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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2014), Pages 1-1194

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Ninth International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1001-1004; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101001
Received: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 November 2013 / Published: 10 January 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is dedicated to the publication of selected papers presented at the Eighth International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research. The Symposium was organized by Jackson State University (JSU) [...] Read more.
This special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is dedicated to the publication of selected papers presented at the Eighth International Symposium on Recent Advances in Environmental Health Research. The Symposium was organized by Jackson State University (JSU) from 16–19 September, 2012 at the Marriott Hotel in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. It was built upon the overwhelming success of seven previous symposia hosted by JSU. [...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Best Paper Award 2014
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1192-1194; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101192
Received: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 22 January 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (132 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health started to institute an annual award in 2013 to recognize outstanding papers related to environmental health sciences and public health that meet the aims, scope and high standards of this journal. We are pleased [...] Read more.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health started to institute an annual award in 2013 to recognize outstanding papers related to environmental health sciences and public health that meet the aims, scope and high standards of this journal. We are pleased to announce the second “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Best Paper Award” for 2014. Nominations were solicited from the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board members, with all papers published in 2010 eligible for consideration. [...] Full article
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Time Trends of Italian Former Smokers 1980–2009 and 2010–2030 Projections Using a Bayesian Age Period Cohort Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1-12; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100001
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 26 November 2013 / Published: 19 December 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (463 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to describe past time trends of the prevalence of former smokers in Italy and to estimate prevalence projections using a Bayesian approach. An age-period-cohort (APC) analysis has been carried out in order to investigate the effect of the age, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to describe past time trends of the prevalence of former smokers in Italy and to estimate prevalence projections using a Bayesian approach. An age-period-cohort (APC) analysis has been carried out in order to investigate the effect of the age, period and birth cohort on the prevalence of former smokers during 1980–2009. A Bayesian APC model with an autoregressive structure for the age, period and cohort parameters has been used to estimate future trends. Results showed that awareness of harm from smoking occurred at younger ages with each advancing cohort, and that women were more likely to attempt to stop smoking during pregnancies and breastfeeding, whereas men attempted to quit only when smoking-related diseases became evident. Projections of future trend recorded a further increase in the number of former smokers in future decades, showing an estimate of the “end of smoking” around years 2060 and 2055 in men and women, respectively. The application of the APC analysis to study the prevalence of former smokers turned out to be a useful method for the evaluation of past smoking trends, reflecting the effects of tobacco control policies on time and generations, and to make projections of future trend. Full article
Open AccessArticle Health in the New Scenarios for Climate Change Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 30-46; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100030
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 19 December 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (231 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The climate change research community is developing a toolkit for creating new scenarios to explore and evaluate the extensive uncertainties associated with future climate change and development pathways. Components of the toolkit include pathways for greenhouse gas emissions over this century and [...] Read more.
The climate change research community is developing a toolkit for creating new scenarios to explore and evaluate the extensive uncertainties associated with future climate change and development pathways. Components of the toolkit include pathways for greenhouse gas emissions over this century and their associated magnitude and pattern of climate change; descriptions of a range of possible socioeconomic development pathways, including qualitative narratives and quantitative elements; and climate change policies to achieve specific levels of radiative forcing and levels of adaptive capacity. These components are combined within a matrix architecture to create a scenario. Five reference socioeconomic development pathways have been described along axes describing increasing socioeconomic and environmental challenges to adaptation and to mitigation. This paper extends these global pathways to describe their possible consequences for public health and health care, and considers the additional elements that could be added to increase the relevance of the new scenarios to address a wider range of policy relevant questions than previously possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Noise Producing Toys and the Efficacy of Product Standard Criteria to Protect Health and Education Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 47-66; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100047
Received: 1 October 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 December 2013 / Published: 19 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An evaluation of 28 commercially available toys imported into New Zealand revealed that 21% of these toys do not meet the acoustic criteria in the ISO standard, ISO 8124-1:2009 Safety of Toys, adopted by Australia and New Zealand as AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2010. [...] Read more.
An evaluation of 28 commercially available toys imported into New Zealand revealed that 21% of these toys do not meet the acoustic criteria in the ISO standard, ISO 8124-1:2009 Safety of Toys, adopted by Australia and New Zealand as AS/NZS ISO 8124.1:2010. While overall the 2010 standard provided a greater level of protection than the earlier 2002 standard, there was one high risk toy category where the 2002 standard provided greater protection. A secondary set of toys from the personal collections of children known to display atypical methods of play with toys, such as those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was part of the evaluation. Only one of these toys cleanly passed the 2010 standard, with the remainder failing or showing a marginal-pass. As there is no tolerance level stated in the standards to account for interpretation of data and experimental error, a value of +2 dB was used. The findings of the study indicate that the current standard is inadequate in providing protection against excessive noise exposure. Amendments to the criteria have been recommended that apply to the recently adopted 2013 standard. These include the integration of the new approaches published in the recently amended European standard (EN 71) on safety of toys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound and Health related Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Variation of PM2.5 Concentrations and Their Relationship with Geographic and Socioeconomic Factors in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 173-186; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100173
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 9 December 2013 / Accepted: 10 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (1151 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The air quality in China, particularly the PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter) level, has become an increasing public concern because of its relation to health risks. The distribution of PM2.5 concentrations has a close relationship with [...] Read more.
The air quality in China, particularly the PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter) level, has become an increasing public concern because of its relation to health risks. The distribution of PM2.5 concentrations has a close relationship with multiple geographic and socioeconomic factors, but the lack of reliable data has been the main obstacle to studying this topic. Based on the newly published Annual Average PM2.5 gridded data, together with land use data, gridded population data and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, this paper explored the spatial-temporal characteristics of PM2.5 concentrations and the factors impacting those concentrations in China for the years of 2001–2010. The contributions of urban areas, high population and economic development to PM2.5 concentrations were analyzed using the Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) model. The results indicated that the spatial pattern of PM2.5 concentrations in China remained stable during the period 2001–2010; high concentrations of PM2.5 are mostly found in regions with high populations and rapid urban expansion, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in North China, East China (including the Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces) and Henan province. Increasing populations, local economic growth and urban expansion are the three main driving forces impacting PM2.5 concentrations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Why Some Employees Adopt or Resist Reorganization of Work Practices in Health Care: Associations between Perceived Loss of Resources, Burnout, and Attitudes to Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 187-201; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100187
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 28 November 2013 / Accepted: 29 November 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, successive work reorganization initiatives have been implemented in many healthcare settings. The failure of many of these change efforts has often been attributed in the prominent management discourse to change resistance. Few studies have paid attention to the temporal [...] Read more.
In recent years, successive work reorganization initiatives have been implemented in many healthcare settings. The failure of many of these change efforts has often been attributed in the prominent management discourse to change resistance. Few studies have paid attention to the temporal process of workers’ resource depletion/accumulation over time and its links with workers’ psychological states and reactions to change. Drawing upon the conservation of resources theory, this study examines associations between workers’ perceptions of loss of resources, burnout, and attitudes to change. The study was conducted in five health and social service centres in Quebec, in units where a work reorganization project was initiated. A prospective longitudinal design was used to assess workers’ perceptions at two time points 12 months apart. Our findings are consistent with the conservation of resources theory. The analysis of latent differences scores between times 1 and 2 showed that the perceived loss of resources was associated with emotional exhaustion, which, in turn, was negatively correlated with commitment to change and positively correlated with cynicism. In confirming the temporal relationship between perceived loss of resources, occupational burnout, and attitude to change, this research offers a new perspective to explain negative and positive reactions to change implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Job Stress and Health)
Open AccessArticle Toxic Metal Concentrations in Cigarettes Obtained from U.S. Smokers in 2009: Results from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) United States Survey Cohort
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 202-217; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100202
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 28 November 2013 / Accepted: 2 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smoking-related diseases can be attributed to the inhalation of many different toxins, including heavy metals, which have a host of detrimental health effects. The current study reports the levels of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb) in [...] Read more.
Smoking-related diseases can be attributed to the inhalation of many different toxins, including heavy metals, which have a host of detrimental health effects. The current study reports the levels of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb) in cigarettes obtained from adult smokers participating in the 2009 wave of the ITC United States Survey (N = 320). The mean As, Cd, Cr, Ni, and Pb levels were 0.17, 0.86, 2.35, 2.21, and 0.44 µg/g, respectively. There were some differences in metal concentrations of cigarette brands produced by different manufacturers, suggesting differences in the source of tobaccos used by different companies. For Ni, there were significant pairwise differences between Philip Morris U.S. (PMUSA) and R.J. Reynolds (RJR) brands (PMUSA higher; p < 0.001), PMUSA and other manufacturer (OM) brands (PMUSA higher; p < 0.001), and RJR and OM brands (RJR higher; p = 0.006). For Cr, RJR brands had higher levels than did OM brands (p = 0.02). Levels of As, Cd, and Pb did not differ significantly across manufacturer groups (p > 0.10). Because of the variety of toxic heavy metals in cigarette tobacco, and their numerous negative health effects, metal content in cigarette tobacco should be reduced. Full article
Open AccessArticle Residential Mobility and Breast Cancer in Marin County, California, USA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 271-295; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100271
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 6 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2185 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Marin County (California, USA) has among the highest incidences of breast cancer in the U.S. A previously conducted case-control study found eight significant risk factors in participants enrolled from 1997–1999. These included being premenopausal, never using birth control pills, lower highest lifetime [...] Read more.
Marin County (California, USA) has among the highest incidences of breast cancer in the U.S. A previously conducted case-control study found eight significant risk factors in participants enrolled from 1997–1999. These included being premenopausal, never using birth control pills, lower highest lifetime body mass index, having four or more mammograms from 1990–1994, beginning drinking alcohol after age 21, drinking an average two or more alcoholic drinks per day, being in the highest quartile of pack-years of cigarette smoking, and being raised in an organized religion. Previously conducted surveys provided residential histories; while  statistic accounted for participants’ residential mobility, and assessed clustering of breast cancer cases relative to controls based on the known risk factors. These identified specific cases, places, and times of excess breast cancer risk. Analysis found significant global clustering of cases localized to specific residential histories and times. Much of the observed clustering occurred among participants who immigrated to Marin County. However, persistent case-clustering of greater than fifteen years duration was also detected. Significant case-clustering among long-term residents may indicate geographically localized risk factors not accounted for in the study design, as well as uncertainty and incompleteness in the acquired addresses. Other plausible explanations include environmental risk factors and cases tending to settle in specific areas. A biologically plausible exposure or risk factor has yet to be identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Health Outcomes of Children through Effective Parenting: Model and Methods
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 296-311; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100296
Received: 13 October 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (437 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article reports on the design, development, testing and presentation of preliminary evidence of a translational, culturally relevant parenting education model, titled Smart and Secured Children (SSC). SSC, a quality parenting curriculum, prepares disparate African American parents as leaders for transforming their [...] Read more.
