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For Immediate Release
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News from the August 2010 American Journal of Public Health

AJPH News Release

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL June 17, 2010, 4 PM (ET)

 

CONTACT:  For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call APHA Communications at 202-777-2511 or email us.

 

The articles below will be published online June 17, 2010, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look,” and they are currently scheduled to appear in the August 2010 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.

 

American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

 

·         Raising the price of soft drinks may reduce consumption and improve health

·         Male perpetration of intimate partner violence is connected to risk for abortion and coercion of women about pregnancy decisions

·         Screening for military-related sexual trauma identifies patients at increased risk for post-deployment mental health conditions



Raising the price of soft drinks may reduce consumption and improve health

A price increase on regular soft drinks may make patrons think twice about purchasing these sugary beverages and instead opt for a healthier, cheaper beverage, suggests a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.  

According to researchers, consumption of sugary soft drinks has risen substantially over the past 25 years. Increased intake of these sugary beverages has significant health implications such as greater risks of obesity and diabetes.  Population-level strategies to reduce consumption may include a price increase or taxation or education.  Researchers investigated several point-of-purchase interventions at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital cafeteria in Boston, Mass.  They imposed a 35 percent price increase on regular soft drinks and compared sales during this period to sales during an educational campaign.  Researchers also analyzed sales at a comparison site, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, also in Boston, where no interventions were underway. They found that sales of regular soft drinks declined by 26 percent during the price increase phase. The educational campaign on its own did not affect sales.  When the price increase and educational campaign were combined, there was an additional 18 percent decline in purchases of regular soda compared to no intervention.

Policymakers and public health advocates have proposed the taxation of regular soft drinks as a means to reduce the consumption of these products and raise revenue for public health purposes.  Our results may have implications for these proposed policies” the study’s authors stated.

“Future research should test price increases on fruit juices and other sugary beverages and should examine several price levels to determine what price increase is most effective in reducing sugary beverages sales while maintaining revenue neutrality for a cafeteria or food establishment.”

[From: “Point-of-Purchase and Education Intervention to Reduce Consumption of Sugary Soft Drinks.” Contact: Jason Block, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, Mass.
].  
 

Male perpetration of intimate partner violence is connected to risk for abortion and coercion of women about pregnancy decisions

Abusive men are more likely than non-abusive men to report being involved in pregnancies ending in abortion, a new study from the American Journal of Public Health finds.

Intimate partner violence is a public health issue, affecting lives of 20-25 percent of adolescent and adult U.S. women, according to the study’s authors. In this study, researchers surveyed a sample of 1,318 men age 18 to 35 years, to examine the relationships among intimate partner violence, abortion involvement and conflict regarding decisions to seek abortion. Study participants consisted of English-, Spanish- or Portugese-speaking men recruited from three large community health centers located in lower-income, urban Boston neighborhoods. Researchers found that abusive men were 80 percent more likely to have been involved in pregnancies ending in abortion, and approximately 3 times more likely to have attempted to control a female partner’s decision about whether or not she should terminate a pregnancy. 

The study’s authors suggest, “Policies aimed at requiring women to notify partners or to obtain partner consent before undergoing an abortion should be reconsidered because of the likelihood of both endangering women and placing them at risk for coercion regarding this critical decision.”

[From: “Male Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence and Involvement in Abortions in Abortion-related Conflict.” Contact: Jay Silverman, Harvard School of Public Health].  

 

Screening for military-related sexual trauma identifies patients at increased risk for post-deployment mental health conditions

Combat stress is not the only post-deployment mental health concern among our nation’s new veterans:  The wide ranging mental health conditions associated with sexual assault and harassment constitute a major public health issue in caring for the men and women recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, says a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.  Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma are at a particular high risk for mental health conditions, ranging from post traumatic stress disorder to depression, substance use disorders, and other stress related conditions. 

Researchers from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System set out to examine military-related sexual trauma among deployed veterans. The sample included all veterans deployed in service of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and separated from military service by Sept. 30, 2006, who used Veterans Health Administration mental health or primary care services between Oct. 1, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2007. Among the cohort of 17,580 women and 108.149 men who underwent routine screening for military sexual trauma by VHA providers, 15.1 percent of the women and 0.7 percent of the men reported sexual trauma. Researchers found that the majority, approximately 75 percent, of women and men who reported a history of military sexual trauma were diagnosed with a mental health condition, making them significantly more likely to experience mental health problems than those who did not report military sexual trauma.

“These data highlight the need to ensure adequate access to and capacity of mental health care for military sexual trauma and associated post-deployment mental health conditions” note the researchers. Rachel Kimerling, Ph.D., the study’s lead author from the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, added, “VHA’s universal screening for military sexual trauma means that we are able to detect these experiences in new veterans earlier than ever before, in an effort to provide timely treatments and prevent these conditions from becoming chronic problems”.

[From: “Military-Related Sexual Trauma Among Veterans Health Administration Patients Returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.” Contact: Rachel Kimerling, PhD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, Calif.].             

 

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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health.   

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