Open AccessArticle
Genomic Evidence for Bacterial Determinants Influencing Obesity Development
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 345; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040345 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Obesity is a major global public health problem requiring multifaceted interventional approaches including dietary interventions with probiotic bacteria. High-throughput genome sequencing of microbial communities in the mammalian gastrointestinal system continues to present diverse protein function information to understand the bacterial determinants that influence
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Obesity is a major global public health problem requiring multifaceted interventional approaches including dietary interventions with probiotic bacteria. High-throughput genome sequencing of microbial communities in the mammalian gastrointestinal system continues to present diverse protein function information to understand the bacterial determinants that influence obesity development. The goal of the research reported in this article was to identify biological processes in probiotic bacteria that could influence the mechanisms for the extraction of energy from diet in the human gastrointestinal system. Our research strategy of combining bioinformatics and visual analytics methods was based on the identification of operon gene arrangements in genomes of Lactobacillus species and Akkermansiamuciniphila that include at least a gene for a universal stress protein. The two major findings from this research study are related to Lactobacillus plantarum and Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria species which are associated with weight-loss. The first finding is that Lactobacillus plantarum strains have a two-gene operon that encodes a universal stress protein for stress response and the membrane translocator protein (TSPO), known to function in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation in humans. The second finding is the presence of a three-gene operon in Akkermansia muciniphila that includes a gene whose human mitochondrial homolog is associated with waist-hip ratio and fat distribution. From a public health perspective, elucidation of the bacterial determinants influencing obesity will help in educating the public on optimal probiotic use for anti-obesity effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pesticide Knowledge and Safety Practices among Farm Workers in Kuwait: Results of a Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 340; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040340 -
Abstract
The unsafe and indiscriminate use of pesticides in agriculture represents a major hazard to the environment and human health. The aim of this study was to assess the levels of knowledge, attitude and practices of Kuwaiti farmers regarding the safe use of pesticides.
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The unsafe and indiscriminate use of pesticides in agriculture represents a major hazard to the environment and human health. The aim of this study was to assess the levels of knowledge, attitude and practices of Kuwaiti farmers regarding the safe use of pesticides. A total of 250 farmers participated in this study through in-depth interviews and observations on-farm. The majority of the farmers acknowledged that pesticides were harmful to their health (71%) and the environment (65%). However, farmers’ level of knowledge of pesticide safety is insufficient. Over 70% of the farmers did not read or follow pesticide label instructions, and 58% did not use any personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling pesticides. Educated farmers were significantly more likely to use PPE compared with famers with limited formal education (χ2 = 9.89, p < 0.05). Storage of pesticides within living areas was reported by 20% of farmers. When disposing of pesticide wastes, respondents adopted unsafe practices such as discarding, incinerating, or burying empty pesticide containers on-farm, or reusing the containers. Farmers also reported disposing leftover pesticide solution or old pesticide stocks on-farm or in the sewer. A significant number (82%) of the farmers reported at least one symptom of acute pesticide poisoning. Although farmers’ knowledge of pesticide hazards was high, the reported safety measures were poor. Comprehensive intervention measures to reduce the health and environmental risks of pesticides are needed, including pesticide safety training programs for farmers, stringent enforcement of pesticide laws, and promoting integrated pest management and non-synthetic methods of pest control. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Slum Upgrading and Health Equity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 342; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040342 -
Abstract
Informal settlement upgrading is widely recognized for enhancing shelter and promoting economic development, yet its potential to improve health equity is usually overlooked. Almost one in seven people on the planet are expected to reside in urban informal settlements, or slums, by 2030.