This article reports on the design, development, testing and presentation of preliminary evidence of a translational, culturally relevant parenting education model, titled Smart and Secured Children (SSC). SSC, a quality parenting curriculum, prepares disparate African American parents as leaders for transforming their parenting behaviors and leading their peers and community in changing existing parenting culture. The article recommends expanded utility of identified promising processes, approaches and practices to engage African American parents to lead in addressing health inequity conditions in their families and communities. It adds to the growing scientific literature on the association between parent–child relationship quality and a wide variety of children physical, emotional and social outcomes. SSC applied principles of developmental theories; community based participatory research (CBPR), and iterative Delphi method between the community stakeholders, parents and researchers. The delivery approach of SSC was revamped from professional-led to parent-led content presentation and delivery methods using a conversational learning approach, referred to as ‘conversepedia’. Parents’ leadership development training and delivery of this curriculum in social supportive groups improved their mental wellbeing, parenting capacity and leadership skills. Parents do matter and can choose positive influence in their lives and are capable of reversing negative peer influence. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Distribution and Hotspots of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Northern Thailand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 312-336; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100312
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 15 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (3884 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is an emerging viral disease, and at present, there are no antiviral drugs or vaccines available to control it. Outbreaks have persisted for the past 10 years, particularly in northern Thailand. This study aimed to elucidate [...] Read more.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is an emerging viral disease, and at present, there are no antiviral drugs or vaccines available to control it. Outbreaks have persisted for the past 10 years, particularly in northern Thailand. This study aimed to elucidate the phenomenon of HFMD outbreaks from 2003 to 2012 using general statistics and spatial-temporal analysis employing a GIS-based method. The spatial analysis examined data at the village level to create a map representing the distribution pattern, mean center, standard deviation ellipse and hotspots for each outbreak. A temporal analysis was used to analyze the correlation between monthly case data and meteorological factors. The results indicate that the disease can occur at any time of the year, but appears to peak in the rainy and cold seasons. The distribution of outbreaks exhibited a clustered pattern. Most mean centers and standard deviation ellipses occurred in similar areas. The linear directional mean values of the outbreaks were oriented toward the south. When separated by season, it was found that there was a significant correlation with the direction of the southwest monsoon at the same time. An autocorrelation analysis revealed that hotspots tended to increase even when patient cases subsided. In particular, a new hotspot was found in the recent year in Mae Hong Son province. Full article
Open AccessArticle Bioaerosols from a Food Waste Composting Plant Affect Human Airway Epithelial Cell Remodeling Genes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 337-354; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100337
Received: 11 September 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1589 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The composting procedure in food waste plants generates airborne bioaerosols that have the potential to damage human airway epithelial cells. Persistent inflammation and repair responses induce airway remodeling and damage to the respiratory system. This study elucidated the expression changes of airway [...] Read more.
The composting procedure in food waste plants generates airborne bioaerosols that have the potential to damage human airway epithelial cells. Persistent inflammation and repair responses induce airway remodeling and damage to the respiratory system. This study elucidated the expression changes of airway remodeling genes in human lung mucoepidermoid NCI-H292 cells exposed to bioaerosols from a composting plant. Different types of microorganisms were detectable in the composting plant, using the agar culture method. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify the level of Aspergillus fumigatus and the profile of remodeling genes. The real-time PCR results indicated that the amount of A. fumigatus in the composting hall was less than 102 conidia. The endotoxins in the field bioaerosols were determined using a limulus amebocyte lysate test. The endotoxin levels depended on the type of particulate matter (PM), with coarse particles (2.5–10 μm) having higher endotoxin levels than did fine particles (0.5–2.5 μm). After exposure to the conditioned medium of field bioaerosol samples, NCI-H292 cells showed increased pro-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-6 release and activated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1 (p21WAF1/CIP1) gene expression, but not of matrix metallopeptidase (MMP)-9. Airborne endotoxin levels were higher inside the composting hall than they were in other areas, and they were associated with PM. This suggested that airborne bioaerosols in the composting plant contained endotoxins and microorganisms besides A. fumigatus that cause the inflammatory cytokine secretion and augment the expression of remodeling genes in NCI-H292 cells. It is thus necessary to monitor potentially hazardous materials from bioaerosols in food composting plants, which could affect the health of workers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Preventive Care Use among the Belgian Elderly Population: Does Socio-Economic Status Matter?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 355-372; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100355
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 14 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (482 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: To analyze the association between influenza and pneumococcus vaccination and blood cholesterol and blood sugar measurement by Belgian elderly respondents (≥65 years) and socio-demographic characteristics, risk factors, health status and socio-economic status (SES). Methods: A cross- [...] Read more.
Objective: To analyze the association between influenza and pneumococcus vaccination and blood cholesterol and blood sugar measurement by Belgian elderly respondents (≥65 years) and socio-demographic characteristics, risk factors, health status and socio-economic status (SES). Methods: A cross-sectional study based on 4,544 non-institutionalized elderly participants of the Belgian Health Interview Surveys 2004 and 2008. Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to examine the independent effect of socio-demographic characteristics, risk factors, health status and SES on the four preventive services. Results: After adjustment for age, sex, region, survey year, living situation, risk factors (body mass index, smoking status, physical activity) and health status (self-assessed health and longstanding illness) lower educated elderly were significantly less likely to report a blood cholesterol and blood sugar measurement. For instance, elderly participants with no degree or only primary education were less likely to have had a cholesterol and blood sugar measurement compared with those with higher education. Pneumococcus vaccination was not related to educational level, but lower income groups were more likely to have had a pneumococcus immunization. Influenza vaccination was not significantly related to SES. Conclusion: The results highlight the need to promote cholesterol and blood sugar measurement for lower SE groups, and pneumococcus immunization for the entire elderly population. Influenza immunization seems to be equally spread among different SE groups. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effectiveness of a Multi-Component Smoking Cessation Support Programme (McSCSP) for Patients with Severe Mental Disorders: Study Design
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 373-389; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100373
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 13 December 2013 / Accepted: 14 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
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Abstract
Only a few studies have examined the efficacy and safety of smoking cessation programmes in patients with mental disorders. The aim of this paper is to describe in detail the methodology used in the study as well as the Multi-component Smoking Cessation [...] Read more.
Only a few studies have examined the efficacy and safety of smoking cessation programmes in patients with mental disorders. The aim of this paper is to describe in detail the methodology used in the study as well as the Multi-component Smoking Cessation Support Programme in terms of pharmacological treatments and psychological interventions. An open-label 9-month follow-up study was conducted in Spain. A total of 82 clinically stable outpatients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective or bipolar disorder were enrolled. Treatment consisted of a programme specifically developed by the research team for individuals with severe mental disorders. The programme consisted of two phases: (1) weekly individual motivational therapy for 4–12 weeks, and (2) a 12-week active treatment phase. During this phase, at each study visit patients received a one- or two-week supply of medication (transdermal nicotine patches, varenicline or bupropion) with instructions on how to take it, in addition to group psychotherapy for smoking cessation. Evaluations were performed: (1) at the time of enrolment in the study, (2) during the 12-week active treatment phase of the study (weekly for the first 4 weeks and then biweekly), and (3) after the end of this phase (two follow-up assessments at weeks 12 and 24). Evaluations included: (1) smoking history, (2) substance use, (3) psychopathology, (4) adverse events, and (5) laboratory tests. The importance of this study lies in addressing a topical issue often ignored by psychiatrists: the unacceptably high rates of tobacco use in patients with severe mental disorders. Full article
Open AccessArticle Variation in the Distribution of Four Cacti Species Due to Climate Change in Chihuahua, Mexico
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 390-402; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100390
Received: 6 November 2013 / Revised: 26 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (935 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study is about four cacti species in the state of Chihuahua, (Coryphantha macromeris, Mammillaria lasiacantha, Echinocereus dasyacanthus and Ferocactus wislizenii). Geographic distribution was inferred with MaxEnt. Projection was estimated under three scenarios simulated from IPCC (A2, B1 [...] Read more.
This study is about four cacti species in the state of Chihuahua, (Coryphantha macromeris, Mammillaria lasiacantha, Echinocereus dasyacanthus and Ferocactus wislizenii). Geographic distribution was inferred with MaxEnt. Projection was estimated under three scenarios simulated from IPCC (A2, B1 and A1B) and four periods (2000, 2020, 2050 and 2080) with 19 climatic variables. MaxEnt projects a species decrease in 2020 under scenario A2, increasing in the following years. In 2080 all species, except E. dasyacanthus, will occupy a larger area than their current one. Scenario B1 projected for 2050 a decrease for all species, and in 2080 all species except E. dasyacanthus will increase their area. With A1B, C. macromeris decreases 27% from 2020 to 2050. E. dasyacanthus increases from 2020 to 2050 and decreases 73% from 2020 to 2080. M. lasiacantha decreases 13% from 2020 to 2080 and F. wislizenii will increase 13% from 2020 to 2080. Some species will remain stable on their areas despite climate changes, and other species may be affected under the conditions of the A1B scenario. It is important to continue with studies which give a broader perspective about the consequences of climate change, thus enabling decision-making about resource management. Full article
Open AccessArticle Food-Safety Hazards in the Pork Chain in Nagaland, North East India: Implications for Human Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 403-417; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100403
Received: 16 September 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pork occupies an important place in the diet of the population of Nagaland, one of the North East Indian states. We carried out a pilot study along the pork meat production chain, from live animal to end consumer. The goal was to [...] Read more.
Pork occupies an important place in the diet of the population of Nagaland, one of the North East Indian states. We carried out a pilot study along the pork meat production chain, from live animal to end consumer. The goal was to obtain information about the presence of selected food borne hazards in pork in order to assess the risk deriving from these hazards to the health of the local consumers and make recommendations for improving food safety. A secondary objective was to evaluate the utility of risk-based approaches to food safety in an informal food system. We investigated samples from pigs and pork sourced at slaughter in urban and rural environments, and at retail, to assess a selection of food-borne hazards. In addition, consumer exposure was characterized using information about hygiene and practices related to handling and preparing pork. A qualitative hazard characterization, exposure assessment and hazard characterization for three representative hazards or hazard proxies, namely Enterobacteriaceae, T. solium cysticercosis and antibiotic residues, is presented. Several important potential food-borne pathogens are reported for the first time including Listeria spp. and Brucella suis. This descriptive pilot study is the first risk-based assessment of food safety in Nagaland. We also characterise possible interventions to be addressed by policy makers, and supply data to inform future risk assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Using Small-Area Analysis to Estimate County-Level Racial Disparities in Obesity Demonstrating the Necessity of Targeted Interventions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 418-428; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100418
Received: 12 November 2013 / Revised: 19 December 2013 / Accepted: 19 December 2013 / Published: 27 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (457 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Data on the national and state levels is often used to inform policy decisions and strategies designed to reduce racial disparities in obesity. Obesity-related health outcomes are realized on the individual level, and policies based on state and national-level data may be [...] Read more.
Data on the national and state levels is often used to inform policy decisions and strategies designed to reduce racial disparities in obesity. Obesity-related health outcomes are realized on the individual level, and policies based on state and national-level data may be inappropriate due to the variations in health outcomes within and between states. To examine county-level variation of obesity within states, we use a small-area analysis technique to fill the void for county-level obesity data by race. Five years of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data are used to estimate the prevalence of obesity by county, both overall and race-stratified. A modified weighting system is used based on demographics at the county level using 2010 census data. We fit a multilevel reweighted regression model to obtain county-level prevalence estimates by race. We compare the distribution of prevalence estimates of non-Hispanic Blacks to non-Hispanic Whites. For 25 of the 26 states included in our analysis there is a statistically significant difference between within-state county-level average obesity prevalence rates for non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks. This study provides information needed to target disparities interventions and resources to the local areas with greatest need; it also identifies the necessity of doing so. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity)
Open AccessArticle Traffic-Related Trace Element Accumulation in Roadside Soils and Wild Grasses in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 456-472; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100456
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1613 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research examines traffic-source trace elements accumulations and distributions in roadside soils and wild grasses in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. A total of 100 soil samples and 100 grass samples including Achnatherum splendens, Anaphalis nepalensis, Artemisia sphaerocephala, Carex moorcroftii, Iris lacteal, Kobresia myosuroides, [...] Read more.
