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1.  Prevalence of oral pain and barriers to use of emergency oral care facilities among adult Tanzanians 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:28.
Oral pain has been the major cause of the attendances in the dental clinics in Tanzania. Some patients postpone seeing the dentist for as long as two to five days. This study determines the prevalence of oral pain and barriers to use of emergency oral care in Tanzania.
Questionnaire data were collected from 1,759 adult respondents aged 18 years and above. The study area covered six urban and eight rural study clusters, which had been selected using the WHO Pathfinder methodology. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify associations.
Forty two percent of the respondents had utilized the oral health care facilities sometimes in their lifetime. About 59% of the respondents revealed that they had suffered from oral pain and/or discomfort within the twelve months that preceded the study, but only 26.5% of these had sought treatment from oral health care facilities. The reasons for not seeking emergency care were: lack of money to pay for treatment (27.9%); self medication (17.6%); respondents thinking that pain would disappear with time (15.7%); and lack of money to pay for transport to the dental clinic (15.0%). Older adults were more likely to report that they had experienced oral pain during the last 12 months than the younger adults (OR = 1.57, CI 1.07–1.57, P < 0.001). Respondents from rural areas were more likely report dental clinics far from home (OR = 5.31, CI = 2.09–13.54, P < 0.001); self medication at home (OR = 3.65, CI = 2.25–5.94, P < 0.001); and being treated by traditional healer (OR = 5.31, CI = 2.25–12.49, P < 0.001) as reasons for not seeking emergency care from the oral health care facilities than their counterparts from urban areas.
Oral pain and discomfort were prevalent among adult Tanzanians. Only a quarter of those who experienced oral pain or discomfort sought emergency oral care from oral health care facilities. Self medication was used as an alternative to using oral care facilities mainly by rural residents. Establishing oral care facilities in rural areas is recommended.
PMCID: PMC2564914  PMID: 18822180
2.  Oral health in a First Nations and a non-Aboriginal population in Manitoba 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2012;71:10.3402/ijch.v71i0.17394.
To analyze the prevalence of poor oral health and selected determinants in First Nations (FN) and Caucasian samples in Manitoba, Canada.
Study design
Cross-sectional survey, nested in a cohort study.
FN and Caucasian participants completed a questionnaire on socio-demographic variables, oral health symptoms, and oral health-related behaviours as part of a broader cohort study comparing these ethnic groups for different chronic immune mediated diseases.
Caucasians reported higher levels of employment, education, and urban dwelling than FNs (p<0.001). FNs reported smoking more, and having poorer oral health-related behaviours than Caucasians (p<0.001). After adjustment for age and sex, FN reported having more oral health symptoms than Caucasians (odds ratio (OR): 2.71; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.73, 4.52), but the association was reduced and not statistically significant after adjustment for other socio-demographic variables (OR=1.34; 95% CI: 0.58, 3.10). Oral health symptoms were associated with current smoking among FN (adjusted OR=2.67, 95% CI: 1.05, 6.78). Oral hygiene behaviours were significantly related to smoking status, rural living and education for both groups.
Oral health-related behaviours and smoking were found to be significant factors explaining poor oral health, which were lower for the FNs cohort than the Caucasian sample. However oral health and related behaviours were less related to their ethnicity than to socio-demographic factors, suggesting that policies to change behaviour will not result in lasting reductions in oral health differences between these groups in Manitoba.
PMCID: PMC3417699  PMID: 22456040
oral health; oral health-related behaviours; smoking; First Nations; social determinants
3.  Oral health behavior patterns among Tanzanian university students: a repeat cross-sectional survey 
BMC Oral Health  2001;1:2.
This study examines oral health behavioral trends and the development of sociodemographic differences in oral health behaviors among Tanzanian students between 1999 and 2000.
The population targeted was students attending the Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted and a total of 635 and 981 students, respectively, completed questionnaires in 1999 and 2001.
Cross-tabulation analyses revealed that in 1999, the rates of abstinence from tobacco use, and of soft drink consumption, regular dental checkups, and intake of chocolate/candy were 84%, 51%, 48%, and 12%, respectively, among students of urban origin and 83%, 29%, 37%, and 5% among their rural counterparts. The corresponding rates in 2001 were 87%, 56%, 50%, and 9% among urban students and 84%, 44%, 38%, and 4% among rural ones. Multiple logistic regression analyses controlling for sex, age, place of origin, educational level, year of survey, and their interaction terms revealed a significant increase in the rate of soft drink consumption, implementation of oral hygiene measures, and abstinence from tobacco use between 1999 and 2001. Social inequalities observed in 1999, with urban students being more likely than their rural counterparts to take soft drinks and go for regular dental checkups, had leveled off by 2001.