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Informal settlement upgrading is widely recognized for enhancing shelter and promoting economic development, yet its potential to improve health equity is usually overlooked. Almost one in seven people on the planet are expected to reside in urban informal settlements, or slums, by 2030. Slum upgrading is the process of delivering place-based environmental and social improvements to the urban poor, including land tenure, housing, infrastructure, employment, health services and political and social inclusion. The processes and products of slum upgrading can address multiple environmental determinants of health. This paper reviewed urban slum upgrading evaluations from cities across Asia, Africa and Latin America and found that few captured the multiple health benefits of upgrading. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on improving well-being for billions of city-dwellers, slum upgrading should be viewed as a key strategy to promote health, equitable development and reduce climate change vulnerabilities. We conclude with suggestions for how slum upgrading might more explicitly capture its health benefits, such as through the use of health impact assessment (HIA) and adopting an urban health in all policies (HiAP) framework. Urban slum upgrading must be more explicitly designed, implemented and evaluated to capture its multiple global environmental health benefits. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Unintentional Injuries and Violence among Adults in Northern Jordan: A Hospital-Based Retrospective Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 343; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040343 -
Abstract
Injuries (unintentional and intentional) are the main cause of death and disability worldwide, including Jordan. The main purpose of this hospital-based retrospective study was to identify characteristics, causes, and risk factors of unintentional injuries and violence among all adult patients who approached the
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Injuries (unintentional and intentional) are the main cause of death and disability worldwide, including Jordan. The main purpose of this hospital-based retrospective study was to identify characteristics, causes, and risk factors of unintentional injuries and violence among all adult patients who approached the Accidents and Emergency department because of injury in Northern Jordan. Data were collected retrospectively from four major hospitals from January 2008 to January 2013. A total of 2425 Jordanian individuals who accessed and were treated by the four hospitals were included in this study. The findings show that the majority of patients who approached the Accidents and Emergency departments in the four hospitals were males (n = 2044, 87.16%) versus females (n = 301, 12.8%). Violence was the most common reason of injury (70.66%), followed by road traffic crashes (23.21%). The most common anatomical locations of reported injuries were the head (38.74%), followed by abdomen/pelvis and lower back, among males and females (9.93%). Violence had a high significant effect on the site of injuries. Patients who had been injured to the head because of a stab wound or fighting were substantially over-involved in head injuries, with injury rates 3.88 and 7.51 times higher than those who had been injured to the head due to gunshot, respectively. Even patients who had been injured to the head because of assault show much higher involvement in injury risk than non-assault patients (Odds Ratio = 8.46). These findings highlight the need for a large national study to confirm the findings. It also draws attention to the importance of public awareness and to special injury prevention programs that not only focus on saving lives and lessening the number of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, but also to limit the social and economic burden of injury among adults in Northern Jordan. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Study of the Accumulation of Toxic and Essential Ultra-Trace Elements in Fruits of Sorbus domestica L.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 341; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040341 -
Abstract
In the present work, the accumulation of selected toxic and essential ultra-trace elements in fruits of service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) were determined depending on harvest time. Samples were collected from the same sampling area in two different years and within one
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In the present work, the accumulation of selected toxic and essential ultra-trace elements in fruits of service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) were determined depending on harvest time. Samples were collected from the same sampling area in two different years and within one year in September and October (maturity state). Harvesting the fruits in the same area excludes the influence of metals taken up via roots, thus the impact of airborne contamination by heavy metal translocation can be studied. All samples were dried and digested using an acidic microwave assisted digestion system prior to quantification by inductively coupled plasma—sector field mass spectrometry (ICP–SFMS). The elements chosen were Arsenic and Cadmium as well as Lithium, Molybdenum, and Selenium. The Arsenic content rose with maturity in mesocarp. Cadmium found in the mesocarp was unaffected by ripeness. For Selenium and Molybdenum, no statistically significant effect of ripeness could be found on their content in mesocarp. Lithium could not be detected in the majority of fruit samples. Differences between the metal concentrations based on the year of harvest were found for Arsenic, Molybdenum, and Selenium, depending on precipitation. The drier the season, the more Arsenic was accumulated. For Molybdenum and Selenium, the opposite effect was observed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Geographical Correlations between Indoor Radon Concentration and Risks of Lung Cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Leukemia during 1999–2008 in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 344; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040344 -
