For Immediate Release
Contact: For copies of articles, call APHA Communications at  202-777-2511 or email us.

News from March 2009 American Journal of Public Health

AJPH News Release


EMBARGOED UNTIL December 23, 2008, 4 PM (ET)


CONTACT:  For copies of articles, call Patricia Warin, 202-777-2511, or e-mail


The articles below will be published online December 23, 2008, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look” at, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the March 2009 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association,, and is available at To stay up to date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content e-mail alerts at>ck=nck.


American Journal of Public Health Highlights:


  • Corporate credibility campaigns attempt to legitimize disease promotion
  • U.S. immigrant children vulnerable to food insecurity and poor health
  • Proximity of fast-food restaurants to schools increases adolescent obesity


Corporate credibility campaigns attempt to legitimize disease promotion

A new study explores tobacco companies’ conceptions of and research on corporate “credibility” to understand why it matters to companies and what a lack of credibility means to them. It suggests that the tobacco industry views credibility as largely a matter of altering public perceptions about the industry and tobacco issues. It’s a way to appear reasonable, responsible and contrite, while continuing to aggressively promote and sell the most deadly consumer product ever made. Authors collected and analyzed documents from an online tobacco industry document archive. They discovered that the tobacco industry’s credibility-building projects failed repeatedly, in part because the public regards credibility differently than the tobacco industry.


For the public, tobacco company credibility hinges upon authenticity, true contrition over misdeeds and taking responsibility for harmful products or even exiting the tobacco business altogether. According to author Ruth E. Malone, “This study shows why it is so critical that public health campaigns include a focus on how corporate behavior contributes to disease. It is strategically important, and the public is getting the message.”


[From: “The Role of Corporate Credibility in Legitimizing Disease Promotion.” Contact: Patricia A. McDaniel, PhD, University of California, San Francisco,].   



U.S. immigrant children vulnerable to food insecurity and poor health


U.S.-born children of immigrants have a higher risk of food insecurity and poor health than children whose mothers are born in the United States.   


Researchers investigated the risk of household food security and reported health among young children who were U.S. citizens and whose mothers were immigrants compared with those whose mothers had been born in the United States. As part of the Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program, data were obtained from 19,275 mothers who were interviewed between 1998 and 2005. They found that immigrant households were at higher risk of food insecurity than were households with U.S.-born mothers. Particularly newly arrived immigrants were at the highest risk. In general, the household food insecurity increased the risk of fair or poor child health.


“Our findings may signal the need for a reassessment of current policies toward immigrants, especially those newly arrived in the country. In cases in which children are at increased risk of poor health, policies restricting immigrant families’ access to health care and public health insurance may have serious effects on this already vulnerable population,” researchers stated.


[From: “Food Insecurity and Risk of Poor Health Among US-Born Children of Immigrants” Contact: Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA,].    



Proximity of fast-food restaurants to schools increases adolescent obesity


Fast-food restaurants located near schools have a negative effect on students’ health, a new study reports.


Researchers examined the relationship between fast-food restaurants located near (within one half mile of) schools and obesity among middle and high school students in California. Using geo-coded data on more than 500,000 youths, the study found that students with fast-food restaurants near their schools (1) consumed fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, (2) consumed more servings of soda and (3) were more likely to be overweight or obese.  


“Our results suggest that it might be useful to consider policies such as providing adolescents with alternatives to fast-food restaurants.” The study’s authors continued, “The United States spends 12.7 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, and obesity is one of the most costly medical conditions. The sheer magnitude of the problem of childhood obesity demands attention.”


[From: “Proximity of Fast-Food Restaurants to Schools and Adolescent Obesity” Contact: Brennan Davis, PhD, Baylor University, Waco, Texas,].   



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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. More information is available at


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