For Immediate Release

News from the August 2011 Am Jrl of Public Health

AJPH News Release


EMBARGOED UNTIL June 16, 2011, 4 P.M. (ET)


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


The articles below will be published online June 16, 2011, 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 August 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,, and is available at


American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

·         Insecure housing may impede development and result in worse health in young US children

·         Number of deaths in the US can be linked to social factors

·         Community gardeners eat more fruit and veggies than home gardeners

Insecure housing may impede development and result in worse health in young US children

A new study from the American Journal of Public Health finds housing insecurity is associated with poor health, lower weight for age and developmental risk among young children.

Researchers examined the association between housing insecurity and the health of very young children. They interviewed 22,069 low-income caregivers with children younger than 36 months who were seen in seven U.S. urban medical centers between 1998 and 2007. They evaluated food insecurity, child health status, developmental risk weight and housing insecurity for each child’s household. Crowding, defined as more than two people in a bedroom or more than one family in a residence, and multiple moves, defined as more than two moves within the previous year, were the two indicators used for housing insecurity.

Researchers found crowding and multiple moves to be associated with child food insecurity. In addition, multiple moves were associated with fair or poor child health, developmental risk and lower weight-for-age scores. 

“Homeless children are recognized as being vulnerable to multiple health risks, but there are millions of less visible children whose health, development and growth may be compromised by living in insecure housing,” explained the study’s authors.

[From: “US Housing Insecurity and the Health of Very Young Children.” Contact: Diana Becker Cutts, MD, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minn.,].            

Number of deaths in the US can be linked to social factors

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, a new study calculates the number of deaths attributable to social factors in the United States, finding a broader way to conceptualize the causes of mortality.

Researchers estimated the number of deaths in the United States attributable to social factors, using a systematic review of the available literature combined with vital statistics data. They conducted a MEDLINE search for all English-language articles published between 1980 and 2007 with estimates of the relation between social factors and adult all-cause mortality. After calculating for the relative risk estimates of mortality, researchers obtained estimates for each social factor. Individual social factors included education, poverty, health insurance status, employment status and job stress, social support, racism or discrimination, housing conditions and early childhood stressors. Area-level social factors included area-level poverty, income inequality, deteriorating built environment, racial segregation, crime and violence, social capital and availability of open or green spaces.

They found that approximately 245,000 deaths in the United States in 2000 were attributable to low education, 176,000 to racial segregation, 162,000 to low social support, 133,000 to individual-level poverty, 119,000 to income inequality and 39,000 to area-level poverty.

The study’s researchers suggest, “Social causes can be linked to death as readily as can pathophysiological and behavioral causes. All of these factors contribute substantially to the burden of disease in the United States, and all need focused research efforts and public health efforts to mitigate their consequences.”

[From: “Estimated Deaths Attributable to Social Factors in the United States.” Contact: Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, N.Y.,].   


Community gardeners eat more fruit and veggies than home gardeners

Overall, community gardeners eat more fruit and vegetables than home gardeners and people who do not garden, reports a new Denver-based study from the American Journal of Public Health.  

Researchers conducted a population-based survey representing 436 residents across 58 blocks in Denver from 2006-2007. Neighborhood aesthetics, social involvement and community garden participation were significantly associated with fruit and vegetable intake. Community gardeners consumed fruits and vegetables 5.7 times per day, compared with home gardeners, who ate those foods 4.6 times per day, and nongardeners, who ate them 3.9 times per day. Researchers found that 56 percent of community gardeners met national recommendations to consume fruits and vegetables at least five times per day, compared with 37 percent of home gardeners and 25 percent of nongardeners.   

The study’s authors concluded, “The array of qualities intrinsic to community gardens makes them a unique environmental and social intervention that can narrow the divide between people and the places where food is grown and increase local opportunities to eat better.”

[From: “The Influence of Social Involvement, Neighborhood Aesthetics, and Community Garden Participation on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.” Contact: Jill S. Litt, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colo.,].    



The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly Journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and most diverse 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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