BMC Public Health

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ISSN / EISSN : 1471-2458 / 1471-2458
Total articles ≅ 17,715
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, Anthony Biglan
Published: 26 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11474-5

Background This paper describes the development and psychometric evaluation of a behavioral assessment instrument primarily intended for use with workgroups in any type of organization. The instrument was developed based on the Nurturing Environments framework which describes four domains important for health, well-being, and productivity; minimizing toxic social interactions, teaching and reinforcing prosocial behaviors, limiting opportunities for problem behaviors, and promoting psychological flexibility. The instrument is freely available to use and adapt under a CC-BY license and intended as a tool that is easy for any group to use and interpret to identify key behaviors to improve their psychosocial work environment. Methods Questionnaire data of perceived frequency of behaviors relevant to nurturance were collected from nine different organizations in Sweden. Data were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis, Rasch analysis, and correlations to investigate relationships with relevant workplace measures. Results The results indicate that the 23-item instrument is usefully divided in two factors, which can be described as risk and protective factors. Toxic social behaviors make up the risk factor, while the protective factor includes prosocial behavior, behaviors that limit problems, and psychological flexibility. Rasch analysis showed that the response categories work as intended for all items, item fit is satisfactory, and there was no significant differential item functioning across age or gender. Targeting indicates that measurement precision is skewed towards lower levels of both factors, while item thresholds are distributed over the range of participant abilities, particularly for the protective factor. A Rasch score table is available for ordinal to interval data transformation. Conclusions This initial analysis shows promising results, while more data is needed to investigate group-level measurement properties and validation against concrete longitudinal outcomes. We provide recommendations for how to work in practice with a group based on their assessment data, and how to optimize the measurement precision further. By using a two-dimensional assessment with ratings of both frequency and perceived importance of behaviors the instrument can help facilitate a participatory group development process. The Group Nurturance Inventory is freely available to use and adapt for both commercial and non-commercial use and could help promote transparent assessment practices in organizational and group development.
Published: 24 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21, pp 1-8; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11498-x

Background New York City (NYC) was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is home to underserved populations with higher prevalence of chronic conditions that put them in danger of more serious infection. Little is known about how the presence of chronic risk factors correlates with mortality at the population level. Here we determine the relationship between these factors and COVD-19 mortality in NYC. Methods A cross-sectional study of mortality data obtained from the NYC Coronavirus data repository (03/02/2020–07/06/2020) and the prevalence of neighborhood-level risk factors for COVID-19 severity was performed. A risk index was created based on the CDC criteria for risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19, and stepwise linear regression was implemented to predict the COVID-19 mortality rate across NYC zip code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) utilizing the risk index, median age, socioeconomic status index, and the racial and Hispanic composition at the ZCTA-level as predictors. Results The COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 persons significantly decreased with the increasing proportion of white residents (βadj = − 0.91, SE = 0.31, p = 0.0037), while the increasing proportion of Hispanic residents (βadj = 0.90, SE = 0.38, p = 0.0200), median age (βadj = 3.45, SE = 1.74, p = 0.0489), and COVID-19 severity risk index (βadj = 5.84, SE = 0.82, p < 0.001) were statistically significantly positively associated with death rates. Conclusions Disparities in COVID-19 mortality exist across NYC and these vulnerable areas require increased attention, including repeated and widespread testing, to minimize the threat of serious illness and mortality.
, Sarianna Sipilä, Taija Finni, Urho M. Kujala, Pauliina Aukee, Vuokko Kovanen, Eija K. Laakkonen, Katja Kokko
Published: 23 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21, pp 1-11; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11485-2

Background To investigate whether physical performance is independently of physical activity (PA) associated with positive and negative dimensions of mental well-being in middle-aged women. Methods Data were drawn from the Estrogenic Regulation of Muscle Apoptosis (ERMA) study in which women 47 to 55 years were randomly selected from the Finnish National Registry. They (n = 909) participated in measurements of physical performance (handgrip force, knee extension force, vertical jumping height, maximal walking speed, and six-minute walking distance). Both mental well-being (the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, the International Positive and Negative Affect Schedule Short Form and the Satisfaction with Life Scale) and PA were self-reported. Associations between variables were analysed using multivariate linear regression modelling adjusted for body height, fat mass %, menopausal status and symptoms, marital status, parity, employment status, self-reported mental disorders, and use of psycholeptics and psychoanaleptics. PA was then entered into a separate model to explore its role in the associations. Results In the adjusted models, significant positive associations of six-minute walking distance with positive affectivity (B = 0.12, p = 0.002) and life satisfaction (B = 0.15, p = 0.033) were observed. No significant associations were observed between physical performance and depressive symptoms or negative affectivity. PA was positively associated with positive affectivity and life satisfaction and negatively with depressive symptoms across all the physical performance variables. Conclusions Of the physical performance dimensions, aerobic component was associated with positive mental well-being independently of PA level. In relation to other physical performance components, the results point to the benefits of physical activity for mental well-being.
, Fiona Mensah, Graham Gee, Yin Paradies, Samantha French, Lea Waters, Kerry Arabena, Gregory Armstrong, Jan Nicholson, Stephanie J. Brown, et al.
Published: 23 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21, pp 1-11; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11503-3

