For Immediate Release

News from the April 2011 American Journal of Public Health

AJPH News Release


EMBARGOED UNTIL February 17, 2011, 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 February 17, 2011, 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 2011 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:

  • Behavioral interventions modestly increased physical activity among healthy adults
  • Racial minorities more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be light, intermittent smokers
  • A shift in approach of substance abuse treatment may be beneficial 

Behavioral interventions modestly increased physical activity among healthy adults

A new study from the American Journal of Public Health reports that interventions to increase activity among healthy adults should emphasize behavioral strategies over cognitive strategies.

Researchers analyzed what types of interventions where most successful in encouraging healthy adults to exercise. Their study included data from 99,011 participants. The average age was 44 years. Analysis suggested that the characteristics of the most effective interventions were behavioral interventions instead of cognitive interventions, face-to-face delivery versus mediated interventions, and targeting individuals instead of communities. Cognitive interventions target knowledge, attitudes or beliefs; whereas behavioral strategies include goal setting, self-monitoring, physical activity behavior feedback, consequences, exercise prescription and cues.  

The study’s authors stated, ”These findings suggest that interventions to increase physical activity should emphasize behavioral components such as self-monitoring, stimuli to increase physical activity, rewards, behavioral goal settings, and modeling physical activity behavior in standardized interventions delivered to individuals. Future research should explore which components of behavioral interventions are most effective.”     

 [From: “Interventions to Increase Physical Activity Among Healthy Adults: Meta-Analysis of Outcomes.” Contact: Vicki S. Conn, University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.].         

Racial minorities more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be light, intermittent smokers

Researchers used data on adults aged 20 to 64 years from the 2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey to examine racial/ethnic disparities in smoking behaviors, smoking cessation and factors associated with cessation among U.S. adults. They found no evidence to indicate that racial/ethnic minorities had greater success in quitting smoking compared to non-Hispanic Whites even though they were more likely to be light and intermittent smokers.  Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, racial/ethnic minorities were not less likely to receive advice from health professionals to quit smoking, but they were less likely to use nicotine replacement therapy.


The study’s authors argue that interventions to increase smoking cessation, along with models of cigarette addiction and the quitting process, have been generally based on non-Hispanic White populations who have markedly different smoking patterns than racial/ethnic minority groups.  They conclude that the aggregate of their findings suggest traditional conceptualizations of cigarette addiction and the quitting process may need to be adapted for various racial/ethnic minority groups.

[From: “A Nationwide Analysis of US Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Smoking Behaviors, Smoking Cessation, and Cessation-Related Factors” Contact: Dennis R. Trinidad, PhD, MPH, Claremont Graduate University, School of Community and Global Health, San Dimas, Calif.].          

A shift in approach of substance abuse treatment may be beneficial  


The timing and approach for substance abuse treatment aimed at reducing abstinence and mortality rates are found to be significant influencers in success rates, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Results indicate the need to shift the addiction treatment field from an acute care model to a chronic disease management paradigm.


Researchers examined the relationship between substance abuse treatment, abstinence and mortality in a sample of individuals entering treatment and estimated overall mortality rates and the extent to which they varied according to demographic, clinical severity and treatment variables. They used data from a 9-year longitudinal study of 1,326 adults entering substance treatment on the west side of Chicago of whom 131 died (nine percent of total sample group). In order to predict mortality rates, baseline predictors of initial and long-term response and substance abuse patterns were used. They found that the likelihood of mortality decreased directly as the total number of treatment episodes increased but increased with increasing percentage of time in treatment. In addition, the likelihood of sustained abstinence increased with increases in the number of treatment episodes in the first six months.  


The study’s authors conclude, “Contrary to many current managed care practices, our findings indicate the need for more aggressive screening, early intervention, adequate initial treatment, ongoing monitoring, disease management skills, and better linkage to recovery support services and mutual aid groups that help sustain recovery.”

[From: “Surviving Drug Addiction: The Effect of Treatment and Abstinence on Mortality.” Contact: Press Contact: Christy K. Scott, PhD, Chestnut Health Systems, Chicago, Ill.].   
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