This research examines traffic-source trace elements accumulations and distributions in roadside soils and wild grasses in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. A total of 100 soil samples and 100 grass samples including Achnatherum splendens, Anaphalis nepalensis, Artemisia sphaerocephala, Carex moorcroftii, Iris lacteal, Kobresia myosuroides, Oreosolen wattii, Oxytropis ochrocephala and Stellera chamaejasme were collected at 100 sites from different road segments. The contents of metals and metalloids, including Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr, Co, Ni and As, in the soil and grass samples were analyzed using ICP-MS. The total mean concentrations of the eight trace elements in soils are Cu (22.84 mg/kg), Zn (100.56 mg/kg), Cd (0.28 mg/kg), Pb (28.75 mg/kg), Cr (36.82 mg/kg), Co (10.24 mg/kg), Ni (32.44 mg/kg) and As (21.43 mg/kg), while in grasses are Cu (9.85 mg/kg), Zn (31.47 mg/kg), Cd (0.05 mg/kg), Pb (2.06 mg/kg), Cr (14.16 mg/kg), Co (0.55 mg/kg), Ni (4.03 mg/kg) and As (1.33 mg/kg). The metal and metalloid concentrations in the nine grass species were all below the critical values of hyperaccumulators. The mean values and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) results indicate that: (1) the concentrations of the trace elements in the soils are higher than those in the grasses, (2) the concentrations of Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb in the soils decrease as the roadside distance increases, (3) the concentrations of trace elements in the grasses are the highest at 10 m from the road edge, (4) the higher the traffic volume, the higher the concentrations of the trace elements in the roadside soils and grasses, and (5) when the land cover is meadow, the lower the sand content in the soil, the lower the trace element concentrations. With a trace element's bioavailability represented by its transfer factor (TF) from the soil to the grass, the TFs of the eight trace elements are not in the same orders for different grass species. Full article
Open AccessArticle Subsurface Transport Behavior of Micro-Nano Bubbles and Potential Applications for Groundwater Remediation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 473-486; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100473
Received: 24 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
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Abstract
Micro-nano bubbles (MNBs) are tiny bubbles with diameters on the order of micrometers and nanometers, showing great potential in environmental remediation. However, the application is only in the beginning stages and remains to be intensively studied. In order to explore the possible [...] Read more.
Micro-nano bubbles (MNBs) are tiny bubbles with diameters on the order of micrometers and nanometers, showing great potential in environmental remediation. However, the application is only in the beginning stages and remains to be intensively studied. In order to explore the possible use of MNBs in groundwater contaminant removal, this study focuses on the transport of MNBs in porous media and dissolution processes. The bubble diameter distribution was obtained under different conditions by a laser particle analyzer. The permeability of MNB water through sand was compared with that of air-free water. Moreover, the mass transfer features of dissolved oxygen in water with MNBs were studied. The results show that the bubble diameter distribution is influenced by the surfactant concentration in the water. The existence of MNBs in pore water has no impact on the hydraulic conductivity of sand. Furthermore, the dissolved oxygen (DO) in water is greatly increased by the MNBs, which will predictably improve the aerobic bioremediation of groundwater. The results are meaningful and instructive in the further study of MNB research and applications in groundwater bioremediation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IJERPH: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle Mixed Impact of Firearms Restrictions on Fatal Firearm Injuries in Males: A National Observational Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 487-506; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100487
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 16 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (337 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Introduction: Public health organizations have recommended restricted access and safe storage practices as means to reduce firearm injuries and deaths. We aimed to assess the effect of four firearm restrictions on firearm deaths in Norway 1969–2009. Methods: All deaths due [...] Read more.
Introduction: Public health organizations have recommended restricted access and safe storage practices as means to reduce firearm injuries and deaths. We aimed to assess the effect of four firearm restrictions on firearm deaths in Norway 1969–2009. Methods: All deaths due to firearm discharge were included (5,660 deaths, both sexes). The statistical analysis to assess impact of firearm legislations was restricted to males because of the sex disproportionality (94% were males). Results: A total of 89% of firearm deaths (both sexes) were classified as suicide, 8% as homicide, and 3% as unintentional (accident). During the past four decades, male accidental firearm death rates were reduced significantly by 90%. Male firearms suicide rates increased from 1969 to 1991 by 166%, and decreased by 62% from 1991 to 2009. Despite the great reduction in male accidental firearm deaths, we were unable to demonstrate effects of the laws. In contrast, we found that a 1990 regulation, requiring a police permit before acquiring a shotgun, had a beneficial impact on suicide in the total sample and in those aged 15–34 years. Male firearm homicides decreased post-2003 regulation regarding storing home guard weapons in private homes. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that two laws could have contributed to reduce male firearm mortality. It is, however, a challenge to measure the role of four firearm restrictions. The null findings are inconclusive, as they may reflect no true impact or study limitations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Phthalate Migration to Food Simulants in Plastic Containers during Microwave Operations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 507-526; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100507
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
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Abstract
Phthalates used as plasticizers in the manufacture of household containers can potentially be transferred to foods that are stored or heated in these plastic containers. Phthalates are endocrine disruptor compounds (EDC) and are found in very low concentrations in foods, thus, highly [...] Read more.
Phthalates used as plasticizers in the manufacture of household containers can potentially be transferred to foods that are stored or heated in these plastic containers. Phthalates are endocrine disruptor compounds (EDC) and are found in very low concentrations in foods, thus, highly sensitive analytical techniques are required for their quantification. This study describes the application of a new method developed for analyzing the migration of dibutylphthalate (DBP) and benzylbutylphthalate (BBP) from plastic food containers into liquid food simulants. This new method employs the technique of solid phase microextraction cooled with liquid nitrogen. The analysis was conducted by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) using a polyacrylate fiber. Ultrapure water was used as a simulant for liquids foods, and both new and used plastic containers were placed in a domestic microwave oven for different periods of time at different power levels. The limits of detection for DBP and BBP were 0.08 µg/L and 0.31 µg/L, respectively. BBP was not found in the samples that were analyzed. DBP was found in concentrations ranging from <LOQ to 7.5 µg/L. In general, an increase in migration was observed in containers that were used for a prolonged time, which correlated with increasing heating time. Full article
Open AccessArticle Gender-Specific Associations between Perceived Neighbourhood Walkability and Meeting Walking Recommendations When Walking for Transport and Recreation for Czech Inhabitants over 50 Years of Age
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 527-536; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100527
Received: 14 November 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 19 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
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Abstract
Few studies have investigated the different effects that the built environment may have on the physical activity behaviours of men and women. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the gender differences in meeting walking recommendations in relation to perceived [...] Read more.
Few studies have investigated the different effects that the built environment may have on the physical activity behaviours of men and women. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the gender differences in meeting walking recommendations in relation to perceived neighbourhood walkability attributes within the active transportation and leisure-time domains for Czech inhabitants over 50 years of age. The sample included 1,417 men and 1,422 women who were randomly selected. The Abbreviated Neighbourhood Environment Walkability Scale (ANEWS) was used to obtain information about the perceived environment. The self-administered long version of the IPAQ was used to assess physical activity levels. When walking for transport, men living in neighbourhoods with high street connectivity (OR = 1.47, CI = 1.04–2.9) and higher traffic and crime safety (OR = 1.28, CI = 1.02–1.6) and women living in neighbourhoods with high proximity (OR = 1.36, CI = 1.04–1.77) and high neighbourhood aesthetics (OR = 1.36, CI = 1.04–1.76) were more likely to meet recommended levels of walking. No environmental attributes were found to significantly influence the accomplishment of walking recommendations by men or women when walking for leisure. The study results indicate the gender-specific associations between transportation-related walking and the environment factors. The consideration of those factors in the design of gender-specific walking interventions for Czech inhabitants may help the interventions to be more effective in promotion of physical activity. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparison of the Nutritional Quality of Food Products Advertised in Grocery Store Circulars of High- versus Low-Income New York City Zip Codes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 537-547; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100537
Received: 26 November 2013 / Revised: 19 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
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Abstract
Grocery stores can be an important resource for health and nutrition with the variety and economic value of foods offered. Weekly circulars are a means of promoting foods at a sale price. To date, little is known about the extent that nutritious [...] Read more.
Grocery stores can be an important resource for health and nutrition with the variety and economic value of foods offered. Weekly circulars are a means of promoting foods at a sale price. To date, little is known about the extent that nutritious foods are advertised and prominently placed in circulars. This study’s aim was to compare the nutritional quality of products advertised on the front page of online circulars from grocery stores in high- versus low-income neighborhoods in New York City (NYC). Circulars from grocery stores in the five highest and five lowest median household income NYC zip codes were analyzed. Nutrition information for food products was collected over a two-month period with a total of 805 products coded. The study found no significant difference between the nutritional quality of products advertised on the front page of online circulars from grocery stores in high- versus low-income neighborhoods in New York City (NYC). In both groups, almost two-thirds of the products advertised were processed, one-quarter were high in carbohydrates, and few to no products were low-sodium, high-fiber, or reduced-, low- or zero fat. Through innovative partnerships with health professionals, grocery stores are increasingly implementing in-store and online health promotion strategies. Weekly circulars can be used as a means to regularly advertise and prominently place more healthful and seasonal foods at an affordable price, particularly for populations at higher risk for nutrition-related chronic disease. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Preservation Value and Location of Farm Ponds in Yunlin County, Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 548-572; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100548
Received: 7 October 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
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Abstract
Farm ponds in Yunlin County first appeared in 1,622 and have played roles in habitation, production, the ecology, culture, and disaster reduction. Farm ponds largely disappeared with the development of urban areas and the industrial sector; thus, effective preservation of the remaining [...] Read more.
Farm ponds in Yunlin County first appeared in 1,622 and have played roles in habitation, production, the ecology, culture, and disaster reduction. Farm ponds largely disappeared with the development of urban areas and the industrial sector; thus, effective preservation of the remaining ponds is critical. The criteria to evaluate the preservation value of farm ponds is established by expert questionnaires which follow the Fuzzy Delphi Method (FDM) and Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process (FAHP), and GIS, which are integrated into a spatial analysis of the remaining 481 farm ponds in Yunlin County. The results show that 28 ponds should be preserved to continue the cultural interaction between farm ponds and settlements; 36 ponds should preserved to connect coasts and streams, which are important habitats for birds; 30 ponds should be preserved to increase storage capacity, recharge groundwater, and reduce land subsidence; four ponds should be preserved as Feng-Shui ponds in front of temples in settlements or as recreation areas for local citizens; and four farms should be preserved (high priority) in agricultural production areas to support irrigation. In short, FAHP and GIS are integrated to evaluate the number and locations of farm ponds that provide water for habitation, production, the ecology, culture, and disaster reduction and maintain the overall preservation value in Yunlin County. The results could inform governmental departments when considering conservation policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Adolescent Bariatric Surgery — Thoughts and Perspectives from the UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 573-582; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100573
Received: 10 September 2013 / Revised: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (441 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Opinions of healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom regarding bariatric surgery in adolescents are largely unknown. This study aims to explore the perspectives of medical professionals regarding adolescent bariatric surgery. Members of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society and groups of [...] Read more.
Opinions of healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom regarding bariatric surgery in adolescents are largely unknown. This study aims to explore the perspectives of medical professionals regarding adolescent bariatric surgery. Members of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society and groups of primary care practitioners based in London were contacted by electronic mail and invited to complete an anonymous online survey consisting of 21 questions. Ninety-four out of 324 questionnaires were completed. 66% of professionals felt that adolescents with a body mass index (BMI) >40 or BMI >35 with significant co-morbidities can be offered surgery. Amongst pre-requisites, parental psychological counseling was chosen most frequently. 58% stated 12 months as an appropriate period for weight management programs, with 24% regarding 6 months as sufficient. Most participants believed bariatric surgery should only be offered ≥16 years of age. However, 17% of bariatric surgeons marked no minimum age limit. Over 80% of the healthcare professionals surveyed consider bariatric surgery in adolescents to be acceptable practice. Most healthcare professionals surveyed feel that adolescent bariatric surgery is an acceptable therapeutic option for adolescent obesity. These views can guide towards a consensus opinion and further development of selection criteria and care pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity)
Open AccessArticle Exploring the Mechanisms of Ecological Land Change Based on the Spatial Autoregressive Model: A Case Study of the Poyang Lake Eco-Economic Zone, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 583-599; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100583
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 31 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (630 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecological land is one of the key resources and conditions for the survival of humans because it can provide ecosystem services and is particularly important to public health and safety. It is extremely valuable for effective ecological management to explore the evolution [...] Read more.