Abstract
Indoor radon is the second most important risk factor for lung cancer and may also be a risk factor for hematopoietic cancers, particularly in children and adolescents. The present study measured indoor radon concentration nationwide at 5553 points during 1989–2009 and spatially interpolated
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Indoor radon is the second most important risk factor for lung cancer and may also be a risk factor for hematopoietic cancers, particularly in children and adolescents. The present study measured indoor radon concentration nationwide at 5553 points during 1989–2009 and spatially interpolated using lognormal kriging. The incidences of lung cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), and leukemia, stratified by sex and five-year age groups in each of the 234 administrative regions in the country during 1999–2008, were obtained from the National Cancer Registry and used to calculate the standardized incidence ratios. After considering regional deprivation index values and smoking rates by sex in each region as confounding variables, the cancer risks were estimated based on Bayesian hierarchical modeling. We found that a 10 Bq/m3 increase in indoor radon concentration was associated with a 1% increase in the incidence of lung cancer in male and a 7% increase in NHL in female children and adolescents in Korea aged less than 20 years. Leukemia was not associated with indoor radon concentration. The increase in NHL risk among young women requires confirmation in future studies, and the radon control program should consider children and adolescents. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Psychosocial Correlates of the Intention to Use Condoms among Young Men in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 339; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040339 -
Abstract
South Africa leads the world with the number of people infected with HIV. Even with all attempts that have been made to curb HIV, it is still evident that new infections are on the rise. Condom use remains one of the best tools
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South Africa leads the world with the number of people infected with HIV. Even with all attempts that have been made to curb HIV, it is still evident that new infections are on the rise. Condom use remains one of the best tools against this challenge yet a small number of sexually active men use them. This study investigates the psychosocial correlates of the intention to use condoms among young men in KwaZulu-Natal province. Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour as a framework, hierarchical linear regression models were used to determine the unique contribution of the study measures in explaining the overall variance of intention to consistently use condoms. Subjective norms and perceived behavioural control towards consistent condom use explained 46% of the variance in the intention to use a condom, suggesting that health behaviour interventions should focus on targeting the normative beliefs as well as control beliefs of the target population. Furthermore, subjective norms and intentions towards reducing alcohol and marijuana use explained an additional 7% to the final model in intentions to condom use, implying that substance use and condom usage may influence each other. No significant contributions were found for beliefs underlying cultural aspects of responsible manhood. Full article
Open AccessReview
Perceptions and Experiences with Flavored Non-Menthol Tobacco Products: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 338; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040338 -
Abstract
Although a few countries have banned flavored cigarettes (except menthol), flavors in most tobacco products remain unregulated across the globe. We conducted a systematic review of qualitative studies examining perceptions of and experiences with flavored non-menthol tobacco products. Of 20 studies on flavored
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Although a few countries have banned flavored cigarettes (except menthol), flavors in most tobacco products remain unregulated across the globe. We conducted a systematic review of qualitative studies examining perceptions of and experiences with flavored non-menthol tobacco products. Of 20 studies on flavored tobacco products included in our qualitative systematic review, 10 examined hookah, six examined e-cigarettes, two examined little cigars and cigarillos (LCCs), and three examined other tobacco products, including cigarettes. The majority of studies, regardless of product type, reported positive perceptions of flavored tobacco products, particularly among young adults and adolescents. In six studies that assessed perceptions of harm (including hookah, LCCs, and other flavored tobacco products), participants believed flavored tobacco products to be less harmful than cigarettes. In studies that examined the role of flavors in experimentation and/or initiation (including three studies on e-cigarettes, one hookah study and one LCC study), participants mentioned flavors as specifically leading to their experimentation and/or initiation of flavored tobacco products. Given that many countries have not yet banned flavors in tobacco products, these findings add to existing research on why individuals use flavored tobacco products and how they perceive harm in flavored tobacco products, providing further support for banning non-menthol flavors in most tobacco products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy and Safety Evaluation of a Chlorine Dioxide Solution
