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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 12, Issue 1 (January 2015), Pages 1-1053

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2014
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 455-473; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100455
Received: 7 January 2015 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract The editors of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2014:[...] Full article
Open AccessEditorial International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Best Paper Award 2015
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1050-1053; doi:10.3390/ijerph120101050
Received: 19 January 2015 / Revised: 19 January 2015 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
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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 to
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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 third “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Best Paper Awards” for 2015. Nominations were solicited from the Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board members, with all papers published in 2011 eligible for consideration. The following nine papers were selected for recognition awards:[...] Full article
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Applying an Ecohealth Perspective in a State of the Environment Report: Experiences of a Local Public Health Unit in Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 16-31; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100016
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (741 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We applied an Ecohealth perspective into a State of the Environment report for Grey Bruce Health Unit and summarized environmental and health data relevant for public health practice. We aimed for comprehensiveness in our data compilation, including: standard media categories (e.g., air, water,
[...] Read more.
We applied an Ecohealth perspective into a State of the Environment report for Grey Bruce Health Unit and summarized environmental and health data relevant for public health practice. We aimed for comprehensiveness in our data compilation, including: standard media categories (e.g., air, water, land); and ecological indicators (e.g., vectors, forests, wetlands). Data sources included both primary (collected by an organization) and secondary (assembled by others). We organized indicators with the Driving forces-Pressure-State-Exposure-Effect-Action (DPSEEA) framework created by the World Health Organization. Indicators of air, water and land quality generally appeared to point towards a healthy state. Vector-borne diseases remained low. Forests and wetlands appeared to be in good condition, however more monitoring data was needed to determine trends in their ecological indicators. Data were not available on biodiversity and fish conditions. The results of our application of the DPSEEA framework suggest that routinely collected environmental and health data can be structured into the framework, though challenges arose due to gaps in data availability, particularly for social and gender analyses. Ecohealth approaches had legitimacy with broader healthy community partners but applying such approaches was a complex undertaking. Full article
Open AccessArticle Agricultural and Management Practices and Bacterial Contamination in Greenhouse versus Open Field Lettuce Production
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 32-63; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100032
Received: 6 October 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this study was to gain insight into potential differences in risk factors for microbial contamination in greenhouse versus open field lettuce production. Information was collected on sources, testing, and monitoring and if applicable, treatment of irrigation and harvest rinsing water.
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to gain insight into potential differences in risk factors for microbial contamination in greenhouse versus open field lettuce production. Information was collected on sources, testing, and monitoring and if applicable, treatment of irrigation and harvest rinsing water. These data were combined with results of analysis on the levels of Escherichia coli as a fecal indicator organism and the presence of enteric bacterial pathogens on both lettuce crops and environmental samples. Enterohemorragic Escherichia coli (EHEC) PCR signals (vt1 or vt2 positive and eae positive), Campylobacter spp., and Salmonella spp. isolates were more often obtained from irrigation water sampled from open field farms (21/45, 46.7%) versus from greenhouse production (9/75, 12.0%). The open field production was shown to be more prone to fecal contamination as the number of lettuce samples and irrigation water with elevated E. coli was significantly higher. Farmers comply with generic guidelines on good agricultural practices available at the national level, but monitoring of microbial quality, and if applicable appropriateness of water treatment, or water used for irrigation or at harvest is restricted. These results indicate the need for further elaboration of specific guidelines and control measures for leafy greens with regard to microbial hazards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
Open AccessArticle NNK, a Tobacco-Specific Carcinogen, Inhibits the Expression of Lysyl Oxidase, a Tumor Suppressor
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 64-82; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100064
Received: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 9 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A tobacco-specific carcinogen, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), is believed to contribute to the cancer burden in cigarette smokers. To evaluate NNK effects on the expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX), a tumor suppressor, we examined this enzyme at various levels in NNK-treated rat fetal lung fibroblasts
[...] Read more.
A tobacco-specific carcinogen, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), is believed to contribute to the cancer burden in cigarette smokers. To evaluate NNK effects on the expression of lysyl oxidase (LOX), a tumor suppressor, we examined this enzyme at various levels in NNK-treated rat fetal lung fibroblasts (RFL6). Exposure of cells to NNK reduced levels of steady-states LOX mRNA and new transcript synthesis. NNK inhibited all LOX protein species in a dose-dependent manner. Although 300 µM NNK markedly decreased the level in the 46 kDa preproenzyme, under same conditions, there was no detectable amounts of the 50 kDa proenzyme and the 32 kDa mature enzyme suggesting NNK perturbing the LOX protein processing to its mature form. Moreover, NNK also suppressed LOX activities in conditioned media of treated cells. At the promoter level, NNK enhanced methylation of CpG, but decreased acetylation of histone H3 at the core promoter region of the LOX gene. These results indicated that transcriptional and translational processes of LOX are major targets for NNK. Thus, inactivation of tumor suppressor gene LOX may play a critical role in NNK carcinogenesis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Blood Lead Concentrations in Jamaican Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 83-105; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100083
Received: 19 September 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (796 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder manifesting by early childhood. Lead is a toxic metal shown to cause neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Several studies have investigated the possible association between exposure to lead and ASD, but their findings are conflicting. Using
[...] Read more.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder manifesting by early childhood. Lead is a toxic metal shown to cause neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Several studies have investigated the possible association between exposure to lead and ASD, but their findings are conflicting. Using data from 100 ASD cases (2–8 years of age) and their age- and sex-matched typically developing controls, we investigated the association between blood lead concentrations (BLC) and ASD in Jamaican children. We administered a questionnaire to assess demographic and socioeconomic information as well as exposure to potential lead sources. We used General Linear Models (GLM) to assess the association of BLC with ASD status as well as with sources of exposure to lead. In univariable GLM, we found a significant difference between geometric mean blood lead concentrations of ASD cases and controls (2.25 μg/dL cases vs. 2.73 μg/dL controls, p < 0.05). However, after controlling for potential confounders, there were no significant differences between adjusted geometric mean blood lead concentrations of ASD cases and controls (2.55 μg/dL vs. 2.72 μg/dL, p = 0.64). Our results do not support an association between BLC and ASD in Jamaican children. We have identified significant confounders when assessing an association between ASD and BLC. Full article
Open AccessArticle Moving beyond Green: Exploring the Relationship of Environment Type and Indicators of Perceived Environmental Quality on Emotional Well-Being following Group Walks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 106-130; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100106
Received: 4 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (973 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Against the backdrop of increasing interest in the relationship between Nature and health, this study examined the effect of perceived environment type and indicators of perceived environmental quality on short-term emotional well-being following outdoor group walks. Participants (n = 127) of a
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Against the backdrop of increasing interest in the relationship between Nature and health, this study examined the effect of perceived environment type and indicators of perceived environmental quality on short-term emotional well-being following outdoor group walks. Participants (n = 127) of a national group walk program completed pre- and post-walk questionnaires for each walk attended (n = 1009) within a 13-week study period. Multilevel linear modelling was used to examine the main and moderation effects. To isolate the environmental from the physical activity elements, analyses controlled for walk duration and perceived intensity. Analyses revealed that perceived restorativeness and perceived walk intensity predicted greater positive affect and happiness following an outdoor group walk. Perceived restorativeness and perceived bird biodiversity predicted post-walk negative affect. Perceived restorativeness moderated the relationship between perceived naturalness and positive affect. Results suggest that restorative quality of an environment may be an important element for enhancing well-being, and that perceived restorativeness and naturalness of an environment may interact to amplify positive affect. These findings highlight the importance of further research on the contribution of environment type and quality on well-being, and the need to control for effects of physical activity in green exercise research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
Open AccessArticle Suicide Risks among Adolescents and Young Adults in Rural China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 131-145; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100131
Received: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (698 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: In China, suicide is one of the major causes of death among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 34 years. Aim: The current study examines how risk factors vary by age groups in rural China, referring to those aged
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Background: In China, suicide is one of the major causes of death among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 34 years. Aim: The current study examines how risk factors vary by age groups in rural China, referring to those aged 15 to 24 years and those aged 25 to 34 years. Method: A case-control psychological autopsy (PA) study is conducted in sixteen counties from three Chinese provinces, including 392 suicide cases and 416 community living controls in the sample. Results: In China, young adults aged 25 to 34 years have a higher risk for suicide than adolescents aged 15 to 24 years, and it holds true even controlling for relevant social factors. In addition, age-related factors such as education, marital status, whether having children, status in the family, physical health, and personal income all have varying degrees of impact on suicide risks for rural youth. Conclusions: This study shows that there are some age-related risk factors for suicide at certain life stages and emphasizes that young adults in rural China aged 25 to 34 years have an increased risk of suicide as a result of experiencing more psychological strains with age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention among Youth)
Open AccessArticle Daily Physical Activity and Screen Time, but Not Other Sedentary Activities, Are Associated with Measures of Obesity during Childhood
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 146-161; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100146
Received: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (824 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Childhood obesity is related to low physical activity level and a sedentary lifestyle. The aim of this study was to assess the physical activity level and sedentary behaviour of Malaysian children aged 7 to 12 years and to examine their association with body
[...] Read more.
Childhood obesity is related to low physical activity level and a sedentary lifestyle. The aim of this study was to assess the physical activity level and sedentary behaviour of Malaysian children aged 7 to 12 years and to examine their association with body mass index (BMI), BMI-for-age Z-score (BAZ), body fatness (%BF) and waist circumference (WC). A total of 1736 children, representing all ethnic groups were recruited from six regions of Malaysia. Anthropometric measurements included body weight, height and waist circumference. Body fat percentage (%BF) was assessed using bioelectrical impedance. Physical activity was assessed by a physical activity questionnaire (PAQ) in all children and by pedometers in a subsample (n = 514). PAQ score and pedometer step counts were negatively associated with BMI, BAZ, %BF and WC after adjusting for covariates. Screen time was positively associated with BAZ and WC. However, other sedentary activities were not significantly related with any anthropometric indicators. Strategies to promote active living among children in Malaysia should focus not only on increasing physical activity but also emphasise reduction in sedentary behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
Open AccessArticle Residents’ Preferences for Household Kitchen Waste Source Separation Services in Beijing: A Choice Experiment Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 176-190; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100176
Received: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1057 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A source separation program for household kitchen waste has been in place in Beijing since 2010. However, the participation rate of residents is far from satisfactory. This study was carried out to identify residents’ preferences based on an improved management strategy for household
[...] Read more.