Ecological land is one of the key resources and conditions for the survival of humans because it can provide ecosystem services and is particularly important to public health and safety. It is extremely valuable for effective ecological management to explore the evolution mechanisms of ecological land. Based on spatial statistical analyses, we explored the spatial disparities and primary potential drivers of ecological land change in the Poyang Lake Eco-economic Zone of China. The results demonstrated that the global Moran’s I value is 0.1646 during the 1990 to 2005 time period and indicated significant positive spatial correlation (p < 0.05). The results also imply that the clustering trend of ecological land changes weakened in the study area. Some potential driving forces were identified by applying the spatial autoregressive model in this study. The results demonstrated that the higher economic development level and industrialization rate were the main drivers for the faster change of ecological land in the study area. This study also tested the superiority of the spatial autoregressive model to study the mechanisms of ecological land change by comparing it with the traditional linear regressive model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IJERPH: 10th Anniversary)
Open AccessArticle A Mobile Multi-Agent Information System for Ubiquitous Fetal Monitoring
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 600-625; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100600
Received: 9 November 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
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Abstract
Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) systems integrate many previously separate clinical activities related to fetal monitoring. Promoting the use of ubiquitous fetal monitoring services with real time status assessments requires a robust information platform equipped with an automatic diagnosis engine. This paper presents [...] Read more.
Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) systems integrate many previously separate clinical activities related to fetal monitoring. Promoting the use of ubiquitous fetal monitoring services with real time status assessments requires a robust information platform equipped with an automatic diagnosis engine. This paper presents the design and development of a mobile multi-agent platform-based open information systems (IMAIS) with an automated diagnosis engine to support intensive and distributed ubiquitous fetal monitoring. The automatic diagnosis engine that we developed is capable of analyzing data in both traditional paper-based and digital formats. Issues related to interoperability, scalability, and openness in heterogeneous e-health environments are addressed through the adoption of a FIPA2000 standard compliant agent development platform—the Java Agent Development Environment (JADE). Integrating the IMAIS with light-weight, portable fetal monitor devices allows for continuous long-term monitoring without interfering with a patient’s everyday activities and without restricting her mobility. The system architecture can be also applied to vast monitoring scenarios such as elder care and vital sign monitoring. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Residential Racial Composition and Black-White Obesity Risks: Differential Effects of Neighborhood Social and Built Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 626-642; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100626
Received: 20 October 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigates the association between neighborhood racial composition and adult obesity risks by race and gender, and explores whether neighborhood social and built environment mediates the observed protective or detrimental effects of racial composition on obesity risks. Cross-sectional data from the [...] Read more.
This study investigates the association between neighborhood racial composition and adult obesity risks by race and gender, and explores whether neighborhood social and built environment mediates the observed protective or detrimental effects of racial composition on obesity risks. Cross-sectional data from the 2006 and 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey are merged with census-tract profiles from 2005–2009 American Community Survey and Geographic Information System-based built-environment data. The analytical sample includes 12,730 whites and 4,290 blacks residing in 953 census tracts. Results from multilevel analysis suggest that black concentration is associated with higher obesity risks only for white women, and this association is mediated by lower neighborhood social cohesion and socioeconomic status (SES) in black-concentrated neighborhoods. After controlling for neighborhood SES, black concentration and street connectivity are associated with lower obesity risks for white men. No association between black concentration and obesity is found for blacks. The findings point to the intersections of race and gender in neighborhood effects on obesity risks, and highlight the importance of various aspects of neighborhood social and built environment and their complex roles in obesity prevention by socio-demographic groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Objective Indicators of Physical Activity and Sedentary Time and Associations with Subjective Well-Being in Adults Aged 70 and Over
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 643-656; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100643
Received: 15 October 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 2 January 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study explored the associations of the volume and intensity of physical activity and the volume of sedentary time with subjective well-being in a diverse group of 228 older adults in the UK (111 female, mean age 78.2 years (SD 5.8)). Physical [...] Read more.
This study explored the associations of the volume and intensity of physical activity and the volume of sedentary time with subjective well-being in a diverse group of 228 older adults in the UK (111 female, mean age 78.2 years (SD 5.8)). Physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour were assessed by accelerometry deriving mean steps per day, mean moderate/vigorous PA minutes per hour (MVPA min·h−1) and minutes of sedentary time per hour (ST min·h−1). Lower limb function was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Subjective well-being was assessed using the SF-12 health status scale, the Ageing Well Profile and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Linear regressions were used to investigate associations between the independent variables which included physical activity (steps and MVPA), sedentary time, participant characteristics (gender, age, BMI, education, number of medical conditions), and lower limb function and dependent variables which included mental and physical well-being. Steps, MVPA and lower limb function were independently and moderately positively associated with perceived physical well-being but relationships with mental well-being variables were weak. No significant associations between sedentary behaviours and well-being were observed. The association between objectively evaluated physical activity and function and subjective evaluations of physical well-being suggest that improving perceptions of physical health and function may provide an important target for physical activity programmes. This in turn may drive further activity participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Care for Old People)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Toll-Like Receptor 2-2 (TLR2-2) and TLR4 mRNA Expression in the Intestinal Mucosal Immunity of Broilers Fed on Diets Supplemented with Nickel Chloride
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 657-670; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100657
Received: 22 October 2013 / Revised: 6 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
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Abstract
Toll-like receptor (TLRs) are important innate immune receptors, and TLR2 and TLR4 play an important role in intestinal mucosal innate immunity. It has been found that nickel (Ni) can affect the immune system in broilers. The purpose of this study was to [...] Read more.
Toll-like receptor (TLRs) are important innate immune receptors, and TLR2 and TLR4 play an important role in intestinal mucosal innate immunity. It has been found that nickel (Ni) can affect the immune system in broilers. The purpose of this study was to analyze changes in TLR2-2 and TLR4 mRNA expression levels in the intestinal mucosal immunity system of broilers induced by dietary nickel chloride (NiCl2) using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays. Two hundred and forty one-day-old avian broilers were divided into four groups and fed on a corn-soybean basal diet as control diet or the same basal diet supplemented with 300, 600 and 900 mg/kg of NiCl2 for 42 days. Results showed that the TLR2-2 and TLR4 mRNA expression levels in the intestinal mucosa and the cecal tonsil were lower (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01) in the 300, 600 and 900 mg/kg groups than those in the control group. It was concluded that dietary NiCl2 in excess of 300 mg/kg could reduce TLR2-2 and TLR4 mRNA expression levels in the intestinal mucosa and cecal tonsil in broilers, implying that the innate immunity in intestinal mucosal immune system could be impaired by pathways involving injured surface epithelium cells or/and the inhibition of the TLR signal transduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IJERPH: 10th Anniversary)
Open AccessArticle Correlates of Protective Motivation Theory (PMT) to Adolescents’ Drug Use Intention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 671-684; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100671
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 19 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
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Abstract
Early onset and increasing proliferation of illicit adolescent drug-use poses a global health concern. This study aimed to examine the correlation between Protective Motivation Theory (PMT) measures and the intention to use drugs among adolescents. An exploratory quantitative correlation design and convenience [...] Read more.
Early onset and increasing proliferation of illicit adolescent drug-use poses a global health concern. This study aimed to examine the correlation between Protective Motivation Theory (PMT) measures and the intention to use drugs among adolescents. An exploratory quantitative correlation design and convenience sampling were adopted. A total of 318 students completed a self-reported questionnaire that solicited information related to their demographics and activities, measures of threat appraisal and coping appraisal, and the intention to use drugs. Logistic regression analysis showed that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards were significant predictors of intention. The odds ratios were equal to 2.90 (p < 0.05) and 8.04 (p < 0.001), respectively. The logistic regression model analysis resulted in a high Nagelkerke R2 of 0.49, which suggests that PMT related measures could be used in predicting drug use intention among adolescents. Further research should be conducted with non-school adolescents to confirm the application. Full article
Open AccessArticle Changing Patterns of Spatial Clustering of Schistosomiasis in Southwest China between 1999–2001 and 2007–2008: Assessing Progress toward Eradication after the World Bank Loan Project
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 701-712; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100701
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 4 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1329 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We compared changes in the spatial clustering of schistosomiasis in Southwest China at the conclusion of and six years following the end of the World Bank Loan Project (WBLP), the control strategy of which was focused on the large-scale use of chemotherapy. [...] Read more.
We compared changes in the spatial clustering of schistosomiasis in Southwest China at the conclusion of and six years following the end of the World Bank Loan Project (WBLP), the control strategy of which was focused on the large-scale use of chemotherapy. Parasitological data were obtained through standardized surveys conducted in 1999–2001 and again in 2007–2008. Two alternate spatial cluster methods were used to identify spatial clusters of cases: Anselin’s Local Moran’s I test and Kulldorff’s spatial scan statistic. Substantial reductions in the burden of schistosomiasis were found after the end of the WBLP, but the spatial extent of schistosomiasis was not reduced across the study area. Spatial clusters continued to occur in three regions: Chengdu Plain, Yangtze River Valley, and Lancang River Valley during the two periods, and regularly involved five counties. These findings suggest that despite impressive reductions in burden, the hilly and mountainous regions of Southwest China remain at risk of schistosome re-emergence. Our results help to highlight specific locations where integrated control programs can focus to speed the elimination of schistosomiasis in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Spatial Variation of Hospitalization Admissions for Hypertension Disease in Shenzhen, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 713-733; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100713
Received: 14 October 2013 / Revised: 16 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1017 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In China, awareness about hypertension, the treatment rate and the control rate are low compared to developed countries, even though China’s aging population has grown, especially in those areas with a high degree of urbanization. However, limited epidemiological studies have attempted to [...] Read more.
In China, awareness about hypertension, the treatment rate and the control rate are low compared to developed countries, even though China’s aging population has grown, especially in those areas with a high degree of urbanization. However, limited epidemiological studies have attempted to describe the spatial variation of the geo-referenced data on hypertension disease over an urban area of China. In this study, we applied hierarchical Bayesian models to explore the spatial heterogeneity of the relative risk for hypertension admissions throughout Shenzhen in 2011. The final model specification includes an intercept and spatial components (structured and unstructured). Although the road density could be used as a covariate in modeling, it is an indirect factor on the relative risk. In addition, spatial scan statistics and spatial analysis were utilized to identify the spatial pattern and to map the clusters. The results showed that the relative risk for hospital admission for hypertension has high-value clusters in the south and southeastern Shenzhen. This study aimed to identify some specific regions with high relative risk, and this information is useful for the health administrators. Further research should address more-detailed data collection and an explanation of the spatial patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Temporal and Spatial Melanoma Trends in Austria: An Ecological Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 734-748; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100734
Received: 14 October 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 6 January 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (560 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Annual solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is mostly determined by latitude and altitude. Over the last decades, increasing UVR ground levels have been observed. Exposure to UVR is associated with a life-time risk to develop melanoma, a malign skin cancer. Thus, we hypothesized [...] Read more.
Annual solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is mostly determined by latitude and altitude. Over the last decades, increasing UVR ground levels have been observed. Exposure to UVR is associated with a life-time risk to develop melanoma, a malign skin cancer. Thus, we hypothesized that melanoma incidence in Austria is associated with altitude of place of living and time of diagnosis. We investigated this hypothesis in an ecological study by district and year for Austrian melanoma incidence (1990–2010) and mortality (1970–2011) data. As expected, incidence rates increased with altitude (about 2% per 10 m) and year (about 2%). Additionally, melanoma incidence rates were about 50% higher in urban than in rural districts. In contrast, mortality rates decreased with altitude (for males: 0.4% per 10 m, for women: 0.7% per 10 m, respectively). The observed discrepancy between incidence and mortality data could partly be explained by melanoma diagnosis at earlier tumor stage in districts with higher altitude. Possible reasons for this finding include higher awareness of patients, better diagnostic performance of medical professionals working at higher altitudes, or slower tumor growth due to protective effects of sun light-associated vitamin D synthesis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Adaptive Tele-Therapies Based on Serious Games for Health for People with Time-Management and Organisational Problems: Preliminary Results
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 749-772; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100749
Received: 7 October 2013 / Revised: 16 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1038 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent disorders within the child population today. Inattention problems can lead to greater difficulties in completing assignments, as well as problems with time management and prioritisation of tasks. This article presents [...] Read more.
Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent disorders within the child population today. Inattention problems can lead to greater difficulties in completing assignments, as well as problems with time management and prioritisation of tasks. This article presents an intelligent tele-therapy tool based on Serious Games for Health, aimed at the improvement of time management skills and the prioritisation of tasks. This tele-system is based on the use of decision trees within Django, a high-level Python Web framework. The technologies and techniques used were selected so as to boost user involvement and to enable the system to be easily customised. This article shows the preliminary results of the pilot-phase in an experiment performed to evaluate the use of adaptive tele-therapies within a group of typically developing children and adolescents aged between 12 and 19 years old without ADHD. To do so, we relied on the collection of parameters and the conduct of surveys for assessing time management skills, as well as measuring system usability and availability. The results of a time management survey highlighted that the users involved in the trial did not use any specific or effective time management techniques, scoring 1.98 and 2.30 out of 5 points in this area for ages under 15 and over 16 years old, respectively. The final calculations based on the usability questionnaire resulted in an average score of 78.75 out of 100. The creation of a customisable tool capable of working with different skills, in conjunction with the replication of the current study, may help to understand these users’ needs, as well as boosting time management skills among teenagers with and without ADHD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Telehealthcare)
Open AccessArticle Determinants of Sedentary Behavior, Motivation, Barriers and Strategies to Reduce Sitting Time in Older Women: A Qualitative Investigation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 773-791; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100773
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 11 December 2013 / Accepted: 19 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
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Abstract
Sedentary behavior defined as time spent non-exercising seated or reclining posture has been identified has a health risk and associated with frailty and disablement for older adults. Older adults are the most sedentary segment of society. To date no study has investigated [...] Read more.
Sedentary behavior defined as time spent non-exercising seated or reclining posture has been identified has a health risk and associated with frailty and disablement for older adults. Older adults are the most sedentary segment of society. To date no study has investigated the determinants of sedentary behavior in older adults. This study reports a qualitative investigation of the determinants of sedentary behavior, strategies and motivator to reduce sitting time by structured interviews in a group of community dwelling older women (N = 11, age 65 and over). Older women expressed the view that their sedentary behavior is mostly determined by pain which acts both as an incentive to sit and a motivator to stand up, lack of energy in the afternoon, pressure from direct social circle to sit and rest, societal and environmental typecasting that older adult are meant to sit, lack of environmental facilities to allow activity pacing. This qualitative investigation highlighted some factors that older adults consider determinants of their sedentary behavior. Some are identical to those affecting physical activity (self-efficacy, functional limitations, ageist stereotyping) but some appear specific to sedentary behavior (locus of control, pain) and should be further investigated and considered during intervention design. Tailored interventions that pay attention to the pattern of sedentary behavior of individuals appear to be supported by the views of older women on their sedentary behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Care for Old People)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Three Swabbing Devices for Detection of Listeria monocytogenes on Different Types of Food Contact Surfaces
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 804-814; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100804
Received: 13 September 2013 / Revised: 20 December 2013 / Accepted: 23 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
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Abstract
Listeria monocytogenes can adhere to different types of food contact surfaces within a food processing environment. Therefore, environmental sampling devices should be capable of detecting unacceptable contamination. In this study, a sponge-stick, foam spatula and an environmental swab were evaluated on their [...] Read more.
Listeria monocytogenes can adhere to different types of food contact surfaces within a food processing environment. Therefore, environmental sampling devices should be capable of detecting unacceptable contamination. In this study, a sponge-stick, foam spatula and an environmental swab were evaluated on their ability to detect low concentrations of L. monocytogenes on different types of food contact surfaces. A cocktail of four L. monocytogenes serotypes was inoculated with a concentration of 100 CFU/250 cm2 onto stainless steel (SS), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and rubber surfaces in a 250 cm2 area. Immediately after inoculation and after 1 h exposure, the surfaces were swabbed with the different swabbing devices. The results of the study show only minor differences in the ability of the swabbing devices to detect L. monocytogenes. All devices were capable to detect the contamination immediately after inoculation. However, when the surfaces were allowed to air-dry for 1 h, L. monocytogenes was undetected in 11.1% of the samples (n = 27) with the sponge stick, in 7.4% of the samples (n = 27) with the foam spatula and in 3.7% of the samples (n = 27) with the environmental swab, especially on SS surfaces. The detection ability of the different devices for L. monocytogenes can be concluded to be rather high on different types of food contact surfaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Socioeconomic Determinants of Health: Economic Growth and Health in the OECD Countries during the Last Three Decades
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 815-829; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100815
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 31 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In times of economic crisis, most countries face the dual challenge of fighting unemployment while restraining social expenditures and closing budget deficits. The spending cuts and lack of employment affect a large number of decisions that have a direct or indirect impact [...] Read more.
In times of economic crisis, most countries face the dual challenge of fighting unemployment while restraining social expenditures and closing budget deficits. The spending cuts and lack of employment affect a large number of decisions that have a direct or indirect impact on health. This impact is likely to be unevenly distributed among different groups within the population, and therefore not only health levels may be at risk, but also their distribution. The main purpose of this paper is to explore links between unemployment, economic growth, inequality, and health. We regress a measure of health, the Health Human Development Index (HHDI), against a set of explanatory variables accounting for the countries’ economic performance (GDP growth, unemployment, and income inequality), and some institutional factors related to welfare spending and the nature of the health systems for the past three decades. In addition, we explore the causes for different results obtained using an inequality-adjusted HHDI, vs. the unadjusted HHDI. We describe a panel data model, estimated by random effects, for 32 countries from 1980–2010, in five-year intervals. Our conclusion is that the high economic growth observed in the last decades, together with an increase in the levels of income inequality and/or poverty, explain the observed changes of our index, particularly when this indicator is weighted by health inequality. The remaining institutional variables (the share of social spending, health care expenditure, and the type of health systems) show the expected sign but are not statistically significant. A comment on the methodological pitfalls of the approach completes the analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inequalities in Health)
Open AccessArticle Area-Level Socioeconomic Characteristics, Prevalence and Trajectories of Cardiometabolic Risk
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 830-848; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100830
Received: 1 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
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Abstract
This study examines the relationships between area-level socioeconomic position (SEP) and the prevalence and trajectories of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and the count of its constituents (i.e., disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism, abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension). A cohort of 4,056 [...] Read more.
This study examines the relationships between area-level socioeconomic position (SEP) and the prevalence and trajectories of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and the count of its constituents (i.e., disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism, abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, and hypertension). A cohort of 4,056 men and women aged 18+ living in Adelaide, Australia was established in 2000–2003. MetS was ascertained at baseline, four and eight years via clinical examinations. Baseline area-level median household income, percentage of residents with a high school education, and unemployment rate were derived from the 2001 population Census. Three-level random-intercepts logistic and Poisson regression models were performed to estimate the standardized odds ratio (SOR), prevalence risk ratio (SRR), ratio of SORs/SRRs, and (95% confidence interval (CI)). Interaction between area- and individual-level SEP variables was also tested. The odds of having MetS and the count of its constituents increased over time. This increase did not vary according to baseline area-level SEP (ratios of SORs/SRRs ≈ 1; p ≥ 0.42). However, at baseline, after adjustment for individual SEP and health behaviours, median household income (inversely) and unemployment rate (positively) were significantly associated with MetS prevalence (SOR (95%CI) = 0.76 (0.63–0.90), and 1.48 (1.26–1.74), respectively), and the count of its constituents (SRR (95%CI) = 0.96 (0.93–0.99), and 1.06 (1.04–1.09), respectively). The inverse association with area-level education was statistically significant only in participants with less than post high school education (SOR (95%CI) = 0.58 (0.45–0.73), and SRR (95%CI) = 0.91 (0.88–0.94)). Area-level SEP does not predict an elevated trajectory to developing MetS or an elevated count of its constituents. However, at baseline, area-level SEP was inversely associated with prevalence of MetS and the count of its constituents, with the association of area-level education being modified by individual-level education. Population-level interventions for communities defined by area-level socioeconomic disadvantage are needed to reduce cardiometabolic risks. Full article
Open AccessArticle Anthropometric and Health-Related Behavioral Factors in the Explanation of Social Inequalities in Low Birth Weight in Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 849-865; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100849
Received: 12 November 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 25 December 2013 / Published: 8 January 2014
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Abstract
There is evidence for social inequalities in the health status of children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). This study aimed to describe social inequalities in low birth weight (LBW) in children/adolescents with PAE and to examine the contribution of anthropometric and health-related [...] Read more.
There is evidence for social inequalities in the health status of children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). This study aimed to describe social inequalities in low birth weight (LBW) in children/adolescents with PAE and to examine the contribution of anthropometric and health-related behavioral factors to the explanation of social inequalities. A total of 2,159 participants with parental self-reported moderate to regular PAE (enrolled in the cross-sectional German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents) were examined. At similar levels of PAE, the risk of LBW was significantly increased in subjects with a low socioeconomic status (SES) (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.59, 4.86) and middle SES (adjusted OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.28, 3.24). Maternal height, maternal body mass index (BMI) and smoking during pregnancy mediated the association. The mediating effect of maternal height was 12.5% to 33.7%. Maternal BMI explained 7.9% of the socioeconomic difference in LBW between the high and low SES groups in children with PAE. The mediating effect of smoking during pregnancy was 17.3% to 31.5%. Maternal height, maternal BMI and smoking during pregnancy together explained 24.4% to 60.1% of the socioeconomic differences in LBW in children with PAE. A large proportion of the socioeconomic differences in LBW in children with PAE can be attributed to anthropometric and health-related behavioral factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Abuse: Newer Approaches to an Old Problem)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Neighborhood Influences on Small-Area Variations in Intimate Partner Violence Risk: A Bayesian Random-Effects Modeling Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 866-882; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100866
Received: 28 November 2013 / Revised: 31 December 2013 / Accepted: 2 January 2014 / Published: 9 January 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (328 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper uses spatial data of cases of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) to examine neighborhood-level influences on small-area variations in IPVAW risk in a police district of the city of Valencia (Spain). To analyze area variations in IPVAW risk and [...] Read more.
This paper uses spatial data of cases of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) to examine neighborhood-level influences on small-area variations in IPVAW risk in a police district of the city of Valencia (Spain). To analyze area variations in IPVAW risk and its association with neighborhood-level explanatory variables we use a Bayesian spatial random-effects modeling approach, as well as disease mapping methods to represent risk probabilities in each area. Analyses show that IPVAW cases are more likely in areas of high immigrant concentration, high public disorder and crime, and high physical disorder. Results also show a spatial component indicating remaining variability attributable to spatially structured random effects. Bayesian spatial modeling offers a new perspective to identify IPVAW high and low risk areas, and provides a new avenue for the design of better-informed prevention and intervention strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Disease Mapping and Regression with Count Data in the Presence of Overdispersion and Spatial Autocorrelation: A Bayesian Model Averaging Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 883-902; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100883
Received: 7 December 2013 / Revised: 4 January 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2014 / Published: 9 January 2014
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Abstract
This paper applies the generalised linear model for modelling geographical variation to esophageal cancer incidence data in the Caspian region of Iran. The data have a complex and hierarchical structure that makes them suitable for hierarchical analysis using Bayesian techniques, but with [...] Read more.
This paper applies the generalised linear model for modelling geographical variation to esophageal cancer incidence data in the Caspian region of Iran. The data have a complex and hierarchical structure that makes them suitable for hierarchical analysis using Bayesian techniques, but with care required to deal with problems arising from counts of events observed in small geographical areas when overdispersion and residual spatial autocorrelation are present. These considerations lead to nine regression models derived from using three probability distributions for count data: Poisson, generalised Poisson and negative binomial, and three different autocorrelation structures. We employ the framework of Bayesian variable selection and a Gibbs sampling based technique to identify significant cancer risk factors. The framework deals with situations where the number of possible models based on different combinations of candidate explanatory variables is large enough such that calculation of posterior probabilities for all models is difficult or infeasible. The evidence from applying the modelling methodology suggests that modelling strategies based on the use of generalised Poisson and negative binomial with spatial autocorrelation work well and provide a robust basis for inference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle Rift Valley Fever Outbreaks in Mauritania and Related Environmental Conditions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 903-918; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100903
Received: 22 October 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 31 December 2013 / Published: 9 January 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (798 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Four large outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) occurred in Mauritania in 1998, 2003, 2010 and 2012 which caused lots of animal and several human deaths. We investigated rainfall and vegetation conditions that might have impacted on RVF transmission over the affected [...] Read more.
