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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 12, Issue 2 (February 2015) , Pages 1054-2329

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Open AccessArticle
Overweight and Obese Adolescent Girls: The Importance of Promoting Sensible Eating and Activity Behaviors from the Start of the Adolescent Period
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2306-2329; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202306 - 17 Feb 2015
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 4241
Abstract
The adolescent period is associated with changes in eating and activity behaviors in girls. Less reliance on parental provision and choice of food, coupled with a decrease in participation in physical activity and sport, can create an energy imbalance, predisposing to weight gain. [...] Read more.
The adolescent period is associated with changes in eating and activity behaviors in girls. Less reliance on parental provision and choice of food, coupled with a decrease in participation in physical activity and sport, can create an energy imbalance, predisposing to weight gain. Physiological alterations to body composition, reduction in insulin sensitivity, and psychological adjustments may further amplify the risk of becoming overweight and maintaining an unhealthy level of body fat into childbearing years. During pregnancy excess body fat is a risk factor for poor pregnancy outcomes and may predispose an infant to a lifelong heightened risk of being overweight and developing chronic disease. Interventions aimed at preventing the accumulation of body fat in adolescent girls and young women may have far reaching impact and be critically important in reducing intergenerational weight gain. Lifestyle interventions in adolescence have the potential to modify adult obesity risk by switching at-risk individuals from a high to lower obesity risk trajectory. This paper discusses multiple approaches to assist at-risk individuals reduce obesity risk. A key focus is placed on engagement in food preparation and choice, and opportunities for physical activity and sport. Support, education, and opportunity at home and at school, are often associated with the success of lifestyle interventions, and may enable adolescents to make positive choices, and engage in health promoting behaviors during adolescence and childbearing years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
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Open AccessReview
Impact of Air Pollutants on Oxidative Stress in Common Autophagy-Mediated Aging Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2289-2305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202289 - 17 Feb 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4711
Abstract
Atmospheric pollution-induced cellular oxidative stress is probably one of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in most of the common autophagy-mediated aging diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, disease, as well as Paget’s disease of bone with or without frontotemporal [...] Read more.
Atmospheric pollution-induced cellular oxidative stress is probably one of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in most of the common autophagy-mediated aging diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, disease, as well as Paget’s disease of bone with or without frontotemporal dementia and inclusion body myopathy. Oxidative stress has serious damaging effects on the cellular contents: DNA, RNA, cellular proteins, and cellular organelles. Autophagy has a pivotal role in recycling these damaged non-functional organelles and misfolded or unfolded proteins. In this paper, we highlight, through a narrative review of the literature, that when autophagy processes are impaired during aging, in presence of cumulative air pollution-induced cellular oxidative stress and due to a direct effect on air pollutant, autophagy-mediated aging diseases may occur. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Air Pollution and Daily Clinic Visits for Headache in a Subtropical City: Taipei, Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2277-2288; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202277 - 17 Feb 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2437
Abstract
This study was undertaken to determine whether there was an association between air pollutant levels and daily clinic visits for headache in Taipei, Taiwan. Daily clinic visits for headache and ambient air pollution data for Taipei were obtained for the period from 2006–2011. [...] Read more.
This study was undertaken to determine whether there was an association between air pollutant levels and daily clinic visits for headache in Taipei, Taiwan. Daily clinic visits for headache and ambient air pollution data for Taipei were obtained for the period from 2006–2011. The odds ratio of clinic visits for headache was estimated using a case-crossover approach, controlling for weather variables, day of the week, seasonality, and long-term time trends. In the single pollutant models, on warm days (>23 °C) statistically significant positive associations were found for increased rate of headache occurrence and levels of particulate matter (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3). On cool days (<23 °C), all pollutants were significantly associated with increased headache visits except SO2. For the two-pollutant models, PM10, O3 and NO2 were significant for higher rate of headache visits in combination with each of the other four pollutants on cool days. On warm days, CO remained statistically significant in all two-pollutant models. This study provides evidence that higher levels of ambient air pollutants increase the risk of clinic visits for headache. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relation between Overweight/Obesity and Self-Rated Health Among Adolescents in Germany. Do Socio-Economic Status and Type of School Have an Impact on That Relation?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2262-2276; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202262 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2753
Abstract
This study investigates the relation between overweight/obesity and self-rated health (SRH), and whether this relation varies by social factors. Data was taken from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS, baseline 2003‒2006). For the definition of overweight and [...] Read more.
This study investigates the relation between overweight/obesity and self-rated health (SRH), and whether this relation varies by social factors. Data was taken from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS, baseline 2003‒2006). For the definition of overweight and obesity, body mass index was calculated based on standardized height and weight measurements. SRH of adolescents (n = 6813, 11‒17 years) was raised with the question: “How would you describe your health in general?” The response categories were “very good”, “good”, “fair”, “poor”, and “very poor”. We dichotomized these responses into: “very good/good” vs. “fair/poor/very poor”. Socio-economic status (SES) in the family of origin and adolescents’ school type were analyzed as modifying factors. Prevalence and age-adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated by binary logistic regression models. We found that overweight and obese boys and obese girls reported fair to very poor SRH more often than their normal weight peers, and that these differences were more apparent in early than late adolescence. In addition, the relation between obesity and SRH was similarly strong in all sub-groups, but there was seldom a relation between overweight and SRH. In summary, the results show that obesity is linked to poor SRH regardless of SES and school type, while the relation between overweight and SRH varies by social factors among adolescents. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Older Male Physicians Have Lower Risk of Trochanteric but Not Cervical Hip Fractures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2249-2261; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202249 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2205
Abstract
Background: Osteoporosis is pathophysiologically related to trochanteric fractures, and this condition is more preventable by lifestyle modifications than cervical fractures. We investigated whether older physicians, who are health-conscious people, are at a lower risk of hip fractures because of fewer trochanteric fractures. [...] Read more.