A source separation program for household kitchen waste has been in place in Beijing since 2010. However, the participation rate of residents is far from satisfactory. This study was carried out to identify residents’ preferences based on an improved management strategy for household kitchen waste source separation. We determine the preferences of residents in an ad hoc sample, according to their age level, for source separation services and their marginal willingness to accept compensation for the service attributes. We used a multinomial logit model to analyze the data, collected from 394 residents in Haidian and Dongcheng districts of Beijing City through a choice experiment. The results show there are differences of preferences on the services attributes between young, middle, and old age residents. Low compensation is not a major factor to promote young and middle age residents accept the proposed separation services. However, on average, most of them prefer services with frequent, evening, plastic bag attributes and without instructor. This study indicates that there is a potential for local government to improve the current separation services accordingly. Full article
Open AccessArticle Water-Borne Diseases and Extreme Weather Events in Cambodia: Review of Impacts and Implications of Climate Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 191-213; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100191
Received: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cambodia is prone to extreme weather events, especially floods, droughts and typhoons. Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of such events. The Cambodian population is highly vulnerable to the impacts of these events due to poverty; malnutrition; agricultural dependence;
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Cambodia is prone to extreme weather events, especially floods, droughts and typhoons. Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of such events. The Cambodian population is highly vulnerable to the impacts of these events due to poverty; malnutrition; agricultural dependence; settlements in flood-prone areas, and public health, governance and technological limitations. Yet little is known about the health impacts of extreme weather events in Cambodia. Given the extremely low adaptive capacity of the population, this is a crucial knowledge gap. A literature review of the health impacts of floods, droughts and typhoons in Cambodia was conducted, with regional and global information reviewed where Cambodia-specific literature was lacking. Water-borne diseases are of particular concern in Cambodia, in the face of extreme weather events and climate change, due to, inter alia, a high pre-existing burden of diseases such as diarrhoeal illness and a lack of improved sanitation infrastructure in rural areas. A time-series analysis under quasi-Poisson distribution was used to evaluate the association between floods and diarrhoeal disease incidence in Cambodian children between 2001 and 2012 in 16 Cambodian provinces. Floods were significantly associated with increased diarrhoeal disease in two provinces, while the analysis conducted suggested a possible protective effect from toilets and piped water. Addressing the specific, local pre-existing vulnerabilities is vital to promoting population health resilience and strengthening adaptive capacity to extreme weather events and climate change in Cambodia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather-Related Morbidity and Mortality: Risks and Responses)
Open AccessArticle Association between Changing Mortality of Digestive Tract Cancers and Water Pollution: A Case Study in the Huai River Basin, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 214-226; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100214
Received: 22 August 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The relationship between the ever-increasing cancer mortality and water pollution is an important public concern in China. This study aimed to explore the association between serious water pollution and increasing digestive cancer mortality in the Huai River Basin (HRB) in China. A series
[...] Read more.
The relationship between the ever-increasing cancer mortality and water pollution is an important public concern in China. This study aimed to explore the association between serious water pollution and increasing digestive cancer mortality in the Huai River Basin (HRB) in China. A series of frequency of serious pollution (FSP) indices including water quality grade (FSPWQG), biochemical oxygen demand (FSPBOD), chemical oxygen demand (FSPCOD), and ammonia nitrogen (FSPAN) were used to characterize the surface water quality between 1997 and 2006. Data on the county-level changing mortality (CM) due to digestive tract cancers between 1975 and 2006 were collected for 14 counties in the study area. Most of investigated counties (eight) with high FSPWQG (>50%) distributed in the northern region of the HRB and had larger CMs of digestive tract cancers. In addition to their similar spatial distribution, significant correlations between FSP indices and CMs were observed by controlling for drinking water safety (DWS), gross domestic product (GDP), and population (POP). Furthermore, the above-mentioned partial correlations were clearly increased when only controlling for GDP and POP. Our study indicated that county-level variations of digestive cancer mortality are remarkably associated with water pollution, and suggested that continuous measures for improving surface water quality and DWS and hygienic interventions should be effectively implemented by local governments. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Excess Heat Factor: A Metric for Heatwave Intensity and Its Use in Classifying Heatwave Severity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 227-253; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100227
Received: 16 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (2077 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Heatwaves represent a significant natural hazard in Australia, arguably more hazardous to human life than bushfires, tropical cyclones and floods. In the 2008/2009 summer, for example, many more lives were lost to heatwaves than to that summer’s bushfires which were among the worst
[...] Read more.
Heatwaves represent a significant natural hazard in Australia, arguably more hazardous to human life than bushfires, tropical cyclones and floods. In the 2008/2009 summer, for example, many more lives were lost to heatwaves than to that summer’s bushfires which were among the worst in the history of the Australian nation. For many years, these other forms of natural disaster have received much greater public attention than heatwaves, although there are some signs of change. We propose a new index, called the excess heat factor (EHF) for use in Australian heatwave monitoring and forecasting. The index is based on a three-day-averaged daily mean temperature (DMT), and is intended to capture heatwave intensity as it applies to human health outcomes, although its usefulness is likely to be much broader and with potential for international applicability. The index is described and placed in a climatological context in order to derive heatwave severity. Heatwave severity, as characterised by the climatological distribution of heatwave intensity, has been used to normalise the climatological variation in heatwave intensity range across Australia. This methodology was used to introduce a pilot national heatwave forecasting service for Australia during the 2013/2014 summer. Some results on the performance of the service are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather-Related Morbidity and Mortality: Risks and Responses)
Open AccessArticle Developing a Heatwave Early Warning System for Sweden: Evaluating Sensitivity of Different Epidemiological Modelling Approaches to Forecast Temperatures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 254-267; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100254
Received: 30 September 2014 / Accepted: 18 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3086 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the last two decades a number of heatwaves have brought the need for heatwave early warning systems (HEWS) to the attention of many European governments. The HEWS in Europe are operating under the assumption that there is a high correlation between observed
[...] Read more.
Over the last two decades a number of heatwaves have brought the need for heatwave early warning systems (HEWS) to the attention of many European governments. The HEWS in Europe are operating under the assumption that there is a high correlation between observed and forecasted temperatures. We investigated the sensitivity of different temperature mortality relationships when using forecast temperatures. We modelled mortality in Stockholm using observed temperatures and made predictions using forecast temperatures from the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts to assess the sensitivity. We found that the forecast will alter the expected future risk differently for different temperature mortality relationships. The more complex models seemed more sensitive to inaccurate forecasts. Despite the difference between models, there was a high agreement between models when identifying risk-days. We find that considerations of the accuracy in temperature forecasts should be part of the design of a HEWS. Currently operating HEWS do evaluate their predictive performance; this information should also be part of the evaluation of the epidemiological models that are the foundation in the HEWS. The most accurate description of the relationship between high temperature and mortality might not be the most suitable or practical when incorporated into a HEWS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather-Related Morbidity and Mortality: Risks and Responses)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Relationship between 5-HTT and MAO Gene Polymorphisms, Mood and Level of Anxiety among Postmenopausal Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 268-281; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100268
Received: 29 September 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze how mood and anxiety level are related to the functional genetic polymorphism in the promoter region of SLC6A4 (5-HTTLPR) and the 30-bp VNTR polymorphism in the MAO A promoter region. Methods:
[...] Read more.
Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze how mood and anxiety level are related to the functional genetic polymorphism in the promoter region of SLC6A4 (5-HTTLPR) and the 30-bp VNTR polymorphism in the MAO A promoter region. Methods: The study involved 272 postmenopausal women from Poland. The authors employed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for measuring levels of anxiety, the Mood Adjective Check List for measuring mood, and genetic tests. Results: Analysis did not show any statistically significant differences in the mean levels of anxiety, and mood disorders in women in relation to genotypes of the 5-HTTLPR (SLC6A4) polymorphism and the 30-bp VNTR polymorphism in the MAO A promoter region. However, these problems were more severe among women with s/s genotype. In the case of MAO A gene polymorphism, the level of anxiety was higher in women with a 4/4 genotype. Conclusions: The study did not prove the possibility of the identification of homogeneous groups of women with an elevated risk of developing anxiety and mood disorders during the post-menopausal period. Nevertheless, it showed that respondents with s/s genotype of the 44-bp polymorphism in the 5-HTT (SLC6A4) promoter region had the highest average anxiety levels both as a state and as a trait. Furthermore, the analysis of the 30-bp VNTR polymorphism in the MAO A promoter region demonstrated slight differences in anxiety levels between the women, indicating that those with a 4/4 genotype had higher severity of anxiety symptoms. Full article
Open AccessArticle Electronic Cigarettes and Indoor Air Quality: A Simple Approach to Modeling Potential Bystander Exposures to Nicotine
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 282-299; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100282
Received: 24 November 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2305 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
There has been rapid growth in the use of electronic cigarettes (“vaping”) in Europe, North America and elsewhere. With such increased prevalence, there is currently a debate on whether the aerosol exhaled following the use of e-cigarettes has implications for the quality of
[...] Read more.
There has been rapid growth in the use of electronic cigarettes (“vaping”) in Europe, North America and elsewhere. With such increased prevalence, there is currently a debate on whether the aerosol exhaled following the use of e-cigarettes has implications for the quality of air breathed by bystanders. Conducting chemical analysis of the indoor environment can be costly and resource intensive, limiting the number of studies which can be conducted. However, this can be modelled reasonably accurately based on empirical emissions data and using some basic assumptions. Here, we present a simplified model, based on physical principles, which considers aerosol propagation, dilution and extraction to determine the potential contribution of a single puff from an e-cigarette to indoor air. From this, it was then possible to simulate the cumulative effect of vaping over time. The model was applied to a virtual, but plausible, scenario considering an e-cigarette user and a non-user working in the same office space. The model was also used to reproduce published experimental studies and showed good agreement with the published values of indoor air nicotine concentration. With some additional refinements, such an approach may be a cost-effective and rapid way of assessing the potential exposure of bystanders to exhaled e-cigarette aerosol constituents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Residues in Serum Samples of Autopsied Individuals from Tennessee
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 322-334; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100322
Received: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 19 December 2014 / Published: 25 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2613 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study reports the concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in human blood sera samples (n = 650) obtained at autopsy from individuals who died of drug abuse, alcohol toxicity, homicide, suicide and other unknown causes. The analyzed samples from decedents revealed
[...] Read more.
