AJPH February 2015 highlights

Date: Feb 25 2015

EMBARGOED AJPH Research: Child health and foreign-born parents, flavored alcohol beverages, PTSD and heart failure

In this month’s release, find new embargoed research about the health of black children with foreign- born parents; risky drinking behavior associated with flavored alcohol beverages; and the risk for heart failure among veterans with PTSD.

EMBARGOED UNTIL Feb. 25, 2015, 4 p.m. (EST)

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

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

Better health among black children with foreign-born parents  
Youth drinking flavored alcohol beverages may be more likely to engage in risky drinking behaviors
PTSD among veterans may increase risk of heart failure

Better health among black children with foreign-born parents
According to new research from the American Journal of Public Health, among black children in the U.S., those with foreign-born parents have better health outcomes than those with U.S.-born parents.

Researchers used data from the 2000-2011 National Health Interview Survey, which captured child health data from parental household reporting of more than 18,000 children up to 16 years of age. General health status, measured on a 1-5 scale from excellent to poor; number of missed school days; and prevalence of activity limitations, asthma and allergies were evaluated. The study also captured demographic information, including the biological mother’s region of origin categorized in three groups: United States, Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa.

Results from the study indicate that among all five health outcomes measured, children of foreign-born mothers display better health outcomes. Results remained the same even after controlling for additional variables, including family income, maternal education and mother’s current marital status. Further, longer duration in the U.S. was associated with poorer health outcomes for children of foreign-born mothers.

“The health advantages of black foreign-born children compared with their U.S.-born counterparts are similar to foreign-born advantages observed among Hispanic and Asian American children. For these and other health outcomes, Hispanic and Asian American children who are U.S. born tend to be worse off than those who are foreign born,” authors conclude.

 [“Health among black children by maternal and child nativity.” Contact: Arun Hendi, MA, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

Youth drinking flavored alcohol beverages may be more likely to engage in risky drinking behaviors
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that underage drinkers who consume the supersize versions of flavored alcohol beverages are more than six times as likely to report suffering alcohol-related injuries compared to youth who do not consume flavored alcohol beverages.

Researchers used data from an online survey administered by Knowledge Networks of adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 to 20. The survey captured responses from more than 1,000 participants about the brands of alcohol they consumed, the number of days they consumed each brand, and the number of drinks they typically consumed on the days they consumed alcohol. With a focus on flavored alcohol beverages the study categorized this type of alcoholic drink as malt-based flavored beverages; spirit-based, premixed-ready-to-drink cocktails; and supersized alcopops. The report is the first study to document the association between the consumption of different types of flavored alcohol beverages, risky drinking behaviors, and self-reported alcohol-related harms among underage drinkers ages 13-20.

Findings from the study indicate that flavored alcohol beverage drinkers who only consumed supersized alcopops were more likely to report heavy episodic drinking and alcohol-related injuries, and those who only consumed pre-mixed/ready-to-drink cocktails were more likely to report heavy episodic drinking and alcohol injury requiring medical attention.  Consumption of any combination of two or more flavored alcohol beverages was strongly associated with self-reported heavy episodic drinking, fighting and alcohol-related injuries. The results were particularly striking among supersized alcopop users who consumed double the total number of drinks per month than users of pre-mixed/ready-to-drink cocktails, and triple the total number of drinks consumed by flavored malt beverage users and non-flavored alcohol beverage users.

“Our findings were similar to those of other research indicating that mixing energy drinks with alcohol is associated with greater risk for both adverse outcomes of drinking and increased risk-taking behaviors,” authors explain.

“These findings raise important concerns about the popularity and use of FABs among youth. This is particularly true for the supersized alcopops, which remain largely unregulated and continue to present an emerging public health problem of harmful alcohol consumption among youths,” they conclude.

[“Flavored alcoholic beverage use, risky drinking behaviors, and adverse outcomes among underage drinkers: Results from the ABRAND study.” Contact: Alison Albers, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.]

