AJPH August 2016 highlights

Date: Aug 23 2016

AJPH Research: Tax on sweet drinks, vaccine coverage in red and blue states, public health workers’ job satisfaction

CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of an issue, contact Mandi Yohn at amanda.yohn@apha.org or 202-777-2509.

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

1. Berkeley, California, tax leads to reduced sugar-sweetened beverage consumption

2. Adolescent vaccination coverage higher in ‘blue’ states than ‘red’ states

3. Public health practitioners’ job satisfaction high, but significant turnover expected

Berkeley, California, tax leads to reduced sugar-sweetened beverage consumption

According to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health, a $0.01 per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages — or SSBs — in Berkeley, California, has led to a reduction in SSB consumption and an increase in water consumption. Berkeley became the first U.S. jurisdiction to implement such a tax in March 2015.

Researchers from the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, examined changes in pre- and post-tax beverage consumption in low-income neighborhoods in Berkeley compared to Oakland and San Francisco, California. A questionnaire was used to determine the frequency of beverage consumption approximately eight months after the tax was passed and four months after it was enacted.

Results showed that after the tax was implemented, consumption of SSBs decreased by 21 percent, compared to a 4 percent increase in comparison cities that did not have a tax. Berkeley also showed a 63 percent increase in water consumption compared to a 19 percent increase in the other cities.

“An SSB tax is one of the few public health interventions expected to reduce health disparities, save more money than it costs and generate substantial revenues for public health programs,” the authors explain. “If impacts in Berkeley persist, and evidence from other cities passing SSB taxes corroborate our findings, widespread adoption of SSB excise taxes could have considerable fiscal and public health benefits. “

[“Impact of the Berkeley Excise Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption.” Contact: Kristine Madsen, MD, MPH, or Jennifer Falbe, ScD, University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Berkeley, California.]

Adolescent vaccination coverage higher in ‘blue’ states than ‘red’ states

Adolescents living in Democratic “blue” states are significantly more likely to have received three recommended vaccines than adolescents in Republican “red” states, according to new research in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers examined data from the 2012 National Immunization Survey – Teen to assess state-level associations between voting patterns and adolescent coverage for at least one dose of human papillomavirus, or HPV, tetanus-containing, or Tdap, and meningococcal, or MCV4, vaccinations. States were classified as “blue” to designate Democratic affiliation and “red” to designate Republican affiliation based on the 2012 Presidential election results.

Results showed that adolescent coverage was significantly higher in blue states than red for each vaccine. Specifically, the percent differences between vaccine coverage in blue and red states were 10.2 percent for HPV among girls, 24.9 percent for HPV among boys, 6.2 percent for Tdap and 14.1 for MCV4.

“An adolescent’s state of residence is an important, independent predictor of vaccination against preventable infectious diseases,” the authors explain. “Strategies to increase vaccination coverage at the individual, community or structural level should consider local political settings that may facilitate or hinder effectiveness. Future research that seeks a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for this is an important public health priority.”

[“State-Level Voting Patterns and Adolescent Vaccination Coverage in the United States, 2014.” Contact: Linda Niccolai, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut.]

Public health practitioners’ job satisfaction high, but significant turnover expected

According to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health, while U.S. public health practitioners are largely satisfied with their jobs, a substantial portion are considering leaving or retiring from their organization in the near future.

Researchers used data from the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and 2014 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey to compare rates of job satisfaction and intent to leave one’s organization among federal, state and local public health staff.

Results showed that across all groups, the majority of staff liked their jobs: approximately 90 percent said they felt the work they did was important, and 60-65 percent felt their workload was reasonable. Pay satisfaction varied considerably across all groups. Overall, however, approximately 40 percent of federal, state and local staff said they were either considering leaving their organization within the next year or planning to retire by 2020.

“Health agencies must plan for substantial turnover in coming years across all staff areas,” the authors explain. “While pay satisfaction is an issue, there is an important opportunity for health departments to develop strategies to maximize employee engagement and organizational support.”

[“Job Satisfaction and Expected Turnover Among Federal, State and Local Public Health Practitioners.” Contact: Kate Reuterswärd, PR Collaborative, Washington, DC.]

Find a full list of research papers published online on August 23, 2016, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

  • Prevalence and Causes of Paralysis—United States, 2013
  • One Outcome, Many Trends: Understanding National Data Sources for Road Traffic Fatalities in China
  • Prevalence of Hearing Loss by Severity in the United States
  • Bullying Victimization and Racial Discrimination Among Australian Children
  • State-Level Voting Patterns and Adolescent Vaccination Coverage in the United States, 2014
  • A Traffic-Light Label Intervention and Dietary Choices in College Cafeterias
  • A Community-Powered, Asset-Based Approach to Intersectoral Urban Health System Planning in Chicago
  • Reproductive Outcomes Following Maternal Exposure to the Events of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, in New York City
  • Community Engagement Compared With Technical Assistance to Disseminate Depression Care Among Low-Income, Minority Women: A Randomized Controlled Effectiveness Study
  • Job Satisfaction and Expected Turnover Among Federal, State and Local Public Health Practitioners
  • Prices for Tobacco and Nontobacco Products in Pharmacies Versus Other Stores: Results From Retail Marketing Surveillance in California and in the United States
  • Effective Referral of Low-Income Women at Risk for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer to Genetic Counseling: A Randomized Delayed Intervention Control Trial
  • Stand-Biased Versus Seated Classrooms and Childhood Obesity: A Randomized Experiment in Texas
  • Safety and Health Support for Home Care Workers: The COMPASS Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Impact of the Berkeley Excise Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption
  • US Food Industry Progress During the National Salt Reduction Initiative: 2009–2014

The articles above were published online August 23, 2016, at 4 p.m. EDT 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, and is available at www.ajph.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Mandi Yohn at APHA, 202-777-2509, 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. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a 140-plus year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit www.apha.org