This study provides initial evidence of oral health behavioral trends, that may be utilized in the planning of preventive programs among university students in Tanzania.
PMCID: PMC64501  PMID: 11782294
4.  Mouthwash Use in General Population: Results from Adult Dental Health Survey in Grampian, Scotland 
The purpose of this study was to determine the pattern of mouthwash use and to investigate the associated factors in general population.
Material and Methods
An Adult Dental Health Survey was conducted on 3,022 residents of Grampian region of Scotland (adjusted participation rate 58.2%). Participants received a questionnaire consisting of questions on oral health and behavioural factors.
The majority of participants (38.1%) have never used mouthwash, 17.5% used mouthwash less than once a month, 19.4% used mouthwash once every few days and 25.1% used mouthwash daily.
Prevalence of use decreased with age (P < 0.001). Woman were more likely to use mouthwash than men (P = 0.004). Mouthwash use decreased with decrease in the level of deprivation (P < 0.001). Never-smokers were less likely to use mouthwash (40.3%) compared to smokers (53.1%) or those who stopped smoking (46.5%) (P < 0.001). Mouthwash was used by smaller proportion of people drinking alcohol on daily basis (36.6%), than by abstainers (42.2%) (P = 0.012).
There was a positive relationship between flossing or brushing pattern and mouthwash use (P < 0.001). There was statistically significant relationship between mouthwash use and reasons for the last dental visit (P = 0.009).
When compared to healthy individuals, mouthwash was used by higher proportion of people reporting that they had gum disease (P = 0.001), ulcers (P = 0.001), oral infections or swelling (P = 0.002) or other problems (P = 0.025).
Mouthwash use in general population is associated with socio-demographic, health and behavioural factors.
doi: 10.5037/jomr.2010.1402
PMCID: PMC3886070  PMID: 24421979
mouthwashes; oral hygiene; dental plaque; epidemiology; dental health survey; population groups.
5.  Dental pain, oral impacts and perceived need for dental treatment in Tanzanian school students: a cross-sectional study 
Dental caries, dental pain and reported oral problems influence people's oral quality of life and thus their perceived need for dental care. So far there is scant information as to the psychosocial impacts of dental diseases and the perceived treatment need in child populations of sub-Saharan Africa.
Focusing on primary school students in Kilwa, Tanzania, a district deprived of dental services and with low fluoride concentration in drinking water, this study aimed to assess the prevalence of dental pain and oral impacts on daily performances (OIDP), and to describe the distribution of OIDP by socio-demographics, dental caries, dental pain and reported oral problems. The relationship of perceived need estimates with OIDP was also investigated.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2008. A total of 1745 students (mean age 13.8 yr, sd = 1.67) completed an extensive personal interview and under-went clinical examination. The impacts on daily performances were assessed using a Kiswahili version of the Child-OIDP instrument and caries experience was recorded using WHO (1997) criteria.
A total of 36.2% (41.3% urban and 31.4% rural, p < 0.001) reported at least one OIDP. The prevalence of dental caries was 17.4%, dental pain 36.4%, oral problems 54.1% and perceived need for dental treatment 46.8% in urban students. Corresponding estimates in rural students were 20.8%, 24.4%, 43.3% and 43.8%. Adjusted OR for reporting oral impacts if having dental pain ranged from 2.5 (95% CI 1.8–3.6) (problem smiling) to 4.7 (95% CI 3.4–6.5) (problem sleeping),- if having oral problems, from 1.9 (95% CI 1.3–2.6) (problem sleeping) to 3.8 (95% CI 2.7–5.2) (problem eating) and if having dental caries from 1.5 (95% CI 1.1–2.0) (problem eating) to 2.2 (95% CI 1.5–2.9) (problem sleeping). Students who perceived need for dental care were less likely to be females (OR = 0.8, 95% CI 0.6–0.9) and more likely to have impacts on eating (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.4–2.7) and tooth cleaning (OR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.6–2.5).