Background: Osteoporosis is pathophysiologically related to trochanteric fractures, and this condition is more preventable by lifestyle modifications than cervical fractures. We investigated whether older physicians, who are health-conscious people, are at a lower risk of hip fractures because of fewer trochanteric fractures. Methods: Data regarding older (≥65 years) physicians (n = 4303) and matched non-medical persons (control) were retrieved from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance claims. All of the subjects were obtained from NHIRD with index dates from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2008. Cox proportional hazard and competing risk regression models were established to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of hip fracture associated with older physicians. Results: The incidence rates of trochanteric fractures were lower in older physicians than in controls (1.73 and 3.07 per 1000 person-years, respectively), whereas the rates of cervical fractures were similar between the two groups (2.45 and 2.12 per 1000 person-years, respectively). Older physicians yielded 46% lower hazard of trochanteric fractures than controls (adjusted HR 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.37–0.79); by contrast, hazards of cervical fractures were comparable between the two groups. The HRs estimated from the competing risk models remained unchanged. Conclusions: Our findings indicated that health risk awareness may pose a significant preventive effect on trochanteric hip fractures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Assessment of Water Quality Based on a Variable Fuzzy Pattern Recognition Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2230-2248; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202230 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2246
Abstract
Water quality assessment is an important foundation of water resource protection and is affected by many indicators. The dynamic and fuzzy changes of water quality lead to problems for proper assessment. This paper explores a method which is in accordance with the water [...] Read more.
Water quality assessment is an important foundation of water resource protection and is affected by many indicators. The dynamic and fuzzy changes of water quality lead to problems for proper assessment. This paper explores a method which is in accordance with the water quality changes. The proposed method is based on the variable fuzzy pattern recognition (VFPR) model and combines the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) model with the entropy weight (EW) method. The proposed method was applied to dynamically assess the water quality of Biliuhe Reservoir (Dailan, China). The results show that the water quality level is between levels 2 and 3 and worse in August or September, caused by the increasing water temperature and rainfall. Weights and methods are compared and random errors of the values of indicators are analyzed. It is concluded that the proposed method has advantages of dynamism, fuzzification and stability by considering the interval influence of multiple indicators and using the average level characteristic values of four models as results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of QUAL2K Model to Assess Ecological Purification Technology for a Polluted River
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2215-2229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202215 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2470
Abstract
Industrialization and urbanization have caused water pollution and ecosystem degradation, especially in urban canals and rivers in China; accordingly, effective water quality improvement programs are needed. In this study, the Tianlai River in Jiangsu, China was taken as a research site, and a [...] Read more.
Industrialization and urbanization have caused water pollution and ecosystem degradation, especially in urban canals and rivers in China; accordingly, effective water quality improvement programs are needed. In this study, the Tianlai River in Jiangsu, China was taken as a research site, and a combination of ecological purification technologies consisting of biological rope, phytoremediation, and activated carbon were applied in a laboratory-scale study to examine degradation coefficients under dynamic water conditions. Coefficients were then input into the QUAL2K model to simulate various hypothetical scenarios and determine the minimum density of ecological purification combination and hydraulic retention time (HRT) to meet Grade V or IV of the China standard for surface water. The minimum densities for Grade V and IV were 1.6 times and 2 times the experimental density, while the minimum HRTs for Grade V and IV were 2.4 day and 3 day. The results of this study should provide a practical and efficient design method for ecological purification programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Health-Related Quality of Life and Health Service Utilization in Chinese Rural-to-Urban Migrant Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2205-2214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202205 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
Objectives: The number of rural-to-urban migrant workers has been increasing rapidly in China over recent decades, but there is a scarcity of data on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and health service utilization among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers in comparison to local [...] Read more.
Objectives: The number of rural-to-urban migrant workers has been increasing rapidly in China over recent decades, but there is a scarcity of data on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and health service utilization among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers in comparison to local urban residents. We aimed to address this question. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 2315 rural-to-urban migrant workers and 2347 local urban residents in the Shenzhen-Dongguan economic zone (China) in 2013. Outcomes included HRQOL (measured by Health Survey Short Form 36) and health service utilization (self-reported). Results: Compared to local urban residents, rural-to-urban migrant workers had lower scores in all domains of HRQOL, and were more likely to report chronic illnesses (9.2% vs. 6.0%, adjusted OR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.28–2.04) and recent two-week morbidity (21.3% vs. 5.0%, adjusted OR = 5.41, 95% CI 4.26–6.88). Among individuals who reported sickness in the recent two weeks, migrant workers were much less likely to see a doctor (32.7% vs. 66.7%, adjusted OR = 0.21, 95% CI 0.13–0.36). Conclusions: Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers have lower HRQOL, much more frequent morbidity, but are also much less likely to see a doctor in times of sickness as compared to local urban residents, indicating the existence of significant unmet medical care needs in this population. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Childhood Leukemia and 50 Hz Magnetic Fields: Findings from the Italian SETIL Case-Control Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2184-2204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202184 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2922
Abstract
We report on an Italian case-control study on childhood leukemia and exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF). Eligible for inclusion were 745 leukemia cases, aged 0–10 years at diagnosis in 1998–2001, and 1475 sex- and age-matched population controls. Parents of 683 [...] Read more.
