AJPH January 2015 highlights

Date: Jan 20 2015


Embargoed AJPH research: Cyberbullying, teen negative life events, restaurant menu labels

In this month’s release, find new embargoed research about cyberbullying among middle school students; negative life events and adolescent initiation of sexual intercourse; and the effects of restaurant menu-label regulation.

EMBARGOED UNTIL January 20, 2015, 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:

Among middle school students, sexual minorities and girls are more likely to be cyberbullied

Negative life events increase risk of adolescents beginning sexual intercourse

Customer use and awareness of calorie information triples following menu-labeling regulation

Note: Hyperlinks to the studies will go live following the embargo lift on Jan. 20, 2015 at 4 p.m. EST

Among middle school students, sexual minorities and girls are more likely to be cyberbullied
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that sexual minorities and girls are more likely to report being victims of cyberbullying, with the bullying taking place most often on Facebook.

Using data from a supplemental survey to the 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Los Angeles Unified School District, the study reviewed cyberbullying among more than 1,000 middle school students. Researchers captured information regarding cyberbullying victimization and perpetration, technology use and practices among the sample and additional demographic information.

Results from the study indicated that girls were more likely than boys to be victims of cyberbullying along with sexual minorities who were disproportionately more likely to be cyberbullied compared to heterosexual students. Students who texted at least 50 times a day were also more likely to report being victims of cyberbullying. Facebook was also found to be the most common platform for cyberbullying to take place.

“This study suggests that interventions should take into account social media platforms, gender and especially sexual identity,” the authors conclude.

“Research is needed to stay abreast of how cyberbullying evolves across the ever-changing landscape of social media platforms and new technology devices such as smartphones, tablets and even online gaming systems,” the researchers suggest.

[“Cyberbullying Perpetration and Victimization Among Middle-School Students.” Contact: Robin Petering, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.]

Negative life events increase risk of adolescents beginning sexual intercourse
The occurrence of negative life events is associated with greater likelihood of adolescent initiation of sexual intercourse, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health. The occurrence of just one negative life event increases an adolescent’s risk of initiating sexual intercourse.

The study reviewed results from the Youth Asset Study, a questionnaire capturing responses from more than 1,000 adolescent and parent pairs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The questionnaire assessed initiation of sexual intercourse; family structure and income; age; and results from a negative life events scale. Initial data was collected between August 2003 and December 2004 with follow-ups taking place over the following four years.

Results from the study indicated that adolescents who reported one negative life event were at a 1.4 times greater risk of initiating sexual intercourse than their counterparts who experienced no negative life events. For participants who experienced two or more negative life events, the hazard of initiating sexual intercourse was 1.61 times greater.

“Even one negative life event puts youths at risk for initiation of sexual intercourse. Problems in school, breaking up or getting ‘dumped,’ and parent separation or divorce significantly increased the risk for initiation of sexual intercourse,” the authors explain.

“The costs of early initiation of sexual intercourse and risky sexual behaviors are high, both to individual adolescents and to society. Negative life events may make youths more vulnerable to engaging in health risk behaviors compared with those without recent negative life events,” they conclude.

[“The Prospective Association Between Negative Life Events and Initiation of Sexual Intercourse: The Influence of Family Structure and Family Income.” Contact: Marshall Cheney, PhD, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

Customer awareness and use of calorie information tripled following menu-labeling regulation
Awareness and use of calorie information on menus tripled after implementation of restaurant menu-labeling regulation in King County, Washington, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers used data from the Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. They reviewed menu label habits from 2008 through 2010, accounting for time before and after implementation of King County’s menu-labeling regulation, which went into effect January 1, 2009. The survey included questions about participants’ awareness and use of calorie counts on menus when visiting establishments required to post this information. The study reviewed responses from more than 8,000 participants over the age of 18. From these data, 3,132 respondents who reported eating at a chain restaurant regulated by the menu-labeling policy comprised the study population.

Results from the study indicate an increase in awareness and use of calorie information on labeled menus between 2008 and 2010. The proportion of people who saw the calorie information increased from 18.6 percent in 2008 to 59.4 percent in 2010. The proportion of people who used the calorie information increased from 8.1 percent to 24.8 percent in this same time period. The study also found that men, non-whites including Hispanics and low-income populations were less likely to use and see the calorie information.

“Using estimates of King County’s 3-year (2008-2010) adult average population, we estimated that at least 600,000 more King County adults saw calorie information and more than 250,000 additional adults used this information after policy implementation,” the researchers wrote.

“The Food and Drug Administration, policymakers and public health practitioners should consider whether additional approaches are needed to not only improve menu-labeling awareness and use among all customers but also to help groups less likely to see and use menu labels better understand and translate calorie information into healthier food choices,” the authors recommend.

[“Changes in Awareness and Use of Calorie Information Following Mandatory Menu Labeling in Restaurants in King County, Washington.” Contact: Roxana Chen, Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle, Washington.]

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on Jan. 20, 2015, at 4 p.m. EST below:

  • Cyberbullying and Cybervictimization among Middle School Students
  • Adapting the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Model of Police-Mental Health Collaboration in a Low-Income, Post-Conflict Country: Curriculum Development in Liberia, West Africa 
  • Impact of a Letter Grade Program on Restaurant Sanitary Conditions and Diner Behavior in New York City
  • Acceptable Interventions to Reduce Syphilis Transmission among High Risk MSM in Los Angeles 
  • Combining Clinical and Population-Level Data to Understand the Health of Neighborhoods 
  • "Hidden" social networks in behavior change interventions 
  • When advocacy obscures accuracy online: unpacking "digital pandemics" of public health misinformation through an anti-fluoride case study 
  • A minimal intervention to promote smoke-free homes among 2-1-1 callers: A randomized controlled trial
  • Nativity and Neighborhood Characteristics and Cervical Cancer Stage at Diagnosis and Survival Outcomes Among Hispanic Women in California  
  • Changes in awareness and use of calorie information following mandatory menu-labeling in restaurants in King County, Washington 
  • Weighing In: The Taste-Engineering Frame in Obesity Expert Discourse
  • Accelerometer Monitored Sedentary Behavior and Observed Physical Function Loss 
  • Identifying a Sample of HIV-positive Beneficiaries from Medicaid Claims Data and Estimating Their Treatment Costs
  • Efficacy of a savings-led microfinance intervention to reduce sexual risk for HIV among women engaged in sex work: A randomized clinical trial 
  • HIV prevalence and awareness of positive serostatus in Bogotá, Colombia
  • Racial/Ethnic disparities in the self-reported number of drinks in 2 hours before driving becomes impaired 
  • Program fidelity measures of a successful child car restraint program: Buckle-Up Safely. 
  • Ethical challenges in school-based immunisation programs for adolescents: a qualitative study
  • Post-Arrival Tuberculosis Screening at a Local Health Department of High-Risk Immigrants 
  • Nonprofit Hospitals' Approach to Community Health Needs Assessment 
  • Allostatic Load in Foreign-Born and U.S.-Born Blacks: Evidence from the 2001-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 
  • Household Crowding and Food Insecurity among Inuit Families with School Aged Children in the Canadian Arctic
  • The Prospective Association Between Negative Life Events and Initiation of Sexual Intercourse: The Influence of Family Structure and Family Income 
  • The impact of green stormwater infrastructure installation on surrounding health and safety
  • Translating a Fall Prevention Intervention into Practice: A Randomized Community Trial

The articles above will be published online Jan. 20, 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.