American Journal of Public Health Highlights
Workplace smoking increases fellow workers’ lung cancer risk People who light up on the job are putting their fellow workers at a higher risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study based on data from 22 studies of workplace secondhand smoke exposure and lung cancer risk.
Researchers found a 24 percent increase in lung cancer risk among workers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Risk for workers developing lung cancer doubled when they were highly exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke on the job. The longer a worker was exposed to secondhand smoke, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer.
The study’s authors note that while “great strides have been made in limiting smoking in the workplace,” about 30 percent of all U.S. workplaces still permit indoor cigarette smoking. This study provides the strongest evidence to date in support of efforts to ban smoking on the job. [From: “Lung Cancer Risk and Workplace Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke.” Contact: Leslie T. Stayner, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, firstname.lastname@example.org .]
Public parks one key to physical activity in minority communities
Public parks are a critical resource for physical activity in minority communities, where a lack of such parks poses a barrier to regular exercise.
Researchers surveyed park users and local residents and used direct observation at eight parks and recorded the number, gender, race/ethnicity, age and activity level of park users four times a day for seven days. They found people were more likely to use the park as a place for exercise if they lived close by. More males than females used the parks, and males were twice as likely to be vigorously active at the park than females.
The study's authors noted that in the neighborhoods included in the park study, which were predominantly minority and low income, the ratio of total park size to people within one mile of the eight parks was 0.65 acres/1,000. An average of 159,125 people lived in the two-mile radius of each park. Even when considering the additional parks available in the study's neighborhoods, the ratio of parks space to people was 0.77 acres/1,000 - less than 10 percent of prior National Recreation and Park Association recommendations.
The study's authors said their findings "suggest that communities should be designed so that all people have a park within at least one mile of their residence. Our observation data showed that more people used specific areas when they were provided organized activities, suggesting that increasing the availability of structured, supervised activities will also likely increase park use." [From: "How Do Public Parks Contribute to Physical Activity?" Contact: Deborah A. Cohen, MD, MPH, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif., email@example.com .]
Communication failure undermines effectiveness of mammography screening in some black women
Black women may not be receiving the full benefit of screening mammograms because of inadequate communication of results, particularly in the case of abnormal exams.
Yale researchers compared self-reported screening mammogram results to results listed in medical records of 411 black women and 734 white women who underwent screening Oct. 1996 to Jan. 1998. They found that black women were significantly more likely than white women to experience inadequate communication and misunderstanding of results. In addition, when a mammogram revealed abnormal results, that information was more often poorly communicated to black women, but not to white women.
Results of an index screening mammogram were inadequately communicated to or misunderstood by 14.5 percent of all women in the study. Of these, the majority, 86 percent, reported that they had not received their screening results, whereas 14 percent reported that they had received their results, but their self-report differed from the mammography record.
"It would seem that a one- size- fits- all strategy for delivering and communicating screening results is inadequate, especially in the case of abnormal findings,” the study's authors said. “Culturally sensitive approaches and better communication with patients regarding the delivery of results, including the opportunity for patients to ask questions may improve breast cancer screening outcomes." [From: “Adequacy of Communicating Results From Screening Mammograms to African American and White Women.” Contact: Beth A. Jones, PhD, MPH, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., firstname.lastname@example.org .]