Background Increasingly, strength-based approaches to health and wellbeing interventions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are being explored. This is a welcome counter to deficit-based initiatives which can represent a non-Indigenous view of outcomes of interest. However, the evidence base is not well developed. This paper presents the protocol for evaluating a strengths-based initiative which provides life coaching services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing tenants. The study aims to evaluate the effect of life coaching on social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) of tenants in three Victorian regions. Methods The More Than a Landlord (MTAL) study is a prospective cohort study of Aboriginal Housing Victoria tenants aged 16 years and over that embeds the evaluation of a life coaching program. All tenant holders in one metropolitan and two regional areas of Victoria are invited to participate in a survey of SEWB, containing items consistent with key categories of SEWB as understood and defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and key demographics, administered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peer researchers at baseline, 6 and 18 months. Survey participants are then invited to participate in strengths based life coaching, using the GROW model, for a duration of up to 18 months. Indigenous life coaches provide tenants with structured support in identifying and making progress towards their goals and aspirations, rather than needs. The study aims to recruit a minimum of 200 survey participants of which it is anticipated that approximately 73% will agree to life coaching. Discussion The MTAL study is a response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and organisational requests to build the evidence base for an initiative originally developed and piloted within an Aboriginal controlled organisation. The study design aligns with key principles for research in Indigenous communities in promoting control, decision making and capacity building. The MTAL study will provide essential evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of strengths-based initiatives in promoting SEWB in these communities and provide new evidence about the relationship between strengths, resilience, self-determination and wellbeing outcomes. Trial registration This trial was retrospectively registered with the ISRCTN Register on the 12/7/21 with the study ID:ISRCTN33665735.
Athira Rohit, Renae Kirkham, Leisa McCarthy, Valentina Puruntatameri, Louise Maple-Brown, Julie Brimblecombe
Published: 23 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11493-2

Background Evidence on child feeding practice is often based on the perspectives and experiences of parents and less that of health practitioners. In this study, we explored child feeding practice in Aboriginal communities in northern Australia from both the parents and health practitioners’ perspectives with the aim of informing nutrition improvement programs. Methods Qualitative research methods were employed. Using semi-structured interviews, parents (n = 30) of children aged 2–5 years, and 29 service providers who were involved in the delivery of child health and nutrition programs in the same communities, were asked about child feeding attitudes and practices. Responses were analyzed through inductive and deductive analysis, recognizing that worldviews influence child feeding practices. Results Sharing food was a central practice within families. Parents highly valued development of child independence in food behavior but were conflicted with the easy access to unhealthy food in their communities. This easy access to unhealthy food and inadequate food storage and kitchen facilities for some families were major challenges to achieving optimal diets for children identified by Aboriginal families and service providers. The responsive style of parenting described by parents was often misunderstood by service providers as sub-optimal parenting when viewed through a dominant western lens. Conclusions Approaches to support healthy feeding practices and optimal child nutrition require health-enabling food environments. Along with a community-based Aboriginal health workforce, it is paramount that the non-Aboriginal workforce be supported to be reflective of the impact of worldview on their practice, to ensure a culturally safe environment for families where parenting styles are understood and appropriately supported.
Ayanthi Karunarathne, Ashish Bhalla, Aastha Sethi, Uditha Perera,
Published: 22 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11156-2