We report on an Italian case-control study on childhood leukemia and exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF). Eligible for inclusion were 745 leukemia cases, aged 0–10 years at diagnosis in 1998–2001, and 1475 sex- and age-matched population controls. Parents of 683 cases and 1044 controls (92% vs. 71%) were interviewed. ELF-MF measurements (24–48 h), in the child’s bedroom of the dwelling inhabited one year before diagnosis, were available for 412 cases and 587 controls included in the main conditional regression analyses. The magnetic field induction was 0.04 μT on average (geometric mean), with 0.6% of cases and 1.6% of controls exposed to >0.3 μT. The impact of changes in the statistical model, exposure metric, and data-set restriction criteria was explored via sensitivity analyses. No exposure-disease association was observed in analyses based on continuous exposure, while analyses based on categorical variables were characterized by incoherent exposure-outcome relationships. In conclusion, our results may be affected by several sources of bias and they are noninformative at exposure levels >0.3 μT. Nonetheless, the study may contribute to future meta- or pooled analyses. Furthermore, exposure levels among population controls are useful to estimate attributable risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Production of the Allergenic Protein Alt a 1 by Alternaria Isolates from Working Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2164-2183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202164 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2354
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the ability of Alternaria isolates from workplaces to produce Alt a 1 allergenic protein, and to analyze whether technical materials (cellulose, compost, leather) present within the working environment stimulate or inhibit Alt a 1 production [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the ability of Alternaria isolates from workplaces to produce Alt a 1 allergenic protein, and to analyze whether technical materials (cellulose, compost, leather) present within the working environment stimulate or inhibit Alt a 1 production (ELISA test). Studies included identification of the isolated molds by nucleotide sequences analyzing of the ITS1/ITS2 regions, actin, calmodulin and Alt a 1 genes. It has been shown that Alternaria molds are significant part of microbiocenosis in the archive, museum, library, composting plant and tannery (14%–16% frequency in the air). The presence of the gene encoding the Alt a 1 protein has been detected for the strains: Alternaria alternata, A. lini, A. limoniasperae A. nobilis and A. tenuissima. Environmental strains produced Alt a 1 at higher concentrations (1.103–6.528 ng/mL) than a ATCC strain (0.551–0.975 ng/mL). It has been shown that the homogenization of the mycelium and the use of ultrafiltration allow a considerable increase of Alt a 1 concentration. Variations in the production of Alt a 1 protein, depend on the strain and extraction methods. These studies revealed no impact of the technical material from the workplaces on the production of Alt a 1 protein. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antimicrobial Resistance in Commensal Escherichia coli from Pigs during Metaphylactic Trimethoprim and Sulfamethoxazole Treatment and in the Post-Exposure Period
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2150-2163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202150 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2532
Abstract
The prevalence of trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) resistance in commensal E. coli from pigs was tested in this study. E. coli was derived from three groups of piglets in successive stages of metaphylactic therapy and from two groups of sows 10 and [...] Read more.
The prevalence of trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) resistance in commensal E. coli from pigs was tested in this study. E. coli was derived from three groups of piglets in successive stages of metaphylactic therapy and from two groups of sows 10 and 18 weeks after the treatment. MIC values of TMP and SMX were determined for a total of 352 strains. The presence of resistance genes (dfrA1, dfrA5, dfrA7, dfrA12, dfrA17, sul1, sul2, sul3) and class 1 and 2 integron-associated dfrA gene cassettes was tested. Resistance to TMP was very high during the administration of the antimicrobial (from 97 to 100%) and amounted to 86% and 69% in the post-exposure period; MIC > 32 mg/L. The isolates from all groups of pigs were resistant to sulfamethoxazole, with MIC > 1028 mg/L. The dfrA1 and sul1 genes (as part of integrons) dominated in E. coli from piglets, but the dfrA12 and sul1 genes were prevalent in E. coli from sows. Coexistence of the different dfrA genes was detected in 71 isolates from all groups of swine. Transcription analysis revealed that most of these genes were not transcribed, particularly gene cassettes of class 1 integrons. The research revealed a high level of resistance associated with the metaphylactic treatment, persistence and circulation of resistance in bacterial populations. Diverse genetic background with multiple and not transcribed resistance genes was observed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Smoking-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, Behaviors, Smoking Cessation Idea and Education Level among Young Adult Male Smokers in Chongqing, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2135-2149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202135 - 16 Feb 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2818
Abstract
Introduction: In 2012 in China, 52.9% of men were reported to smoke while only 2.4% of women smoked. This study explored the smoking-related Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) among young adult male smokers. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in four [...] Read more.
