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Journal Epidemiology and Community Health

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Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

A meta-analysis by Wang et al1 examined the association of inorganic arsenic (iAs) exposure with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Arsenic is ubiquitous and contaminates water through geological and manufacturing processes.2 Arsenic in water is a major public health problem, as it is acutely toxic and a carcinogen and millions of people worldwide are exposed to arsenic by drinking contaminated water.3 Countries where arsenic levels in drinking water have been found to exceed the WHO standard of 10 μg/L include Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan and the USA.4 Worldwide in 2010 285 million people suffered from T2DM and it is estimated this will increase to 439 million by 2030.5 T2DM is accountable for more than 90–95% of all diabetes with unknown specific aetiology. Important risk factors include genetics, aging and obesity.6

The...


Background

Adolescent mental health problems are associated with a range of adverse outcomes in adulthood but little is known about the effects on adult parenting practices. This study aimed to examine prospective associations between adolescent conduct and emotional problems and subsequent parenting behaviours in adulthood.

Methods

The study sample comprised 1110 members from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. Prospective data were collected from teacher reports of conduct and emotional problems at age 13 and 15 years and adult outcome measures of parenting included intellectual environment, cognitive stimulation, coercive discipline, parental interest and parental aspiration.

Results

In regression models adjusted for the confounding effects of social background, cognition and education, adolescent conduct problems predicted coercive parenting behaviours in adulthood. The effects of adolescent emotional problems on the development of coercive discipline practices were explained by covariates. Likewise, the inability of parents who displayed conduct problems in adolescence to provide an intellectually stimulating home environment was fully explained by the adjustment for education.

Conclusions

Adolescents who exhibit conduct problems are more likely to develop coercive styles of parenting.


Background

Previous studies have found that the duration since a union dissolution and the number of union dissolutions are associated with psychological well-being. However, these two aspects of partnership history have rarely been considered jointly in models of mental health. This study aims to investigate how the time since the most recent union dissolution and the number of union dissolutions are related to two indicators of psychological well-being—life satisfaction and the General Health Questionnaire—among middle-aged solo-living British men and women.

Methods

Data from the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study from 2009 to 2010 are analysed for 1201 50–64 year olds who were living alone and have ever been in a co-resident union (472 men and 729 women). Logistic regression analysis is used to investigate how life satisfaction and General Health Questionnaire 12 (GHQ-12) caseness are associated with partnership characteristics.

Results

GHQ-12 caseness is significantly and positively associated with the number of union dissolutions and negatively with the duration since the most recent union dissolution. This is the case among both genders, in models in which these partnership characteristics are entered separately and jointly, and in models controlling for parenthood status, socioeconomic status and physical health.

Conclusions

The results suggest that there is a short-term deterioration in mental health after a partnership break-up and that experiencing multiple union dissolutions is detrimental for psychological well-being. The association between partnership characteristics and the two measures of psychological well-being differs, which is in line with previous research showing that negative affect and life satisfaction are two separate constructs.


Background

Sense of coherence (SOC) is a health-promoting resource within the salutogenic theory that reflects an individual's coping ability. The association between SOC and mental health has been confirmed, but its association with mortality is less clear. We examined the association between SOC and all-cause mortality in an adult Dutch population.

Methods

Between 1996 and 1998, a postal questionnaire, including the three-item SOC scale, was completed by 12 024 men and women aged 20–65 years, who had participated in a health examination (MORGEN project) 6 months to 3 years earlier. Vital status was recorded up to November 2011; in total, 603 deaths were registered (5%). The participants were divided into three groups with a weak (21.1%), intermediate (60.3%) or strong (18.6%) SOC. Cox proportional hazard models were used with an intermediate SOC as the reference group. Adjustments were made for sex, age, socioeconomic factors, indicators of health status and lifestyle.

Results

A weak SOC, as compared with an intermediate SOC, was associated with a higher all-cause mortality risk after, on average, 13.5 years of follow-up and adjusted for sex and age (HR=1.40, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.70). After additional adjustments, the higher all-cause mortality risk remained statistically significant (HR=1.27, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.59). Mortality risk for the strong SOC group did not differ from that for the intermediate group.

Conclusions

A weak SOC was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. Health promotion focusing on strengthening SOC may be a promising new strategy, potentially affecting not only mental health but also mortality.


Objective

Prediction algorithms are useful for making clinical decisions and for population health planning. However, such prediction algorithms for first onset of major depression do not exist. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a prediction algorithm for first onset of major depression in the general population.

