AJPH August 2015 highlights

Date: Aug 13 2015

AJPH Research: Mass. childhood obesity, law enforcement homicide risk, commercial cyclists

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. Massachusetts child obesity rates improve, except among the poor
  2. States with more gun owners experience more law enforcement homicides
  3. Bicycle couriers make up a large proportion of NYC injured cyclists

Massachusetts child obesity rates improve, except among the poor
Massachusetts childhood obesity and overweight rates showed an overall improvement between 2009 and 2014, but disparities among children of different socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds widened, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers reviewed data from 275 Massachusetts public school districts that annually captured body mass index of students in first, fourth, seventh and 10th grades between the school years 2008-2009 and 2013-2014. The BMI data was reviewed alongside corresponding school district, gender, district-level median household income and report year. Researchers sought to understand trends or changes in obesity and overweight prevalence over the six years after Massachusetts’s 2009 mandated annual screening of BMI.

Results from the study indicate that despite a high prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity, there was an overall decline between 2009 and 2014. However, prevalence only improved among districts with a median household income greater than $37,000. Obesity and overweight rates remained unchanged over the course of the study for the poorest children. Additionally, declines were only seen among children in first and fourth grades, suggesting an opportunity for intervention during these grade levels.

“Although overall prevalence began to decrease, the geographic and socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity are widening and remain a public health challenge in Massachusetts. Special efforts should be made to address the needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged districts and to narrow the disparities in childhood obesity,” the authors suggest.

[“Declining trends and widening disparities in overweight and obesity prevalence among Massachusetts public school districts, 2009-2014.” Contact: Wenjun Li, PhD, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts].

States with more gun owners experience more law enforcement homicides
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that there is a greater likelihood of law enforcement homicide among states with greater public gun ownership rates.

Using data from the Uniformed Crime Reporting database, the study reviewed annual homicide counts of law enforcement officers for every state and the District of Columbia between 1996 and 2010. The study compared the statewide law enforcement officer homicide rate against each state’s public firearm ownership rate using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Researchers controlled for state violent crime rates in their analysis.

Results from the study indicated that states with high prevalence of public firearm ownership pose a greater risk for law enforcement officer homicide than states with lower public firearm ownership rates. According to the study, 10 additional law enforcement officer homicides could result from a 10 percent increase in firearm ownership rate, over the course of 15 years.

“Law enforcement officers working in states with higher levels of gun ownership faced a greater likelihood of being shot and killed on the job compared with their peers in states with lower gun ownership. The differences were large. Officers in the high-gun states had three times the likelihood of being killed compared with low-gun states,” the authors explain.

[“Firearm prevalence and homicides of law enforcement officers in the United States.” Contact: David Swedler, PhD, MPH, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago].

Bicycle couriers make up a large proportion of NYC injured cyclists  
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that commercial bicyclists, defined as business employees operating bicycles for delivery purposes, are frequently injured by motor vehicles. They make up one quarter to one half of all injured cyclists annually treated at Bellevue Hospital Center, a level 1 trauma center.  

Researchers reviewed data from Bellevue Hospital which captured information about more than 800 New York City bicyclists who were injured by motor vehicles and treated at the trauma center. Among the sample, the study collected a number of variables including demographic information, commercial status, helmet use, alcohol use and riding behaviors.

Results from the study indicate that commercial bicyclists make up 24.4 percent to 45.1 percent of injured bicyclists treated in the trauma center annually. These bicyclists tend to be young men and most frequently are of Latino origin. Commercial bicyclists are less likely to have consumed alcohol or to have been distracted by the use of an electronic device. Commercial bicyclists did not differ from other riders in helmet use but had less severe injuries.

“Commercial bicyclists represent a unique cohort of vulnerable roadway users who have received little attention in the scientific and epidemiological literature,” the researchers conclude.

[“Drawing the curtain back on injured commercial bicyclists.” Contact: Spiros Frangos, MD, MPH, FACS, NYU School of Medicine, New York].

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on Aug. 13, 2015, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

  • Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act: Potential changes in receipt of mental health treatment among low-income nonelderly adults with serious mental illness*
  • A systems approach to improving Tdap immunization within five community based family practice settings: Working differently (and better) by transforming the structure and process of care­­
  • The influence of provider communication behaviors on parental vaccine acceptance and visit experience*
  • Indicated prevention of childhood anxiety and depression: Results from a practice-based study up to 12 months after intervention
  • Self-reported health among recently incarcerated mothers
  • Children's insurance coverage and crowd-out through the recession: Lessons from Ohio *
  • Sharing a playbook: Integrated care in community health centers 
  • Modeling the movement of homicide by type to inform public health prevention efforts 
  • Firearm prevalence and homicides of law enforcement officers in the United States 
  • Suicide rates and state laws regulating access and exposure to handguns 
  • The association between state laws regulating handgun ownership and statewide suicide rates*
  • The contribution of missed clinic visits to disparities in HIV viral load outcomes
  • "We'll get to you when we get to you": Exploring potential contributions of healthcare staff behaviors to patient perceptions of discrimination and satisfaction 
  • Effectiveness of lay health worker outreach in reducing disparities in colorectal cancer screening in Vietnamese Americans 
  • Does financial distress explain life course socioeconomic inequalities in wellbeing? Cross-national analysis of European welfare states 
  • Pathways to colonoscopy in the South: seeds of health disparities?*
  • Discrimination and cumulative disease damage among African American women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
  • Disparities in water and sewer services in North Carolina: An analysis of the decision-making process 
  • Sexual minority health disparities in adult men and women in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010 
  • Demographic and psychosocial factors associated with psychological distress and resilience among transgender individuals
  • The contribution of national disparities to international differences in mortality between the United States and 7 European countries.*
  • Comparing the relative efficacy of narrative versus non-narrative health messages In reducing health disparities using a randomized trial*
  • Flu Near You: Crowdsourced symptom reporting spanning two influenza seasons
  • Drawing the curtain back on injured commercial bicyclists
  • Healthcare costs one year after pediatric traumatic brain injury 
  • Profiles of food security for US farmworker households and factors related to dynamic of change 
  • Food insecurity and cost-related medication underuse among non-elderly adults in a nationally representative sample 
  • The interaction of depressive symptoms and substance use to predict risky sexual behavior and STIs over 36 months among African American female adolescents seeking sexual health care in Atlanta, GA*
  • Public support for family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act point of sale provisions: Results of a national study 
  • Patient characteristics associated with smoking cessation interventions and quit attempt rates across ten community health centers using electronic health records*
  • A multi-state Asian-language Tobacco Quitline: Addressing a disparity in access to care*
  • "What is our story?" Philip Morris's changing corporate narrative 
  • Violence against women in selected areas of the United States*
  • The declining trends and widening disparities in overweight and obesity prevalence among Massachusetts public school districts, 2009-2014 
  • Images of a healthy worksite: A group-randomized trial of worksite multiple-component interventions for weight gain prevention with employee participation in intervention design*

Note: Studies not under embargoed and already published are denoted by an asterisk.

The articles above will be published online Aug. 13, 2015, at 4 p.m. (ET) 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, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.

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 at www.ajph.org or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

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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.