Introduction: In 2012 in China, 52.9% of men were reported to smoke while only 2.4% of women smoked. This study explored the smoking-related Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) among young adult male smokers. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in four municipal areas of Chongqing using a questionnaire administered to 536 natives young male smokers aged 18–45 years old. Results: The total score of smoking cognition, the total score of smoking attitude and the total score of positive behavior to quit smoking was significantly different among the three groups by education. Besides, 30.97% of male smokers never seriously thought about quitting smoking. Logistic regression analysis found smoking-related knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and sociodemographic factors affect having smoking cessation idea. But no statistically significant correlation was observed between smoking cognition and positive behavior to quit smoking in a sample of higher education. No statistically significant correlation was observed between smoking cognition and positive behavior to quit smoking (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.03012, p = 0.6811), and also no statistically significant correlation was observed between smoking cognition and positive behavior to quit smoking (Pearson correlation coefficient = 0.08869, p = 0.2364) in the sample of higher education young adult males Conclusions: Young adult males with higher education have a better knowledge of smoking hazards and a more positive attitude toward smoking, however, this knowledge and attitude do not necessarily translate into health behavioral outcomes such as not smoking. Overall the present findings indicate that no statistically significant correlation between the education level and quitting smoking idea exists among young adult male smokers in China. This survey gives a snapshot of the impact of education on smoking-related KAP among young adults male smokers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Care Relationship between Grandparents/Older Carers and Children Infected with HIV in South-Western Uganda: Implications for Care for Both the Children and Their Older Carers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2120-2134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202120 - 13 Feb 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2873
Abstract
The care of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is often undertaken by grandparents, yet little is known about the care relationship between grandparent and grandchild. Our aim was to examine this relationship to understand the needs and responsibilities of both the [...] Read more.
The care of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is often undertaken by grandparents, yet little is known about the care relationship between grandparent and grandchild. Our aim was to examine this relationship to understand the needs and responsibilities of both the HIV positive child and older carer and the nature of the relationship, and to assess the implications for care for the children and the older carers. A qualitative study was conducted with 40 purposively sampled children (13–17 years) and their older carers (50 years and above). Participants were recruited from two clinics in south-western Uganda. Up to three semi-structured interviews were held with each participant. Data were analysed using a thematic framework approach. We found that the care relationship was mostly reciprocal: HIV positive children depended on carers for basic and health needs and carers counted on the children for performing tedious household tasks. The relationship was also characterised by challenges, sometimes causing tension between child and carer. We conclude that: (1) interventions targeting HIV positive children need to also address the needs of older carers, and (2) carers and children would benefit from psychosocial support and social protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV/AIDS: Social Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle
Perceived Environmental and Personal Factors Associated with Walking and Cycling for Transportation in Taiwanese Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2105-2119; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202105 - 13 Feb 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2237
Abstract
This study examined perceived environmental and personal factors associated with walking and cycling as means of transportation for Taiwanese adults. A random-digit-dialing telephone-based cross-sectional survey was conducted with Taiwanese adults aged 20 to 64 years. Data on time spent walking and cycling for [...] Read more.
This study examined perceived environmental and personal factors associated with walking and cycling as means of transportation for Taiwanese adults. A random-digit-dialing telephone-based cross-sectional survey was conducted with Taiwanese adults aged 20 to 64 years. Data on time spent walking and cycling for transportation and perceptions of neighborhood environment and personal characteristics were obtained from 1065 adults by using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-long version and its environmental module. Adjusted binary logistic regression was performed. The results showed that, after adjusting potential confounders, common and different personal and perceived environmental factors were associated with walking and cycling for transportation. For common personal factors, adults who had employment were less likely to engage in 150 min of walking per week (odds ratio [OR] = 0.41; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.27–0.62) and to use cycling as a means of transportation (OR = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.32–0.79). For common perceived environmental factors, adults who perceived good connectivity of streets were more likely to walk (OR = 1.95; 95% CI: 1.20–3.16) and cycle (OR = 2.02; 95% CI: 1.16–3.54) for transportation. Targeting employed adults and improving the connectivity of streets should be a priority for developing transport policies and intervention strategies to promote active transportation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Chemical Characterization of Outdoor and Subway Fine (PM2.5–1.0) and Coarse (PM10–2.5) Particulate Matter in Seoul (Korea) by Computer-Controlled Scanning Electron Microscopy (CCSEM)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2090-2104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202090 - 13 Feb 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2651
Abstract
Outdoor and indoor (subway) samples were collected by passive sampling in urban Seoul (Korea) and analyzed with computer-controlled scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (CCSEM-EDX). Soil/road dust particles accounted for 42%–60% (by weight) of fine particulate matter larger than 1 [...] Read more.