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 329; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030329 -
Abstract
In this study, a chlorine dioxide solution (UC-1) composed of chlorine dioxide was produced using an electrolytic method and subsequently purified using a membrane. UC-1 was determined to contain 2000 ppm of gaseous chlorine dioxide in water. The efficacy and safety of UC-1
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In this study, a chlorine dioxide solution (UC-1) composed of chlorine dioxide was produced using an electrolytic method and subsequently purified using a membrane. UC-1 was determined to contain 2000 ppm of gaseous chlorine dioxide in water. The efficacy and safety of UC-1 were evaluated. The antimicrobial activity was more than 98.2% reduction when UC-1 concentrations were 5 and 20 ppm for bacteria and fungi, respectively. The half maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of H1N1, influenza virus B/TW/71718/04, and EV71 were 84.65 ± 0.64, 95.91 ± 11.61, and 46.39 ± 1.97 ppm, respectively. A 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test revealed that the cell viability of mouse lung fibroblast L929 cells was 93.7% at a 200 ppm UC-1 concentration that is over that anticipated in routine use. Moreover, 50 ppm UC-1 showed no significant symptoms in a rabbit ocular irritation test. In an inhalation toxicity test, treatment with 20 ppm UC-1 for 24 h showed no abnormality and no mortality in clinical symptoms and normal functioning of the lung and other organs. A ClO2 concentration of up to 40 ppm in drinking water did not show any toxicity in a subchronic oral toxicity test. Herein, UC-1 showed favorable disinfection activity and a higher safety profile tendency than in previous reports. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Variation in Older Adult Characteristics by Residence Type and Use of Home- and Community-Based Services
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 330; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030330 -
Abstract
Background: The majority of older adults prefer to remain in their homes, or to “age-in-place.” To accomplish this goal, many older adults will rely upon home- and community-based services (HCBS) for support. However, the availability and accessibility of HCBS may differ based on
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Background: The majority of older adults prefer to remain in their homes, or to “age-in-place.” To accomplish this goal, many older adults will rely upon home- and community-based services (HCBS) for support. However, the availability and accessibility of HCBS may differ based on whether the older adult lives in the community or in a senior housing apartment facility. Methods: This paper reports findings from the Pathways to Life Quality study of residential change and stability among seniors in upstate New York. Data were analyzed from 663 older adults living in one of three housing types: service-rich facilities, service-poor facilities, and community-dwelling in single-family homes. A multinomial logistic regression model was used to examine factors associated with residence type. A linear regression model was fitted to examine factors associated with HCBS utilization. Results: When compared to community-dwelling older adults, those residing in service-rich and service-poor facilities were more likely to be older, report more activity limitations, and provide less instrumental assistance to others. Those in service-poor facilities were more likely to have poorer mental health and lower perceived purpose in life. The three leading HCBS utilized were senior centers (20%), homemaker services (19%), and transportation services (18%). More HCBS utilization was associated with participants who resided in service-poor housing, were older, were female, and had more activity limitations. More HCBS utilization was also associated with those who received instrumental support, had higher perceived purpose in life, and poorer mental health. Conclusions: Findings suggest that older adults’ residential environment is associated with their health status and HCBS utilization. Building upon the Person–Environment Fit theories, dedicated efforts are needed to introduce and expand upon existing HCBS available to facility residents to address physical and mental health needs as well as facilitate aging-in-place. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Adverse Childhood Experiences, Commitment Offense, and Race/Ethnicity: Are the Effects Crime-, Race-, and Ethnicity-Specific?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 331; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030331 -
Abstract
Adverse childhood experiences are associated with an array of health, psychiatric, and behavioral problems including antisocial behavior. Criminologists have recently utilized adverse childhood experiences as an organizing research framework and shown that adverse childhood experiences are associated with delinquency, violence, and more chronic/severe