This study reports the concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in human blood sera samples (n = 650) obtained at autopsy from individuals who died of drug abuse, alcohol toxicity, homicide, suicide and other unknown causes. The analyzed samples from decedents revealed the presence of PAHs of which B(a)P was the most predominant one, followed by benzo(b)fluoranthene and benzo(k)fluoranthene. The other PAHs detected sporadically and measured were benzo(g,h,i)perylene, acenaphthene, anthracene, phenanthrene, and fluoranthene The mean concentrations of PAHs were greater in the twenties to fifties age groups compared to others. The PAH residue levels detected were high in African Americans compared to Caucasians, Asians, and Hispanics. It appears that environmental exposure, dietary intake and in some cases occupational exposure may have contributed to the PAH body burden. While the PAH residue concentrations measured fall within the range of those reported for healthy adults elsewhere, in isolated cases, the concentrations detected were high, calling the need for a reduction in PAH emissions and human biomonitoring studies for purposes of risk assessment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dental Caries and Periodontal Disease in Brazilian Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 335-353; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100335
Received: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (714 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the present study was determine the prevalence and factors associated with dental caries and periodontal disease in Brazilian children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). This is a cross-sectional study conducted with 80 patients ranging in age from 2 to
[...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was determine the prevalence and factors associated with dental caries and periodontal disease in Brazilian children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). This is a cross-sectional study conducted with 80 patients ranging in age from 2 to 18 years old. Oral exams were conducted by an examiner with records of DMFT, dmft, Gingival Bleeding Index (GBI) and Community Periodontal Index (CPI). The statistical analysis used Poisson Regression with robust variance estimation (α = 0.05). The prevalence of dental caries was 59.3%, with DMFT and mean dmft of 1.71 ± 2.42 and 2.22 ± 3.23, respectively. The mean GBI was 22.44%, and in the CPI, the prevalence of gingival bleeding, calculus, shallow and deep pockets were 94.73%, 79.62%, 12.90% and 3.22%, respectively. The caregiver’s educational level of less than eight years were associated with the dental caries experience (PR = 1.439; 95%CI = 1.09–1.89). The periodontal alterations were associated with female sex (PR = 0.82; 95%CI = 0.69–0.97), caregiver’s educational level of less than eight years (PR = 1.15; 95%CI = 1.03–1.29), poor oral perception (PR = 0.89; 95%CI = 0.80–0.98), serious communication problem (PR = 0.87; 95%CI = 0.76–0.99) and athetoid type of CP (PR = 0.85; 95%CI = 0.75–0.97). The patients with CP presented high dental caries experience and periodontal alterations, which were associated with their demographic, socioeconomic, oral health perception and systemic information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Determinants of Oral Health)
Open AccessArticle Identifying Environmental Risk Factors of Cholera in a Coastal Area with Geospatial Technologies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 354-370; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100354
Received: 23 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 29 December 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Satellites contribute significantly to environmental quality and public health. Environmental factors are important indicators for the prediction of disease outbreaks. This study reveals the environmental factors associated with cholera in Zhejiang, a coastal province of China, using both Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic
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Satellites contribute significantly to environmental quality and public health. Environmental factors are important indicators for the prediction of disease outbreaks. This study reveals the environmental factors associated with cholera in Zhejiang, a coastal province of China, using both Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic information System (GIS). The analysis validated the correlation between the indirect satellite measurements of sea surface temperature (SST), sea surface height (SSH) and ocean chlorophyll concentration (OCC) and the local cholera magnitude based on a ten-year monthly data from the year 1999 to 2008. Cholera magnitude has been strongly affected by the concurrent variables of SST and SSH, while OCC has a one-month time lag effect. A cholera prediction model has been established based on the sea environmental factors. The results of hot spot analysis showed the local cholera magnitude in counties significantly associated with the estuaries and rivers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Biodegradation Kinetics of Tetrahydrofuran, Benzene, Toluene, and Ethylbenzene as Multi-substrate by Pseudomonas oleovorans DT4
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 371-384; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100371
Received: 2 November 2014 / Accepted: 22 December 2014 / Published: 31 December 2014
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Abstract
The biodegradation kinetics of tetrahydrofuran, benzene (B), toluene (T), and ethylbenzene (E) were systematically investigated individually and as mixtures by a series of aerobic batch degradation experiments initiated by Pseudomonas oleovorans DT4. The Andrews model parameters, e.g., maximum specific growth rates (μ
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The biodegradation kinetics of tetrahydrofuran, benzene (B), toluene (T), and ethylbenzene (E) were systematically investigated individually and as mixtures by a series of aerobic batch degradation experiments initiated by Pseudomonas oleovorans DT4. The Andrews model parameters, e.g., maximum specific growth rates (μmax), half saturation, and substrate inhibition constant, were obtained from single-substrate experiments. The interaction parameters in the sum kinetics model (SKIP) were obtained from the dual substrates. The μmax value of 1.01 for tetrahydrofuran indicated that cell growth using tetrahydrofuran as carbon source was faster than the growth on B (μmax, B = 0.39) or T (μmax, T = 0.39). The interactions in the dual-substrate experiments, including genhancement, inhibition, and co-metabolism, in the mixtures of tetrahydrofuran with B or T or E were identified. The degradation of the four compounds existing simultaneously could be predicted by the combination of SKIP and co-metabolism models. This study is the first to quantify the interactions between tetrahydrofuran and BTE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioprocesses for Air Pollution Control)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Adolescent Nutrition and Physical Activity in the Prediction of Verbal Intelligence during Early Adulthood: A Genetically Informed Analysis of Twin Pairs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 385-401; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100385
Received: 11 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (727 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A large body of research has revealed that nutrition and physical activity influence brain functioning at various stages of the life course. Nevertheless, very few studies have explored whether diet and exercise influence verbal intelligence as youth transition from adolescence into young adulthood.
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A large body of research has revealed that nutrition and physical activity influence brain functioning at various stages of the life course. Nevertheless, very few studies have explored whether diet and exercise influence verbal intelligence as youth transition from adolescence into young adulthood. Even fewer studies have explored the link between these health behaviors and verbal intelligence while accounting for genetic and environmental factors that are shared between siblings. Employing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the current study uses a sample of same-sex twin pairs to test whether youth who engage in poorer fitness and nutritional practices are significantly more likely to exhibit reduced verbal intelligence during young adulthood. The results suggests that, independent of the effects of genetic and shared environmental factors, a number of nutritional and exercise factors during adolescence influence verbal intelligence during adulthood. Limitations are noted and suggestions for future research are outlined. Full article
Open AccessArticle Hyperlipidemia and Statins Affect Neurological Outcome in Lumbar Spine Injury
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 402-413; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100402
Received: 12 November 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
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Abstract
The disabling pathophysiologic effects of lipid and neuroprotective effects of statins have recently been demonstrated for acute spinal cord injuries in animal models. This large scale population-based study aimed to investigate the effect hyperlipidemia and the use of statins in patients with lumbar
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The disabling pathophysiologic effects of lipid and neuroprotective effects of statins have recently been demonstrated for acute spinal cord injuries in animal models. This large scale population-based study aimed to investigate the effect hyperlipidemia and the use of statins in patients with lumbar spine injury. The National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan was used to identify patients with lumbar spine injury. A total of 2844 patients were grouped into three: no hyperlipidemia, hyperlipidemia using low-dose of statins (≤90 of the defined daily dosage (DDD)), and severe hyperlipidemia using high-dose of statins (>90 DDD). A Cox multiple regression model was used to compare the incidence rates of disability among the three groups. The results showed that patients with hyperlipidemia appeared a higher risk of permanent disability (adjusted HR = 1.38, p = 0.28). In subgroup analysis, patients with severe hyperlipidemia had a higher risk of disability (adjusted HR = 3.1, p < 0.004), whereas hyperlipidemia using low-dose statins had a similar risk of permanently disability (adjusted HR = 0.83, p = 0.661). Hyperlipidemia adversely affected the neurological outcomes of lumbar spinal injury. Statins may have the potential to reverse this higher risk of disability. However, this beneficiary effect of statins only existed in patients using a lower dose (≤90 DDD). Full article
Open AccessArticle Empowering Sedentary Adults to Reduce Sedentary Behavior and Increase Physical Activity Levels and Energy Expenditure: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 414-427; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100414
Received: 31 July 2014 / Accepted: 30 December 2014 / Published: 5 January 2015
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Abstract
Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a 4-week intervention in which an online personal activity monitor (Gruve-Technologies) was used to reduce sedentary behavior among sedentary adults. Method: Eighteen, sedentary adult volunteers (12 men,
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a 4-week intervention in which an online personal activity monitor (Gruve-Technologies) was used to reduce sedentary behavior among sedentary adults. Method: Eighteen, sedentary adult volunteers (12 men, six women, mean age 29 ± 4.0 years) were recruited to participate in the study. Time spent in sedentary activities and light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity physical activity and energy expenditure were assessed during waking hours using the monitor and the 7-day SLIPA Log at both baseline and post-intervention. Results: A significant decrease of 33% (3.1 h/day; p < 0.001) was found between the time spent in sedentary activities measured at baseline (9.4 ± 1.1 h/day) and at the end of the 4-week intervention (6.3 ± 0.8 h/day). Consequent to the changes in sedentary time, significant increases were found in the amount of time spent in light- (45% (2.6 h/day), p < 0.001), moderate- (33% (1 h/day) p < 0.001), vigorous-intensity physical activity (39% (0.16 h/day), p < 0.001), and energy expenditure (47% (216.7 kcal/day), p < 0.001). Conclusion: This monitor contributes to a meaningful reduction in time spent in sedentary activities and has a large effect on energy expenditure and physical activity patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Brand Cigarillos — A Cheap and Less Harmful Alternative to Cigarettes? Particulate Matter Emissions Suggest Otherwise
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 428-438; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100428
Received: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
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Abstract
Background: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)-associated particulate matter (PM) constitutes a considerable health risk for passive smokers. It ought to be assessed separately from the other known toxic compounds of tobacco smoke. Brand-specific differences between cigarettes and particularly between cigarettes and favorably taxed
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Background: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)-associated particulate matter (PM) constitutes a considerable health risk for passive smokers. It ought to be assessed separately from the other known toxic compounds of tobacco smoke. Brand-specific differences between cigarettes and particularly between cigarettes and favorably taxed cigarillos, are of public interest and therefore worth being investigated. Methods: An automatic environmental tobacco smoke emitter (AETSE) was developed to generate cigarette and cigarillo smoke in a reliable and reproducible way. John Player Special (JPS) Red cigarettes, JPS filter cigarillos and 3R4F standard research cigarettes were smoked automatically in a 2.88 m3 glass chamber according to a standardized protocol until 5 cm from the top were burned down. Results: Mean concentrations (Cmean) and area of the curve (AUC) of PM2.5 were measured and compared. Cmean PM2.5 were found to be 804 µg/m3 for 3R4F reference cigarettes, 1633 µg/m3 for JPS cigarettes, and 1059 µg/m3 for JPS filter cigarillos. AUC PM2.5-values are 433,873 µg/m3×s for 3R4F reference cigarettes, 534,267 µg/m3×s for JPS Red cigarettes and 782,850 µg/m3×s for JPS filter cigarillos. Conclusion: Potential brand-specific differences of ETS-associated PM emissions among brands of cigarettes, and between cigarettes and cigarillos of the same brand and size should be investigated and published. Information about relative PM-emissions should be printed on the package. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Association between Temperature Change and Outpatient Visits for Respiratory Tract Infections among Children in Guangzhou, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 439-454; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100439
Received: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 6 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1615 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The current study examined the association between temperature change and clinical visits for childhood respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in Guangzhou, China. Outpatient records of clinical visits for pediatric RTIs, which occurred from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2013, were collected from Guangzhou
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The current study examined the association between temperature change and clinical visits for childhood respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in Guangzhou, China. Outpatient records of clinical visits for pediatric RTIs, which occurred from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2013, were collected from Guangzhou Women and Children’s Hospital. Records for meteorological variables during the same period were obtained from the Guangzhou Meteorological Bureau. Temperature change was defined as the difference between the mean temperatures on two consecutive days. A distributed lag non-linear model (DLNM) was used to examine the impact of temperature change on pediatric outpatient visits for RTIs. A large temperature decrease was associated with a significant risk for an RTI, with the effect lasting for ~10 days. The maximum effect of a temperature drop (−8.8 °C) was reached at lag 2~3 days. Children aged 0–2 years, and especially those aged <1 year, were particularly vulnerable to the effects of temperature drop. An extreme temperature decrease affected the number of patient visits for both upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs). A temperature change between consecutive days, and particularly an extreme temperature decrease, was significantly associated with increased pediatric outpatient visits for RTIs in Guangzhou. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multi-Stakeholder Taskforces in Bangladesh — A Distinctive Approach to Build Sustainable Tobacco Control Implementation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 474-487; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100474
Received: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
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Abstract
The MPOWER policy package enables countries to implement effective, evidence-based strategies to address the threat posed to their population by tobacco. All countries have challenges to overcome when implementing tobacco control policy. Some are generic such as tobacco industry efforts to undermine and
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The MPOWER policy package enables countries to implement effective, evidence-based strategies to address the threat posed to their population by tobacco. All countries have challenges to overcome when implementing tobacco control policy. Some are generic such as tobacco industry efforts to undermine and circumvent legislation; others are specific to national or local context. Various factors influence how successfully challenges are addressed, including the legal-political framework for enforcement, public and administrative attitudes towards the law, and whether policy implementation measures are undertaken. This paper examines District Tobacco Control Taskforces, a flexible policy mechanism developed in Bangladesh to support the implementation of the Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Act 2005 and its 2013 Amendment. At the time of this study published research and/or data was not available and understanding about these structures, their role, contribution, limitations and potential, was limited. We consider Taskforce characteristics and suggest that the “package” comprises a distinctive tobacco control implementation model. Qualitative data is presented from interviews with key informants in ten districts with activated taskforces (n = 70) to provide insight from the perspectives of taskforce members and non-members. In all ten districts taskforces were seen as a crucial tool for tobacco control implementation. Where taskforces were perceived to be functioning well, current positive impacts were perceived, including reduced smoking in public places and tobacco advertising, and increased public awareness and political profile. In districts with less well established taskforces, interviewees believed in their taskforce’s ‘potential’ to deliver similar benefits once their functioning was improved. Recommendations to improve functioning and enhance impact were made. The distinctive taskforce concept and lessons from their development may provide other countries with a flexible local implementation model for tobacco control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Association between Self-Reported Global Sleep Status and Prevalence of Hypertension in Chinese Adults: Data from the Kailuan Community