Methods

Longitudinal study design with approximate 3-year follow-up. The study was based on data from a nationally representative sample of the US general population. A total of 28 059 individuals who participated in Waves 1 and 2 of the US National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and who had not had major depression at Wave 1 were included. The prediction algorithm was developed using logistic regression modelling in 21 813 participants from three census regions. The algorithm was validated in participants from the 4th census region (n=6246). Major depression occurred since Wave 1 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, assessed by the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule–diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders IV.

Results

A prediction algorithm containing 17 unique risk factors was developed. The algorithm had good discriminative power (C statistics=0.7538, 95% CI 0.7378 to 0.7699) and excellent calibration (F-adjusted test=1.00, p=0.448) with the weighted data. In the validation sample, the algorithm had a C statistic of 0.7259 and excellent calibration (Hosmer-Lemeshow 2=3.41, p=0.906).

Conclusions

The developed prediction algorithm has good discrimination and calibration capacity. It can be used by clinicians, mental health policy-makers and service planners and the general public to predict future risk of having major depression. The application of the algorithm may lead to increased personalisation of treatment, better clinical decisions and more optimal mental health service planning.


Background

War experiences (WE) and postwar environments (PWE) are associated with mental ill-health. The present study aims to investigate the pathways from WE and PWE to mental ill-health and to define opportunities for intervention through analysis of the war-affected youths study (WAYS) cohort study.

Method

WAYS is an ongoing study of a large cohort of former child soldiers being conducted in Uganda. Mental health problems, subjective WE and PWE contexts were assessed by local adaptations of internationally developed measures for use with former child soldiers at least 6 years after the end of the war. Structural equation modeling was used to test two mediation hypotheses: (1) the ‘trauma model’ in which WE directly influence long-term mental health and (2) the ‘psychosocial path’ in which WE influence long-term mental health through PWE stressors.

Results

WE were linked to depression/anxiety (β=0.15 (95% CI 0.01 to 0.30)) through PWE (accounting for 44% of the variance in the relationship between these variables) and to conduct problems (β=0.23 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.43); (accounting for 89% of the variance, ie, near complete mediation)). The direct relation between WE and depression/anxiety attenuated but remained statistically significant. For conduct problems, the direct relationship was no longer significant after accounting for PWE.

Conclusions

PWE are a key determinant of continued mental health problems in former child soldiers. Interventions to reduce long-term mental problems should address both PWE stressors (psychosocial model) and specialised mental healthcare (trauma model) and consider both models of intervention as complementary.


Background

The child mental health epidemiology literature focuses almost exclusively on reporting the prevalence and predictors of child mental disorders. However, there is growing recognition of positive mental health or mental health competence as an independent outcome that cannot be inferred from the absence of problems, and requires epidemiological investigation in its own right.

Methods

We developed a novel measure of child mental health competence within the framework of the Australian Early Development Index, a three-yearly national census of early child development. Predictors of this outcome were investigated by linking these census data at individual level to detailed background information collected by a large longitudinal cohort study.

Results

Predictors of competence were consistent with previously described theoretical and empirical models. Overall, boys were significantly less likely than girls to demonstrate a high level of competence (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.91). Other strong predictors of competence were parent education and a relative absence of maternal psychological distress; these factors also appeared to attenuate the negative effect of family hardship on child competence.

Conclusions

This measure of mental health competence shows promise as a population-level indicator with the potential benefit of informing and evaluating evidence-based public health intervention strategies that promote positive mental health.


The Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI), an ongoing study of a risk-enriched pregnancy cohort, examines genetic and environmental risk factors for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). We simulated the potential effects of both measurement error (ME) in exposures and misclassification of ASD-related phenotype (assessed as Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI) scores) on measures of association generated under this study design. We investigated the impact on the power to detect true associations with exposure and the false positive rate (FPR) for a non-causal correlate of exposure (X2, r=0.7) for continuous AOSI score (linear model) versus dichotomised AOSI (logistic regression) when the sample size (n), degree of ME in exposure, and strength of the expected (true) OR (eOR)) between exposure and AOSI varied. Exposure was a continuous variable in all linear models and dichotomised at one SD above the mean in logistic models. Simulations reveal complex patterns and suggest that: (1) There was attenuation of associations that increased with eOR and ME; (2) The FPR was considerable under many scenarios; and (3) The FPR has a complex dependence on the eOR, ME and model choice, but was greater for logistic models. The findings will stimulate work examining cost-effective strategies to reduce the impact of ME in realistic sample sizes and affirm the importance for EARLI of investment in biological samples that help precisely quantify a wide range of environmental exposures.


