AJPH News Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL February 18, 2010, 4 PM (ET)
CONTACT: For copies of articles, call APHA Communications at 202-777-2511 or email us.
The articles below will be published online February 18, 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 April 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. To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content email alerts.
American Journal of Public Health Highlights:
· Living in Areas with High Household Income Influences Mortality Rates in Virginia
· Proximity to Physical Activity Resources Found to Benefit Older Men
· Child Labor Violations Still Occur with Youth Workers
Living in Areas with High Household Income Favorably Influences Mortality Rates in Virginia
A new study reports that approximately one out of four deaths in Virginia from 1990 through 2006 would have been averted if the entire population of Virginia experienced the mortality rates of the five most affluent counties or cities.
Using census data and vital statistics from the years 1990-2006, researchers applied the mortality rates of the five counties/cities with the highest median household income to the populations of all counties and cities in the state. If the mortality rates of the most affluent counties had been applied to the entire state, 24.3 percent of deaths in Virginia from 1990 through 2006 would not have occurred. Favorable conditions that exist in area with high household incomes exert a major influence on mortality rates.
The study’s authors said, “Although more research and analysis on this topic is still needed, our research and other studies already provide sufficient evidence for policy-makers to recognize the powerful interrelationships between social conditions and public health and to leverage the important opportunities they provide.”
[From: “Avertable Deaths Associated with Household Income in Virginia.” Contact: Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.].
Proximity to Physical Activity Resources Found to Benefit Older Men
A new study points to the health benefits of living in neighborhoods with built-in physical activity resources.
Researchers conducted a study among community-dwelling men age 65 years or older from the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area. They sought to discover whether older men who live within one-eighth, one-quarter, or one-half mile of physical activity resources, including parks, trails and recreational facilities, are more likely than men who live farther from these resources to maintain or increase the amount of time they spend walking. Participants were enrolled from March 2000 through April 2002 at six U.S. clinical centers and were followed an average of 3.6 years to assess changes in time spent walking. The results of the study revealed a positive association among urban-dwelling older men between living within one-eighth mile of parks and one-half mile of trails and maintaining or increasing time spent walking, although the association was limited to men living in high-socioeconomic status neighborhoods.
The study’s authors said, “Proximity to physical activity resources such as parks and trails may be important for maintaining moderate physical activity over time among older men residing in high-socioeconomic status neighborhoods. These findings support an eco-social model of physical activity promotion incorporating neighborhood-level resources and parks and trails.”
[From: “Physical Activity Resources and Changes in Walking in a Cohort of Older Men.” Contact: Yvonne L. Michael, ScD, MS, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pa.].
Child Labor Violations Still Occur with Youth Workers
A new study out of North Carolina on the effect of work permits in protecting youth workers found that work permits appear to protect teen employees from performing illegal tasks but not from work hour violations (working late on school nights, or illegal number of daily and weekly hours when school is in session). The findings have implications for the majority of states that mandate work permits or age certificates, as they are known in some states, and demonstrate the need for stricter enforcement policies and improvements in work permit screening processes.
Researchers gathered data from a school-based survey of working teenagers in 16 randomly selected high schools within North Carolina. The sample included a total of 844 eligible working students. Researchers found that many adolescents younger than 16 years, for whom the majority of federal and state regulations on work hours apply, had work hour violations. Work permits had no protective effect with regard to working late on school nights, nor did they have an impact in terms of violations of daily and weekly work hours when school was in session.
“Work permits have a protective effect with regard to selected illegal hazardous tasks among youth younger than 18,” wrote the authors. However, our findings that type-of-work violations continue to occur in some cases among adolescents with work permits suggest that current screening processes do not adequately determine whether young people are working in legal occupations. Even though some violations may result when employers switch youth from an initial legal job to an illegal one, improved training of permit issuers, employers, and young workers can improve the beneficial effects of work permits. Screening for work hour restrictions in the work permit system is a logical next step for increasing work hour compliance.”
The authors recommend that the North Carolina Department of Labor increase penalties assessed for child labor violations following the recent enactment of a new statute in N.C. on July 27, 2009 increasing the maximum allowable penalty from $250 to $500 for the first violation and to $1,000 for each subsequent violation.
The authors conclude that “Despite limitations, work permits appear to confer benefits as they are negatively associated with several prohibited occupations. By listing restrictions they can help inform youth about labor laws and legal rights.”
[From: “Effects of Work Permits on Illegal Employment among Youth Workers: Findings of a School-Based Survey on Child Labor Violations.” Contact: Janet Aboud Dal Santo, DrPh, Duke University, Durham, N.C.].