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Adverse childhood experiences are associated with an array of health, psychiatric, and behavioral problems including antisocial behavior. Criminologists have recently utilized adverse childhood experiences as an organizing research framework and shown that adverse childhood experiences are associated with delinquency, violence, and more chronic/severe criminal careers. However, much less is known about adverse childhood experiences vis-à-vis specific forms of crime and whether the effects vary across race and ethnicity. Using a sample of 2520 male confined juvenile delinquents, the current study used epidemiological tables of odds (both unadjusted and adjusted for onset, total adjudications, and total out of home placements) to evaluate the significance of the number of adverse childhood experiences on commitment for homicide, sexual assault, and serious persons/property offending. The effects of adverse childhood experiences vary considerably across racial and ethnic groups and across offense types. Adverse childhood experiences are strongly and positively associated with sexual offending, but negatively associated with homicide and serious person/property offending. Differential effects of adverse childhood experiences were also seen among African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. Suggestions for future research to clarify the mechanisms by which adverse childhood experiences manifest in specific forms of criminal behavior are offered. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Pilot Study to Examine Exposure to Residential Radon in Under-Sampled Census Tracts of DeKalb County, Georgia, in 2015
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 332; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030332 -
Abstract
While DeKalb County, Georgia, offers free radon screening for all eligible residents, portions of the county remain relatively under-sampled. This pilot study focused on 10% of the census tracts in the county with the lowest proportion of radon testing; most were in southern
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While DeKalb County, Georgia, offers free radon screening for all eligible residents, portions of the county remain relatively under-sampled. This pilot study focused on 10% of the census tracts in the county with the lowest proportion of radon testing; most were in southern DeKalb County. In total, 217 households were recruited and homes were tested for indoor radon concentrations on the lowest livable floor over an eight-week period from March–May 2015. Tract-level characteristics were examined to understand the differences in socio-demographic and economic factors between the pilot study area and the rest of the county. The pilot study tracts had a higher proportion of African Americans compared to the rest of DeKalb County (82% versus 47%). Radon was detected above 11.1 Bq/m3 (0.3 pCi/L) in 73% of the indoor samples and 4% of samples were above 148 Bq/m3 (4 pCi/L). Having a basement was the strongest predictive factor for detectable and hazardous levels of radon. Radon screening can identify problems and spur homeowners to remediate but more research should be done to identify why screening rates vary across the county and how that varies with radon levels in homes to reduce radon exposure. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Reducing Risk of Salmonellosis through Egg Decontamination Processes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 335; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030335 -
Abstract
Eggs have a high nutritional value and are an important ingredient in many food products. Worldwide foodborne illnesses, such as salmonellosis linked to the consumption of eggs and raw egg products, are a major public health concern. This review focuses on previous studies
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Eggs have a high nutritional value and are an important ingredient in many food products. Worldwide foodborne illnesses, such as salmonellosis linked to the consumption of eggs and raw egg products, are a major public health concern. This review focuses on previous studies that have investigated the procedures for the production of microbiologically safe eggs. Studies exploring pasteurization and decontamination methods were investigated. Gamma irradiation, freeze drying, hot air, hot water, infra-red, atmospheric steam, microwave heating and radiofrequency heating are all different decontamination methods currently considered for the production of microbiologically safe eggs. However, each decontamination procedure has different effects on the properties and constituents of the egg. The pasteurization processes are the most widely used and best understood; however, they influence the coagulation, foaming and emulsifying properties of the egg. Future studies are needed to explore combinations of different decontamination methods to produce safe eggs without impacting the protein structure and usability. Currently, eggs which have undergone decontamination processes are primarily used in food prepared for vulnerable populations. However, the development of a decontamination method that does not affect egg properties and functionality could be used in food prepared for the general population to provide greater public health protection. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Prevalence of Malocclusion in 3- to 5-Year-Old Children in Shanghai, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 328; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030328 -
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to obtain the prevalence of malocclusions in preschool children in Shanghai, China. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 2335 children aged 3–5 years from kindergartens. Several occlusal parameters were clinically assessed, including second deciduous molar terminal