PTSD among veterans may increase risk of heart failure
Post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans is associated with greater risk for heart failure compared to veterans without PTSD, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers reviewed medical records from the Veteran Affairs Pacific Islands Health Care System between 2005 and 2012, to analyze a sample of 8,248 veterans. Incidents of PTSD diagnosis were identified. In addition, conditions associated with heart failure such as age, body mass index, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and hypertension; and conditions associated with post traumatic stress disorder, including depression adjustment disorder and anxiety disorder, were noted. The study then analyzed associations between PTSD and heart failure conditions.

Findings from the study indicate that veterans with PTSD face a greater risk of developing heart failure compared to those without PTSD. The study supported previous research identifying an association between PTSD and heart failure. It further supported previous studies linking age, gender, hypertension, diabetes and obesity to incidents of heart failure.

“Although ours is one of the first prospective studies examining the role of PTSD in the development of HF, it is consistent with newly emerging scientific information implicating psychological illness as a vital determinant of physical health. Given the ongoing involvement of U.S. military personnel in combat operations, the high prevalence of PTSD in veterans, and the increasing incidence of heart failure in the United States, outpatient care must include both mental health and chronic disease management,” the researchers wrote.

[“Posttraumatic stress disorder and incident heart failure among a community-based sample of U.S. veterans,” Contact: Samit Sunny Roy, MPSPH, Lillehei Clinical Research Unit, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.]

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on Feb. 25, 2015, at 4 p.m. EST below:

  • Lifecourse work-family profiles predict mortality risk among American women
  • Changes in Discrimination across Pregnancy and Postpartum: Age Differences and Consequences for Mental Health 
  • The role of socioeconomic factors in Black-White disparities in preterm birth
  • Health Among Black Children by Maternal and Child Nativity 
  • Cross-sectional and longitudinal effects of racism on the mental health of urban African Americans 
  • Severe Physical Violence and Black Women's Health and Well-being
  • Transition to adulthood and antiretroviral adherence among HIV-positive young Black men who have sex with men
  • Disentangling the relative influence of schools and neighborhoods on adolescents' risk for depressive symptoms 
  • Transnational, Social, and Neighborhood Ties and Smoking among Latino Immigrants: Does Gender Matter? 
  • The Intended and Unintended Consequences of a Legal Measure to Cut the Flow of Illegal Cigarettes into New York City: The Case of the South Bronx
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Incident Heart Failure among a Community-based Sample of U.S. Veterans. 
  • Prior Violent Events and Mental Health Outcomes in Guatemala
  • The contribution of national disparities to international differences in mortality between the United States and 7 European countries. 
  • Effectiveness of residential wood burning regulation on decreasing particulate matter levels and hospitalizations in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin 
  • The Montana Radon Study: Social Marketing via Digital Signage Technology for Reaching Families in the Waiting Room
  • Step On It! Impact of a Workplace New York City Taxi Driver Health Intervention to Increase Necessary Health Care Access
  • Pathways to colonoscopy in the South: seeds of health disparities?
  • Evaluating a Bilingual Patient Navigation Program for Uninsured Women with Abnormal Screening Tests for Breast and Cervical Cancer: Implications for Future Navigator Research 
  • Population-Wide Folic Acid Fortification and Preterm Birth: Testing the Folate Depletion Hypothesis 
  • The Potential for Glycemic Control Monitoring and Screening for Diabetes at Dental Visits Using Oral Blood 
  • Efficacy of an Adapted HIV/STI Prevention Intervention for Incarcerated Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Buffering syndemic effects in a sexual risk reduction intervention for male clients of female sex workers: Results from a randomized controlled trial 
  • Drug Use, Sexual Risk, and Syndemic Production among MSM who Engage in Group Sex Encounters 
  • Flavored alcoholic beverage use, risky drinking behaviors and adverse outcomes among underage drinkers: results from the ABRAND study
  • The Alcohol Policy Environment and Policy Subgroups as Predictors of Binge Drinking Measures among U.S. Adults 
  • Enhancing Diversity in the Public Health Research Workforce: the Research and Mentorship Program (RAMP) for Future HIV Vaccine Scientists  

The articles above were published online Feb. 25, 2015, 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, 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 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.