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 488-503; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100488
Received: 30 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 7 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (720 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Assessment of sleep only by sleep duration is not sufficient. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the potential association of self-reported global sleep status, which contained both qualitative and quantitative aspects, with hypertension prevalence in Chinese adults. Methods: A total of 5461
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Background: Assessment of sleep only by sleep duration is not sufficient. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the potential association of self-reported global sleep status, which contained both qualitative and quantitative aspects, with hypertension prevalence in Chinese adults. Methods: A total of 5461 subjects (4076 of them were male) were enrolled in the current study and were divided into two groups with the age of 45 years as the cut-off value. Sleep status of all subjects was assessed using the standard Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg in the current study. Results: After adjusting for basic cardiovascular characteristics, the results of multivariate logistic regression indicated that sleep status, which was defined as the additive measurement of sleep duration and sleep quality, was associated with hypertension prevalence in males of both age groups (odds ratio (OR) = 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07–1.15, p < 0.05; OR = 1.12, 95% CI, 1.08–1.15, p < 0.05) and in females aged ≤45years (OR = 1.10, 95% CI, 1.02–1.18, p < 0.05). As one component of PSQI, short sleep duration was associated with hypertension prevalence only in Chinese male subjects, but this association disappeared after the further adjustment of the other components of PSQI that measured the qualitative aspect of sleep. Conclusion: Association between sleep status and hypertension prevalence in Chinese adults varied by age and sex. Sleep should be measured qualitatively and quantitatively when investigating its association with hypertension. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Smoke-Free Air Law in Bars on Smoking Initiation and Relapse among Teenagers and Young Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 504-520; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100504
Received: 27 October 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
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Abstract
Background: Existing evidence has shown that most smoking uptake and escalation occurs while smokers are teenagers or young adults. Effective policies that reduce smoking uptake and escalation will play an important role in curbing cigarette smoking. This study aims to investigate the
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Background: Existing evidence has shown that most smoking uptake and escalation occurs while smokers are teenagers or young adults. Effective policies that reduce smoking uptake and escalation will play an important role in curbing cigarette smoking. This study aims to investigate the effect of smoke-free air (SFA) laws in bars on smoking initiation/relapse while controlling for other confounders. Methods: The national longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) from 1997–2009 was linked to state-level scores for the strength of SFA laws in order to carry out the analysis. Results and Conclusion: We find that SFA laws in bars with exemptions significantly reduce (p ≤ 0.01) the probability of smoking initiation (one-puff, daily, and heavy smoking initiation). The 100% SFA law in bars without exemption significantly deters smoking relapse from abstinence into daily smoking (p 0.05) or relapse from abstinence into heavy smoking (p ≤ 0.01) among people age 21 or older. The reduction of one-puff and daily smoking initiation is larger among ages 20 or younger than ages 21 or older, while the reduction in relapse does not differ by whether respondents reach the drinking age. Results also indicate that higher cigarette taxes significantly reduce daily smoking initiation and relapse into nondaily and light smoking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Malawian Mothers’ Malaria Knowledge, Healthcare Preferences and Timeliness of Seeking Fever Treatments for Children Under Five
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 521-540; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100521
Received: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 24 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (538 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Malaria is one of the major public health problems in Malawi, contributing to the majority of morbidity and mortality among children under five. Ignorance of malaria symptoms results in delayed treatment, which often degenerates into fatal emergencies. This study analyzed the impact of
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Malaria is one of the major public health problems in Malawi, contributing to the majority of morbidity and mortality among children under five. Ignorance of malaria symptoms results in delayed treatment, which often degenerates into fatal emergencies. This study analyzed the impact of maternal malaria knowledge on healthcare preferences and timeliness of treating children with reported fever. The Malaria Indicator Survey data for 2012, which were adequately weighted, were analyzed using multinomial logit and Poisson regression models. The results showed low maternal average years of formal education (3.52) and average mothers’ age was 27.97 years. Majority of the women (84.98%) associated fever with malaria, while 44.17% associated it with chilling. Also, 54.42% and 32.43% of the children were treated for fever on the same day and the following day that fever started, respectively. About 9.70% paid for fever treatment from their regular incomes, while 51.38% sought treatment from either public or private health centers. Multinomial Logit regression results showed that relative to using of other treatments, probabilities of selecting private hospitals and public health centers increased with age of the household heads, resident in urban areas, mothers’ years of education, number of days taken off for treatment, paying medical bills from regular, occasional and borrowed incomes, and knowledge of diarrhea and shivering as symptoms of malaria. In the Poisson regression results, timeliness of seeking treatment was significantly enhanced by knowledge of fever as malaria symptom, residence in northern and central regions of Malawi and use of income from sale of assets to pay medical bills (p < 0.10).However, delays in treating children was motivated by age of the household heads, number of days taken off to care for sick child and usage of regular, borrowed and other incomes to pay medical bills. (p < 0.05). It was concluded that efficiency of public sector in treating malaria holds significant prospects for fighting malaria in Malawi. However, adequate efforts should be channeled in enhancing the knowledge of women on malaria symptoms, among others. Full article
Open AccessArticle Managing an Online Survey about Influenza Vaccination in Primary Healthcare Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 541-553; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100541
Received: 15 September 2014 / Accepted: 31 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Online surveys are increasingly used due to their speed and efficiency. The aim of this study was to analyze factors that may have contributed to the quality and speed of response of an online survey on influenza vaccination in primary healthcare workers. A
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Online surveys are increasingly used due to their speed and efficiency. The aim of this study was to analyze factors that may have contributed to the quality and speed of response of an online survey on influenza vaccination in primary healthcare workers. A multicenter study including family physicians, nurses and pediatricians from primary healthcare teams from seven Spanish Autonomous Communities was designed. The centers were selected by simple random sampling. The survey remained active and accessible for 56 days and four reminders were sent. The odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to assess the association of sociodemographic variables and responding to the survey before the second reminder. Complete, validated information was obtained from 1965 primary healthcare workers. The total response rate was 36.2%. More nurses (46.3%) responded before the second reminder and more family physicians (52.8%) after the second reminder. The adjusted OR shows that family physicians responded later (AOR 1.46, 95% CI 1.2–1.8) than nurses. The responses obtained in the first 24 h after the initial sending and the reminders accounted for 41.7% of the completed surveys, indicating the importance of reminders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preventive Medicine)
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus and Impaired Fasting Glucose, Associated with Risk Factors in Rural Kazakh Adults in Xinjiang, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 554-565; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100554
Received: 15 September 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 9 January 2015
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Abstract
Objective: This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) in a Kazakh population aged ≥18 years living in the YiLi District of Xinjiang, China and to evaluate the associated risk factors of diabetes. Methods
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Objective: This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) in a Kazakh population aged ≥18 years living in the YiLi District of Xinjiang, China and to evaluate the associated risk factors of diabetes. Methods: Randomly selected adults, living for at least 6 months in the YiLi District in Xinjiang had their clinical characteristics and standard blood chemistries measured. DM and IFG were defined according to WHO 1999 criteria. The adjusted odds ratio (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for the association of diabetes risk factors in multivariate logistic regression models. Results: A total of 3919 subjects were randomly selected. The age-and gender-standardized prevalence of DM and IFG were 5.9% and 10.0%, respectively. The prevalence of DM and IFG increased with age and BMI. Prevalence of 7.4%, 12.2% in males and 4.9%, 8.6% in females for DM and IFG. Compared by sex, prevalence of DM and IFG was higher in males. Prevalence of 3.4%, 8.1% in normal, 6.7%, 11.9% in overweight and 12.0%, 13.0% in obesity for diabetes and IFG. In the multivariable logistic models, male sex, older age, unmarried, overweight, obesity, hypertension, triglycerides and smoking were all significantly associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Conclusions: The prevalence of DM and IFG among minorities was lower than the overall national level both in men and women (9.7% in total, 10.6% in males, 8.8% in females), and also lower than among the Han ethnicity (9.26%) which predominates in China today. Full article
Open AccessArticle Health Risk Assessment for Exposure to Benzene in Petroleum Refinery Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 595-610; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100595
Received: 27 October 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The health risk resulting from benzene exposure in petroleum refineries was calculated using data from the scientific literature from various countries throughout the world. The exposure data was collated into four scenarios from petroleum refinery environments and plotted as cumulative probability distributions (CPD)
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The health risk resulting from benzene exposure in petroleum refineries was calculated using data from the scientific literature from various countries throughout the world. The exposure data was collated into four scenarios from petroleum refinery environments and plotted as cumulative probability distributions (CPD) plots. Health risk was evaluated for each scenario using the Hazard Quotient (HQ) at 50% (CEXP50) and 95% (CEXP95) exposure levels. Benzene levels were estimated to pose a significant risk with HQ50 > 1 and HQ95 > 1 for workers exposed to benzene as base estimates for petroleum refinery workers (Scenario 1), petroleum refinery workers evaluated with personal samplers in Bulgarian refineries (Scenario 2B) and evaluated using air inside petroleum refineries in Bulgarian refineries (Scenario 3B). HQ50 < 1 were calculated for petroleum refinery workers with personal samplers in Italian refineries (Scenario 2A), air inside petroleum refineries (Scenario 3A) and air outside petroleum refineries (Scenario 4) in India and Taiwan indicating little possible adverse health effects. Also, HQ95 was < 1 for Scenario 4 however potential risk was evaluated for Scenarios 2A and 3A with HQ95 > 1. The excess Cancer risk (CR) for lifetime exposure to benzene for all the scenarios was evaluated using the Slope Factor and Overall Risk Probability (ORP) methods. The result suggests a potential cancer risk for exposure to benzene in all the scenarios. However, there is a higher cancer risk at 95% (CEXP95) for petroleum refinery workers (2B) with a CR of 48,000 per 106 and exposure to benzene in air inside petroleum refineries (3B) with a CR of 28,000 per 106. Full article
Open AccessArticle Descriptive Analysis of Antibiotic-Resistant Patterns of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) st398 Isolated from Healthy Swine
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 611-622; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100611
Received: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (691 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) such as the MRSA ST398 strain has spread all over the World and the most worrying aspect of this fact appears to be its capacity to easily spread to humans. The excessive use of antibiotics has
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Background: Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) such as the MRSA ST398 strain has spread all over the World and the most worrying aspect of this fact appears to be its capacity to easily spread to humans. The excessive use of antibiotics has made swine a reservoir of MRSA. The aim of the present study was to determine the antibiotic resistance profile of MRSA samples isolated from healthy swine of the island of Tenerife (Spain). Methods: A total of 256 MRSA isolates from swine samples and five MRSA isolates from pig worker samples were investigated for MRSA antibiotic resistant patterns. Results: Analysis of the susceptibility status of MRSA pig isolates revealed that 39 isolates were resistant to one antibiotic, 71 isolates were resistant to two antibiotics and 96 isolates were resistant to three or more antibiotics. SCCmec typing revealed the presence of types IV and V. Isolates having SCCmec IV had an increased resistance to the antimicrobial agents tested than those having SCCmec V. We observed significant differences when comparing the most common resistance patterns and SCCmec type. Conclusions: MRSA isolated from humans showed similar resistance to those isolated from pigs, excepting erythromycin, since all the workers’ isolates were sensitive to this antibiotic. The evolution of new MRSA clones has emphasized the need for infection control practices in animals and humans in close contact. Full article
Open AccessArticle Public Health Adaptation to Climate Change in Canadian Jurisdictions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 623-651; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100623
Received: 23 September 2014 / Accepted: 22 December 2014 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1420 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Climate change poses numerous risks to the health of Canadians. Extreme weather events, poor air quality, and food insecurity in northern regions are likely to increase along with the increasing incidence and range of infectious diseases. In this study we identify and characterize
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Climate change poses numerous risks to the health of Canadians. Extreme weather events, poor air quality, and food insecurity in northern regions are likely to increase along with the increasing incidence and range of infectious diseases. In this study we identify and characterize Canadian federal, provincial, territorial and municipal adaptation to these health risks based on publically available information. Federal health adaptation initiatives emphasize capacity building and gathering information to address general health, infectious disease and heat-related risks. Provincial and territorial adaptation is varied. Quebec is a leader in climate change adaptation, having a notably higher number of adaptation initiatives reported, addressing almost all risks posed by climate change in the province, and having implemented various adaptation types. Meanwhile, all other Canadian provinces and territories are in the early stages of health adaptation. Based on publically available information, reported adaptation also varies greatly by municipality. The six sampled Canadian regional health authorities (or equivalent) are not reporting any adaptation initiatives. We also find little relationship between the number of initiatives reported in the six sampled municipalities and their provinces, suggesting that municipalities are adapting (or not adapting) autonomously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extreme Weather-Related Morbidity and Mortality: Risks and Responses)
Open AccessArticle Work Related Stress, Burnout, Job Satisfaction and General Health of Nurses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 652-666; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100652
Received: 10 November 2014 / Accepted: 25 December 2014 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (700 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gaps in research focusing on work related stress, burnout, job satisfaction and general health of nurses is evident within developing contexts like South Africa. This study identified the relationship between work related stress, burnout, job satisfaction and general health of nurses. A total
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Gaps in research focusing on work related stress, burnout, job satisfaction and general health of nurses is evident within developing contexts like South Africa. This study identified the relationship between work related stress, burnout, job satisfaction and general health of nurses. A total of 1200 nurses from four hospitals were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study (75% response rate). Participants completed five questionnaires and multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine significant relationships between variables. Staff issues are best associated with burnout as well as job satisfaction. Burnout explained the highest amount of variance in mental health of nurses. These are known to compromise productivity and performance, as well as affect the quality of patient care. Issues, such as security risks in the workplace, affect job satisfaction and health of nurses. Although this is more salient to developing contexts it is important in developing strategies and intervention programs towards improving nurse and patient related outcomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Describing the Primary Care Actions of Oral Health Teams in Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 667-678; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100667
Received: 4 November 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 12 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (680 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: To describe the primary care actions performed by oral health teams (OHTs) that participated in a large national survey led by the Ministry of Health in 2012. Methods: A total of 12,403 dentists from OHTs completed a set of survey
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Objective: To describe the primary care actions performed by oral health teams (OHTs) that participated in a large national survey led by the Ministry of Health in 2012. Methods: A total of 12,403 dentists from OHTs completed a set of survey questions (response rate = 85.01%) on the organization of care, basic dental procedures and oral health surveillance actions of OHTs. Descriptive and hierarchical cluster analyses were developed. Results: The majority of OHTs (85.2%) reported that they performed “patient welcoming”. The delivery of services was based on a patient’s identified disease risk (83.1%), and continuity of care was ensured by 85.9% of OHTs. Individual preventive, restorative and surgical procedures were performed by the majority of the teams; however, screening for oral cancer and construction of dental prostheses/dentures occurred less frequently. Cluster 1 was composed of OHTs with the lowest proportion of oral healthcare actions related to oral cancer and dental prostheses/dentures, and the Southeastern and Southern regions had higher proportions of OHTs from cluster 2. Conclusions: OHTs adhere to some of the principles of primary care organizations; however, the teams perform fewer actions related to oral cancer treatment and rehabilitation with complete dentures. The geographical distribution of the clusters was unequal in Brazil. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reducing Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure of Preschool Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Class-Based Health Education and Smoking Cessation Counseling for Caregivers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 692-709; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100692
Received: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
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Abstract
Objectives: To assess counseling to caregivers and classroom health education interventions to reduce environmental tobacco smoke exposure of children aged 5–6 years in China. Methods: In a randomized controlled trial in two preschools in Changsha, China, 65 children aged 5–6 years
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Objectives: To assess counseling to caregivers and classroom health education interventions to reduce environmental tobacco smoke exposure of children aged 5–6 years in China. Methods: In a randomized controlled trial in two preschools in Changsha, China, 65 children aged 5–6 years old and their smoker caregivers (65) were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 33) and control (no intervention) groups (n = 32). In the intervention group, caregivers received self-help materials and smoking cessation counseling from a trained counselor, while their children were given classroom-based participatory health education. Children’s urinary cotinine level and the point prevalence of caregiver quitting were measured at baseline and after 6 months. Results: At the 6-month follow-up, children’s urinary cotinine was significantly lower (Z = –3.136; p = 0.002) and caregivers’ 7-day quit rate was significantly higher (34.4% versus 0%) (p < 0.001; adjusted OR = 1.13; 95% CI: 1.02–1.26) in the intervention than control group. Conclusions: Helping caregivers quitting smoke combined with classroom-based health education was effective in reducing children’s environmental tobacco smoke exposure. Larger-scale trials are warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Substance Use, Mental Disorders and Physical Health of Caribbeans at-Home Compared to Those Residing in the United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 710-734; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100710
Received: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
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Abstract
This study compares the health conditions of domestic Caribbeans with those living in the United States to explore how national context and migration experiences might influence substance use (i.e., alcohol or drug) and other mental and physical health conditions. The study
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This study compares the health conditions of domestic Caribbeans with those living in the United States to explore how national context and migration experiences might influence substance use (i.e., alcohol or drug) and other mental and physical health conditions. The study is based upon probability samples of non-institutionalized Caribbeans living in the United States (1621), Jamaica (1216) and Guyana (2068) 18 years of age and over. Employing descriptive statistics and multivariate analytic procedures, the results revealed that substance use and other physical health conditions and major depressive disorder and mania vary by national context, with higher rates among Caribbeans living in the United States. Context and generation status influenced health outcomes. Among first generation black Caribbeans, residing in the United States for a longer length of time is linked to poorer health outcomes. There were different socio-demographic correlates of health among at-home and abroad Caribbeans. The results of this study support the need for additional research to explain how national context, migratory experiences and generation status contribute to understanding substance use and mental disorders and physical health outcomes among Caribbean first generation and descendants within the United States, compared to those remaining in the Caribbean region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance and Drug Abuse Prevention)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of PM10 on Allergy Symptoms in Allergic Rhinitis Patients During Spring Season
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 735-745; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100735
Received: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
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Abstract
Background: Asian sand dust (ASD) that originates in the Mongolian Desert in the spring induces serious respiratory health problems throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan). PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 μm) is a major air pollutant component in
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Background: Asian sand dust (ASD) that originates in the Mongolian Desert in the spring induces serious respiratory health problems throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan). PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 μm) is a major air pollutant component in ASD. We studied the effects of PM10 on allergy symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis during the spring season, when ASD frequently develops. Methods: We investigated the changes in allergic symptoms in 108 allergic patients and 47 healthy subjects by comparing their 120-day symptom scores from February to May 2012. At the same time, the contributions of pollen count and PM10 concentration were also assessed. We also compared symptom scores before and 2 days after the daily PM10 concentration was >100 μg/m3. Results: The PM10 concentration during the 120 days was <150 μg/m3. No significant correlations were observed between changes in the PM10 concentration and allergic symptom scores (p > 0.05). However, allergic symptoms were significantly correlated with outdoor activity time (p < 0.001). Conclusions: These results demonstrate that a PM10 concentration <150 μg/m3 did not influence allergy symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis during the 2012 ASD season. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dynamic Mathematical Modelling of the Removal of Hydrophilic VOCs by Biotrickling Filters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 746-766; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100746
Received: 26 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 December 2014 / Published: 14 January 2015
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Abstract
A mathematical model for the simulation of the removal of hydrophilic compounds using biotrickling filtration was developed. The model takes into account that biotrickling filters operate by using an intermittent spraying pattern. During spraying periods, a mobile liquid phase was considered, while during
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A mathematical model for the simulation of the removal of hydrophilic compounds using biotrickling filtration was developed. The model takes into account that biotrickling filters operate by using an intermittent spraying pattern. During spraying periods, a mobile liquid phase was considered, while during non-spraying periods, a stagnant liquid phase was considered. The model was calibrated and validated with data from laboratory- and industrial-scale biotrickling filters. The laboratory experiments exhibited peaks of pollutants in the outlet of the biotrickling filter during spraying periods, while during non-spraying periods, near complete removal of the pollutant was achieved. The gaseous outlet emissions in the industrial biotrickling filter showed a buffered pattern; no peaks associated with spraying or with instantaneous variations of the flow rate or inlet emissions were observed. The model, which includes the prediction of the dissolved carbon in the water tank, has been proven as a very useful tool in identifying the governing processes of biotrickling filtration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioprocesses for Air Pollution Control)
Open AccessArticle A Method for Screening Climate Change-Sensitive Infectious Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 767-783; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100767
Received: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 18 December 2014 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1984 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is a significant and emerging threat to human health, especially where infectious diseases are involved. Because of the complex interactions between climate variables and infectious disease components (i.e., pathogen, host and transmission environment), systematically and quantitatively screening for infectious
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Climate change is a significant and emerging threat to human health, especially where infectious diseases are involved. Because of the complex interactions between climate variables and infectious disease components (i.e., pathogen, host and transmission environment), systematically and quantitatively screening for infectious diseases that are sensitive to climate change is still a challenge. To address this challenge, we propose a new statistical indicator, Relative Sensitivity, to identify the difference between the sensitivity of the infectious disease to climate variables for two different climate statuses (i.e., historical climate and present climate) in non-exposure and exposure groups. The case study in Anhui Province, China has demonstrated the effectiveness of this Relative Sensitivity indicator. The application results indicate significant sensitivity of many epidemic infectious diseases to climate change in the form of changing climatic variables, such as temperature, precipitation and absolute humidity. As novel evidence, this research shows that absolute humidity has a critical influence on many observed infectious diseases in Anhui Province, including dysentery, hand, foot and mouth disease, hepatitis A, hemorrhagic fever, typhoid fever, malaria, meningitis, influenza and schistosomiasis. Moreover, some infectious diseases are more sensitive to climate change in rural areas than in urban areas. This insight provides guidance for future health inputs that consider spatial variability in response to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts on Vector-borne Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle Neighborhood Environment Perceptions and the Likelihood of Smoking and Alcohol Use
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 784-799; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100784
Received: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (700 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Neighborhood characteristics are important correlates for a variety of health outcomes. Among several health risk behaviors, smoking and alcohol use have significant consequences. Perceptions of neighborhood problems are associated with depressive symptoms, lower physical activity, and lower quality of life. However, it is
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Neighborhood characteristics are important correlates for a variety of health outcomes. Among several health risk behaviors, smoking and alcohol use have significant consequences. Perceptions of neighborhood problems are associated with depressive symptoms, lower physical activity, and lower quality of life. However, it is unclear which perceived aspects of neighborhoods might be related to smoking and drinking. We examined whether perceived neighborhood characteristics were associated with smoking and drinking patterns using data from US metropolitan Midwestern area adults. Participants completed surveys including sociodemographic characteristics, neighborhood perceptions, behavioral and psychological health. For men, negative perceptions of neighborhood infrastructures were significant predictors for smoking and binge drinking. Among women, no perceived environmental factors were associated with smoking or drinking. However, education was a significant negative predictor for smoking. As age increased, the likelihood of using cigarettes, heavy and binge drinking in women decreased significantly. Depression was a positive predictor for smoking and heavy drinking in men and women, respectively. These findings indicate that the perceived neighborhood infrastructure was predictive of health behaviors among men, even after adjusting for key confounders. Closer attention may need to be paid to the role of neighborhood environmental characteristics along with individual-level characteristics in influencing unhealthy behaviors. Full article
Open AccessArticle Short-Term Variability and Predictors of Urinary Pentachlorophenol Levels in Ohio Preschool Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 800-815; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100800
Received: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (704 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a persistent and ubiquitous environmental contaminant. No published data exist on the temporal variability or important predictors of urinary PCP concentrations in young children. In this further analysis of study data, we have examined the associations between selected sociodemographic or
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Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is a persistent and ubiquitous environmental contaminant. No published data exist on the temporal variability or important predictors of urinary PCP concentrations in young children. In this further analysis of study data, we have examined the associations between selected sociodemographic or lifestyle factors and urinary PCP concentrations in 115 preschool children over a 48-h period and assessed the 48-hour variability of urinary PCP levels in a subset of 15 children. Monitoring was performed at 115 homes and 16 daycares in Ohio (USA) in 2001. Questionnaires/diaries and spot urine samples were collected from each child. The median urinary PCP level was 0.8 ng/mL (range < 0.2–23.8 ng/mL). The intraclass correlation coefficient for urinary PCP was 0.42, which indicates fairly low reliability for a single sample over a 48-h period. In a multiple regression model, age of home and ln(creatinine levels) were significant predictors and sampling season, time spent outside, and pet ownership were marginally significant predictors of ln(urinary PCP levels), collectively explaining 29% of the variability of PCP in urine. To adequately assess short-term exposures of children to PCP, several spot urine measurements are likely needed as well as information regarding residence age, seasonality, time spent outdoors, and pet ownership. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cluster of Human Infections with Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Cases: A Temporal and Spatial Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 816-828; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100816
Received: 24 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
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Abstract
Objectives: This study aims to describe the spatial and temporal characteristics of human infections with H7N9 virus in China using data from February 2013 to March 2014 from the websites of every province’s Population and Family Planning Commission. Methods: A human
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Objectives: This study aims to describe the spatial and temporal characteristics of human infections with H7N9 virus in China using data from February 2013 to March 2014 from the websites of every province’s Population and Family Planning Commission. Methods: A human infection with H7N9 virus dataset was summarized by county to analyze its spatial clustering, and by date of illness onset to analyze its space-time clustering using the ESRI® Geographic Information System (GIS) software ArcMap™ 10.1 and SatScan. Results: Based on active surveillance data, the distribution map of H7N9 cases shows that compared to the rest of China, the areas from near the Yangtze River delta (YRD) to farther south around the Pearl River delta (PRD) had the highest densities of H7N9 cases. The case data shows a strong space-time clustering in the areas on and near the YRD from 26 March to 18 April 2013 and a weak space-time clustering only in the areas on and near the PRD between 3 and 4 February 2014. However, for the rest of the study period, H7N9 cases were spatial-temporally randomly distributed. Conclusions: Our results suggested that the spatial-temporal clustering of H7N9 in China between 2013 and 2014 is fundamentally different. Full article
Open AccessArticle Gender Differences in Recreational Sports Participation among Taiwanese Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 829-840; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100829
Received: 29 October 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the gender differences in the enjoyment of recreational sports participation among Taiwanese adults. Data were obtained using the 2007 Taiwan Social Change Survey. The questionnaire included a topical module of the International Social Survey Program regarding leisure time and sports.
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This study examines the gender differences in the enjoyment of recreational sports participation among Taiwanese adults. Data were obtained using the 2007 Taiwan Social Change Survey. The questionnaire included a topical module of the International Social Survey Program regarding leisure time and sports. Results showed that male subjects were more likely to participate in recreational sports to improve their appearance and on account of their personal interest. In addition to these factors, female subjects also experienced greater motivation to participate when Taiwanese athletes performed well in international sporting competitions. This study confirmed that the factors influencing enjoyment of recreational sports participation differ among men and women. These results can be used to better inform public health professionals and other regulatory organizations formulating physical activity intervention strategies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Agreement Between Exhaled Breath Carbon Monoxide Threshold Levels and Self-Reported Cigarette Smoking in a Sample of Male Adolescents in Jordan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 841-854; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100841
Received: 22 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 15 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (923 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to measure the percent agreement between Exhaled Breath Carbon Monoxide (eBCO) measure using a piCO+ smokerlyzer® and self-reported cigarette smoking status and to determine the optimal thresholds for definite identification of cigarette smokers of male school students in
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This study aimed to measure the percent agreement between Exhaled Breath Carbon Monoxide (eBCO) measure using a piCO+ smokerlyzer® and self-reported cigarette smoking status and to determine the optimal thresholds for definite identification of cigarette smokers of male school students in Jordan. A descriptive, cross sectional, study of a random sample of male adolescents in grades 7 and 8 from four public high schools in Irbid, completed an adaptation of a standardized Arabic-language tobacco smoking questionnaire and an eBCO measure. Sensitivity and specificity of the eBCO were calculated against self-reported cigarette smoking. Participants (n = 439) had a mean age of 12.5 years (SD = 0.50) and 174 (39.9%) reported being an ever smoker of whom 59 (33.9%) reported being a recent (30-day) smoker. The optimal eBCO cut-off point for recent smoking was 4.5 ppm with a sensitivity of 84.7% and specificity of 65.5%. Overall, eBCO can accurately identify recent smokers and distinguish them from non-smokers. The eBCO use enables healthcare professionals and researchers to assess efficacy of smoking cessation and prevention programs without necessarily relying on self-report. Further research is indicated to validate our findings and should be expanded to include females, detailed characteristics of cigarette and waterpipe smoking. Full article
Open AccessArticle Exploring HIV Prevention Strategies among Street-Based Female Sex Workers in Chongqing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 855-870; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100855
Received: 6 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
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Abstract
Background: Commercial sex plays an increasingly important role in China’s growing HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemics. In China, street-based sex workers (SSWs) are a subgroup of female sex workers with a particularly high risk of HIV/STI infections but are neglected
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Background: Commercial sex plays an increasingly important role in China’s growing HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemics. In China, street-based sex workers (SSWs) are a subgroup of female sex workers with a particularly high risk of HIV/STI infections but are neglected in responses to HIV. This study assesses changes in HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) utilization and high-risk sexual behaviors following a three-month HIV preventive intervention among SSWs in Chongqing, China. Methods: A three-month intervention was conducted by a team of peer educators, outreach workers from community-based organizations and health professionals. It mainly included distribution of free pamphlets and condoms and delivery of onsite and clinic-based VCT. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted prior to (n = 100) and immediately following (n = 112) the intervention to assess its impact. In-depth interviews were conducted among 12 SSWs after the intervention to further explore potential barriers to HIV prevention. Results: The intervention significantly increased SSWs’ participation in VCT (from 2.0%–15.2%, P < 0.001). Despite participants’ improved HIV-related knowledge level (from 24.0%–73.2%, P < 0.001), there were minimal changes in the levels of condom use with clients. Qualitative research revealed that fear of police arrest and stigma were the main barriers to VCT utilization. Low condom use was associated with family financial constraints, inadequate power in condom negotiation, low awareness and misconceptions of HIV infection risks. Conclusion: HIV intervention improved VCT utilization and knowledge but we did not observe an increase in condom use after this short intervention. SSWs faced substantial economic, social and environmental barriers to VCT utilization and condom use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV/AIDS: Social Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Determinants of Mucous Membrane Irritations in a Community Near a Cement Factory in Zambia: A Cross Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 871-887; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100871
Received: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (646 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Exposure to cement dust has been associated with deleterious health effects in humans. This study investigated whether residing near a cement factory increases the risk of irritations to the mucous membranes of the eyes and respiratory system. A cross sectional study was conducted
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Exposure to cement dust has been associated with deleterious health effects in humans. This study investigated whether residing near a cement factory increases the risk of irritations to the mucous membranes of the eyes and respiratory system. A cross sectional study was conducted in Freedom Compound, a community bordering a cement factory in Chilanga, Zambia and a control community, Bauleni, located 18 km from the cement plant. A modified American Thoracic Society questionnaire was administered to 225 and 198 respondents aged 15–59 years from Freedom and Bauleni, respectively, to capture symptoms of the irritations. Respondents from Freedom Compound, were more likely to experience the irritations; adjusted ORs 2.50 (95% CI: 1.65, 3.79), 4.36 (95% CI (2.96, 6.55)) and 1.94 (95% CI (1.19, 3.18)) for eye, nose and sinus membrane irritations respectively. Cohort panel studies to determine associations of cement emissions to mucous membrane irritations and respiratory symptoms, coupled with field characterization of the exposure are needed to assess whether the excess prevalence of symptoms of mucous membrane irritations observed in Freedom compound are due to emissions from the cement factory. Full article
Open AccessArticle Determination of Total Tritium in Urine from Residents Living in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants in Qinshan, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 888-894; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100888
Received: 23 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 16 January 2015
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Abstract
To estimate the tritium doses of the residents living in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant, urine samples of 34 adults were collected from residents living near the Qinshan nuclear power plant. The tritium-in-urine (HTO plus OBT) was measured by liquid scintillation
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To estimate the tritium doses of the residents living in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant, urine samples of 34 adults were collected from residents living near the Qinshan nuclear power plant. The tritium-in-urine (HTO plus OBT) was measured by liquid scintillation counting. The doses of tritium-in-urine from participants living at 2, 10 and 22 km were in a range of 1.26–6.73 Bq/L, 1.31–3.09 Bq/L and 2.21–3.81 Bq/L, respectively, while the average activity concentrations of participants from the three groups were 3.53 ± 1.62, 2.09 ± 0.62 and 2.97 ± 0.78 Bq/L, respectively. The personal committed effective doses for males were 2.5 ± 1.7 nSv and for females they were 2.9 ± 1.3 nSv. These results indicate that tritium concentrations in urine samples from residents living at 2 km from a nuclear power plant are significantly higher than those at 10 km. It may be the downwind direction that caused a higher dose in participants living at 22 km. All the measured doses of tritium-in-urine are in a background level range. Full article
Open AccessArticle Smoking-Related Knowledge, Attitude, Social Pressure, and Environmental Constraints among New Undergraduates in Chongqing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 895-909; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100895
Received: 17 July 2014 / Revised: 30 December 2014 / Accepted: 12 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
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Abstract
Background: Smoking has resulted in numerous deaths in China. Data indicate that 21% of college students in China are smokers. Objective: This study aimed to examine the smoking-related behaviors of undergraduates, as influenced by knowledge, attitude, social pressure, and environmental constraints.
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Background: Smoking has resulted in numerous deaths in China. Data indicate that 21% of college students in China are smokers. Objective: This study aimed to examine the smoking-related behaviors of undergraduates, as influenced by knowledge, attitude, social pressure, and environmental constraints. Method: A convenience sampling of 412 fresh undergraduates from two universities in the University Town in Chongqing, China was recruited. Chi-square tests were used to compare the smoking-related variables between smokers and non-smokers. Moreover, logistic regression was used to examine the factors that associated with smoking status in undergraduates. Results: Smokers and non-smokers differ in terms of knowledge, attitudes toward smoking, participation in tobacco promotional activities, and sources of social pressure. Logistic regression model identified that sex, living cost, five smoking-related attitudes of “Smoking is pleasurable, Smoking relaxes me, Smoking makes me look strong, Smoking is a waste of money, Smoking can help me study better”, the social pressure “Smoking brings comfort during celebration”, and the environmental constraints “How did you get your cigarettes in the past 30 days?” are significantly associated with smoking. Conclusions: The findings provide a better understanding of the epidemic of smoking among fresh undergraduates in Chongqing, China. This study provides more detailed consideration of the implications for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) policies, especially on restriction of retail sales outlets and tobacco promotion activities near universities in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Horizontal Acceleration on Human Visual Acuity and Stereopsis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 910-926; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100910
Received: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
PDF Full-text (1256 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of horizontal acceleration on human visual acuity and stereopsis is demonstrated in this study. Twenty participants (mean age 22.6 years) were enrolled in the experiment. Acceleration from two different directions was performed at the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Laboratory. Gx and Gy
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The effect of horizontal acceleration on human visual acuity and stereopsis is demonstrated in this study. Twenty participants (mean age 22.6 years) were enrolled in the experiment. Acceleration from two different directions was performed at the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Laboratory. Gx and Gy (< and >0.1 g) were produced on an accelerating platform where the subjects stood. The visual acuity and stereopsis of the right eye were measured before and during the acceleration. Acceleration <0.1 g in the X- or Y-axis did not affect dynamic vision and stereopsis. Vision decreased (mean from 0.02 logMAR to 0.25 logMAR) and stereopsis declined significantly (mean from 40 s to 60.2 s of arc) when Gx > 0.1 g. Visual acuity worsened (mean from 0.02 logMAR to 0.19 logMAR) and poor stereopsis was noted (mean from 40 s to 50.2 s of arc) when Gy > 0.1 g. The effect of acceleration from the X-axis on the visual system was higher than that from the Y-axis. During acceleration, most subjects complained of ocular strain when reading. To our knowledge, this study is the first to report the exact levels of visual function loss during Gx and Gy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Local Sustainability and Gender Ratio: Evaluating the Impacts of Mining and Tourism on Sustainable Development in Yunnan, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 927-939; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100927
Received: 14 November 2014 / Accepted: 14 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
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Abstract
This study employed rapid evaluation methods to investigate how the leading industries of mining and tourism impact sustainability as manifest through social, economic and environmental dimensions in Yunnan, China. Within the social context, we also consider the differentiated impact on gender ratio—which is
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This study employed rapid evaluation methods to investigate how the leading industries of mining and tourism impact sustainability as manifest through social, economic and environmental dimensions in Yunnan, China. Within the social context, we also consider the differentiated impact on gender ratio—which is a salient feature of sustained development trajectories. Our results indicate that mining areas performed better than tourism areas in economic aspects but fell behind in social development, especially regarding the issue of gender balance. Conclusions on environmental status cannot be drawn due to a lack of data. The results from the environmental indicators are mixed. Our study demonstrates that rapid evaluation using currently available data can provide a means of greater understanding regarding local sustainability and highlights areas that need attention from policy makers, agencies and academia. Full article
Open AccessArticle Benzo[a]pyrene and Benzo[k]fluoranthene in Some Processed Fish and Fish Products
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 940-951; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100940
Received: 2 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (672 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, the concentration levels of the probable carcinogenic PAH fractions, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and benzo[k]fluoranthrene (BkF) in fillets of some processed fish species were investigated. Fish species comprising Merluccius poli (hake), Tyrsites atun (snoek), Seriola lalandi (yellow-tail) and Brama brama (angel fish)
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In this study, the concentration levels of the probable carcinogenic PAH fractions, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and benzo[k]fluoranthrene (BkF) in fillets of some processed fish species were investigated. Fish species comprising Merluccius poli (hake), Tyrsites atun (snoek), Seriola lalandi (yellow-tail) and Brama brama (angel fish) were bought in fish shops at Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape, South Africa. The fish were gutted, filleted and prepared for edibility by frying, grilling and boiling. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were extracted from each homogenized fish sample, cleaned-up using solid phase extraction (SPE), and analysed for the PAH fractions, BaP and BkF using a Gas Chromatograph coupled with a Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID). The sum of the two PAHs (∑2PAH) i.e., BaP and BkF ranged between 0.56 and 1.46 µg/kg, in all boiled, grilled and fried fish species. The fried fish extracts showed significantly higher (p < 0.05) abundance of ∑2PAH, than grilled and boiled fish. Dietary safety and PAHs toxicity was also discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Metal Exposures in a Community near a Cement Plant in the Northeast U.S.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 952-969; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100952
Received: 21 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1078 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cement production is a major source of metals and metalloids in the environment, while exposures to metals and metalloids may impact human health in the surrounding communities. We recruited 185 participants living in the vicinity of a cement plant in the northeast U.S.,
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Cement production is a major source of metals and metalloids in the environment, while exposures to metals and metalloids may impact human health in the surrounding communities. We recruited 185 participants living in the vicinity of a cement plant in the northeast U.S., and measured the levels of aluminum (Al), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and selenium (Se) in blood and Hg in hair samples from them. A questionnaire was used to assess potential sources of Hg exposure. Multivariate regressions and spatial analyses were performed to evaluate the relative importance of different routes of exposures. The metal concentrations in blood or hair samples of our study participants were comparable to the U.S. general or regional population. Smoking contributed significantly to Cd and Pb exposures, and seafood consumption contributed significantly to Hg and As exposures, while variables related to the cement plant were not significantly associated with metal concentrations. Our results suggest that our study population was not at elevated health risk due to metal exposures, and that the contribution of the cement plant to metal exposures in the surrounding community was minimal. Full article
Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Virulence Determinants and Antimicrobial Resistance among Commensal Escherichia coli Derived from Dairy and Beef Cattle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 970-985; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100970
Received: 10 October 2014 / Accepted: 22 December 2014 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (911 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cattle is a reservoir of potentially pathogenic E. coli, bacteria that can represent a significant threat to public health, hence it is crucial to monitor the prevalence of the genetic determinants of virulence and antimicrobial resistance among the E. coli population. The
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Cattle is a reservoir of potentially pathogenic E. coli, bacteria that can represent a significant threat to public health, hence it is crucial to monitor the prevalence of the genetic determinants of virulence and antimicrobial resistance among the E. coli population. The aim of this study was the analysis of the phylogenetic structure, distribution of virulence factors (VFs) and prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among E. coli isolated from two groups of healthy cattle: 50 cows housed in the conventional barn (147 isolates) and 42 cows living on the ecological pasture (118 isolates). The phylogenetic analysis, identification of VFs and antimicrobial resistance genes were based on either multiplex or simplex PCR. The antimicrobial susceptibilities of E. coli were examined using the broth microdilution method. Two statistical approaches were used to analyse the results obtained for two groups of cattle. The relations between the dependent (VFs profiles, antibiotics) and the independent variables were described using the two models. The mixed logit model was used to characterise the prevalence of the analysed factors in the sets of isolates. The univariate logistic regression model was used to characterise the prevalence of these factors in particular animals. Given each model, the odds ratio (OR) and the 95% confidence interval for the population were estimated. The phylogroup B1 was predominant among isolates from beef cattle, while the phylogroups A, B1 and D occurred with equal frequency among isolates from dairy cattle. The frequency of VFs-positive isolates was significantly higher among isolates from beef cattle. E. coli from dairy cattle revealed significantly higher resistance to antibiotics. Some of the tested resistance genes were present among isolates from dairy cattle. Our study showed that the habitat and diet may affect the genetic diversity of commensal E. coli in the cattle. The results suggest that the ecological pasture habitat is related to the increased spreading rate of the VFs, while the barn habitat is characterised by the higher levels of antimicrobial resistance among E. coli. Full article
Open AccessArticle Risk Communication Concerning Welding Fumes for the Primary Preventive Care of Welding Apprentices in Southern Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 986-1002; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100986
Received: 19 September 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (693 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study’s aim was to assess the perceptions of welding apprentices concerning welding fumes being associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disorders and assess the implementation of risk communication as a primary prevention tool in the welding training process. This quasi-experimental, non-randomized study with
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This study’s aim was to assess the perceptions of welding apprentices concerning welding fumes being associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disorders and assess the implementation of risk communication as a primary prevention tool in the welding training process. This quasi-experimental, non-randomized study with before-and-after design was conducted with 84 welding apprentices in Southern Brazil. Poisson Regression analysis was used. Relative Risk was the measure used with a 95% confidence interval and 5% (p ≤ 0.05) significance level. Significant association was found between perceptions of worsened symptoms of respiratory disorders caused by welding fumes and educational level (p = 0.049), the use of goggles to protect against ultraviolet rays (p = 0.023), and access to services in private health facilities without insurance coverage (p = 0.001). Apprentices younger than 25 years old were 4.9 times more likely to perceive worsened cardiovascular symptoms caused by welding fumes after risk communication (RR = 4.91; CI 95%: 1.09 to 22.2). The conclusion is that risk communication as a primary preventive measure in continuing education processes implemented among apprentices, who are future welders, was efficacious. Thus, this study confirms that risk communication can be implemented as a primary prevention tool in welding apprenticeships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preventive Medicine)
Open AccessArticle The Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP) — An Overview of and Recommendations Arising from the Conceptualisation and Development of an Innovative Approach to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles for Children and Their Families
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1003-1019; doi:10.3390/ijerph120101003
Received: 24 October 2014 / Revised: 10 December 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (693 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite the rise in childhood obesity, there remains a paucity of evidence for effective interventions that engage children and parents sufficiently to make and sustain lifestyle behaviour change. The Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP) is a school-located obesity prevention programme, which has been developed
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Despite the rise in childhood obesity, there remains a paucity of evidence for effective interventions that engage children and parents sufficiently to make and sustain lifestyle behaviour change. The Healthy Lifestyles Programme (HeLP) is a school-located obesity prevention programme, which has been developed with teachers, families and healthcare professionals. The underpinning assumption in the development of HeLP was to take a relational approach to changing behaviour, building relationships with the schools, children and their families to create supportive environments for healthy lifestyle choices. Thus, HeLP was conceptualised as a complex intervention within a complex system and developed as a dynamic, evolving set of processes to support and motivate children towards healthy behaviours. The delivery methods used are highly interactive and encourage identification with and ownership of the healthy lifestyle messages so that the children are motivated to take them home to their parents and effect change within the family. We have good evidence that HeLP engages schools and children such that they want to participate in the Programme. Results from an exploratory trial showed that the Programme is feasible and acceptable and has the potential to change behaviours and affect weight status. This paper presents an overview of and recommendations arising from the conceptualization; development and evaluation of the Healthy Lifestyles Programme as part of a special issue focusing on novel approaches to the global problem of childhood obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
Open AccessArticle Could A Deletion in Neuraminidase Stalk Strengthen Human Tropism of the Novel Avian Influenza Virus H7N9 in China, 2013?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1020-1028; doi:10.3390/ijerph120101020
Received: 25 September 2014 / Revised: 5 January 2015 / Accepted: 13 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
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Abstract
Objective. A novel avian influenza A virus (AIV) H7N9 subtype which emerged in China in 2013 caused worldwide concern. Deletion of amino-acids 69 to 73 in the neuraminidase stalk was its most notable characteristic. This study is aimed to discuss the tropism and
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Objective. A novel avian influenza A virus (AIV) H7N9 subtype which emerged in China in 2013 caused worldwide concern. Deletion of amino-acids 69 to 73 in the neuraminidase stalk was its most notable characteristic. This study is aimed to discuss the tropism and virulence effects of this deletion. Methods: Neuraminidase gene sequences of N9 subtype were collected from NCBI and GISAID. MEGA6.0, Stata12.0, and UCSF Chimera were employed for sequence aligning, significance testing, and protein tertiary structure homology modeling. Results: A total of 736 sequences were obtained; there were 81 human isolates of the novel AIV H7N9, of which 79 had the deletion. Among all the 654 avian origin sequences, only 43 had the deletion (p < 0.001). Tertiary structure displayed that the deletion obviously changed the spatial direction of neuraminidase. Conclusions: The deletion in neuraminidase stalk could have strengthened human tropism of the novel AIV H7N9, as well as its virulence. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ethanol and Acetic Acid Production from Carbon Monoxide in a Clostridium Strain in Batch and Continuous Gas-Fed Bioreactors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1029-1043; doi:10.3390/ijerph120101029
Received: 30 October 2014 / Revised: 31 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (841 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The effect of different sources of nitrogen as well as their concentrations on the bioconversion of carbon monoxide to metabolic products such as acetic acid and ethanol by Clostridium autoethanogenum was studied. In a first set of assays, under batch conditions, either NH
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The effect of different sources of nitrogen as well as their concentrations on the bioconversion of carbon monoxide to metabolic products such as acetic acid and ethanol by Clostridium autoethanogenum was studied. In a first set of assays, under batch conditions, either NH4Cl, trypticase soy broth or yeast extract (YE) were used as sources of nitrogen. The use of YE was found statistically significant (p < 0.05) on the product spectrum in such batch assays. In another set of experiments, three bioreactors were operated with continuous CO supply, in order to estimate the effect of running conditions on products and biomass formation. The bioreactors were operated under different conditions, i.e., EXP1 (pH = 5.75, YE 1g/L), EXP2 (pH = 4.75, YE 1 g/L) and EXP3 (pH = 5.75, YE 0.2 g/L). When compared to EXP2 and EXP3, it was found that EXP1 yielded the maximum biomass accumulation (302.4 mg/L) and products concentrations, i.e., acetic acid (2147.1 mg/L) and ethanol (352.6 mg/L). This can be attributed to the fact that the higher pH and higher YE concentration used in EXP1 stimulated cell growth and did, consequently, also enhance metabolite production. However, when ethanol is the desired end-product, as a biofuel, the lower pH used in EXP2 was more favourable for solventogenesis and yielded the highest ethanol/acetic acid ratio, reaching a value of 0.54. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioprocesses for Air Pollution Control)

Review

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Open AccessReview A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Dengue Risk with Temperature Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1-15; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100001
Received: 16 September 2014 / Accepted: 8 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (814 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Dengue fever (DF) is the most serious mosquito-borne viral disease in the world and is significantly affected by temperature. Although associations between DF and temperatures have been reported repeatedly, conclusions have been inconsistent. Six databases were searched up to 23 March 2014, without
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Dengue fever (DF) is the most serious mosquito-borne viral disease in the world and is significantly affected by temperature. Although associations between DF and temperatures have been reported repeatedly, conclusions have been inconsistent. Six databases were searched up to 23 March 2014, without language and geographical restrictions. The articles that studied the correlations between temperatures and dengue were selected, and a random-effects model was used to calculate the pooled odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals. Of 1589 identified articles, 137 were reviewed further, with 33 satisfying inclusion criteria. The closest associations were observed between mean temperature from the included studies (23.2–27.7 °C) and DF (OR 35.0% per 1 °C; 95% CI 18.3%–51.6%) positively. Additionally, minimum (18.1–24.2 °C) (29.5% per 1 °C; 20.9%–38.1%) and maximum temperature (28.0–34.5 °C) (28.9%; 10.3%–47.5%) were also associated with increased dengue transmission. The OR of DF incidence increased steeply from 22 °C to 29 °C, suggesting an inflexion of DF risk between these lower and upper limits of DF risk. This discovery is helpful for government decision-makers focused on preventing and controlling dengue in areas with temperatures within this range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
Open AccessReview Childhood Obesity: A Role for Gut Microbiota?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 162-175; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100162
Received: 27 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 December 2014 / Published: 23 December 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1023 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Obesity is a serious public health issue affecting both children and adults. Prevention and management of obesity is proposed to begin in childhood when environmental factors exert a long-term effect on the risk for obesity in adulthood. Thus, identifying modifiable factors may help
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Obesity is a serious public health issue affecting both children and adults. Prevention and management of obesity is proposed to begin in childhood when environmental factors exert a long-term effect on the risk for obesity in adulthood. Thus, identifying modifiable factors may help to reduce this risk. Recent evidence suggests that gut microbiota is involved in the control of body weight, energy homeostasis and inflammation and thus, plays a role in the pathophysiology of obesity. Prebiotics and probiotics are of interest because they have been shown to alter the composition of gut microbiota and to affect food intake and appetite, body weight and composition and metabolic functions through gastrointestinal pathways and modulation of the gut bacterial community. As shown in this review, prebiotics and probiotics have physiologic functions that contribute to changes in the composition of gut microbiota, maintenance of a healthy body weight and control of factors associated with childhood obesity through their effects on mechanisms controlling food intake, fat storage and alterations in gut microbiota. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
Open AccessReview Health Impact Assessment of Urban Waterway Decisions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 300-321; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100300
Received: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 December 2014 / Published: 25 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (730 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Health impact assessments (HIA) promote the consideration of health in a wide range of public decisions. Although each HIA is different, common pathways, evidence bases, and strategies for community engagement tend to emerge in certain sectors, such as urban redevelopment, natural resource extraction,
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Health impact assessments (HIA) promote the consideration of health in a wide range of public decisions. Although each HIA is different, common pathways, evidence bases, and strategies for community engagement tend to emerge in certain sectors, such as urban redevelopment, natural resource extraction, or transportation planning. To date, a limited number of HIAs have been conducted on decisions affecting water resources and waterfronts. This review presents four recent HIAs of water-related decisions in the United States and Puerto Rico. Although the four cases are topically and geographically diverse, several common themes emerged from the consideration of health in water-related decisions. Water resource decisions are characterized by multiple competing uses, inter-institutional and inter-jurisdictional complexity, scientific uncertainty, long time scales for environmental change, diverse cultural and historical human values, and tradeoffs between private use and public access. These four case studies reveal challenges and opportunities of examining waterfront decisions through a “health lens”. This review analyzes these cases, common themes, and lessons learned for the future practice of HIA in the waterfront zone and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment: Realizing Its Potential)
Figures

Open AccessReview Diet and Physical Activity Interventions to Prevent or Treat Obesity in South Asian Children and Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 566-594; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100566
Received: 26 October 2014 / Accepted: 18 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1303 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background and Aims: The metabolic risks associated with obesity are greater for South Asian populations compared with White or other ethnic groups, and levels of obesity in childhood are known to track into adulthood. Tackling obesity in South Asians is therefore a
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Background and Aims: The metabolic risks associated with obesity are greater for South Asian populations compared with White or other ethnic groups, and levels of obesity in childhood are known to track into adulthood. Tackling obesity in South Asians is therefore a high priority. The rationale for this systematic review is the suggestion that there may be differential effectiveness in diet and physical activity interventions in South Asian populations compared with other ethnicities. The research territory of the present review is an emergent, rather than mature, field of enquiry, but is urgently needed. Thus the aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the effectiveness of diet and physical activity interventions to prevent or treat obesity in South Asians living in or outside of South Asia and to describe the characteristics of effective interventions. Methods: Systematic review of any type of lifestyle intervention, of any length of follow-up that reported any anthropometric measure for children or adults of South Asian ethnicity. There was no restriction on the type of comparator; randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, and before-after studies were included. A comprehensive search strategy was implemented in five electronic databases: ASSIA, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Embase, Medline and Social Sciences Citation Index. The search was limited to English language abstracts published between January 2006 and January 2014. References were screened; data extraction and quality assessment were carried out by two reviewers. Results are presented in narrative synthesis and meta-analysis. Results: Twenty-nine studies were included, seven children, 21 adult and one mixed age. No studies in children under six were identified. Sixteen studies were conducted in South Asia, ten in Europe and three in USA. Effective or promising trials include physical activity interventions in South Asian men in Norway and South Asian school-children in the UK. A home-based, family-orientated diet and physical activity intervention improved obesity outcomes in South Asian adults in the UK, when adjusted for baseline differences. Meta-analyses of interventions in children showed no significant difference between intervention and control for body mass index or waist circumference. Meta-analyses of adult interventions showed significant improvement in weight in data from two trials adjusted for baseline differences (mean difference −1.82 kgs, 95% confidence interval −2.48 to −1.16) and in unadjusted data from three trials following sensitivity analysis (mean difference −1.20 kgs, 95% confidence interval −2.23 to −0.17). Meta-analyses showed no significant differences in body mass index and waist circumference for adults. Twenty of 24 intervention groups showed improvements in adult body mass index from baseline to follow-up; average change in high quality studies (n = 7) ranged from 0.31 to −0.8 kg/m2. There was no evidence that interventions were more or less effective according to whether the intervention was set in South Asia or not, or by socio-economic status. Conclusions: Meta-analysis of a limited number of controlled trials found an unclear picture of the effects of interventions on body mass index for South Asian children. Meta-analyses of a limited number of controlled trials showed significant improvement in weight for adults but no significant differences in body mass index and waist circumference. One high quality study in South Asian children found that a school-based physical activity intervention that was delivered within the normal school day which was culturally sensitive, was effective. There is also evidence of culturally appropriate approaches to, and characteristics of, effective interventions in adults which we believe could be transferred and used to develop effective interventions in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)

Other

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Open AccessConference Report Detection of Pathogenic Escherichia coli in Samples Collected at an Abattoir in Zaria, Nigeria and at Different Points in the Surrounding Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 679-691; doi:10.3390/ijerph120100679
Received: 24 November 2014 / Accepted: 7 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pathogenic Escherichia coli can be released with the wastes coming from slaughterhouses into the environment, where they can persist. We investigated the presence of diarrheagenic E. coli in specimens taken at an abattoir located in the Zaria region, Nigeria, in samples of water
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Pathogenic Escherichia coli can be released with the wastes coming from slaughterhouses into the environment, where they can persist. We investigated the presence of diarrheagenic E. coli in specimens taken at an abattoir located in the Zaria region, Nigeria, in samples of water from the river Koreye, where the effluent from the abattoir spills in, and vegetable specimens taken at a nearby farm. All the isolated E. coli were assayed for the production of Shiga toxins (Stx) by using the Ridascreen verotoxin Immunoassay and by PCR amplification of genes associated with the diarrheagenic E. coli. Three strains from the rectal content of two slaughtered animals and a cabbage were positive for the presence of the Stx-coding genes. Additionally we have isolated one Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC) from the abattoir effluent and two Subtilase-producing E. coli from the slaughterhouse’s effluent and a sample of carrots. Our results provide evidence that pathogenic E. coli can contaminate the environment as a result of the discharge into the environment of untreated abattoir effluent, representing a reservoir for STEC and other diarrheagenic E. coli favouring their spread to crops. Full article
Open AccessOpinion Assessing Health Impacts within Environmental Impact Assessments: An Opportunity for Public Health Globally Which Must Not Remain Missed
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1044-1049; doi:10.3390/ijerph120101044
Received: 3 December 2014 / Revised: 22 December 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (610 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Within the member states of the United Nations 190 of 193 have regulated Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) which is a systematic process to prevent and mitigate the potential environmental impacts of industry development projects before these occur. However, the routine and comprehensive assessment
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Within the member states of the United Nations 190 of 193 have regulated Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) which is a systematic process to prevent and mitigate the potential environmental impacts of industry development projects before these occur. However, the routine and comprehensive assessment of health impacts within EIAs remains underdeveloped. Focusing, as an example, on the risks to global health from the global shift in the mining industry towards Low and Middle Income Countries LMIC), this viewpoint details why connecting with EIA is an essential task for the health system. Although existing knowledge is out of date in relation to global practice we identify how health has been included, to some extent, in High Income Country EIAs and the institutional requirements for doing so. Using arguments identified by industry themselves about requiring a ‘social license to operate’, we conclude that EIA regulations provide the best current mechanism to ensure health protection is a core aspect in the decision making process to approve projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment: Realizing Its Potential)

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