Substantial proportions of students suffered from untreated dental caries, oral impacts on daily performances and perceived need for dental care. Dental pain and reported oral problems varied systematically with OIDP across the eight impacts considered. Eating and tooth cleaning problems discriminated between subjects who perceived need for dental treatment and those who did not.
PMCID: PMC2726126  PMID: 19643004
6.  Multicenter case-control study of the risk factors for ulcerative colitis in China 
AIM: To evaluate potential risk factors in the development of ulcerative colitis (UC) in China.
METHODS: A total of 1308 patients with UC and 1308 age-matched and sex-matched controls were prospectively studied in China. The UC cases were collected from 17 hospitals in China from April 2007 to April 2010. Uniform questionnaires were designed to investigate risk factors including smoking, appendectomy, stress, socio-economic conditions, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral contraceptives, diet, breastfeeding, infections and family sanitary conditions. Group comparisons by each factor were done using simple logistic regression analysis. Conditional logistic regression was used for multivariate analysis.
RESULTS: By univariate analysis, the variables predictive of UC included feeling stress, light and heavy alcoholic drinking, spicy food, sugar consumption and infectious diarrhea, while heavy tea intake and tap water consumption were protective against UC. On multivariate analysis, the protective factor for UC was tap water consumption [odds ratios (OR) = 0.424, 95%CI: 0.302-0.594, P < 0.001]; while the potential risk factors for UC were heavy sugar consumption (OR = 1.632, 95%CI: 1.156-2.305, P < 0.001), spicy food (light intake: OR = 3.329, 95%CI: 2.282-4.857, P < 0.001; heavy intake: OR = 3.979, 95%CI: 2.700-5.863, P < 0.001), and often feeling stress (OR = 1.981, 95%CI: 1.447-2.711, P < 0.001). Other factors, such as smoking habit, appendectomy, breastfeeding, a history of measles, rural or urban residence, education, oral contraceptives, and NSAID use have not been found to have a significant association with the development of UC in the present study.
CONCLUSION: Our study showed tap water consumption was a protective factor for UC, while spicy food, heavy sugar consumption and often feeling stress were risk factors for UC in this Chinese population.
PMCID: PMC3607760  PMID: 23555172
Ulcerative colitis; Risk factors; Case-control study
7.  A cohort study comparing cardiovascular risk factors in rural Māori, urban Māori and non-Māori communities in New Zealand 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e000799.
To understand health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the indigenous Māori of New Zealand, diagnosed and undiagnosed CVD risk factors were compared in rural Māori in an area remote from health services with urban Māori and non-Māori in a city well served with health services.
Prospective cohort study.
Hauora Manawa is a cohort study of diagnosed and previously undiagnosed CVD, diabetes and risk factors, based on random selection from electoral rolls of the rural Wairoa District and Christchurch City, New Zealand.
Screening clinics were attended by 252 rural Māori, 243 urban Māori and 256 urban non-Māori, aged 20–64 years.
Main outcome measures
The study documented personal and family medical history, blood pressure, anthropometrics, fasting lipids, insulin, glucose, HbA1c and urate to identify risk factors in common and those that differ among the three communities.
Mean age (SD) was 45.7 (11.5) versus 42.6 (11.2) versus 43.6 (11.5) years in rural Māori, urban Māori and non-Māori, respectively. Age-adjusted rates of diagnosed cardiac disease were not significantly different across the cohorts (7.5% vs 5.8% vs 2.8%, p=0.073). However, rural Māori had significantly higher levels of type-2 diabetes (10.7% vs 3.7% vs 2.4%, p<0.001), diagnosed hypertension (25.0% vs 14.9% vs 10.7%, p<0.001), treated dyslipidaemia (15.7% vs 7.1% vs 2.8%, p<0.001), current smoking (42.8% vs 30.5% vs 15.2%, p<0.001) and age-adjusted body mass index (30.7 (7.3) vs 29.1 (6.4) vs 26.1 (4.5) kg/m2, p<0.001). Similarly high rates of previously undocumented elevated blood pressure (22.2% vs 23.5% vs 17.6%, p=0.235) and high cholesterol (42.1% vs 54.3% vs 42.2%, p=0.008) were observed across all cohorts.
Supporting integrated rural healthcare to provide screening and management of CVD risk factors would reduce health disparities in this indigenous population.