Poisoning is a major problem in India. However, there is little systematic information on the key poisons responsible for most deaths by geographical area and over time. We aimed to review the literature to identify the poison classes causing the greatest number of deaths in India over the last 20 years. We performed a systematic literature review in Medline, Embase and Google Scholar (1999–2018), and Indian online medical journals, to find papers that reported deaths from all forms of poisoning in India, with last search 20 April 2020. We included epidemiological studies, observational studies, randomised trials, interventional studies, and case series published from 1999 to 2018 that showed the number of deaths and autopsy studies indicating the specific poisons or poison classes. Studies providing the case fatality for specific poisons or classes, which enabled calculation of the number of deaths, were also included. We excluded deaths due to animal bites and stings, ethanol or methanol poisoning, and gas inhalation as well as papers reporting a single death (case study of single patient). We grouped the papers into 5-year intervals and identified the two most common poison classes in each paper. We used descriptive statistics to summarise the findings over time based on the causative poison and the location of the study. We identified 186 papers reporting 16,659 poisoning deaths between 1999 and 2018. The number of publications per 5-year interval showed no clear trend over the period (48, 38, 67, and 36 for consecutive periods). Half of the deaths (n = 8338, 50.0%) were reported during the first 5 years of the study (1999–2003), the number of deaths declining thereafter (to n = 1714 in 2014–2018). Deaths due to pesticide poisoning (94.5%) were dominant across the study period compared to other classes of poison [hair dye paraphenylenediamine poisoning (2.6%), medicine overdose (1.4%) or plant poisoning (1.0%)]. Among the pesticides, aluminium phosphide was the most important lethal poison during the first 10 years before declining markedly; organophosphorus insecticides were important throughout the period, becoming dominant in the last decade as aluminium phosphide cases declined. Unfortunately, few papers identified the specific organophosphorus insecticide responsible for deaths. Use of the published literature to better understand the epidemiology of lethal poisoning in India has clear limitations, including secular variation in publishing practices and interest in poisoning. Unfortunately, there are no long-term detailed, combination hospital and community studies from India to provide this information. In their absence, our review indicates that pesticides are the most important poison in India, with organophosphorus insecticides replacing aluminium phosphide as the key lethal poison after government regulatory changes in 2001 reduced the latter’s lethality. Plant and hair dye poisoning and medicines overdose caused few deaths. Aluminium phosphide deaths mostly occurred in northern Indian states, whereas deaths from organophosphorus insecticide poisoning occurred throughout India. Paraquat poisoning has become a clinical problem in the last 10 years. Lethal pesticide poisoning remains alarmingly common, emphasising the need for additional regulatory interventions to curtail the burden of pesticide poisoning deaths in India. More detailed reporting about the specific pesticide involved in lethal poisoning will be helpful to guide regulatory decisions.
Sandra G. Okala, Momodou K. Darboe, Fatou Sosseh, Bakary Sonko, Tisbeh Faye-Joof, Andrew M. Prentice,
Published: 22 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11383-7

In rural Gambia, rates of malnutrition and infection are higher during the annual rainy/‘hungry’ season (June–October) in comparison to the dry/‘harvest’ season (November–May). The effects of this seasonal pattern on an infant’s immune development and their capacity to respond to childhood vaccinations remain unclear. The aim of the current analysis was to determine whether antibody responses to diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccinations in infants differ between seasons. Infants received the DTP vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age and antibody titres were measured in blood samples collected at 12 (n = 710) and 24 (n = 662) weeks of age. Mean DTP antibody titres, adjusted for maternal and infant confounders, were compared by t-tests and the effect sizes of the mean differences were calculated between seasons at mid-gestation (20 weeks gestation) and first vaccination (8 weeks of infant age). A smaller number of infants received their first vaccination during the rainy/hungry season months compared to the dry/harvest season (n = 224 vs. n = 486). At 12 weeks, infants vaccinated during the rainy/hungry season had lower weight-for-length Z-scores (p = 0.01) and were more likely to be anaemic (p < 0.001). Their mothers, however, were pregnant mostly during the dry/harvest season, had higher weight gain (p < 0.001) and were less likely to be anaemic during pregnancy (p < 0.001). At 12 weeks, infants vaccinated during the rainy/hungry season had significantly higher mean diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis antibody titres; by 62.3, 16.9 and 19.7%, respectively (all, p < 0.001). However, at 24 weeks, they had lower mean anti-diphtheria titres (by 20.6%, p < 0.001) compared with infants vaccinated during the dry/harvest season, and no differences were observed in mean tetanus and pertussis antibody titres by vaccination season. Infant antibody response to the primary dose of the DTP vaccine was influenced by both season of pregnancy and infancy, although effects were diminished following three doses. Environmental exposures, including nutrition, to both the mother and infant are hypothesised as likely drivers of these seasonal effects. The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-021-11383-7.
, Alice J. Owen, Ben J. Smith
Published: 22 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11484-3