Outdoor and indoor (subway) samples were collected by passive sampling in urban Seoul (Korea) and analyzed with computer-controlled scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (CCSEM-EDX). Soil/road dust particles accounted for 42%–60% (by weight) of fine particulate matter larger than 1 µm (PM2.5–1.0) in outdoor samples and 18% of PM2.5–1.0 in subway samples. Iron-containing particles accounted for only 3%–6% in outdoor samples but 69% in subway samples. Qualitatively similar results were found for coarse particulate matter (PM10–2.5) with soil/road dust particles dominating outdoor samples (66%–83%) and iron-containing particles contributing most to subway PM10–2.5 (44%). As expected, soil/road dust particles comprised a greater mass fraction of PM10–2.5 than PM2.5–1.0. Also as expected, the mass fraction of iron-containing particles was substantially less in PM10–2.5 than in PM2.5–1.0. Results of this study are consistent with known emission sources in the area and with previous studies, which showed high concentrations of iron-containing particles in the subway compared to outdoor sites. Thus, passive sampling with CCSEM-EDX offers an inexpensive means to assess PM2.5–1.0 and PM10-2.5 simultaneously and by composition at multiple locations. Full article
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Open AccessAddendum
Addendum: Shiue, I.; et al. 2014 Future Earth Young Scientists Conference on Integrated Science and Knowledge Co-Production for Ecosystems and Human Well-Being. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 11553–11558
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2088-2089; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202088 - 12 Feb 2015
Viewed by 1971
Abstract
The authors would like to add the following affiliation for Peter Søgaard Jørgensen of paper [1]: 8 International Network of Next-Generation Ecologists, Universitetsparken 15, Building 3, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Circadian Rhythmicity of Antioxidant Markers in Rats Exposed to 1.8 GHz Radiofrequency Fields
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2071-2087; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202071 - 12 Feb 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3106
Abstract
Background: The potential health risks of exposure to Radiofrequency Fields (RF) emitted by mobile phones are currently of considerable public interest, such as the adverse effects on the circadian rhythmicities of biological systems. To determine whether circadian rhythms of the plasma antioxidants (Mel, [...] Read more.
Background: The potential health risks of exposure to Radiofrequency Fields (RF) emitted by mobile phones are currently of considerable public interest, such as the adverse effects on the circadian rhythmicities of biological systems. To determine whether circadian rhythms of the plasma antioxidants (Mel, GSH-Px and SOD) are affected by RF, we performed a study on male Sprague Dawley rats exposed to the 1.8 GHz RF. Methods: All animals were divided into seven groups. The animals in six groups were exposed to 1.8 GHz RF (201.7 μW/cm2 power density, 0.05653 W/kg specific absorption rate) at a specific period of the day (3, 7, 11, 15, 19 and 23 h GMT, respectively), for 2 h/day for 32 consecutive days. The rats in the seventh group were used as sham-exposed controls. At the end of last RF exposure, blood samples were collected from each rat every 4 h (total period of 24 h) and also at similar times from sham-exposed animals. The concentrations of three antioxidants (Mel, GSH-Px and SOD) were determined. The data in RF-exposed rats were compared with those in sham-exposed animals. Results: circadian rhythms in the synthesis of Mel and antioxidant enzymes, GSH-Px and SOD, were shifted in RF-exposed rats compared to sham-exposed animals: the Mel, GSH-Px and SOD levels were significantly decreased when RF exposure was given at 23 and 3 h GMT. Conclusion: The overall results indicate that there may be adverse effects of RF exposure on antioxidant function, in terms of both the daily antioxidative levels, as well as the circadian rhythmicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
More than a Pretty Place: Assessing the Impact of Environmental Education on Children’s Knowledge and Attitudes about Outdoor Play in Nature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2054-2070; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202054 - 12 Feb 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3804
Abstract
Our work assessed the influence of an urban environmental education program on children’s attitudes toward outdoor play, as well as knowledge of neighborhood features that can facilitate this type of activity. The project team engaged 6 schools near the newest Urban Ecology Center [...] Read more.
Our work assessed the influence of an urban environmental education program on children’s attitudes toward outdoor play, as well as knowledge of neighborhood features that can facilitate this type of activity. The project team engaged 6 schools near the newest Urban Ecology Center location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, through a community-academic partnership entitled More Than a Pretty Place. Intervention classrooms participated in programming over the 2012–2013 academic year and pre and post surveys were implemented in classrooms. Data were analyzed using multilevel regression models. The intervention group reported reduced fears of outdoor play in nature and increased frequency of visits to the Urban Ecology Center. The proportion of students who acknowledged knowing of a place to play outside in nature increased significantly in both groups. Our findings indicate an important role for environmental education in addressing fears that may dissuade children from engaging in outdoor play in natural areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drinking Patterns and the Association between Socio-Demographic Factors and Adolescents’ Alcohol Use in Three Metropolises in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2037-2053; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202037 - 12 Feb 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2439
Abstract
The current study was designed to investigate the drinking patterns and association between socio-demographic factors and adolescents’ alcohol use among high school students from China’s three metropolises, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Using a self-administered questionnaire, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among 13,811 high [...] Read more.