Article summary
Article focus
The indigenous Māori of New Zealand have high rates of CVD mortality and morbidity. Current data on the key risk factors underlying this ethnic disparity mostly come from national surveys relying on self-reported diagnoses or have been collected in New Zealand's largest urban centre, Auckland City.
This is the first study to screen CVD and associated risk factors concurrently between rural Māori residing in an area remote from health services (Wairoa District), urban Māori in a city well served with secondary and tertiary health services (Christchurch City) and an urban non-Māori cohort.
Key messages
We found that rural Māori had higher levels of obesity, smoking, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes mellitus type 2 and hyperuriaemia than either urban Māori or non-Māori. Thus, national health surveys and data collected in large urban centres may significantly underestimate the burden of CVD risk carried by rural Māori.
Public health initiatives to reduce rates of smoking among rural Māori, along with enhanced implementation of CVD screening in primary care and more intensive clinical management of hypertension, dyslipidaemia and hypeuricaemia would help reduce cardiovascular health disparities in the New Zealand indigenous population.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This study was able to determine current levels of both diagnosed and undiagnosed risk factors within these communities by conducting CVD screening clinics in sectors of the community that are often hard to reach. The findings of this study are limited by the relatively small cohort sizes and lack of a rural non-Māori comparator cohort.
PMCID: PMC3378934  PMID: 22685219
8.  Impact of Rural Residence on Forgoing Healthcare after Cancer Because of Cost 
Routine follow-up care is recommended to promote the well-being of cancer survivors, but financial difficulties may interfere. Rural-urban disparities in forgoing healthcare due to cost have been observed in the general population; however, it is unknown whether this disparity persists among survivors. The purpose of this study was to examine rural-urban disparities in forgoing healthcare after cancer due to cost.
We analyzed data from 7804 cancer survivors in the 2006–2010 National Health Interview Survey. Logistic regression models, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, were used to assess rural-urban disparities in forgoing medical care, prescription medications, and dental care due to cost, stratified by age (younger: 18–64, older: 65+).
Compared to urban survivors, younger rural survivors were more likely to forgo medical care (p<0.001) and prescription medications (p<0.001) due to cost; older rural survivors were more likely to forgo medical (p<0.001) and dental care (p=0.05). Rural-urban disparities did not persist among younger survivors in adjusted analyses; however, older rural survivors remained more likely to forgo medical (OR=1.66, 95%CI=1.11–2.48) and dental care (OR=1.54, 95%CI=1.08–2.20).
Adjustment for health insurance and other sociodemographic characteristics attenuates rural-urban disparities in forgoing healthcare among younger survivors, but not older survivors. Financial factors relating to healthcare utilization among rural survivors should be a topic of continued investigation.
Addressing out-of-pocket costs may be an important step in reducing rural-urban disparities in healthcare, especially for older survivors. It will be important to monitor how healthcare reform efforts impact disparities observed in this vulnerable population.
PMCID: PMC3833446  PMID: 24097196
cancer; long-term survivors; rural population; healthcare disparities; health services accessibility
9.  Dental caries prevalence, oral health knowledge and practice among indigenous Chepang school children of Nepal 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:20.
Chepang communities are one of the most deprived ethnic communities in Nepal. According to the National Pathfinder Survey, dental caries is a highly prevalent childhood disease in Nepal. There is no data concerning the prevalence of caries along with knowledge, attitude and oral hygiene practices among Chepang schoolchildren. The objectives of this study were to 1) record the prevalence of dental caries 2) report experience of dental pain 3) evaluate knowledge, attitude and preventive practices on oral health of primary Chepang schoolchildren.
A cross sectional epidemiological study was conducted in 5 government Primary schools of remote Chandibhanjyang Village Development Committee (VDC) in Chitwan district. Ethical approval was taken from the Institutional Review Board within the Research Department of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Tribhuvan University. Consent was obtained from parents for conducting clinical examination and administrating questionnaire. Permission was taken from the school principal in all schools. Data was collected using a pretested questionnaire on 131 schoolchildren aged 8-16-year- olds attending Grade 3–5. Clinical examination was conducted on 361 school children aged 5–16 –year-olds attending grade 1–5. Criteria set by the World Health Organization (1997) was used for caries diagnosis. The questionnaires, originally constructed in English and translated into Nepali were administered to the schoolchildren by the researchers. SPSS 11software was used for data analysis.
