Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(4), 4340-4353; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404340 (registering DOI) - published 20 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Objective: Prolonged office sitting time adversely affects neuromuscular and cardiovascular health parameters. As a consequence, the present study investigated the effects of prompting the use of height-adjustable working desk (HAWD) on occupational sitting and standing time, neuromuscular outcomes and concentration in office workers. Methods: A single-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT) with parallel group design was conducted. Thirty-eight office workers were supplied with HAWDs and randomly assigned (Strata: physical activity (PA), BMI, gender, workload) to a prompt (INT) or non-prompt (CON) group. INT received three daily screen-based prompts within 12 weeks. CON was only instructed once concerning the benefits of using HAWDs prior to the start of the study. Sitting and standing times were objectively assessed as primary outcomes for one entire working week using the ActiGraph wGT3X-BT at baseline (pre), after 6 (mid) and 12 weeks (post). Concentration (d2-test), postural sway during upright stance (under single, dual and triple task) and lower limb strength endurance (heel-rise) were collected as secondary outcomes. Results: With large but not statistically significant within group effects from pre to post,INT increased weekly standing time at work by 9% (p = 0.22, d = 0.8) representing an increase from 7.2 h (4.8) to 9.7 (6.6) h (p = 0.07). Concentration and neuromuscular performance did not change from pre to post testing (0.23 < p < 0.95; 0.001 < ηp² < 0.05). Conclusion: Low-frequent and low cost screen-based point of choice prompts (3 per day within 12 weeks) already result in notable increases of occupational standing time of approx. daily 30 min. These stimuli, however, did not relevantly affect neuromuscular outcomes.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(4), 4321-4339; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404321 (registering DOI) - published 20 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Traditional healing remains an important aspect of many people’s engagement with healthcare and, in this, responses to the treatment of HIV/AIDS are no different. However, given the gravity of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, there has been much debate as to the value of traditional healing in this respect. Accordingly, this paper explores the extent to which meaningful accommodation between the biomedical and traditional sectors is possible (and/or even desirable). It does this through a consideration of Native American and South African experiences, looking at how the respective groups, in which medical pluralism is common, have addressed the issue of HIV/AIDS. The paper points to the importance of developing “culturally appropriate” forms of treatment that emphasise complementary rather than adversarial engagement between the traditional and biomedical systems and how policymakers can best facilitate this.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(4), 4306-4320; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404306 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Considering the wide growth of the wind turbine market over the last decade as well as their increasing power size, more and more potential conflicts have arisen in society due to the noise radiated by these plants. Our goal was to determine whether the annoyance caused by wind farms is related to aspects other than noise. To accomplish this, an auditory experiment on the recognition of wind turbine noise was conducted to people with long experience of wind turbine noise exposure and to people with no previous experience to this type of noise source. Our findings demonstrated that the trend of the auditory recognition is the same for the two examined groups, as far as the increase of the distance and the decrease of the values of sound equivalent levels and loudness are concerned. Significant differences between the two groups were observed as the distance increases. People with wind turbine noise experience showed a higher tendency to report false alarms than people without experience.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(4), 4292-4305; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404292 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Changes in ecological vulnerability were analyzed for Northern Shaanxi, China using a geographic information system (GIS). An evaluation model was developed using a spatial principal component analysis (SPCA) model containing land use, soil erosion, topography, climate, vegetation and social economy variables. Using this model, an ecological vulnerability index was computed for the research region. Using natural breaks classification (NBC), the evaluation results were divided into five types: potential, slight, light, medium and heavy. The results indicate that there is greater than average optimism about the conditions of the study region, and the ecological vulnerability index (EVI) of the southern eight counties is lower than that of the northern twelve counties. From 1997 to 2011, the ecological vulnerability index gradually decreased, which means that environmental security was gradually enhanced, although there are still some places that have gradually deteriorated over the past 15 years. In the study area, government and economic factors and precipitation are the main reasons for the changes in ecological vulnerability.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(4), 4275-4291; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404275 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing rapid urbanisation and many urban residents use groundwater where piped supplies are intermittent or unavailable. This study aimed to investigate long-term changes in groundwater contamination hazards and hand-dug well water quality in two informal settlements in Kisumu city, Kenya. Buildings, pit latrines, and wells were mapped in 1999 and 2013–2014. Sanitary risk inspection and water quality testing were conducted at 51 hand-dug wells in 2002 to 2004 and 2014. Pit latrine density increased between 1999 and 2014, whilst sanitary risk scores for wells increased between 2002 to 2004 and 2014 (n = 37, Z = −1.98, p = 0.048). Nitrate levels dropped from 2004 to 2014 (n = 14, Z = −3.296, p = 0.001), but multivariate analysis suggested high rainfall in 2004 could account for this. Thermotolerant coliform counts dropped between 2004 and 2014, with this reduction significant in one settlement. Hand-dug wells had thus remained an important source of domestic water between 1999 and 2014, but contamination risks increased over this period. Water quality trends were complex, but nitrate levels were related to both sanitary risks and rainfall. Given widespread groundwater use by the urban poor in sub-Saharan Africa, the study protocol could be further refined to monitor contamination in hand-dug wells in similar settings.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2015, 12(4), 4256-4274; doi:10.3390/ijerph120404256 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: An established relationship exists between public transportation (PT) use and physical activity. However, there is limited literature that examines the link between PT use and active commuting (AC) behavior. This study examines this link to determine if PT users commute more by active modes. Methods: A volunteer, convenience sample of adults (n = 748) completed an online survey about AC/PT patterns, demographic, psychosocial, community and environmental factors. t-test compared differences between PT riders and non-PT riders. Binary logistic regression analyses examined the effect of multiple factors on AC and a full logistic regression model was conducted to examine AC. Results: Non-PT riders (n = 596) reported less AC than PT riders. There were several significant relationships with AC for demographic, interpersonal, worksite, community and environmental factors when considering PT use. The logistic multivariate analysis for included age, number of children and perceived distance to work as negative predictors and PT use, feelings of bad weather and lack of on-street bike lanes as a barrier to AC, perceived behavioral control and spouse AC were positive predictors. Conclusions: This study revealed the complex relationship between AC and PT use. Further research should investigate how AC and public transit use are related.