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The aim of the present study was to obtain the prevalence of malocclusions in preschool children in Shanghai, China. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 2335 children aged 3–5 years from kindergartens. Several occlusal parameters were clinically assessed, including second deciduous molar terminal plane, canine relationship, degree of overjet and overbite, anterior and posterior crossbite, and the presence or absence of physiologic spaces and crowding. All parents of subjects were asked to fill in the oral health knowledge questionnaires. The prevalence of malocclusion in primary dentition in Shanghai was 83.9%, and no significant differences were found in genders. Data showed that the prevalence of deep overbite (63.7%) was the highest in children with malocclusion, followed by deep overjet (33.9%), midline deviation (26.6%), anterior crossbite (8.0%) and anterior crowding (6.5%). The results revealed a high prevalence of malocclusion in primary dentition in children aged 3–5 years old of Shanghai, especially in vertical anomalies. The need for preventive orthodontic therapy is extremely desired and oral health education about malocclusion should be strengthened. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Endometrial Cancer: An Overview of Recent Laboratory Evidence and Epidemiological Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 334; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030334 -
Abstract
Background: Although exposure to endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) has been suggested as a contributing factor to a range of women’s health disorders including infertility, polycystic ovaries and the early onset of puberty, considerable challenges remain in attributing cause and effect on gynaecological
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Background: Although exposure to endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) has been suggested as a contributing factor to a range of women’s health disorders including infertility, polycystic ovaries and the early onset of puberty, considerable challenges remain in attributing cause and effect on gynaecological cancer. Until recently, there were relatively few epidemiological studies examining the relationship between EDCs and endometrial cancer, however, in the last years the number of these studies has increased. Methods: A systematic MEDLINE (PubMed) search was performed and relevant articles published in the last 23 years (from 1992 to 2016) were selected. Results: Human studies and animal experiments are confirming a carcinogenic effect due to the EDC exposure and its carcinogenesis process result to be complex, multifactorial and long standing, thus, it is extremely difficult to obtain the epidemiological proof of a carcinogenic effect of EDCs for the high number of confusing factors. Conclusions: The carcinogenic effects of endocrine disruptors are plausible, although additional studies are needed to clarify their mechanisms and responsible entities. Neverthless, to reduce endocrine disruptors (ED) exposure is mandatory to implement necessary measures to limit exposure, particularly during those periods of life most vulnerable to the impact of oncogenic environmental causes, such as embryonic period and puberty. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Impacts from Land Use Pattern on Spatial Distribution of Cultivated Soil Heavy Metal Pollution in Typical Rural-Urban Fringe of Northeast China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 336; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030336 -
Abstract
Under rapid urban sprawl in Northeast China, land conversions are not only encroaching on the quantity of cultivated lands, but also posing a great threat to black soil conservation and food security. This study’s aim is to explore the spatial relationship between comprehensive
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Under rapid urban sprawl in Northeast China, land conversions are not only encroaching on the quantity of cultivated lands, but also posing a great threat to black soil conservation and food security. This study’s aim is to explore the spatial relationship between comprehensive cultivated soil heavy metal pollution and peri-urban land use patterns in the black soil region. We applied spatial lag regression to analyze the relationship between PLI (pollution load index) and influencing factors of land use by taking suburban cultivated land of Changchun Kuancheng District as an empirical case. The results indicate the following: (1) Similar spatial distribution characteristics are detected between Pb, Cu, and Zn, between Cr and Ni, and between Hg and Cd. The Yitong River catchment in the central region, and the residential community of Lanjia County in the west, are the main hotspots for eight heavy metals and PLI. Beihu Wetland Park, with a larger-area distribution of ecological land in the southeast, has low level for both heavy metal concentrations and PLI values. Spatial distribution characteristics of cultivated heavy metals are related to types of surrounding land use and industry; (2) Spatial lag regression has a better fit for PLI than the ordinary least squares regression. The regression results indicate the inverse relationship between heavy metal pollution degree and distance from long-standing residential land and surface water. Following rapid urban land expansion and a longer accumulation period, residential land sprawl is going to threaten cultivated land with heavy metal pollution in the suburban black soil region, and cultivated land irrigated with urban river water in the suburbs will have a higher tendency for heavy metal pollution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Occupational Respiratory Diseases of Miners from Two Gold Mines in Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 337; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030337 -
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Open AccessArticle
Physical Limitations, Walkability, Perceived Environmental Facilitators and Physical Activity of Older Adults in Finland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 333; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030333 -
Abstract