Four large outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) occurred in Mauritania in 1998, 2003, 2010 and 2012 which caused lots of animal and several human deaths. We investigated rainfall and vegetation conditions that might have impacted on RVF transmission over the affected regions. Our results corroborate that RVF transmission generally occurs during the months of September and October in Mauritania, similarly to Senegal. The four outbreaks were preceded by a rainless period lasting at least a week followed by heavy precipitation that took place during the second half of the rainy season. First human infections were generally reported three to five weeks later. By bridging the gap between meteorological forecasting centers and veterinary services, an early warning system might be developed in Senegal and Mauritania to warn decision makers and health services about the upcoming RVF risk. Full article
Open AccessArticle Toxicity of Gutkha, a Smokeless Tobacco Product Gone Global: Is There More to the Toxicity than Nicotine?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 919-933; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100919
Received: 10 October 2013 / Revised: 20 November 2013 / Accepted: 12 December 2013 / Published: 9 January 2014
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Abstract
The popularity of smokeless tobacco (ST) is growing rapidly and its prevalence of use is rising globally. Consumption of Gutkha, an addictive form of ST, is particularly common amongst South Asian communities throughout the World. This includes within the US, following large-scale [...] Read more.
The popularity of smokeless tobacco (ST) is growing rapidly and its prevalence of use is rising globally. Consumption of Gutkha, an addictive form of ST, is particularly common amongst South Asian communities throughout the World. This includes within the US, following large-scale immigration into the country. However, there exists a lack of knowledge concerning these alternative tobacco products. To this end, a study was carried out to determine the toxicity of gutkha, and what role, if any, nicotine contributes to the effects. Adult male mice were treated daily for 3-week (5 day/week, once/day), via the oral mucosa, with equal volumes (50 μL) of either sterile water (control), a solution of nicotine dissolved in water (0.24 mg of nicotine), or a solution of lyophilized guthka dissolved in water (21 mg lyophilized gutkha). Serum cotinine, measured weekly, was 36 and 48 ng/mL in gutkha- and nicotine-treated mice, respectively. Results demonstrated that exposure to nicotine and gutkha reduced heart weight, while exposure to gutkha, but not nicotine, decreased liver weight, body weight, and serum testosterone levels (compared to controls). These findings suggest that short-term guhtka use adversely impacts growth and circulating testosterone levels, and that gutkha toxicity may be driven by components other than nicotine. As use of guthka increases worldwide, future studies are needed to further delineate toxicological implications such that appropriate policy decisions can be made. Full article
Open AccessArticle Poultry Farm Vulnerability and Risk of Avian Influenza Re-Emergence in Thailand
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 934-951; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100934
Received: 9 September 2013 / Revised: 24 December 2013 / Accepted: 24 December 2013 / Published: 9 January 2014
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Abstract
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) remains of concern as a major potential global threat. This article evaluates and discusses the level of vulnerability of medium and small-scale commercial poultry production systems in Thailand related to avian influenza virus re-emergence. We developed a [...] Read more.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) remains of concern as a major potential global threat. This article evaluates and discusses the level of vulnerability of medium and small-scale commercial poultry production systems in Thailand related to avian influenza virus re-emergence. We developed a survey on 173 farms in Nakhon Pathom province to identify the global level of vulnerability of farms, and to determine which type of farms appears to be more vulnerable. We used official regulations (the Good Agricultural Practices and Livestock Farm Standards regulations) as a reference to check whether these regulations are respected. The results show that numerous vulnerability factors subsist and could represent, in case of HPAI re-emergence, a significant risk for a large spread of the disease. Bio-security, farm management and agro-commercial practices are particularly significant on that matter: results show that these practices still need a thorough improvement on a majority of farms. Farms producing eggs (especially duck eggs) are more vulnerable than farms producing meat. Those results are consistent with the type of farms that were mostly affected during the 2004–2008 outbreaks in Thailand. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparison of UTCI with Other Thermal Indices in the Assessment of Heat and Cold Effects on Cardiovascular Mortality in the Czech Republic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 952-967; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100952
Received: 20 September 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 30 December 2013 / Published: 9 January 2014
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Abstract
We compare the recently developed Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) with other thermal indices in analysing heat- and cold-related effects on cardiovascular (CVD) mortality in two different (urban and rural) regions in the Czech Republic during the 16-year period from 1994–2009. Excess [...] Read more.
We compare the recently developed Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) with other thermal indices in analysing heat- and cold-related effects on cardiovascular (CVD) mortality in two different (urban and rural) regions in the Czech Republic during the 16-year period from 1994–2009. Excess mortality is represented by the number of deaths above expected daily values, the latter being adjusted for long-term changes, annual and weekly cycles, and epidemics of influenza/acute respiratory infections. Air temperature, UTCI, Apparent Temperature (AT) and Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) are applied to identify days with heat and cold stress. We found similar heat effects on CVD mortality for air temperature and the examined thermal indices. Responses of CVD mortality to cold effects as characterised by different indices were much more varied. Particularly important is the finding that air temperature provides a weak cold effect in comparison with the thermal indices in both regions, so its application—still widespread in epidemiological studies—may underestimate the magnitude of cold-related mortality. These findings are important when possible climate change effects on heat- and cold-related mortality are estimated. AT and PET appear to be more universal predictors of heat- and cold- related mortality than UTCI when both urban and rural environments are of concern. UTCI tends to select windy rather than freezing days in winter, though these show little effect on mortality in the urban population. By contrast, significant cold-related mortality in the rural region if UTCI is used shows potential for UTCI to become a useful tool in cold exposure assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Human Leptospirosis on Reunion Island: Past and Current Burden
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 968-982; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100968
Received: 26 November 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 10 January 2014
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Abstract
Since 1953, leptospirosis has been recognized as a public health problem on Reunion Island. In 2004, was implemented a specific surveillance system that included systematic reporting and the realization of environmental investigations around hospitalized cases. Here, we present the synthesis of historical [...] Read more.
Since 1953, leptospirosis has been recognized as a public health problem on Reunion Island. In 2004, was implemented a specific surveillance system that included systematic reporting and the realization of environmental investigations around hospitalized cases. Here, we present the synthesis of historical data and the assessment of 9 years of leptospirosis surveillance. From 2004 to 2012, 414 hospitalized cases were reported. Cases of leptospirosis occurred mostly during the rainy season from December to May. Approximately 41% of infections occurred at home, 12% of infections occurred during aquatic leisure and 5% of cases were linked to professional activities. Furthermore, for 41% of cases, the place of infection could not be determined due to the accumulation of residential and non-residential exposure. Most of the cases of leptospirosis were linked to rural areas or traditional, rural occupations. We did not observe a shift to recreational leptospirosis as described in some developed countries. According to the new surveillance system, the number of reported cases has regularly increased since 2004. This situation is in part due to the improvement of the system in the first years but also to a real increase in the number of detected cases due to the introduction of molecular methods and to increased biological investigation into the Dengue-like syndrome by medical practitioners on the island since the Chikungunya crisis in 2006. This increase is probably due to surveillance and diagnosis biases but need to be carefully monitored. Nevertheless, the possibility of an outbreak is always present due to climatic events, such as after the “hyacinth” hurricane in 1980. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leptospirosis in the Animal—Human-Ecosystem Interface)
Open AccessArticle Geospatial Interpolation and Mapping of Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Using Geostatistics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 983-1000; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100983
Received: 14 November 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 19 December 2013 / Published: 10 January 2014
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Abstract
Tropospheric ozone (O3) pollution is a major problem worldwide, including in the United States of America (USA), particularly during the summer months. Ozone oxidative capacity and its impact on human health have attracted the attention of the scientific community. In the USA, [...] Read more.
Tropospheric ozone (O3) pollution is a major problem worldwide, including in the United States of America (USA), particularly during the summer months. Ozone oxidative capacity and its impact on human health have attracted the attention of the scientific community. In the USA, sparse spatial observations for O3 may not provide a reliable source of data over a geo-environmental region. Geostatistical Analyst in ArcGIS has the capability to interpolate values in unmonitored geo-spaces of interest. In this study of eastern Texas O3 pollution, hourly episodes for spring and summer 2012 were selectively identified. To visualize the O3 distribution, geostatistical techniques were employed in ArcMap. Using ordinary Kriging, geostatistical layers of O3 for all the studied hours were predicted and mapped at a spatial resolution of 1 kilometer. A decent level of prediction accuracy was achieved and was confirmed from cross-validation results. The mean prediction error was close to 0, the root mean-standardized-prediction error was close to 1, and the root mean square and average standard errors were small. O3 pollution map data can be further used in analysis and modeling studies. Kriging results and O3 decadal trends indicate that the populace in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Beaumont-Port Arthur, San Antonio, and Longview are repeatedly exposed to high levels of O3-related pollution, and are prone to the corresponding respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. Optimization of the monitoring network proves to be an added advantage for the accurate prediction of exposure levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Portrayal of Natural Environment in the Evolution of the Ecological Public Health Paradigm
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1005-1019; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101005
Received: 5 November 2013 / Revised: 19 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 10 January 2014
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Abstract
This paper explores the conceptualization of the natural environment in an evolving ecological public health paradigm. The natural environment has long been recognized as essential to supporting life, health, and wellbeing. Our understanding of the relationship between the natural environment and health [...] Read more.
This paper explores the conceptualization of the natural environment in an evolving ecological public health paradigm. The natural environment has long been recognized as essential to supporting life, health, and wellbeing. Our understanding of the relationship between the natural environment and health has steadily evolved from one of an undynamic environment to a more sophisticated understanding of ecological interactions.  This evolution is reflected in a number of ecological public health models which demonstrate the many external and overlapping determinants of human health. Six models are presented here to demonstrate this evolution, each model reflecting an increasingly ecological appreciation for the fundamental role of the natural environment in supporting human health. We conclude that after decades of public health’s acceptance of the ecological paradigm, we are only now beginning to assemble knowledge of sophisticated ecological interdependencies and apply this knowledge to the conceptualization and study of the relationship between the natural environment and the determinants of human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
Open AccessArticle Maize Purple Plant Pigment Protects Against Fluoride-Induced Oxidative Damage of Liver and Kidney in Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1020-1033; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101020
Received: 13 November 2013 / Revised: 1 January 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 13 January 2014
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Abstract
Anthocyanins are polyphenols and well known for their biological antioxidative benefits. Maize purple plant pigment (MPPP) extracted and separated from maize purple plant is rich in anthocyanins. In the present study, MPPP was used to alleviate the adverse effects generated by fluoride [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins are polyphenols and well known for their biological antioxidative benefits. Maize purple plant pigment (MPPP) extracted and separated from maize purple plant is rich in anthocyanins. In the present study, MPPP was used to alleviate the adverse effects generated by fluoride on liver and kidney in rats. The results showed that the ultrastructure of the liver and kidney in fluoride treated rats displayed shrinkage of nuclear and cell volume, swollen mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum and vacuols formation in the liver and kidney cells. MPPP significantly attenuated these fluoride-induced pathological changes. The MDA levels in serum and liver tissue of fluoride alone treated group were significantly higher than those of the control group (p < 0.05). The presence of 5 g/kg MPPP in the diet reduced the elevation of MDA levels in blood and liver, and increased the SOD and GSH-Px activities in kidney and GSH level in liver and kidney compared with the fluoride alone treated group (p < 0.05). In addition, MPPP alleviated the decrease of Bcl-2 protein expression and the increase of Bax protein expression induced by fluoride. This study demonstrated the protective role of MPPP against fluoride-induced oxidative stress in liver and kidney of rats. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Climate Change on Ozone-Related Mortality in Sydney
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1034-1048; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101034
Received: 6 October 2013 / Revised: 30 December 2013 / Accepted: 31 December 2013 / Published: 13 January 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (649 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coupled global, regional and chemical transport models are now being used with relative-risk functions to determine the impact of climate change on human health. Studies have been carried out for global and regional scales, and in our paper we examine the impact [...] Read more.
Coupled global, regional and chemical transport models are now being used with relative-risk functions to determine the impact of climate change on human health. Studies have been carried out for global and regional scales, and in our paper we examine the impact of climate change on ozone-related mortality at the local scale across an urban metropolis (Sydney, Australia). Using three coupled models, with a grid spacing of 3 km for the chemical transport model (CTM), and a mortality relative risk function of 1.0006 per 1 ppb increase in daily maximum 1-hour ozone concentration, we evaluated the change in ozone concentrations and mortality between decades 1996–2005 and 2051–2060. The global model was run with the A2 emissions scenario. As there is currently uncertainty regarding a threshold concentration below which ozone does not impact on mortality, we calculated mortality estimates for the three daily maximum 1-hr ozone concentration thresholds of 0, 25 and 40 ppb. The mortality increase for 2051–2060 ranges from 2.3% for a 0 ppb threshold to 27.3% for a 40 ppb threshold, although the numerical increases differ little. Our modeling approach is able to identify the variation in ozone-related mortality changes at a suburban scale, estimating that climate change could lead to an additional 55 to 65 deaths across Sydney in the decade 2051–2060. Interestingly, the largest increases do not correspond spatially to the largest ozone increases or the densest population centres. The distribution pattern of changes does not seem to vary with threshold value, while the magnitude only varies slightly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle An Evaluation of Healthcare Information on the Internet: The Case of Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1058-1075; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101058
Received: 3 December 2013 / Revised: 6 January 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 14 January 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Health information, provided through the Internet, has recently received attention from consumers and healthcare providers as an efficient method of motivating people to get screened for colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, the primary purpose was to investigate the extent to which [...] Read more.
Health information, provided through the Internet, has recently received attention from consumers and healthcare providers as an efficient method of motivating people to get screened for colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, the primary purpose was to investigate the extent to which consumers were better educated about CRC screening information because of the information available on the Internet. Another purpose was to identify how better-informed consumers, with reliable and trustworthy health information, were enabled to make sound decisions regarding CRC screening. The data used in this study was taken from the 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey. People aged 55 and older were classified based on their compliance with recommended CRC screening. The study applied the PRECEDE-PROCEED model to evaluate the effects of health information taken from the Internet regarding CRC screening. The credibility and reliance of cancer related information on the Internet was significantly associated with patient compliance to be screened for CRC. Experience and knowledge of Internet use had a significant impact on the utilization of CRC screening. This analysis suggests that the design and publishing websites concerning CRC should emphasize credibility and reliance. Websites providing information about CRC must also contain the most current information so that people are able to make educated decisions about CRC screening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Does Participation in Physical Education Reduce Sedentary Behaviour in School and throughout the Day among Normal-Weight and Overweight-to-Obese Czech Children Aged 9–11 Years?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1076-1093; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101076
Received: 26 November 2013 / Revised: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 16 January 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Participation of 9 to 11-year-old children in physical education lessons (PEL) contributes to a significantly higher duration of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the school day and, in overweight/obese girls and normal-weight boys, to an increase in overall daily MVPA as shown [...] Read more.
Participation of 9 to 11-year-old children in physical education lessons (PEL) contributes to a significantly higher duration of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the school day and, in overweight/obese girls and normal-weight boys, to an increase in overall daily MVPA as shown by previous research. However, it is not known whether this increase in MVPA is at the expense of light physical activity (LPA) or sedentary behaviour (SED). SED, LPA, and MVPA were assessed in 338 schoolchildren aged 9–11 years (50.3% girls; 29.6% overweight/obese) over two school days (with and without a PEL) using a triaxial accelerometer during various segments of the school day. SED, LPA, and MVPA were quantified based on the duration of the activity (minutes). Participation in PEL led to significantly higher school MVPA in the overweight/obese and normal-weight girls and boys (p < 0.005) compared to MVPA of those children on the school day without PEL. Participation in PEL led to a significantly higher overall daily MVPA duration compared to that during the day without PEL for the overweight/obese girls (p < 0.05), normal-weight girls (p < 0.05) and boys (p < 0.005). Participation in PEL contributed not only to significantly higher LPA in the normal-weight girls and boys (p < 0.01) during the school day but also reduced school-time SED in the overweight/obese children (p < 0.01) and normal-weight girls (p < 0.005). Moreover, participation in PEL significantly reduced the overall daily SED in the normal-weight children and overweight/obese boys (p < 0.05). Adding one PEL to the daily school routine appears to be a promising strategy for effectively reducing SED in children. Full article
Open AccessArticle Biocontrol of Fusarium graminearum Growth and Deoxynivalenol Production in Wheat Kernels with Bacterial Antagonists
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1094-1105; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101094
Received: 18 November 2013 / Revised: 6 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 16 January 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (765 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fusarium graminearum is the main causal pathogen affecting small-grain cereals, and it produces deoxynivalenol, a kind of mycotoxin, which displays a wide range of toxic effects in human and animals. Bacterial strains isolated from peanut shells were investigated for their activities against [...] Read more.
Fusarium graminearum is the main causal pathogen affecting small-grain cereals, and it produces deoxynivalenol, a kind of mycotoxin, which displays a wide range of toxic effects in human and animals. Bacterial strains isolated from peanut shells were investigated for their activities against F. graminearum by dual-culture plate and tip-culture assays. Among them, twenty strains exhibited potent inhibition to the growth of F. graminearum, and the inhibition rates ranged from 41.41% to 54.55% in dual-culture plate assay and 92.70% to 100% in tip-culture assay. Furthermore, eighteen strains reduced the production of deoxynivalenol by 16.69% to 90.30% in the wheat kernels assay. Finally, the strains with the strongest inhibitory activity were identified by morphological, physiological, biochemical methods and also 16S rDNA and gyrA gene analysis as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. The current study highlights the potential application of antagonistic microorganisms and their metabolites in the prevention of fungal growth and mycotoxin production in wheat kernels. As a biological strategy, it might avoid safety problems and nutrition loss which always caused by physical and chemical strategies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle On Robust Methodologies for Managing Public Health Care Systems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1106-1140; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101106
Received: 6 September 2013 / Revised: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 17 January 2014
PDF Full-text (1286 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Authors focus on ontology-based multidimensional data warehousing and mining methodologies, addressing various issues on organizing, reporting and documenting diabetic cases and their associated ailments, including causalities. Map and other diagnostic data views, depicting similarity and comparison of attributes, extracted from warehouses, are [...] Read more.
Authors focus on ontology-based multidimensional data warehousing and mining methodologies, addressing various issues on organizing, reporting and documenting diabetic cases and their associated ailments, including causalities. Map and other diagnostic data views, depicting similarity and comparison of attributes, extracted from warehouses, are used for understanding the ailments, based on gender, age, geography, food-habits and other hereditary event attributes. In addition to rigor on data mining and visualization, an added focus is on values of interpretation of data views, from processed full-bodied diagnosis, subsequent prescription and appropriate medications. The proposed methodology, is a robust back-end application, for web-based patient-doctor consultations and e-Health care management systems through which, billions of dollars spent on medical services, can be saved, in addition to improving quality of life and average life span of a person. Government health departments and agencies, private and government medical practitioners including social welfare organizations are typical users of these systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Estimating Cyanobacteria Community Dynamics and its Relationship with Environmental Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1141-1160; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101141
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 20 January 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (415 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The cyanobacteria community dynamics in two eutrophic freshwater bodies (Tiegang Reservoir and Shiyan Reservoir) was studied with both a traditional microscopic counting method and a PCR-DGGE genotyping method. Results showed that cyanobacterium Phormidium tenue was the predominant species; twenty-six cyanobacteria species were [...] Read more.
The cyanobacteria community dynamics in two eutrophic freshwater bodies (Tiegang Reservoir and Shiyan Reservoir) was studied with both a traditional microscopic counting method and a PCR-DGGE genotyping method. Results showed that cyanobacterium Phormidium tenue was the predominant species; twenty-six cyanobacteria species were identified in water samples collected from the two reservoirs, among which fourteen were identified with the morphological method and sixteen with the PCR-DGGE method. The cyanobacteria community composition analysis showed a seasonal fluctuation from July to December. The cyanobacteria population peaked in August in both reservoirs, with cell abundances of 3.78 × 108 cells L-1 and 1.92 × 108 cells L-1 in the Tiegang and Shiyan reservoirs, respectively. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) was applied to further investigate the correlation between cyanobacteria community dynamics and environmental factors. The result indicated that the cyanobacteria community dynamics was mostly correlated with pH, temperature and total nitrogen. This study demonstrated that data obtained from PCR-DGGE combined with a traditional morphological method could reflect cyanobacteria community dynamics and its correlation with environmental factors in eutrophic freshwater bodies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Psychosocial Work Environment, Stress Factors and Individual Characteristics among Nursing Staff in Psychiatric In-Patient Care
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1161-1175; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101161
Received: 11 October 2013 / Revised: 13 January 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 20 January 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The psychosocial work environment is an important factor in psychiatric in-patient care, and knowing more of its correlates might open up new paths for future workplace interventions. Thus, the aims of the present study were to investigate perceptions of the psychosocial work [...] Read more.
The psychosocial work environment is an important factor in psychiatric in-patient care, and knowing more of its correlates might open up new paths for future workplace interventions. Thus, the aims of the present study were to investigate perceptions of the psychosocial work environment among nursing staff in psychiatric in-patient care and how individual characteristics—Mastery, Moral Sensitivity, Perceived Stress, and Stress of Conscience—are related to different aspects of the psychosocial work environment. A total of 93 nursing staff members filled out five questionnaires: the QPSNordic 34+, Perceived Stress Scale, Stress of Conscience Questionnaire, Moral Sensitivity Questionnaire, and Mastery scale. Multivariate analysis showed that Perceived Stress was important for Organisational Climate perceptions. The Stress of Conscience subscale Internal Demands and Experience in current units were indicators of Role Clarity. The other Stress of Conscience subscale, External Demands and Restrictions, was related to Control at Work. Two types of stress, Perceived Stress and Stress of Conscience, were particularly important for the nursing staff’s perception of the psychosocial work environment. Efforts to prevent stress may also contribute to improvements in the psychosocial work environment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Connectedness to Nature and Public (Skin) Health Perspectives: Results of a Representative, Population-Based Survey among Austrian Residents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1176-1191; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101176
Received: 12 October 2013 / Revised: 13 January 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 20 January 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (135 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Connectedness to nature (CN) influences motivation to have contact with outdoor natural environments. Spending leisure time in natural environments is beneficial for human health and well-being. Besides these positive effects, health risks of open-air activities are mainly related to unprotected sun light [...] Read more.
Connectedness to nature (CN) influences motivation to have contact with outdoor natural environments. Spending leisure time in natural environments is beneficial for human health and well-being. Besides these positive effects, health risks of open-air activities are mainly related to unprotected sun light exposure-associated acute and chronic skin hazards. Thus, we conducted a cross-sectional, representative telephone survey among Austrian residents to study the association of perceived CN level with sun-exposure knowledge, tanning habits, and sun protective behaviour. In total, 1,500 study subjects (50.5% females) participated in this questionnaire survey. Although knowledge about tanning and motives to tan were similar among genders, females performed more photoprotective measures and were more connected to nature (all p < 0.001) compared to males. Older age and outdoor sport were significant gender-independent predictor variables influencing perceived CN level. Additionally, level of education was relevant in male CN, whereas non-smoking and higher knowledge were predictive of female CN. This survey provides so far unreported empirical data on the relationship between nature connectedness and skin health-relevant recreational habits of Austrian residents. The findings suggest to integrate hitherto neglected gender-specific Public (Skin) Health promotion when counselling on the manifold health advantages of outdoor activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)

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Open AccessReview Climate Change and Public Health Policy: Translating the Science
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 13-29; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100013
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 19 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public health authorities are required to prepare for future threats and need predictions of the likely impact of climate change on public health risks. They may get overwhelmed by the volume of heterogeneous information in scientific articles and risk relying purely on [...] Read more.