Caries prevalence for 5–6 –year-old was above the goals recommended by WHO and Federation of Dentistry international (FDI) of less than 50% caries free children. Caries prevalence in 5-6-year-olds was 52% and 12-13-year-olds was 41%. The mean dmft/DMFT score of 5–6 –year-olds and 12 -13-year -olds was 1.59, 0.31 and 0.52, 0.84 respectively. The DMFT scores increased with age and the d/D component constituted almost the entire dmft/DMFT index. About 31% of 8-16-year-olds school children who participated in the survey reported having suffered from oral pain. Further, the need for treatment of decayed teeth was reported at 100%. About 76% children perceived teeth as an important component of general health and 75% reported it was required to eat. A total 93% children never visited a dentist or a health care service. Out of 56% children reporting cleaning their teeth daily, only 24% reported brushing their teeth twice daily. About 86% of the children reported using toothbrush and toothpaste to clean their teeth. Although 61% children reported to have received oral health education, 82% children did not know about fluoride and its benefit on dental health. About 50% children reported bacteria as the main cause of tooth decay and 23% as not brushing teeth for gingivitis. Frequency of sugar exposure was low; 75% of children reported eating sugar rich food once daily.
Caries prevalence of 5–6 –year- old Chepang school children is above the recommended target set by FDI/WHO. The study reported 31% schoolchildren aged 8-16-year old suffered oral pain and decayed component constituted almost the entire dmft/DMFT index. The brushing habit was reportedly low with only 24% of the children brushing twice daily. A nationwide scientifically proven, cost effective school based interventions is needed for prevention and control of caries in schoolchildren in Nepal.
PMCID: PMC3655880  PMID: 23672487
Dental caries; School children; Oral hygiene
10.  Prevalence of Tobacco Use in Urban, Semi Urban and Rural Areas in and around Chennai City, India 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76005.
Tobacco use leads to many health complications and is a risk factor for the occurrence of cardio vascular diseases, lung and oral cancers, chronic bronchitis etc. Almost 6 million people die from tobacco-related causes every year. This study was conducted to measure the prevalence of tobacco use in three different areas around Chennai city, south India.
A survey of 7510 individuals aged > = 15 years was undertaken covering Chennai city (urban), Ambattur (semi-urban) and Sriperumbudur (rural) taluk. Details on tobacco use were collected using a questionnaire adapted from both Global Youth Tobacco Survey and Global Adults Tobacco Survey.
The overall prevalence of tobacco use was significantly higher in the rural (23.7%) compared to semi-urban (20.9%) and urban (19.4%) areas (P value <0.001) Tobacco smoking prevalence was 14.3%, 13.9% and 12.4% in rural, semi-urban and urban areas respectively. The corresponding values for smokeless tobacco use were 9.5%, 7.0% and 7.0% respectively. Logistic regression analysis showed that the odds of using tobacco (with smoke or smokeless forms) was significantly higher among males, older individuals, alcoholics, in rural areas and slum localities. Behavioural pattern analysis of current tobacco users led to three groups (1) those who were not reached by family or friends to advice on harmful effects (2) those who were well aware of harmful effects of tobacco and even want to quit and (3) those are exposed to second hand/passive smoking at home and outside.
Tobacco use prevalence was significantly higher in rural areas, slum dwellers, males and older age groups in this region of south India. Women used mainly smokeless tobacco. Tobacco control programmes need to develop strategies to address the different subgroups among tobacco users. Public health facilities need to expand smoking cessation counseling services as well as provide pharmacotherapy where necessary.
PMCID: PMC3788037  PMID: 24098418
11.  The Effectiveness of Community Action in Reducing Risky Alcohol Consumption and Harm: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001617.
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, Anthony Shakeshaft and colleagues measure the effectiveness of a multi-component community-based intervention for reducing alcohol-related harm.
The World Health Organization, governments, and communities agree that community action is likely to reduce risky alcohol consumption and harm. Despite this agreement, there is little rigorous evidence that community action is effective: of the six randomised trials of community action published to date, all were US-based and focused on young people (rather than the whole community), and their outcomes were limited to self-report or alcohol purchase attempts. The objective of this study was to conduct the first non-US randomised controlled trial (RCT) of community action to quantify the effectiveness of this approach in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms measured using both self-report and routinely collected data.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster RCT comprising 20 communities in Australia that had populations of 5,000–20,000, were at least 100 km from an urban centre (population ≥ 100,000), and were not involved in another community alcohol project. