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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 2 (February 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Inhalation of airborne particles causes serious health effects. Fine and ultrafine particulate [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Influenza Epidemiological and Virological Characteristics between Outpatients and Inpatients in Zhejiang Province, China, March 2011–June 2015
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020217
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 19 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Given the rapid rate of global spread and consequently healthcare costs related to influenza, surveillance plays an important role in monitoring the emerging pandemics in China. However, the characteristics of influenza in Southeast of China haven’t been fully studied. Our study use the
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Given the rapid rate of global spread and consequently healthcare costs related to influenza, surveillance plays an important role in monitoring the emerging pandemics in China. However, the characteristics of influenza in Southeast of China haven’t been fully studied. Our study use the surveillance data collected from 16 sentinel hospitals across Zhejiang Province during March 2011 through June 2015, including the demographic information and respiratory specimens from influenza-like illness (ILI) patients and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) patients. As analysis results, most SARI and ILI patients were in the age group of 0–4 years old (62.38% of ILI and 71.54% of SARI). The respiratory specimens have statistically significantly higher positive rate for influenza among ILI patients than that among SARI patients (p < 0.001). The comparison between ILI patients and SARI patients shows no statistically significantly difference in detecting influenza virus type and influenza A virus subtype. The SARI and ILI patients were found to be positively correlated for overall positive rate (r = 0.63, p < 0.001), the weekly percentage of A(H1N1)pdm09 (r = 0.51, p < 0.001), influenza B virus (r = 0.17, p = 0.013), and A/H3N2 (r = 0.43, p < 0.001) among all the positive numbers. Our study demonstrated that the activities of influenza virus, including its subtypes, had a similar temporal pattern between ILI and SARI cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle DNA Methylation Status of PAX1 and ZNF582 in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020216
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Hypermethylation of specific gene promoters is an important mechanism of carcinogenesis. A high frequency of promoter methylation of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes has been detected in cervical cancer. In the present study, we investigated the methylation status of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes in
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Hypermethylation of specific gene promoters is an important mechanism of carcinogenesis. A high frequency of promoter methylation of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes has been detected in cervical cancer. In the present study, we investigated the methylation status of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues. Tumor and paracancerous tissues were obtained from 14 ESCC patients. Genomic DNA was extracted from both tumor and paracancerous tissues, and the concentration of DNA were determined. DNA methylation analysis of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes was carried out using quantitative methylation-specific PCR. To assess the diagnostic performance of the two methylated genes for cancer detection, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated. Sensitivities and specificities were tested at cut-offs obtained from the ROC curves. The methylation levels of both PAX1 and ZNF582 genes were significantly higher in tumor tissues compared to non-tumor paracancerous tissues. The methylation rates of PAX1 and ZNF582 in ESCC tumor and paracancerous tissues were 100% and 21.4% (p = 0.006), 85.7% and 0% (p < 0.001), respectively. The sensitivities and specificities of PAX1 and ZNF582 methylation for the detection of cancer were 100% and 85.7%, and 78.6% and 100%, respectively. The DNA methylation levels and frequencies of PAX1 and ZNF582 genes were markedly higher in ESCC tumor tissues compared to those in paracancerous tissues. Moreover, the conclusions were verified by using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets. DNA methylation status of these two genes showed a relatively good sensitivity and specificity for the detection of ESCC tumors. This data suggests that DNA methylation testing holds a great promise for ESCC screening and warrants further prospective population-based studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Removal Capacities of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) by a Newly Isolated Strain from Oilfield Produced Water
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020215
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading strain Q8 was isolated from oilfield produced water. According to the analysis of a biochemical test, 16S rRNA gene, house-keeping genes and DNA–DNA hybridization, strain Q8 was assigned to a novel species of the genus Gordonia. The
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The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading strain Q8 was isolated from oilfield produced water. According to the analysis of a biochemical test, 16S rRNA gene, house-keeping genes and DNA–DNA hybridization, strain Q8 was assigned to a novel species of the genus Gordonia. The strain could not only grow in mineral salt medium (MM) and utilize naphthalene and pyrene as its sole carbon source, but also degraded mixed naphthalene, phenanthrene, anthracene and pyrene. The degradation ratio of these four PAHs reached 100%, 95.4%, 73.8% and 53.4% respectively after being degraded by Q8 for seven days. A comparative experiment found that the PAHs degradation efficiency of Q8 is higher than that of Gordonia alkaliphila and Gordonia paraffinivorans, which have the capacities to remove PAHs. Fourier transform infrared spectra, saturate, aromatic, resin and asphaltene (SARA) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis of crude oil degraded by Q8 were also studied. The results showed that Q8 could utilize n-alkanes and PAHs in crude oil. The relative proportions of the naphthalene series, phenanthrene series, thiophene series, fluorene series, chrysene series, C21-triaromatic steroid, pyrene, and benz(a)pyrene were reduced after being degraded by Q8. Gordonia sp. nov. Q8 had the capacity to remediate water and soil environments contaminated by PAHs or crude oil, and provided a feasible way for the bioremediation of PAHs and oil pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Pollutant Transport and Infiltration into Buildings Using Perfluorocarbon Tracers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020214
Received: 9 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
People spend the majority of their time indoors and therefore the quality of indoor air is worthy of investigation; indoor air quality is affected by indoor sources of pollutants and from pollutants entering buildings from outdoors. In this study, unique perfluorocarbon tracers were
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People spend the majority of their time indoors and therefore the quality of indoor air is worthy of investigation; indoor air quality is affected by indoor sources of pollutants and from pollutants entering buildings from outdoors. In this study, unique perfluorocarbon tracers were released in five experiments at a 100 m and ~2 km distance from a large university building in Manchester, UK and tracer was also released inside the building to measure the amount of outdoor material penetrating into buildings and the flow of material within the building itself. Air samples of the tracer were taken in several rooms within the building, and a CO2 tracer was used within the building to estimate air-exchange rates. Air-exchange rates were found to vary between 0.57 and 10.90 per hour. Indoor perfluorocarbon tracer concentrations were paired to outdoor tracer concentrations, and in-out ratios were found to vary between 0.01 and 3.6. The largest room with the lowest air-exchange rate exhibited elevated tracer concentrations for over 60 min after the release had finished, but generally had the lowest concentrations, the room with the highest ventilation rates had the highest concentration over 30 min, but the peak decayed more rapidly. Tracer concentrations indoors compared to outdoors imply that pollutants remain within buildings after they have cleared outside, which must be considered when evaluating human exposure to outdoor pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Carbonic Anhydrase 9 in the Alimentary Canal of Aedes aegypti and Its Relationship to Homologous Mosquito Carbonic Anhydrases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020213
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
In the mosquito midgut, luminal pH regulation and cellular ion transport processes are important for the digestion of food and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. pH regulation in the mosquito gut is affected by the vectorial movement of the principal ions including bicarbonate/carbonate and
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In the mosquito midgut, luminal pH regulation and cellular ion transport processes are important for the digestion of food and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. pH regulation in the mosquito gut is affected by the vectorial movement of the principal ions including bicarbonate/carbonate and protons. As in all metazoans, mosquitoes employ the product of aerobic metabolism carbon dioxide in its bicarbonate/carbonate form as one of the major buffers of cellular and extracellular pH. The conversion of metabolic carbon dioxide to bicarbonate/carbonate is accomplished by a family of enzymes encoded by the carbonic anhydrase gene family. This study characterizes Aedes aegypti carbonic anhydrases using bioinformatic, molecular, and immunohistochemical methods. Our analyses show that there are fourteen Aedes aegypti carbonic anhydrase genes, two of which are expressed as splice variants. The carbonic anhydrases were classified as either integral membrane, peripheral membrane, mitochondrial, secreted, or soluble cytoplasmic proteins. Using polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting, one of the carbonic anhydrases, Aedes aegypti carbonic anhydrase 9, was analyzed and found in each life stage, male/female pupae, male/female adults, and in the female posterior midgut. Next, carbonic anhydrase 9 was analyzed in larvae and adults using confocal microscopy and was detected in the midgut regions. According to our analyses, carbonic anhydrase 9 is a soluble cytoplasmic enzyme found in the alimentary canal of larvae and adults and is expressed throughout the life cycle of the mosquito. Based on previous physiological analyses of adults and larvae, it appears AeCA9 is one of the major carbonic anhydrases involved in producing bicarbonate/carbonate which is involved in pH regulation and ion transport processes in the alimentary canal. Detailed understanding of the molecular bases of ion homeostasis in mosquitoes will provide targets for novel mosquito control strategies into the new millennium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mosquito Control Innovations into The 21st Century)
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Open AccessArticle The Vulnerability of People to Landslides: A Case Study on the Relationship between the Casualties and Volume of Landslides in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020212
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The lack of a detailed landslide inventory makes research on the vulnerability of people to landslides highly limited. In this paper, the authors collect information on the landslides that have caused casualties in China, and established the Landslides Casualties Inventory of China.
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The lack of a detailed landslide inventory makes research on the vulnerability of people to landslides highly limited. In this paper, the authors collect information on the landslides that have caused casualties in China, and established the Landslides Casualties Inventory of China. 100 landslide cases from 2003 to 2012 were utilized to develop an empirical relationship between the volume of a landslide event and the casualties caused by the occurrence of the event. The error bars were used to describe the uncertainty of casualties resulting from landslides and to establish a threshold curve of casualties caused by landslides in China. The threshold curve was then applied to the landslide cases occurred in 2013 and 2014. The validation results show that the estimated casualties of the threshold curve were in good agreement with the real casualties with a small deviation. Therefore, the threshold curve can be used for estimating potential casualties and landslide vulnerability, which is meaningful for emergency rescue operations after landslides occurred and for risk assessment research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Basigin rs8259 Polymorphism Confers Decreased Risk of Chronic Heart Failure in a Chinese Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020211
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Left ventricular remodeling is an essential risk factor contributing to the pathogenesis of chronic heart failure (CHF). Basigin (BSG) promotes cardiovascular inflammation and myocardial remodeling processes by induction of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases and inflammatory cytokines. BSG rs8259 polymorphism was associated with BSG expression
[...] Read more.
Left ventricular remodeling is an essential risk factor contributing to the pathogenesis of chronic heart failure (CHF). Basigin (BSG) promotes cardiovascular inflammation and myocardial remodeling processes by induction of extracellular matrix metalloproteinases and inflammatory cytokines. BSG rs8259 polymorphism was associated with BSG expression and risk of acute coronary syndrome. Therefore, we investigated whether rs8259 polymorphism contributes to risk and prognosis of CHF in Chinese patients. In total 922 adult patients with CHF and 1107 matched healthy controls were enrolled. BSG rs8259 polymorphism was genotyped using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Whole blood BSG mRNA expression data from Genotype-Tissue Expression project was accessed. Evaluation of follow-up data was performed in only 15.2% (140) of the patients with CHF. BSG rs8259 TT genotype was associated with a decreased risk of CHF (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.72–0.96, p = 0.010), especially in patients with hypertension (OR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.68–0.95, p = 0.011) and coronary heart disease (OR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.69–0.96, p = 0.013) after adjustment for multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Rs8259 T allele was associated with decreased BSG mRNA in whole blood from 338 healthy normal donors (p = 1.31 × 10−6). However, rs8259 polymorphism failed to exhibit an association with cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.283). BSG rs8259 polymorphism may contribute to decreased risk of CHF in a Chinese Han population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Association of Sleep Duration, Sleep Quality and Shift-Work Schedule in Relation to Hypertension Prevalence in Chinese Adult Males: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020210
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Previous studies indicated that measurement of sleep only by duration and quality may be biased. This study aimed to investigate the interactive association of self-reported sleep duration, quality and shift-work schedule with hypertension prevalence in Chinese adult males. Methods: A total of
[...] Read more.
Background: Previous studies indicated that measurement of sleep only by duration and quality may be biased. This study aimed to investigate the interactive association of self-reported sleep duration, quality and shift-work schedule with hypertension prevalence in Chinese adult males. Methods: A total of 4519 Chinese adult males (≥18 years) were enrolled into the cross-sectional survey. Sleep attributes were measured from the responses to the standard Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and relevant questions in a structured questionnaire survey. The association of sleep duration, quality and shift-work schedule with hypertension prevalence was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression, considering the interaction between them or not. Results: Taking the potential interaction of the three aspects of sleep into consideration, only short sleep duration combined with poor sleep quality was found to be related to hypertension prevalence in Chinese adult males (odds ratio (OR): 1.74, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.31–2.31), which could be modified by occasional and frequent shift-work schedule (OR: 1.43, 95% CI: 1.05–1.95; OR: 1.97, 95% CI: 1.40–2.79). Conclusions: Short sleep duration was not associated with the prevalence of hypertension in Chinese adult males unless poor sleep quality exists, which could be further modified by shift-work schedule. Assessment of sleep by measuring sleep duration only was not sufficient when exploring the association of sleep with hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Optimistic Bias, Risk Factors, and Development of High Blood Pressure and Obesity among African American Adolescents in Mississippi (USA)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020209
Received: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is linked to hypertension among African American youth. Optimistic bias influences behavior of youth causing them to underestimate their susceptibility to negative health outcomes. This study explored adolescent behaviors and prevalence of high blood pressure and
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Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is linked to hypertension among African American youth. Optimistic bias influences behavior of youth causing them to underestimate their susceptibility to negative health outcomes. This study explored adolescent behaviors and prevalence of high blood pressure and obesity in a school district. We examined the relationship between individual health risk practices and optimistic bias on health outcomes; 433 African American high school students were administered a survey and had their obesity and blood pressure measured by the school nurse. Canonical correlational analyses were used to examine relationships between health risk practices and descriptive statistics for optimistic bias and health outcomes. Engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 min in the last 7 days and lower blood pressure was the only statistically significant relationship. Two-thirds of the students did not perceive themselves to be at risk of developing cardiovascular disease with males at greater risk than females, despite the presence of clinical risk factors for hypertension and obesity. Reducing health optimistic bias is an effective way of motivating young people to adopt more positive behaviors using educational institutions to implement intervention programs that promote positive health behavior as a way to reduce health disparities. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Feasibility of Embedding Data Collection into the Routine Service Delivery of a Multi-Component Program for High-Risk Young People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020208
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: There is little evidence about how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people, of whom Indigenous young people are disproportionately represented, due to few evaluation studies of interventions. One way to increase the evidence is to have researchers and service providers collaborate
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Background: There is little evidence about how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people, of whom Indigenous young people are disproportionately represented, due to few evaluation studies of interventions. One way to increase the evidence is to have researchers and service providers collaborate to embed evaluation into the routine delivery of services, so program delivery and evaluation occur simultaneously. This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating best-evidence measures into the routine data collection processes of a service for high-risk young people, and identify the number and nature of risk factors experienced by participants. Methods: The youth service is a rural based NGO comprised of multiple program components: (i) engagement activities; (ii) case management; (iii) diversionary activities; (iv) personal development; and (v) learning and skills. A best-evidence assessment tool was developed by staff and researchers and embedded into the service’s existing intake procedure. Assessment items were organised into demographic characteristics and four domains of risk: education and employment; health and wellbeing; substance use; and crime. Descriptive data are presented and summary risk variables were created for each domain of risk. A count of these summary variables represented the number of co-occurring risks experienced by each participant. The feasibility of this process was determined by the proportion of participants who completed the intake assessment and provided research consent. Results: This study shows 85% of participants completed the assessment tool demonstrating that data on participant risk factors can feasibly be collected by embedding a best-evidence assessment tool into the routine data collection processes of a service. The most prevalent risk factors were school absence, unemployment, suicide ideation, mental distress, substance use, low levels of physical activity, low health service utilisation, and involvement in crime or with the juvenile justice system. All but one participant experienced at least two co-occurring domains of risk, and the majority of participants (58%) experienced co-occurring risk across four domains. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that best-evidence measures can feasibly be embedded into the routine data collection processes of a service for high-risk young people. This process allows services to tailor their activities to the most prevalent risks experienced by participants, and monitor these risks over time. Replication of this process in other services would improve the quality of services, facilitate more high quality evaluations of services, and contribute evidence on how to improve outcomes for high-risk young people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Health)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Particulate Matter Exposure and Surrounding “Greenness” on Chronic Absenteeism in Massachusetts Public Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020207
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Chronic absenteeism is associated with poorer academic performance and higher attrition in kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) schools. In prior research, students who were chronically absent generally had fewer employment opportunities and worse health after graduation. We examined the impact that environmental factors
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Chronic absenteeism is associated with poorer academic performance and higher attrition in kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12) schools. In prior research, students who were chronically absent generally had fewer employment opportunities and worse health after graduation. We examined the impact that environmental factors surrounding schools have on chronic absenteeism. We estimated the greenness (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)) and fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) within 250 m and 1000 m respectively of each public school in Massachusetts during the 2012–2013 academic year using satellite-based data. We modeled chronic absenteeism rates in the same year as a function of PM2.5 and NDVI, controlling for race and household income. Among the 1772 public schools in Massachusetts, a 0.15 increase in NDVI during the academic year was associated with a 2.6% (p value < 0.0001) reduction in chronic absenteeism rates, and a 1 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 during the academic year was associated with a 1.58% (p value < 0.0001) increase in chronic absenteeism rates. Based on these percentage changes in chronic absenteeism, a 0.15 increase in NDVI and 1 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 correspond to 25,837 fewer students and 15,852 more students chronically absent each year in Massachusetts respectively. These environmental impacts on absenteeism reinforce the need to protect green spaces and reduce air pollution around schools. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Increase in Consuming Adequately Iodized Salt May Not Be Enough to Rectify Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy in an Iodine-Sufficient Area of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020206
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Universal salt iodization (USI) has been implemented for two decades in China. It is crucial to periodically monitor iodine status in the most vulnerable population, such as pregnant women. A cross-sectional study was carried out in an evidence-proved iodine-sufficient province to evaluate iodine
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Universal salt iodization (USI) has been implemented for two decades in China. It is crucial to periodically monitor iodine status in the most vulnerable population, such as pregnant women. A cross-sectional study was carried out in an evidence-proved iodine-sufficient province to evaluate iodine intake in pregnancy. According to the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD recommendation criteria of adequate iodine intake in pregnancy (150–249 µg/L), the median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) of the total 8159 recruited pregnant women was 147.5 µg/L, which indicated pregnant women had iodine deficiency at the province level. Overall, 51.0% of the total study participants had iodine deficiency with a UIC < 150 µg/L and only 32.9% of them had adequate iodine. Participants living in coastal areas had iodine deficiency with a median UIC of 130.1 µg/L, while those in inland areas had marginally adequate iodine intake with a median UIC of 158.1 µg/L (p < 0.001). Among the total study participants, 450 pregnant women consuming non-iodized salt had mild-moderate iodine deficiency with a median UIC of 99.6 µg/L; 7363 pregnant women consuming adequately iodized salt had a lightly statistically higher median UIC of 151.9 µg/L, compared with the recommended adequate level by the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD (p < 0.001). Consuming adequately iodized salt seemed to lightly increase the median UIC level, but it may not be enough to correct iodine nutrition status to an optimum level as recommended by the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD. We therefore suggest that, besides strengthening USI policy, additional interventive measure may be needed to improve iodine intake in pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Open AccessArticle Smart Device Use and Perceived Physical and Psychosocial Outcomes among Hong Kong Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020205
Received: 27 November 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Excessive electronic screen-based activities have been found to be associated with negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalences and patterns of smart device activities and the purposes and perceived outcomes related to smart device use, and the differences
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Excessive electronic screen-based activities have been found to be associated with negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalences and patterns of smart device activities and the purposes and perceived outcomes related to smart device use, and the differences in patterns of smart device activities between adolescents who did and did not perceive these outcomes. The study was a cross-sectional survey of Hong Kong primary and secondary school students. Demographic characteristics, purpose and pattern of the activities, and frequencies of the outcomes were measured. Data from 960 adolescents aged 10–19 were analyzed. Nearly 86% of the sample use smart device daily. The one-week prevalence of perceived sleep deprivation, eye discomfort, musculoskeletal discomfort, family conflict and cyberbullying victimization related to smart device use were nearly 50%, 45%, 40%, 20% and 5% respectively. More than 25% of the respondents were at risk of negative outcomes related to smart device activities for more than 1 h per day, browsing and gaming on at least 4 days per week and watching TV/movies and posting on more than 2 days per week. Their patterns of smart device activities may put a significant number of them at risk of negative outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Influences on Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle Environmental Criteria in the Spanish Public Works Procurement Process
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020204
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Green Public Procurement (GPP) is defined as a process of contracting products, services, and works with the least possible damage to the environment during their life cycle. In order to improve the knowledge about GPP, a study of the use of environmental tendering
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Green Public Procurement (GPP) is defined as a process of contracting products, services, and works with the least possible damage to the environment during their life cycle. In order to improve the knowledge about GPP, a study of the use of environmental tendering criteria in the Spanish public construction sector has been performed. The results of this study show that the use of environmental criteria in Spanish public sector construction procurement is low in comparison to a certain group of countries, known as “Green 7”, in the European Union. Environmental criteria is the fourth criterion in importance, but its weight in the global of the process is much lower than other criteria such as price, memory of the construction process and the delivery time. National administrations use environmental criteria more frequently because they have more resources and staff training about environmental issues. Environmental criteria are more used in the tendering of civil projects and works whose budget exceeds ten million euro due to the environmental impact of these kind and/or size of projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Open AccessArticle Driver’s Cognitive Workload and Driving Performance under Traffic Sign Information Exposure in Complex Environments: A Case Study of the Highways in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020203
Received: 31 August 2016 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Complex traffic situations and high driving workload are the leading contributing factors to traffic crashes. There is a strong correlation between driving performance and driving workload, such as visual workload from traffic signs on highway off-ramps. This study aimed to evaluate traffic safety
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Complex traffic situations and high driving workload are the leading contributing factors to traffic crashes. There is a strong correlation between driving performance and driving workload, such as visual workload from traffic signs on highway off-ramps. This study aimed to evaluate traffic safety by analyzing drivers’ behavior and performance under the cognitive workload in complex environment areas. First, the driving workload of drivers was tested based on traffic signs with different quantities of information. Forty-four drivers were recruited to conduct a traffic sign cognition experiment under static controlled environment conditions. Different complex traffic signs were used for applying the cognitive workload. The static experiment results reveal that workload is highly related to the amount of information on traffic signs and reaction time increases with the information grade, while driving experience and gender effect are not significant. This shows that the cognitive workload of subsequent driving experiments can be controlled by the amount of information on traffic signs. Second, driving characteristics and driving performance were analyzed under different secondary task driving workload levels using a driving simulator. Drivers were required to drive at the required speed on a designed highway off-ramp scene. The cognitive workload was controlled by reading traffic signs with different information, which were divided into four levels. Drivers had to make choices by pushing buttons after reading traffic signs. Meanwhile, the driving performance information was recorded. Questionnaires on objective workload were collected right after each driving task. The results show that speed maintenance and lane deviations are significantly different under different levels of cognitive workload, and the effects of driving experience and gender groups are significant. The research results can be used to analyze traffic safety in highway environments, while considering more drivers’ cognitive and driving performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Traffic Safety and Injury Prevention)
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