AJPH November 2014 highlights

Date: Nov 13 2014

Embargoed AJPH research: Children’s social competence, neighborhood incarceration impacts, jail Hepatitis C testing

In this month’s release, find new embargoed research about children with low social competence and obesity; potential mental health impacts on neighborhoods with high incarceration rates; and Hepatitis C testing in U.S. prisons and jails.

EMBARGOED UNTIL November 13, 2014, 4 p.m. (EST)

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

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

1. Children with lower social skills at greater risk of becoming obese
2. High neighborhood incarceration rates could lead to resident mental health issues
3. Most U.S. prisons and jails not offering routine Hepatitis C testing

Children with lower social skills at greater risk of becoming obese
Among children, low social competence, or the skills and behaviors necessary to engage in appropriate and positive social interactions, could result in an increased likelihood of obesity according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

With data from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class 1998-99, the study investigated the correlation between childhood obesity and social competence. The sample was comprised of 8,346 children whom researchers analyzed during the third through fifth grade waves. Social competence was assessed based on children’s responses to statements like “I make friends easily,” and “I am easy to like.”

Results from the study indicate that lower social competence is significantly correlated with a greater likelihood of unhealthy weight gain. Nine-year old participants with lower social competence were more likely to be overweight or obese by the time they were 11. However children who were obese at age nine were not found to have a lower social competence over time.

“Children with low social competence may engage in unhealthy behavior to avoid social situations in which they expect negative social feedback or to reduce the stress associated with negative social experiences. This could result in energy imbalance and weight gain if such responses take the form of solitary and sedentary activities or unhealthy eating behaviors,” the authors suggest.

[“Social Competence and Obesity in Elementary School.” Contact: Sandra Jackson, PhD, MPH, Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta].

High neighborhood incarceration rates could lead to resident mental health issues
According to new research from the American Journal of Public Health, individuals who live in neighborhoods with high incarceration rates are more likely to be symptomatic of major depressive disorder or general anxiety disorder than those who live in neighborhoods with low incarceration rates.

Researchers investigated the potential impact of neighborhood incarceration rates on resident mental health. The study drew data from the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study alongside incarceration data from the Justice Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections. Study participants responded to telephone surveys that assessed depression symptoms using the Patient Health Questionnaire.

Results from the study indicated that individuals who live in neighborhoods with high prison admission rates are more likely to show symptoms for major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder than those living in neighborhoods with lower prison admission rates. A similar trend was found for parole rates in which neighborhoods with a higher parole rate saw increased odds of residents showing symptoms for MDD and GAD. These results were comparable for individuals with and without a personal history of incarceration.

“The literature on the ‘long arm’ of incarceration is growing. Although much of this work has focused on the spillover effects of incarceration to partners and children of those who are recently or formerly incarcerated, our study advances this literature by documenting relationships between neighborhood-level prison rates and psychiatric morbidity among community members living in neighborhoods with elevated levels of incarceration. These results suggest a potential broadening of the public health impact of mass incarceration,” the authors of the study explain.

[“The Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration: Increased Risk of Psychiatric Morbidity among Non-Incarcerated Residents of High-Incarceration Neighborhoods.” Contact: Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD Columbia University, New York, New York.]

Most U.S. prisons and jails not offering routine Hepatitis C testing
According to a new research brief from the American Journal of Public Health, few prisons or jails provide routine Hepatitis C Virus testing.

Researchers surveyed medical directors of 50 state prison systems along with those of the 40 largest jails nationwide regarding their processes for testing inmates for Hepatitis C. Potential processes included routine testing (either opt-in or opt-out routine testing), inmate request, or physician order.

Findings from the study indicated that the majority of prison systems and jails provided Hepatitis C testing if requested by an inmate or recommended by a physician. However, only 11 of the prisons and one of the jail facilities provided routine testing.

“Despite the high prevalence of HCV among incarcerated populations and the fact that expanded HCV testing would yield significant numbers of new diagnoses, few facilities in this study conducted routine HCV testing,” the authors find.

“We acknowledge that there are barriers to HCV testing in this population, including the cost of antibody screening, confirmatory testing, and the need to provide medical care and treatment to persons identified as having chronic infection,” the researchers explain.

[“Survey of U.S. Correctional Institutions for Routine HCV Testing.” Contact Curt Beckwith, MD, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.]

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on Nov. 13, 2014, at 4 p.m. EST below:

Community water fluoridation and intelligence
Results of the SMILE study: A randomized controlled trial of the effect of a brief case management intervention to link HIV positive persons to oral health care
Implementing an HIV Rapid Testing/ Linkage to Care Project Among Homeless Individuals in Los Angeles County: A Collaborative Effort between Federal, County and City Government
Do Midwestern Community Health Centers Offer Routine HIV Testing? Experience from Indiana
HPV Vaccination among Young Adult Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States
Unprotected anal intercourse with casual male partners in urban gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men
Disparities in weight and weight behaviors by sexual orientation in young adulthood
"I Always Felt I Had to Prove My Manhood:" Homosexuality, Masculinity, Gender Role Strain, and HIV Risk in the Lives of Young Black Men who have Sex with Men
Changing Gender Norms and Reducing Intimate Partner Violence: Results from a Quasi-experimental Intervention Study with Young Men in Ethiopia
The Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration: Increased Risk of Psychiatric Morbidity among Non-Incarcerated Residents of High-Incarceration Neighborhoods
Evaluating a Large-Scale Community-based Intervention to Achieve Better Pregnancy and Newborn Health among the Rural Poor in India
Social Competence and Obesity in Elementary School
Neighborhood Contributions to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity among New York City Adults
Impact of a rewards-based incentive program on promoting fruit and vegetable purchases
Screen-based media use, sports participation and well-being in adolescence: cross-sectional findings from the UK Household Longitudinal Study
Cigarette Smoking, Desire to Quit, and Tobacco-Related Counseling among Adult Health Center Patients
Adjunctive Financial Incentives for Abstinence among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Individuals Participating in Smoking Cessation Treatment
Predictors of Tobacco Use Among New York Addiction Treatment Patients
Community Mobilization to Reduce Drug Use in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
Homelessness and other risk factors for HIV infection in the current outbreak among injecting drug users in Athens, Greece
Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment for Older Adults with Substance Misuse
Inside Maine's Medicine Cabinet: Findings from DEA Medication Take-Back Events, 2011-2013
Asian American Problem Drinking Trajectories during the Transition to Adulthood: Ethnic Drinking Cultures and Neighborhood Contexts
Disparities in Tuberculosis Burden among South Asians Living in New York City, 2001-2010
Federally Qualified Health Center's System Strategies for Colorectal Cancer Screening
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 email her. 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 online, or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.