For Immediate Release

AJPH research: Sexual minority women weight status, multiple-job holder injury risk, social proximity to gunshot victims

In this month’s release find research about the likelihood of overweight status among African-American, and white lesbian and bisexual women; increase in risk of injury for individuals that work more than one job; and increased risk of homicide.

American Journal of Public Health  highlights:

1. White and African American lesbian and bisexual women trend overweight into adulthood
2. Injuries occur more frequently among individuals with multiple jobs than those with one
3. Closer social proximity to a gunshot victim may increase one’s own risk of victimization

White and African American lesbian and bisexual women trend overweight into adulthood
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that compared to heterosexual women, white and African-American lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be overweight at the age of 18 and maintain this weight through adulthood. 

Researchers analyzed data from the California Health Interview Survey to compare along gender lines sexual minority status, race and ethnicity, and weight status  both at age 18 and as adults, at the times of the survey. The survey captures demographic information, individual health information, weight status and age.

Results indicated that while most gay and bisexual men had a greater prevalence of healthy weight as adults, white and African-American women who are sexual minorities tend to be overweight at 18 and retain that weight in adulthood when compared to heterosexual women of the same race and ethnicity. Results also find weight status trends among other sexual minorities of varying races, including indication of greater odds of healthy weight among white gay and bisexual men and Latino and Asian gay men.

“One possible explanation for the different weight patterns seen in sexual minorities and their heterosexual peers is a difference in body image perception. Specifically, gay men have been found to have lower body satisfaction than heterosexual men, whereas lesbian and heterosexual women appear to have a similar level of body satisfaction,” the study’s authors suggest.

“[The study’s findings] suggest a critical need for interventions targeting white and African-American lesbian and bisexual adolescents to prevent overweight status by age 18 years and interventions during adulthood to reverse these women’s adverse weight trajectory,” researchers conclude.

 [“Weight status and sexual orientation: Differences by age and within racial and ethnic subgroups.” Contact: Ulrike Boehmer, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.]

Injuries occur more frequently among individuals with multiple jobs 
According to new research from the American Journal of Public Health, individuals who work multiple jobs have a greater likelihood of injury than those with single jobs.

The study analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey, which included interviews over a 15-year period from 1997 to 2011 among 268,615 participants. In-house interviews included questions about job characteristics and injuries.

Results from the study indicated that 8.4 percent of employed U.S. residents worked multiple jobs, and these individuals were found to have a 27 percent higher rate of work-related and a 34 percent higher rate of non-work related injury than individuals who worked one job. Multiple job holders who had a particularly elevated risk of injury were women, younger workers between the ages 18-44, blue collar workers, those never married or living with a partner and those with some college education.  Researchers speculate potential reasons for their findings may include fatigue from long work hours, lack of sleep, inexperience in one or more jobs, or other stresses related to alternating between different jobs.

“Injury research and standard surveillance systems have disregarded multiple job holding, instead describing injury morbidity in terms of exposures at the primary job or the job in which the worker was working when injured. Furthermore, most of the current injury surveillance systems and standard employment surveys in the United States do not account for the dynamic fluctuations in work forms present today,” researchers explain.

[“Work in multiple jobs and the risk of injury in the U.S. working population.” Contact: Helen Marucci-Wellman, Center for Injury Epidemiology, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, Mass.]

Closer social proximity to a gunshot victim may increase one’s own risk of victimization
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that within a high-crime African American community, the closer an individual was to a gunshot victim socially, the greater their risk of also becoming a victim.

Within a Chicago area community of approximately 82,000 residents with characteristics profiled as homicide risk factors, researchers evaluated individual’s probability of becoming a victim to homicide. In particular, within this community, the study evaluated individuals’ social distance to a co-offending network — where two or more people were arrested together for the same crime.

Findings from the study indicate that the risk of becoming a homicide victim increases with one’s closer social proximity to homicide victims. Specifically, for every degree of separation from a victim, an individual would experience a 57 percent decrease in their odds of homicide victimization. In addition 41 percent of all gun homicides occurred within less than 4 percent of the neighborhood’s population.

“By mapping the terrain within high-risk social networks and analyzing shooting patterns, network analysis offers a more direct road map for interventions. Thus, the approach advanced here would argue against sweeping policies and practices based on categorical distinctions such as gang membership or race and, instead, focus on intervention and prevention efforts that consider the observable and risky behavior of individuals,” the authors suggest.

[“Network exposure and homicide victimization in an African American community.” Contact: Andrew Papachristos, Yale University, Department of Sociology, New Haven, Conn.]

The articles above will be published online Nov. 14, 2013, at 4 p.m. (EST)* by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look.” “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.

The American Journal of Public Health ® is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association, 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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