Public health authorities are required to prepare for future threats and need predictions of the likely impact of climate change on public health risks. They may get overwhelmed by the volume of heterogeneous information in scientific articles and risk relying purely on the public opinion articles which focus mainly on global warming trends, and leave out many other relevant factors. In the current paper, we discuss various scientific approaches investigating climate change and its possible impact on public health and discuss their different roles and functions in unraveling the complexity of the subject. It is not our objective to review the available literature or to make predictions for certain diseases or countries, but rather to evaluate the applicability of scientific research articles on climate change to evidence-based public health decisions. In the context of mosquito borne diseases, we identify common pitfalls to watch out for when assessing scientific research on the impact of climate change on human health. We aim to provide guidance through the plethora of scientific papers and views on the impact of climate change on human health to those new to the subject, as well as to remind public health experts of its multifactorial and multidisciplinary character. Full article
Open AccessReview Predictive Modeling of West Nile Virus Transmission Risk in the Mediterranean Basin: How Far from Landing?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 67-90; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100067
Received: 23 September 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The impact on human and horse health of West Nile fever (WNF) recently and dramatically increased in Europe and neighboring countries. Involving several mosquito and wild bird species, WNF epidemiology is complex. Despite the implementation of surveillance systems in several countries of [...] Read more.
The impact on human and horse health of West Nile fever (WNF) recently and dramatically increased in Europe and neighboring countries. Involving several mosquito and wild bird species, WNF epidemiology is complex. Despite the implementation of surveillance systems in several countries of concern, and due to a lack of knowledge, outbreak occurrence remains unpredictable. Statistical models may help identifying transmission risk factors. When spatialized, they provide tools to identify areas that are suitable for West Nile virus transmission. Mathematical models may be used to improve our understanding of epidemiological process involved, to evaluate the impact of environmental changes or test the efficiency of control measures. We propose a systematic literature review of publications aiming at modeling the processes involved in WNF transmission in the Mediterranean Basin. The relevance of the corresponding models as predictive tools for risk mapping, early warning and for the design of surveillance systems in a changing environment is analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology of West Nile Virus)
Open AccessReview Associations of Meteorology with Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Preeclampsia, Preterm Birth and Birth Weight
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 91-172; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100091
Received: 17 October 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The relationships between meteorology and pregnancy outcomes are not well known. This article reviews available evidence on the relationships between seasonality or meteorology and three major pregnancy outcomes: the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (including preeclampsia, eclampsia and gestational hypertension), gestational length and [...] Read more.
The relationships between meteorology and pregnancy outcomes are not well known. This article reviews available evidence on the relationships between seasonality or meteorology and three major pregnancy outcomes: the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (including preeclampsia, eclampsia and gestational hypertension), gestational length and birth weight. In total 35, 28 and 27 studies were identified for each of these outcomes. The risks of preeclampsia appear higher for women with conception during the warmest months, and delivery in the coldest months of the year. Delivery in the coldest months is also associated with a higher eclampsia risk. Patterns of decreased gestational lengths have been observed for births in winter, as well as summer months. Most analytical studies also report decreases in gestational lengths associated with heat. Birth weights are lower for deliveries occurring in winter and in summer months. Only a limited number of studies have investigated the effects of barometric pressure on gestational length or the effects of temperature and sunshine exposure on birth weight, but these questions appear worth investigating further. Available results should encourage further etiological research aiming at enhancing our understanding of the relationships between meteorology and adverse pregnancy outcomes, ideally via harmonized multicentric studies. Full article
Open AccessReview Health Professionals’ Alcohol-Related Professional Practices and the Relationship between Their Personal Alcohol Attitudes and Behavior and Professional Practices: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 218-248; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100218
Received: 18 October 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (340 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Health professionals’ personal health behaviors have been found to be associated with their practices with patients in areas such as smoking, physical activity and weight management, but little is known in relation to alcohol use. This review has two related strands and [...] Read more.
Health professionals’ personal health behaviors have been found to be associated with their practices with patients in areas such as smoking, physical activity and weight management, but little is known in relation to alcohol use. This review has two related strands and aims to: (1) examine health professionals’ alcohol-related health promotion practices; and (2) explore the relationship between health professionals’ personal alcohol attitudes and behaviors, and their professional alcohol-related health promotion practices. A comprehensive literature search of the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, British Nursing Index, Web of Science, Scopus and Science Direct (2007–2013) identified 26 studies that met the inclusion criteria for Strand 1, out of which six were analyzed for Strand 2. The findings indicate that health professionals use a range of methods to aid patients who are high-risk alcohol users. Positive associations were reported between health professionals’ alcohol-related health promotion activities and their personal attitudes towards alcohol (n = 2), and their personal alcohol use (n = 2). The findings have some important implications for professional education. Future research should focus on conducting well-designed studies with larger samples to enable us to draw firm conclusions and develop the evidence base. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessReview Treated Wastewater Effluent as a Source of Microbial Pollution of Surface Water Resources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 249-270; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100249
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since 1990, more than 1.8 billion people have gained access to potable water and improved sanitation worldwide. Whilst this represents a vital step towards improving global health and well-being, accelerated population growth coupled with rapid urbanization has further strained existing water supplies. [...] Read more.
Since 1990, more than 1.8 billion people have gained access to potable water and improved sanitation worldwide. Whilst this represents a vital step towards improving global health and well-being, accelerated population growth coupled with rapid urbanization has further strained existing water supplies. Whilst South Africa aims at spending 0.5% of its GDP on improving sanitation, additional factors such as hydrological variability and growing agricultural needs have further increased dependence on this finite resource. Increasing pressure on existing wastewater treatment plants has led to the discharge of inadequately treated effluent, reinforcing the need to improve and adopt more stringent methods for monitoring discharged effluent and surrounding water sources. This review provides an overview of the relative efficiencies of the different steps involved in wastewater treatment as well as the commonly detected microbial indicators with their associated health implications. In addition, it highlights the need to enforce more stringent measures to ensure compliance of treated effluent quality to the existing guidelines. Full article
Open AccessReview Tobacco Use and Smoking Cessation Practices among Physicians in Developing Countries: A Literature Review (1987–2010)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 429-455; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100429
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 18 December 2013 / Accepted: 19 December 2013 / Published: 30 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1034 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Physicians have a key role to play in combating tobacco use and reducing the tobacco induced harm to health. However, there is a paucity of information about tobacco-use and cessation among physicians in developing countries. To assess the need for and nature [...] Read more.
Physicians have a key role to play in combating tobacco use and reducing the tobacco induced harm to health. However, there is a paucity of information about tobacco-use and cessation among physicians in developing countries. To assess the need for and nature of smoking cessation services among physicians in developing countries, a detailed literature review of studies published in English, between 1987 and 2010 was carried out. The electronic databases Medline and Pub Med were searched for published studies. The findings show that there are regional variations in the current smoking prevalence, quitting intentions, and cessation services among physicians. Smoking prevalence (median) was highest in Central/Eastern Europe (37%), followed by Africa (29%), Central and South America (25%) and Asia (17.5%). There were significant gender differences in smoking prevalence across studies, with higher prevalence among males than females. Smoking at work or in front of patients was commonly practiced by physicians in some countries. Asking about smoking status or advising patients to quit smoking was not common practice among the physicians, especially among smoker physicians. Organized smoking cessation programs for physicians did not exist in all of these regions. This review suggests that while smoking of physicians varies across different developing regions; prevalence rates tend to be higher than among physicians in developed countries. Quitting rates were low among the physicians, and the delivery of advice on quitting smoking was not common across the studies. To promote tobacco control and increase cessation in populations, there is a need to build physicians’ capacity so that they can engage in tobacco use prevention and cessation activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IJERPH: 10th Anniversary)
Open AccessReview Smoke-Free Laws and Direct Democracy Initiatives on Smoking Bans in Germany: A Systematic Review and Quantitative Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 685-700; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100685
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 19 December 2013 / Accepted: 20 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Germany’s 16 states regulate smoking differently within health protection principles laid down in the federal law. All state smoke-free laws in Germany have undergone at least one change since taking effect. Methods: We systematically review federal and state laws regulating smoking, [...] Read more.
Background: Germany’s 16 states regulate smoking differently within health protection principles laid down in the federal law. All state smoke-free laws in Germany have undergone at least one change since taking effect. Methods: We systematically review federal and state laws regulating smoking, as well as petitions, popular initiatives and referenda that aimed at changing statutory smoking bans. Data generated through the systematic review were correlated with state smoking rates. Results: The protection from the dangers of secondhand smoke is the primary motive for smoking bans in Germany. The first smoke-free laws affecting smoking in pubs, restaurants and several other public places were introduced in 2007. In 2008, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled in a leading decision on the smoke-free laws of two states that some common smoking ban exemptions of the introduced smoke-free laws violate the basic right to freely exercise a profession and mandated revisions. All states but Bavaria and Saarland, whose smoking bans were more and less comprehensive than those judged by the constitutional court, respectively, needed to change the smoking ban exemptions to reconcile their smoke-free laws with the constitution. Direct democracy initiatives to change smoking bans were only successful in Bavaria in 2010, but a total of 15 initiatives by citizens’ or interest groups attempted to influence non-smokers protection legislation through direct democratic procedures. Early ratification of a smoking ban in a federal state correlates with a higher reduction in the smoking rate from 2005 to 2009 (Spearman’s ρ = 0.51, p = 0.04). Conclusions: The federal government structure and direct democratic participation in smoke-free legislation in Germany has produced a diversity of local smoking bans and exemptions. Full article
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Open AccessReview Can Tobacco Control Be Transformative? Reducing Gender Inequity and Tobacco Use among Vulnerable Populations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 792-803; doi:10.3390/ijerph110100792
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 17 December 2013 / Accepted: 31 December 2013 / Published: 7 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tobacco use and exposure is unequally distributed across populations and countries and among women and men. These trends and patterns reflect and cause gender and economic inequities along with negative health impacts. Despite a commitment to gender analysis in the preamble to [...] Read more.
Tobacco use and exposure is unequally distributed across populations and countries and among women and men. These trends and patterns reflect and cause gender and economic inequities along with negative health impacts. Despite a commitment to gender analysis in the preamble to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control there is much yet to be done to fully understand how gender operates in tobacco control. Policies, program and research in tobacco control need to not only integrate gender, but rather operationalize gender with the goal of transforming gender and social inequities in the course of tobacco control initiatives. Gender transformative tobacco control goes beyond gender sensitive efforts and challenges policy and program developers to apply gender theory in designing their initiatives, with the goal of changing negative gender and social norms and improving social, economic, health and social indicators along with tobacco reduction. This paper outlines what is needed to progress tobacco control in enhancing the status of gendered and vulnerable groups, with a view to reducing gender and social inequities due to tobacco use and exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control in Vulnerable Population Groups)
Open AccessReview Setting the Research Agenda on the Health Effects of Chemicals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1049-1057; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101049
Received: 6 November 2013 / Revised: 8 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 14 January 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (198 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2011, World Health Organization (WHO) scientists reported that a significant percentage of global deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2004 could be attributed to chemicals. The 2011 review focused only on certain chemicals, however, and concluded that the global burden [...] Read more.
In 2011, World Health Organization (WHO) scientists reported that a significant percentage of global deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 2004 could be attributed to chemicals. The 2011 review focused only on certain chemicals, however, and concluded that the global burden of disease was underestimated because of serious data gaps. While various chemical assessment documents have identified research needs for individual chemicals, a systematic review of such documents to identify research themes that could be applied to the multitude of chemicals for which there is little information has not been done. Even for chemicals for which there are considerable data, the information is not sufficient to make an estimate of the chemical’s contribution to the burden of disease. The WHO Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) documents and Concise International Chemical Assessment Documents (CICADs) identify research needs or data gaps in our knowledge of chemicals. We identified several common themes in these documents and in documents prepared by WHO on 10 chemicals of major public health concern. These themes include biomarkers, longitudinal epidemiological studies, mechanisms of disease, reproductive and developmental effects and exposure assessment. Specific examples of data gaps culled from more than 300 WHO documents provide researchers with specific topics for further research. Full article

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