and group C ≥ 30) and given a 24 hour food consumption recall questionnaire. Waist circumference was measured in 2601 participants (1760 men and 841 women) and was considered to be excessive if ≥102 cm for men or 88 cm for women.

Results: The mean calcium intake was 511.5 ± 301.8 mg for group A, 499.4 ± 283.7 mg for group B, and 464.7 ± 280.1 mg for group C (group A significantly differed from group C, P < 0.002). The mean daily milk consumption in group A was higher than in groups B and C (103.4 ± 147.5, 85.7 ± 122.25, and 84.5 ± 135.1 g, respectively; P < 0.01). There was no correlation between daily dietary calcium intake and waist circumference for men but women with a waist circumference below 88 cm consumed significantly more dietary calcium than those with a waist circumference ≥ 88 cm (P < 0.03).

Conclusions: The study confirms the inverse relationship between daily dietary calcium intake and obesity. This linkage relates to the intake of milk, but not to other dairy products.

[1] BMI = body mass index

September 2006
D. Nitzan Kaluski, E. Barak, Z. Kaufman, L. Valinsky, E. Marva, Z. Korenman, Z. Gorodnitzki, R. Yishai, D. Koltai, A. Leventhal, S. Levine, O. Havkin and M.S. Green

Contamination of food with streptococci could present with unusual outbreaks that may be difficult to recognize in the early stages. This is demonstrated in a large food-borne outbreak of streptococcal pharyngitis that occurred in 2003 in a factory in Israel. The outbreak was reported to the public health services on July 2 and an epidemiologic investigation was initiated. Cases and controls were interviewed and throat swabs taken. An estimated 212 cases occurred within the first 4 days, the peak occurring on the second day. There was a wave of secondary cases during an additional 11 days. The early signs were of a respiratory illness including sore throat, weakness and fever, with high absenteeism rates suggesting a respiratory illness. As part of a case-control study, cases and controls were interviewed and throat swabs taken. Illness was significantly associated with consumption of egg-mayonnaise salad (odds ratio 4.2, 95% confidence interval 1.4–12.6), suggesting an incubation period of 12–96 hours. The initial respiratory signs of food-borne streptococcal pharyngitis outbreaks could delay the identification of the vehicle of transmission. This could be particularly problematic in the event of deliberate contamination.

April 2005
L. Keinan-Boker, N. Noyman, A. Chinich, M.S. Green and D. Nitzan-Kaluski
Background: The prevalence of obesity has increased considerably in many countries in recent decades.

Objective: To describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Israeli population, based on findings of the first national health and nutrition survey (MABAT).

Methods: This cross-sectional survey was carried out during 1999–2000. MABAT is based on a representative sample (n=3,246) of the general Israeli population aged 25–64 years. The current study population comprised those with complete data on measured weight and height (n=2,781). Participants were interviewed in person and had their weight and height measured by the interviewer.

Results: Over 50% of the study participants were women (n=1,410); 76% were Jews and 24% Arabs. Most participants had an education of at least 12 years (72%). Body mass index ≥30.0 was more prevalent in women compared to men (P < 0.001) in both population groups (Jews and Arabs). Obesity rates increased with age and reached 22.4% for men and 40.4% for women aged 55–64 years. Lower education was associated with higher obesity rates, with lowest rates observed for Jewish women with an academic education (13.6%) and highest rates observed for Arab women with a basic education (57.3%). Multiple logistic regression analyses showed age to be a significant risk factor in men. Age, education and origin (Arab, and the former Soviet Union for Jews) were significant risk factors for obesity in women.

Conclusions: Obesity rates in Israel are high and comparable to those in the United States. Of special concern is the subgroup of older Arab women (55–64 years), whose obesity rates reached 70%.

September 2003
D. Nitzan Kaluski and A. Leventhal

Only one case of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been reported in Israel. Its publication, in 2002, caused both public and professional concern. The inevitable health policy question raised was whether or not to recommend against consuming beef and what public health measures should be taken. In this article we describe the prion diseases among animals and humans, their interaction and the precautionary procedures that were carried out by the state Veterinary Services and the Ministry of Health since 1988. The BSE[1] case (a 10 year old dairy cow) is believed to be the result of local consumption of infected food with mammalian meat and bone meal more than a decade earlier. The risk assessment took into consideration that no cases of vCJD (a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) have ever been diagnosed in Israel, as well as the low risk of contamination of the meat due to the religious method of slaughtering performed in the country. The policy decision was to implement a contingency plan prepared in advance. Israel was reclassified from the level II category of geographic risk where BSE is unlikely but not excluded in the herds, to level III, where BSE is likely but not confirmed, or confirmed at a lower level. No undue damage to the meat industry has occurred. By the end of 2002, despite the examination of more than 3,800 brains from slaughtered cows older than 3 years, no other cases of BSE have been detected.


[1] BSE = bovine spongiform encephalopathy

December 2002
JoeÈ l Zlotogora MD PhD, Yona Amitai MD, Dorit Nitzan Kaluski MD MPH RD and Alex Leventhal MD MPH MPA

Background: Open neural tube defects are among the most common malformations of the fetus. Secondary prevention by early diagnosis during pregnancy and abortion of affected fetuses result in a marked reduction of NTD incidence at birth. The dramatic effect of folic acid for primary prevention of these defects led to recommendations for folic acid supplementation in women of reproductive age.

Objective: To describe the epidemiologic features of NTD in Israel in 1999±2000.

Methods: A national registry of NTD was begun in 1999. During the years 1999±2000, a non-syndromic NTD was diagnosed in at least 394 pregnancies (166 anencephaly, 166 spina bifida, 43 encephalo-cele, and 19 with other types of NTD). The religious-ethnic affiliation was known in 392 cases (209 Jews and 183 non-Jews).

Results: Despite a marked decline in the rate of NTD at birth in the last few decades, the total rates during pregnancy did not change significantly, demonstrating that the changes were secondary to termination of affected pregnancies. At birth, NTD were almost four times more frequent among non-Jews (3.6 per 10,000 live births for anencephaly and 5.9 for spina bifida) than among Jews (anencephaly 1/10,000 live births, spina bifida 1.4/10,000 live births). The complete data of the registry showed an approximately twofold difference in the overall rates during pregnancy between Jews (anencephaly 5.3, spina bifida 4.6, total 11/10,000 live births) and non-Jews (anencephaly 8.8, spina bifida 10.3, total 22.3/10,000 live births). The registry demon-strated that the significant differences in NTD incidence observed at birth between Jews and non-Jews are secondary to a combined effect of a higher frequency of the malformations among non-Jews and a lower proportion of termination of affected pregnancies among non-Jews.

Conclusions: The data presented here will serve as a basis for evaluating the impact of the Ministry of Health recommendations for folic acid supplementation on the incidence of NTD.

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