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For Immediate Release

Am Jrl of Public Health: April 2012 Highlights

AJPH News Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL Feb. 16, 2012, 4 PM (ET)

For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call Kimberly Short at 202-777-2511 or email her


The articles below will be published online Feb. 16, 2012, 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 2012 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:

·         Vaccination intentions declined while risk of H1N1 still climbed in first year of pandemic

·         Health risk behaviors reduced among lesbian, gay and bisexual youth who live in supportive religious climates

·         Anti-smoking ads help reduce adult smoking

Vaccination intentions declined while risk of H1N1 still climbed in first year of pandemic

During the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, the public’s intention to be vaccinated tapered, even while the perception of risk increased and the pandemic flourished, reports a national study from the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers examined the trends in people’s risk perceptions and vaccination intentions during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Data were pulled from 10 waves of a national U.S. survey focusing on the H1N1 pandemic to assess adult respondents’ risk perceptions and vaccination intentions.

They found that self-reported perceived risk of becoming infected with H1N1 mirrored H1N1 activity through the first year of the pandemic, yet intention to be vaccinated declined from 50 percent to 16 percent among those who remained unvaccinated. Researchers reported that intention to be vaccinated peaked at their first measurement in May 2009 and steadily declined, even with growing numbers of cases of H1N1 during the fall months. When the H1N1 vaccination finally became available in October and November 2009, many previously motivated individuals were no longer interested in receiving it. The strongest predictor of H1N1 vaccination intention was receipt of seasonal influenza vaccination in the previous year. 

The study’s authors reported, “A particularly intriguing finding was that lower income and education were significantly related to lower intention to be vaccinated for H1N1 but were simultaneously related to higher risk perceptions. This may suggest that these groups have particularly high distrust of novel vaccines.”

“Because prior seasonal influenza vaccination predicts future vaccination for H1N1, encouraging regular seasonal vaccination… appears to be a valuable component of pandemic preparedness strategies,” the study’s authors concluded.

[From: “Trends in Risk Perceptions and Vaccination Intentions: A Longitudinal Study of the First Year of the H1N1 Pandemic.” Contact: Courtney Gidengil, MD, MPH, RAND Corporation, Boston, Mass

Health risk behaviors reduced among lesbian, gay and bisexual youth who live in supportive religious climates

Researchers examined whether the health risk behaviors of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youths are determined in part by the religious composition of the communities in which they live. They collected data from 31,852 high school students, including 1,413 LGB students who participated in the Oregon Healthy Teens survey in 2006 through 2008. Supportive religious climate was defined as the proportion of individuals who adhere to a religion supporting homosexuality. Researchers used comprehensive data on religious climate derived from 85 denominational groups in 34 Oregon counties.

They found that among the LGB youth, living in a county with a religious climate that was supportive of homosexuality was associated with significantly fewer alcohol abuse symptoms and fewer sexual partners.

The study’s authors added, “Our results showed that LGB youths living in counties with more supportive religious climates exhibited fewer health risk behaviors, indicating that religion can be protective for LGB youths.”

[From: "Religious Climate and Health Risk Behaviors in Sexual Minority Youths: A Population-Based Study." Contact: Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, PhD, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.]      

Anti-smoking ads help reduce adult smoking

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health provides evidence that tobacco-control media campaigns help reduce adult smoking.

Researchers investigated whether state-sponsored anti-tobacco advertisements are associated with reduced adult smoking; they also studied interactions between smoking-related advertising types. They measured exposure to smoking-related advertisements with television ratings for the top 75 U.S. media markets from 1999 to 2007. They combined data with individual-level Current Population Surveys Tobacco Use Supplement data and state tobacco control policy data.

They found that higher exposure to state-sponsored, Legacy and pharmaceutical advertisements to be associated with less smoking; higher exposure to state- and Legacy-sponsored advertisements was positively associated with intentions to quit and having made a past-year quit attempt. They found that higher exposure to ads for pharmaceutical cessation aids was unrelated to quitting attempts.

Researchers state that exposure to state-sponsored advertisements was far below Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended best practices.   

“Our findings suggest that the recent significant increases in funding for tobacco control media campaigns may contribute to meaningful reductions in smoking among US adults,” said the study’s authors.  

[From: “The Effects of Smoking-Related Television Advertising on Smoking and Intentions to Quit Among Adults in the United States: 1999-2007.” Contact: Sherry Emery, PhD, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago




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.  


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