The current study was designed to investigate the drinking patterns and association between socio-demographic factors and adolescents’ alcohol use among high school students from China’s three metropolises, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Using a self-administered questionnaire, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among 13,811 high school students from 136 schools between May and June 2013. A two-stage stratified sampling method was used for subject selection. The prevalence of lifetime drinking was 52.5%; in addition, 38.5% of the students were past-year drinkers, while 20.1% of them had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. During the past year, 29.7% of the students reported that they drank once per month or less, and 22.0% of the students drank less than one standard drink (SD) per occasion. For the students who were not living with their mothers, as well as the students in higher socioeconomic status (SES), the adjusted odds of past and current drinking were significantly higher, compared with those who lived with both parents and low SES. Due to the high prevalence of alcohol consumption among junior and senior high school students in metropolises, attention should be paid by parents, school administrators, educational and public health agencies for making efforts collectively to reduce alcohol availability and drinking among adolescents. Full article
Open AccessShort Communication
Surveillance of Hepatitis E Virus Contamination in Shellfish in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2026-2036; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202026 - 11 Feb 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2623
Abstract
Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been confirmed to be a zoonotic virus of worldwide distribution. HEV contamination in the water environment has not been well examined in China. The objective of this study was to evaluate HEV contamination in shellfish in [...] Read more.
Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been confirmed to be a zoonotic virus of worldwide distribution. HEV contamination in the water environment has not been well examined in China. The objective of this study was to evaluate HEV contamination in shellfish in a coastal area of China. Such contamination would be significant for evaluating public health risks. Methods: samples of three species shellfish were collected from thirteen points of estuarine tidal flats around the Bohai Gulf and screened for HEV RNA using an in-house nested RT-PCR assay. The detected HEV-positive samples were further verified by gene cloning and sequencing analysis. Results: the overall HEV-positive detection rate is approximately 17.5% per kilogram of shellfish. HEV was more common among S. subcrenata (28.2%), followed by A. granosa (14.3%) and R. philippinarum (11.5%). The phylogenetic analysis of the 13 HEV strains detected revealed that gene fragments fell into two known 4 sub-genotypes (4b/4d) groups and another unknown group. Conclusions: 13 different sub-genotype 4 HEVs were found in contaminated shellfish in the Bohai Gulf rim. The findings suggest that a health risk may exist for users of waters in the Bonhai area and to consumers of shellfish. Further research is needed to assess the sources and infectivity of HEV in these settings, and to evaluate additional shellfish harvesting areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
School Locations and Traffic Emissions — Environmental (In)Justice Findings Using a New Screening Method
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 2009-2025; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120202009 - 11 Feb 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3139
Abstract
It has been shown that the location of schools near heavily trafficked roads can have detrimental effects on the health of children attending those schools. It is therefore desirable to screen both existing school locations and potential new school sites to assess either [...] Read more.
It has been shown that the location of schools near heavily trafficked roads can have detrimental effects on the health of children attending those schools. It is therefore desirable to screen both existing school locations and potential new school sites to assess either the need for remedial measures or suitability for the intended use. Current screening tools and public guidance on school siting are either too coarse in their spatial resolution for assessing individual sites or are highly resource intensive in their execution (e.g., through dispersion modeling). We propose a new method to help bridge the gap between these two approaches. Using this method, we also examine the public K-12 schools in the Sacramento Area Council of Governments Region, California (USA) from an environmental justice perspective. We find that PM2.5 emissions from road traffic affecting a school site are significantly positively correlated with the following metrics: percent share of Black, Hispanic and multi-ethnic students, percent share of students eligible for subsidized meals. The emissions metric correlates negatively with the schools’ Academic Performance Index, the share of White students and average parental education levels. Our PM2.5 metric also correlates with the traffic related, census tract level screening indicators from the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool and the tool’s tract level rate of asthma related emergency department visits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eliminating Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity)
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Open AccessArticle
Body Mass Index (BMI) Is Associated with Microalbuminuria in Chinese Hypertensive Patients
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1998-2008; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201998 - 10 Feb 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2340
Abstract
There is no general consensus on possible factors associated with microalbuminuria in hypertensive patients nor any reported study about this issue in Chinese patients. To examine this issues, 944 hypertensive patients were enrolled in a study based on a cross-sectional survey conducted in [...] Read more.
There is no general consensus on possible factors associated with microalbuminuria in hypertensive patients nor any reported study about this issue in Chinese patients. To examine this issues, 944 hypertensive patients were enrolled in a study based on a cross-sectional survey conducted in Southern China. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify the factors related with the presence of microalbuminuria and urinary excretion of albumin. The prevalence of microalbuminuria in hypertensive and non-diabetic hypertensive patients were 17.16% and 15.25%, respectively. Body mass index (BMI), but not waist circumference (WC), were independently associated with microalbuminuria and the values of urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) based on multiple regression analyses, even after excluding diabetic patients and patients taking inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system from the analyses. Furthermore, patients with obesity (BMI ≥28) had higher levels of ACR, compared with those with normal weight (BMI <24 kg/m2) and overweight (24 kg/m2≤ BMI < 28). In conclusion, BMI, as a modifiable factor, is closely associated with microalbuminuria among Chinese hypertensive patients, which may provide a basis for future development of intervention approaches for these patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Association of Weather Variability and Under Five Malaria Mortality in KEMRI/CDC HDSS in Western Kenya 2003 to 2008: A Time Series Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1983-1997; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201983 - 10 Feb 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2970
Abstract
Malaria is among the leading causes of mortality in the younger under-five group of children zero to four years of age. This study aims at describing the relationship between rainfall and temperature on under-five malaria or anaemia mortality in Kenya Medical Research Institute [...] Read more.
