AJPH July 2016 Highlights

Date: Jul 26 2016

AJPH Research: New issue celebrates findings from historic 40-year Nurses’ Health Study

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.

Washington, D.C., July 26, 2016 — A new issue of the American Journal of Public Health celebrates the vital public health contributions that have resulted from 40 years of the Nurse’s Health Study. The study, launched by a team of Harvard University investigators in 1976 who examined data from a group of more than 120,000 nurses, has generated substantial knowledge on women’s health and the prevention of chronic diseases. Much of this Journal issue contains expert commentary, research and recommendations on a range of issues related to the findings that have resulted from this historic study.

The study originated with the goal of examining the long-term health effects of oral contraceptives. Since then, several offshoots have resulted from the original study, including NHS II in 1989, which expanded upon the original study’s aim to also include other risk factors during early reproductive life; the Growing Up Today study in 1996 and 2004, which investigated factors related to weight change; and NHS III in 2010, which included data from nurses that self-identified as members of a racial or ethnic minority. Over its 40-year span, the study has retained an estimated 94 percent of its original population.

“In this issue of AJPH we have opted to stress one of the historical contributions of the NHS, and perhaps the most unique: its standing out as the greatest active contribution an occupational group has ever made to science and to public health,” said AJPH Editor-in-Chief Alfredo Morabia, MD, PhD, in his editorial “120,000 Nurses Who Shook Public Health.” “It provided a model for many other cohort studies launched on other continents. This is indeed a very noteworthy public health anniversary,”

The issue compiles many papers on issues specific to women’s health, including reproductive health, contraception and breast cancer.

“Importantly, research in the NHS has identified ways in which women may reduce their risk of breast cancer, including limiting adult weight gain, reducing the duration of estrogen-plus-progestin HT use, limiting alcohol consumption, and increasing consumption of vegetables,” writes Megan Rice, ScD, lead author of “Breast Cancer Research in the Nurses’ Health Studies: Exposures Across the Life Course.” “As we enter the fifth decade of the Nurses’ Health Studies, we are seeking new ways to further our understanding of breast cancer etiology and prevention.”

Research in the issue also examines how findings from the study have helped illuminate the role diet, lifestyle and genetics play in preventing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

“The NHS data have contributed substantially to current dietary guidelines and policies that promote healthy eating patterns and limit consumption of SSBs, refined grains and red and processed meats as a means of preventing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes,” explained Sylvia Ley, PhD, RD, lead author of “Contribution of the Nurses’ Health Studies to Uncovering Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: Diet, Lifestyle, Biomarkers, and Genetics.” Still, “translating scientific evidence into practice requires fundamental changes in public policies, the food industry, built environments, and health care systems.”

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on July 26, 2016, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

  • A Coordinated Emergency Response: A Color Dust Explosion at a 2015 Concert in Taiwan
  • Determinants and Consequences of Obesity
  • Insights Into Nephrolithiasis From the Nurses’ Health Studies
  • Contributions of the Nurses’ Health Studies to Reproductive Health Research
  • Acute Gastroenteritis and Recreational Water: Highest Burden Among Young US Children
  • Exogenous Hormone Use: Oral Contraceptives, Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy, and Health Outcomes in the Nurses’ Health Study
  • Nurses’ Health Study Contributions on the Epidemiology of Less Common Cancers: Endometrial, Ovarian, Pancreatic, and Hematologic
  • The Impact of the Nurses’ Health Study on Population Health: Prevention, Translation, and Control
  • Colorectal Cancer Epidemiology in the Nurses’ Health Study
  • Contribution of the Nurses’ Health Studies to Uncovering Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: Diet, Lifestyle, Biomarkers, and Genetics
  • Epidemiology of Major Neurodegenerative Diseases in Women: Contribution of the Nurses’ Health Study
  • Genomics, Telomere Length, Epigenetics, and Metabolomics in the Nurses’ Health Studies
  • Epidemiological Assessments of Skin Outcomes in the Nurses’ Health Studies
  • Contribution of the Nurses’ Health Study to the Epidemiology of Cataract, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and Glaucoma
  • Key Findings on Alcohol Consumption and a Variety of Health Outcomes From the Nurses’ Health Study
  • Sociodemographic Disparities in Proximity of Schools to Tobacco Outlets and Fast-Food Restaurants
  • Place-Based Initiatives to Improve Health in Disadvantaged Communities: Cross-Sector Characteristics and Networks of Local Actors in North Carolina
  • Diet Assessment Methods and Evidence-Based Nutritional Policies and Guidelines in the Nurses’ Health Studies
  • Breast Cancer Research in the Nurses’ Health Studies: Exposures Across the Life Course
  • Psychiatric, Psychological, and Social Determinants of Health in the Nurses’ Health Study Cohorts
  • Diet, Lifestyle, Biomarkers, Genetic Factors, and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in the Nurses’ Health Studies

The articles above will be published online July 26, 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.

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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 issue and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.