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For Immediate Release

Highlights from the American Journal of Public Health: March 2013 issue


Highlights from the American Journal of Public Health: March 2013 issue

AJPH News Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL January 17, 2013, 4 PM (EST)

CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call Kim Short, 202-777-2511, or email her.

The articles below will be published online Jan. 17, 2013, at 4 p.m. (EST) by the American Journal of Public Health ® under “First Look,” and they are currently scheduled to appear in the March 2013 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:

1)   Many young adults believe e-cigarettes are less harmful, addictive than cigarettes

2)   Women teased about their weight growing up were more likely to have disturbed eating

3)   More Americans get moving:  Transit walkers increase by 2 million since 2001



1)   Many young adults believe e-cigarettes are less harmful, addictive than cigarettes

Many young Americans believe that e-cigarettes could help with smoking cessation and are less harmful and addictive than cigarettes despite a lack of evidence to support these views, according to a new study published by the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers analyzed survey data from 2,624 participants aged 20 to 28 collected between 2010 and 2011. Surveys assessed whether participants were aware of e-cigarettes; their usage of e-cigarettes and frequency of usage; and their perceptions of e-cigarettes as related to cigarettes. 

Results from the study show that 69.9 percent of participants were aware of e-cigarettes, 7 percent had ever used e-cigarettes and 1.2 percent had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Out of those aware of e-cigarettes, 44.5 percent agreed that e-cigarettes could assist with quitting smoking, 52.9 percent agreed that e-cigarettes are less harmful and 26.4 percent agreed that they are less addictive than cigarettes. The study also found that men, enrolled in or graduated from college, were current or former smokers, and those with at least one friend as a smoker were the most likely to be aware of e-cigarettes.

“Considerable proportions of young adults perceived that e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and are less harmful and less addictive than cigarettes, despite the lack of scientific evidence related to e-cigarettes,” the study’s authors point out.

“Given that the risks associated with e-cigarettes are still largely unknown, strategic health communication interventions to communicate to the public that evidence to support these perceptions is lacking and strengthening tobacco control regulations to include e-cigarettes could potentially reduce the prevalence of e-cigarette use among young adults,” the authors of the study suggest.

[From: “Characteristics associated with awareness, perceptions and use of electronic nicotine delivery systems among young US midwestern adults.” Contact: Kelvin Choi, MPH, PhD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minn. 55454].


2)   Women teased about their weight growing up were more likely to have disturbed eating

Disturbed eating was found to be more prevalent in women who experienced weight teasing in their past, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers analyzed data from an online survey taken by 1,539 women between the ages of 18 and 26. The survey assessed current eating behaviors, weight teasing histories, recalled body weight-status histories and demographic information. An analysis investigated the long-term effects of weight teasing insults on current eating behaviors in addition to their connections to previous body weights during the growing years. 

Results indicate that 45 percent of participants recalled being teased about their weight as a child.  Women who encountered weight teasing were more likely to engage in disturbed eating, including binge eating, self induced vomiting, and misuse of medicine or excessive exercise. As the variety of weight teasing insults received increased, there was also an increase in disturbed eating behaviors. Furthermore, those who recalled being heavier than average during childhood were more likely to have received more weight teasing insults and feel greater distress from the insults.

“Results from this study reported here support findings of previous work and extend them by demonstrating that disturbed eating behaviors persist at least into young adulthood,” the authors explain.

“Eating disturbances and disorders can have serious – even fatal – outcomes.  Thus to protect the health of children, especially those who are overweight and at greatest risk for being weight teased, efforts to make weight teasing unacceptable are warranted,” the study’s authors suggest.

[From: “Fatty, fatty, two-by-four: Weight-teasing history and disturbed eating in young adult women.” Contact: Virginia M. Quick, PhD, RD, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, Md.]

3)   More Americans get moving:  Transit walkers increase by 2 million since 2001

The number of Americans adding physical activity to their day by walking to and from public transit is on the rise, according to new findings published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health found that between 2001 and 2009, the number of transit walkers increased from 7.5 million to 9.6 million, which is a 28% increase. Researchers used phone interview and travel diary data from the US Department of Transportation’s National Household Travel Survey to estimate the daily levels of physical activity attained by people walking to and from transit, and to assess their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. 

Study results found the highest proportion of transit walkers were from low-income households making less than $35,000, 54.8 percent were non-white and 64.6 percent lived in a city with a rail system and a population of 1 million or more people. Walk time for white and middle-income transit walkers increased slightly.

In 2009, 3.4 million people walked 30 minutes or more per day in conjunction with a transit trip, helping them meet the recommendations of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Of the transit walkers attaining 30 or more minutes per day of physical activity solely by walking to transit, 43.1 percent made less than $15,000 per year, 41.3 percent had less than a high school education, 44.6 percent were Asian/ Pacific Islanders, 38.9 percent lived in large cities with a rail system and 38.8 percent had no household d vehicle.

The study’s authors conclude that, “transit walking contributes to meeting physical activity recommendations, especially for people of lower socioeconomic status or minority groups. Continued improvement to public transit systems can lead to lasting improvements to opportunities for physical activity.”

[From: “Walking associated with public transit: Moving toward increased physical activity in the United States.” Contact: Amy L. Freeland, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.]

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

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media.  Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via email.  A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department.  If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22. For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

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