Background

To determine the prevalence and determinants of problematic alcohol use (CAGE ≥2) in 25–74-year-old black population in Cape Town in 2008/2009 and examine the changes in self-reported alcohol consumption between 1990 and 2008/2009 in 25–64-year-olds.

Methods

In 2008/2009, a representative cross-sectional sample, stratified for age and sex, was randomly selected from the same townships sampled in 1990. Socio-demographic characteristics, the ability to cope with psychosocial stress (sense of coherence) and adverse life events were determined. Ordinal logistic regression analysis assessed the determinants of problem drinking.

Results

There were 1099 participants, 392 men and 707 women, in 2008/2009. Prevalence of alcohol consumption in 2008/2009 (men: 68.5%, 95% CI 62.7 to 73.7; women: 27.4%, 95% CI 23.7 to 31.5) was higher than in 1990 (men: 56.7%, women: 15.1%). Prevalence of problem drinking was significantly higher in men (49.7%, 95% CI 44.6 to 54.9) than in women (18.1% 95% CI 15.3 to 21.2) (p<0.001). In men, greater alcohol use was associated with >7 years of education (p=0.012), being unemployed compared with employed (p=0.008) and coping poorly with stress (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.05, p=0.042), and in women with spending more than half their life in the city (p<0.001) and coping poorly with stress (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.04, p=0.039). The odds for greater alcohol use with increasing number of adverse life events, after adjusting for the other factors, was significant in men (OR 1.11, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.19, p=0.010) and women (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.16, p=0.005).

Conclusions

Problem drinking is a major problem in this population and requires urgent interventions to curtail the misuse.


Background

By measuring alcohol retailers’ propensity to illegally sell alcohol to young people who appear highly intoxicated, we examine whether UK legislation is effective at preventing health harms resulting from drunk individuals continuing to access alcohol.

Methods

73 randomly selected pubs, bars and nightclubs in a city in North West England were subjected to an alcohol purchase test by pseudo-drunk actors. Observers recorded venue characteristics to identify poorly managed and problematic (PMP) bars.

Results

83.6% of purchase attempts resulted in a sale of alcohol to a pseudo-intoxicated actor. Alcohol sales increased with the number of PMP markers bars had, yet even in those with no markers, 66.7% of purchase attempts resulted in a sale. Bar servers often recognised signs of drunkenness in actors, but still served them. In 18% of alcohol sales, servers attempted to up-sell by suggesting actors purchase double rather than single vodkas.

Conclusions

UK law preventing sales of alcohol to drunks is routinely broken in nightlife environments, yet prosecutions are rare. Nightlife drunkenness places enormous burdens on health and health services. Preventing alcohol sales to drunks should be a public health priority, while policy failures on issues, such as alcohol pricing, are revisited.


Background

This study aimed to examine whether the socioeconomic context of urban areas affects differences in adult mortality from injuries in the districts of all seven South Korean metropolitan cities, after adjusting for individual demographic and socioeconomic indicators.

Methods

Two different sets of data were used in this study: (1) the National Death Registration data from 2003 to 2008; and (2) the National Census in 2005. Variables for individual characteristics were gender, age, residential area and educational level. A geographic deprivation index was calculated based on the Carstairs Index. Multilevel Poisson regression models were used to analyse the relationship between area deprivation levels and injury mortality.

Results

Greater mortality risks of traffic accidents, falls, suicide and all injuries were found in the elderly, the less educated and men, compared with their counterparts. The most deprived districts were at greater risks of death due to traffic accidents (risk ratio (RR)=1.34; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.73), falls (RR=1.63; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.20), suicide (RR=1.09; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.17) and all injuries (RR=1.14; 95% CI 1.07 to 1.22) compared with the least deprived districts, even after individual level socioeconomic variables were controlled for. However, area level deprivation did not show cross level interactions with the individual level education in estimating fatal injury risks.

Conclusions

Both contextual and compositional effects of socioeconomic status on injury mortality among urban areas in South Korea should be considered in allocating resources for injury prevention.


Background

Childhood head injury has the potential for lifelong disability and burden. This study aimed to establish the association between admission to hospital for childhood head injury and early academic performance.

Methods

The Wales Electronic Cohort for Children (WECC) study is comprised of record-linked routinely collected data, on all children born or residing in Wales. Anonymous linking fields are used to link child and maternal health, environment and education records. Data from WECC were extracted for children born between September 1998 and August 2001. A Generalised Estimating Equation model, adjusted for clustering based on the maternal identifier as well as other key confounders, was used to establish the association between childhood head injury and performance on the Key Stage 1 (KS1) National Curriculum assessment administered to children aged 5–7 years. Head injury was defined as an emergency admission for >24 h for concussion, skull fracture or intracranial injury prior to KS1 assessment.

Results

Of the 101 892 eligible children, KS1 results were available for 90 661 (89%), and 290 had sustained a head injury. Children who sustained an intracranial injury demonstrated significantly lower adjusted odds of achieving a satisfactory KS1 result than children who had not been admitted to hospital for head injury (adjusted OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.72).

Conclusions

The findings of this population e-cohort study quantify the impact of head injury on academic performance, highlighting the need for enhanced head injury prevention strategies. The results have implications for the care and rehabilitation of children admitted to hospital with head injury.


Background

The cross-sectional association between obesity and a lower health-related quality of life (HRQL) is clear. However, less is known about the association between changes in weight and HRQL. We examined the association between weight changes and changes in HRQL in a population-based sample of 2005 men and 2130 women aged 26–70 years.

Methods

Weight was measured two or three times with 5-year intervals between 1995 and 2009, and was categorised as stable (change ≤2 kg, 40%), weight loss (19%), or weight gain 2.1–4.0 kg, 4.1–6.0 kg, or >6 kg (41%). Changes in HRQL (SF36 questionnaire, including physical and mental scales) per weight change category were compared with a stable weight using generalised estimating equations.

Results

Weight gain was associated with declines of up to 5 points on five mainly physical scales and holds for different age categories. Especially for women, a dose-response relationship was observed, that is, larger weight gain was associated with larger declines in HRQL. Changes in HRQL for those with weight loss were small, but particularly on the mental scales, changes were in the negative direction compared to a stable weight.

Conclusions

Weight gain and weight loss were associated with unfavourable changes in HRQL compared with a stable weight. For weight gain, this was most pronounced on the physical scales and for weight loss, although less consistent, on the mental scales.


Background

Childhood poverty is positively correlated with overweight status during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Repeated exposure of childhood poverty could contribute to race/ethnicity and gender disparities in young adult overweight/obese (OV/OB) weight status.

Methods

Young adults born between 1980 and 1990 who participated in the Young Adult file of the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth were examined (N=3901). The accumulation of childhood poverty is captured via poverty exposure from each survey year from the prenatal year through age 18 years. Body mass index was calculated and categorised into the reference criteria for adults outlined by the Center for Disease Control. Logistic regression models were stratified by race/ethnicity and included a term interacting poverty and gender, along with a number of covariates, including various longitudinal socioeconomic status measures and indicators for the intergenerational transmission of economic disadvantage and body weight.

Results

Reoccurring exposure to childhood poverty was positively related to OV/OB for white, black and Hispanic young adult women and inversely related for white young adult men. A direct relationship between the accumulation of childhood poverty and OV/OB was not found for black and Hispanic young adult men.

Conclusions

Helping families move out of poverty may improve the long-term health status of white, black and Hispanic female children as young adults. Community area interventions designed to change impoverished community environments and assist low-income families reduce family level correlates of poverty may help to reduce the weight disparities observed in young adulthood.


Introduction

Childhood obesity is now a global epidemic and the incidence continues to increase. Dietary interventions and nutritional education are possible options to manage childhood obesity. However, restrictive diets can result in negative outcomes, and therefore it may be more apt to encourage children to consume more fruit and vegetables and thereby develop a healthier positive attitude towards food.

Method

A systematic review of literature of interventions to increase fruit and/or vegetable consumption in overweight or obese children and adolescents was conducted, applying a free-text strategy with a set of search terms.

Results

A total of five studies describing seven interventions published in international peer-reviewed journals and meeting the review's eligibility criteria were identified. All five studies examined family-focused interventions to increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption measured either by child self-report or parent report. Only one intervention reported a lasting statistically significant increased consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Conclusions

This review highlights that in order to tackle obesity narrow interventions focusing on single aspects of behaviour are unlikely to achieve long-term change. Successful public health interventions tackling childhood obesity will need to take a holistic approach and target behaviour change in multiple aspects of children's lifestyles and their surroundings, including nutritional education, parental support and physical activity.


Witvliet MI, Kunst AE, Stronks K, Arah OA. Assessing where vulnerable groups fare worst: a global multilevel analysis on the impact of welfare regimes on disability across different socioeconomic groups. J Epidemiology and Community Health 2012;66:775–81.

In the results section there was an error in our age-standardized percentage rates of self-reported personal disability in table 2 and 3. The age standardisation rates by educational attainment and employment status have been corrected and the tables below are updated. This correction does not change the conclusions to the paper.

Table 2

Total number of respondents and age-standardized percentage rates of self-reported personal disability in the respective welfare regimes stratified by low- middle- and high-educational attainment*