Malaria is among the leading causes of mortality in the younger under-five group of children zero to four years of age. This study aims at describing the relationship between rainfall and temperature on under-five malaria or anaemia mortality in Kenya Medical Research Institute and United States Centers for Disease Control (KEMRI/CDC) Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS). This study was conducted through the ongoing KEMRI and CDC collaboration. A general additive model with a Poisson link function was fit to model the weekly association of lagged cumulative rainfall and average temperature on malaria/anemia mortality in KEMRI/CDC HDSS for the period 2003 to 2008. A trend function was included in the model to control for time trends and seasonality not explained by weather fluctuations. 95% confidence intervals was presented with estimates. Malaria or anemia mortality was found to be associated with changes in temperature and rainfall in the KEMRI HDSS, with a delay up to 16 weeks. The empirical estimates of associations describe established biological relationships well. This information, and particularly, the strength of the relationships over longer lead times can highlight the possibility of developing a predictive forecast with lead times up to 16 weeks in order to enhance preparedness to high transmission episodes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) Knowledge on HIV Prevention Practices Among Traditional Birth Attendants in Nigeria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1969-1982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201969 - 10 Feb 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2584
Abstract
Nigeria is second in the world for the number of people with HIV and has a high rate of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Over 60% of births in Nigeria occur outside of health care facilities, and because of this, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) play [...] Read more.
Nigeria is second in the world for the number of people with HIV and has a high rate of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Over 60% of births in Nigeria occur outside of health care facilities, and because of this, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) play a significant role in maternal and child health. It is important that TBAs be knowledgeable about HIV prevention. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of HIV testing and counseling (HTC) knowledge on the HIV prevention practices among TBAs in Nigeria. Five hundred TBAs were surveyed. Chi-square and logistic regression were used to assess differences in HIV prevention practices between TBAs with and without HTC knowledge. TBAs with HTC knowledge are significantly more likely to engage in HIV prevention practices than TBAs without HTC. Prevention practices included: wearing gloves during delivery (p < 0.01), sterilization of delivery equipment (p < 0.01), participation in blood safety training (p < 0.01), and disposal of sharps (p < 0.01). As long as a high percent of births occur outside health care facilities in Nigeria, there will be a need for TBAs. Providing TBAs with HTC training increases HIV prevention practices and can be a key to improve maternal and child health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV/AIDS: Social Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle
Approaching Environmental Health Disparities and Green Spaces: An Ecosystem Services Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1952-1968; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201952 - 10 Feb 2015
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 5030
Abstract
Health disparities occur when adverse health conditions are unequal across populations due in part to gaps in wealth. These disparities continue to plague global health. Decades of research suggests that the natural environment can play a key role in sustaining the health of [...] Read more.
Health disparities occur when adverse health conditions are unequal across populations due in part to gaps in wealth. These disparities continue to plague global health. Decades of research suggests that the natural environment can play a key role in sustaining the health of the public. However, the influence of the natural environment on health disparities is not well-articulated. Green spaces provide ecosystem services that are vital to public health. This paper discusses the link between green spaces and some of the nation’s leading health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular health, heat-related illness, and psychological health. These associations are discussed in terms of key demographic variables—race, ethnicity, and income. The authors also identify research gaps and recommendations for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eliminating Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity)
Open AccessArticle
Using Nature-Based Rehabilitation to Restart a Stalled Process of Rehabilitation in Individuals with Stress-Related Mental Illness
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1928-1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201928 - 09 Feb 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3966 | Correction
Abstract
After a period of decrease, sick leave in Sweden due to psychiatric diagnoses is on the increase. The lack of established rehabilitation programmes for patients with stress-related mental disorders (SRMD) has opened up for the use of garden/nature in a multimodal rehabilitation context [...] Read more.
After a period of decrease, sick leave in Sweden due to psychiatric diagnoses is on the increase. The lack of established rehabilitation programmes for patients with stress-related mental disorders (SRMD) has opened up for the use of garden/nature in a multimodal rehabilitation context (Nature-Based Rehabilitation, NBR). Region Västra Götaland (VGR) started an NBR to offer additional rehabilitation for its employees on long-term sick leave due to SRMD, where initial care had not been sufficient. The aim was to explore whether the mental health and well-being of NBR participants had improved at the end of the NBR and at three follow-ups, and to explore the development of sick leave and health care utilization according to the NBR model (n = 57) and an occupational health service (OHS) model (n = 45). Self-assessment instruments for measuring burnout, depression, anxiety and wellbeing, and data from regional and national registers were used. Results showed decreased scores on burnout, depression and anxiety, and increased well-being scores and significantly reduced health care utilization in the NBR group. A large movement from ordinary sickness benefit to rehabilitation benefit was observed, which was not observed in the OHS group. The two groups were in different rehabilitation phases, which limited comparisons. The results point to beneficial effects of using NBR for this patient group and for enhancing a stalled rehabilitation process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Effective and Socio-Culturally Appropriate Sanitation and Hygiene Interventions in the Philippines: A Mixed Method Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1902-1927; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201902 - 05 Feb 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3940
Abstract
Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) represent an important health burden in the Philippines. The non-governmental organisation Fit for School intends to complement its handwashing programme in schools with sanitation interventions. The objectives of this mixed-method study therefore were to describe WASH practices [...] Read more.
Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) represent an important health burden in the Philippines. The non-governmental organisation Fit for School intends to complement its handwashing programme in schools with sanitation interventions. The objectives of this mixed-method study therefore were to describe WASH practices and their impact on childhood diarrhoea in the Philippines, and to examine socio-cultural and environmental factors underlying defecation and anal cleansing practices in Northern Mindanao. We quantified the effect of WASH practices on diarrhoea through logistic regression models, using the Philippine Demographic and Health Survey 2008. When adjusting for non-modifiable factors, susceptibility and socioeconomic factors, WASH factors failed to show a statistically significant effect. Focus group discussions were held with women in urban and rural Northern Mindanao, and findings analysed using thematic analysis. Defecation and anal cleansing behaviours were constrained by the physical environment, particularly the lack of clean, safe, comfortable and private facilities. Individual determinants of behaviour were influenced by habit and motivations such as disgust, with some evidence of planned behaviour. Where available, water was the preferred material for anal cleansing. This study combines nationally-representative quantitative data with local in-depth qualitative insights, constituting critical formative research in the development of effective and appropriate interventions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Extent, Nature and Environmental Health Implications of Cottage Industries in Johannesburg, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1894-1901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201894 - 05 Feb 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2145
Abstract
Cottage industries comprise a sub-group of informal sector income generation activities which are conducted in the home environment and organized around families or households. Cottage industry workers may be at risk of exposure to harmful substances associated with their work, and given the [...] Read more.
Cottage industries comprise a sub-group of informal sector income generation activities which are conducted in the home environment and organized around families or households. Cottage industry workers may be at risk of exposure to harmful substances associated with their work, and given the lack of separation of cottage industry activities from living spaces, their families and neighbors may similarly be at risk of exposure. This study was undertaken to determine the extent and nature of cottage industries in five neighborhoods in Johannesburg (South Africa) A cross-sectional survey was conducted across five communities in Johannesburg in 2012. Data on metal-related cottage industry activities were collected through the administration of a pre-structured questionnaire. Metal-related cottage industry activities were defined as car repairs, spray painting, scrap metal recycling, electrical appliance repairs, welding, hairdressing and metal jewelry making. One fifth of the households interviewed were operating one or more cottage industries associated with the use of toxic substances. Therefore, the potential exists for associated ill health effects in a considerable proportion of the population. Further research is needed to fully assess exposure to the harmful aspects of cottage industry, as are scaled up campaigns to increase awareness of the risks and correct handling of toxic substances. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Effects of Exposure to a Traditional Rural Environment on Urban Dwellers: A Crossover Field Study in Terraced Farmland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1874-1893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201874 - 05 Feb 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2732
Abstract
Despite an increasing attention and public preference for rural amenities, little evidence is available on the health benefits of a rural environment. In this study, we identified physiological and psychological benefits of exposure to a rural environment using multiparametric methods. Twelve young male [...] Read more.
Despite an increasing attention and public preference for rural amenities, little evidence is available on the health benefits of a rural environment. In this study, we identified physiological and psychological benefits of exposure to a rural environment using multiparametric methods. Twelve young male adults participated in a 3-day field experiment (mean ± standard deviation age, 22.3 ± 1.3 years). Sleeping environment, diet program, physical activities, and other factors possibly affecting physiological responses were controlled during experiment period. For all participants, salivary cortisol concentration, heart rate variability, and blood pressure were measured at rural and urban field sites. Self-evaluation questionnaires were administered to analyze the psychological states in two different environments. Volatile compounds in the air were also analyzed to investigate air quality. The data were compared between rural and urban environments. The data showed that exposure to a rural environment reduced stress hormone secretion and sympathetic nervous activity and increased parasympathetic nervous activity. Short-term exposure to a rural environment also improved mood states. Our findings indicate that exposure to a rural environment effectively reduced physiological stress and enhanced psychological well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Parity and Risk of Death from Gallbladder Cancer among a Cohort of Premenopausal Parous Women in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(2), 1864-1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120201864 - 05 Feb 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2165
Abstract
Little epidemiologic research has been done on the etiology of gallbladder cancer (GC). This cohort study was undertaken to examine whether there is an association between parity and risk of death from GC. The study cohort consisted of 1,292,462 women who had a [...] Read more.
Little epidemiologic research has been done on the etiology of gallbladder cancer (GC). This cohort study was undertaken to examine whether there is an association between parity and risk of death from GC. The study cohort consisted of 1,292,462 women who had a first and singleton childbirth between 1 January 1978 and 31 December 1987. We tracked each woman from the time of their first childbirth to 31 December 2009, and their vital status was ascertained by linking records with the computerized mortality database. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) of death from GC associated with parity. There were 257 GC deaths during 34,980,246 person-years of follow-up. The mortality rate of GC was 0.73 cases per 100,000 person-years. As compared with women who had given birth to only one child, the adjusted HR was 1.20 (95% CI = 0.79–1.83) for women who had two children, 1.47 (95% CI = 0.95–2.29) for women who had three children, and 1.68 (95% CI = 0.99–2.85) for women with four or more births. There was a significant increasing trend in the adjusted HRs for GC with increasing parity. The findings suggested that premenopausal women of higher parity may increase the risk of death from GC. Full article
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