With economic and social changes, participation in occupational and transport-related physical activity is declining among Nepalese adults, highlighting the growing importance of leisure-time physical activity. However, limited information is available to guide public health policies and interventions to promote leisure-time physical activity in Nepal. This study aimed to qualitatively explore the socioecological influences of participation in leisure-time physical activity among Nepalese adults aged 40 years and above. A total of 51 adults (30 females and 21 males) participated in one of the nine focus groups conducted in Kathmandu, Nepal. A semi-structured guide based on the social-ecological model of physical activity was used to facilitate these focus groups. Data were analysed using a reflexive thematic analysis approach in NVivo 12. Participation in leisure-time physical activity was minimal and leisure time was mostly spent resting, socialising, or engaging in sedentary activities such as watching television. Walking was the most common form of leisure-time physical activity, and men reported being more active than women. Individual-level barriers included lack of knowledge, lack of skill, lack of motivation, considering oneself as sufficiently active and engagement in sedentary screen activities. Family and household responsibilities, lack of support and fear of being judged constituted the interpersonal barriers while environmental barriers included an absence of a supportive social norm, lack of open spaces, weather conditions and perceived lack of safety. Health benefits, prioritising physical activity, social support, provision of group-based activities and age-appropriate public exercise facilities were identified as major facilitators. Critical issues that need to be addressed to increase leisure-time physical activity among Nepalese adults include traditional gender roles, family and social support, and social norms. Modifications of the built environment, such as public exercise facilities, offer further opportunities and will require coordination beyond the health sector. The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-021-11484-3.
, A. E. de Rijk, A. G. E. M. de Boer, M. E. M. M. Bos, P. W. Plaisier, R. M. Smeenk, M. H. W. Frings-Dresen, S. J. Tamminga
Published: 21 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11357-9

Employers express a need for support during sickness absence and return to work (RTW) of cancer survivors. Therefore, a web-based intervention (MiLES) targeted at employers with the objective of enhancing cancer survivors’ successful RTW has been developed. This study aimed to assess feasibility of a future definitive randomised controlled trial (RCT) on the effectiveness of the MiLES intervention. Also preliminary results on the effectiveness of the MiLES intervention were obtained. A randomised feasibility trial of 6 months was undertaken with cancer survivors aged 18–63 years, diagnosed with cancer < 2 years earlier, currently in paid employment, and sick-listed < 1 year. Participants were randomised to an intervention group, with their employer receiving the MiLES intervention, or to a waiting-list control group (2:1). Feasibility of a future definitive RCT was determined on the basis of predefined criteria related to method and protocol-related uncertainties (e.g. reach, retention, appropriateness). The primary effect measure (i.e. successful RTW) and secondary effect measures (e.g. quality of working life) were assessed at baseline and 3 and 6 months thereafter. Thirty-five cancer survivors were included via medical specialists (4% of the initially invited group) and open invitations, and thereafter randomised to the intervention (n = 24) or control group (n = 11). Most participants were female (97%) with breast cancer (80%) and a permanent employment contract (94%). All predefined criteria for feasibility of a future definitive RCT were achieved, except that concerning the study’s reach (90 participants). After 6 months, 92% of the intervention group and 100% of the control group returned to work (RR: 0.92, 95% CI: 0.81–1.03); no difference were found with regard to secondary effect measures. With the current design a future definitive RCT on the effectiveness of the MiLES intervention on successful RTW of cancer survivors is not feasible, since recruitment of survivors fell short of the predefined minimum for feasibility. There was selection bias towards survivors at low risk of adverse work outcomes, which reduced generalisability of the outcomes. An alternative study design is needed to study effectiveness of the MiLES intervention. The study has been registered in the Dutch Trial Register (NL6758/NTR7627). The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-021-11357-9.
, Fatemah O. Kamel
Published: 21 July 2021
BMC Public Health, Volume 21; doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11501-5

Developing a vaccine against COVID-19 is considered a key strategy to end the pandemic. However, public acceptance is reliant on beliefs and perception toward the vaccine. Therefore, the study aimed to assess the beliefs and barriers associated with COVID-19 vaccination among the Saudi population. An online self-administered questionnaire was distributed across the main regions of Saudi Arabia on May 2020. The questionnaire addressed the socio-demographic variables, beliefs toward COVID-19 vaccination, and potential barriers that may prevent participants from being vaccinated. The association between COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and sociodemographic variables were analyzed. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify the predicting variables of vaccine acceptance. Out of 3101 participants, 44.7% were accepting of COVID-19 vaccination if available, whereas 55.3% admitted hesitancy. Younger, male, who received seasonal influenza vaccine were more likely to accept taking the vaccine. The study found that concerns about side effects were the key barrier for vaccine acceptance. Furthermore, the majority of refusers may accept the vaccine if additional studies confirmed safety and effectiveness. Results can be utilized in planning vaccination campaigns while waiting for vaccine development. The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-021-11501-5.
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