The aim was to study objectively assessed walkability of the environment and participant perceived environmental facilitators for outdoor mobility as predictors of physical activity in older adults with and without physical limitations. 75–90-year-old adults living independently in Central Finland were interviewed (n
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The aim was to study objectively assessed walkability of the environment and participant perceived environmental facilitators for outdoor mobility as predictors of physical activity in older adults with and without physical limitations. 75–90-year-old adults living independently in Central Finland were interviewed (n = 839) and reassessed for self-reported physical activity one or two years later (n = 787). Lower-extremity physical limitations were defined as Short Physical Performance Battery score ≤9. Number of perceived environmental facilitators was calculated from a 16-item checklist. Walkability index (land use mix, street connectivity, population density) of the home environment was calculated from geographic information and categorized into tertiles. Accelerometer-based step counts were registered for one week (n = 174). Better walkability was associated with higher numbers of perceived environmental facilitators (p < 0.001) and higher physical activity (self-reported p = 0.021, step count p = 0.010). Especially among those with physical limitations, reporting more environmental facilitators was associated with higher odds for reporting at least moderate physical activity (p < 0.001), but not step counts. Perceived environmental facilitators only predicted self-reported physical activity at follow-up. To conclude, high walkability of the living environment provides opportunities for physical activity in old age, but among those with physical limitations especially, awareness of environmental facilitators may be needed to promote physical activity. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Development of Psychiatric Services Providing an Alternative to Full-Time Hospitalization Is Associated with Shorter Length of Stay in French Public Psychiatry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 325; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030325 -
Abstract
International recommendations for mental health care have advocated for a reduction in the length of stay (LOS) in full-time hospitalization and the development of alternatives to full-time hospitalizations (AFTH) could facilitate alignment with those recommendations. Our objective was therefore to assess whether the
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International recommendations for mental health care have advocated for a reduction in the length of stay (LOS) in full-time hospitalization and the development of alternatives to full-time hospitalizations (AFTH) could facilitate alignment with those recommendations. Our objective was therefore to assess whether the development of AFTH in French psychiatric sectors was associated with a reduction in the LOS in full-time hospitalization. Using data from the French national discharge database of psychiatric care, we computed the LOS of patients admitted for full-time hospitalization. The level of development of AFTH was estimated by the share of human resources allocated to those alternatives in the hospital enrolling the staff of each sector. Multi-level modelling was carried out to adjust the analysis on other factors potentially associated with the LOS (patients’, psychiatric sectors’ and environmental characteristics). We observed considerable variations in the LOS between sectors. Although the majority of these variations resulted from patients’ characteristics, a significant negative association was found between the LOS and the development of AFTH, after adjusting for other factors. Our results provide first evidence of the impact of the development of AFTH on mental health care and will provide a lever for policy makers to further develop these alternatives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is Accessibility to Dental Care Facilities in Rural Areas Associated with Number of Teeth in Elderly Residents?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 327; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030327 -
Abstract
Given that public transportation networks are less developed in rural than in urban areas, a lack of accessibility to dental care facilities could be a barrier to routine dental checkups. Thus, we hypothesized that the distance to the dental care facilities is a
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Given that public transportation networks are less developed in rural than in urban areas, a lack of accessibility to dental care facilities could be a barrier to routine dental checkups. Thus, we hypothesized that the distance to the dental care facilities is a risk factor for tooth loss. The aim of this study was to test whether there is an association between the distance to dental care facilities, estimated by geographic information systems, and number of teeth, assessed by an oral examination, among elderly residents of a rural area in Japan. Data were collected in 2016 from a cross-sectional study conducted in Shimane prefecture, Japan. After excluding participants with missing data (n = 21), we analyzed data from 710 participants. Of them, 40.6% were male and the mean (standard deviation) age was 67.4 (7.4) years. Further, 68.0% (n = 483) had at least 20 teeth. We found that the distance to dental care facilities was significantly associated with the number of teeth (less than 20) (odds ratio = 1.07, 95% confidence interval = 1.01–1.12) after adjustment for potential confounders. This result suggested that individuals without easy access to dental care facilities may be important targets for dental care. Full article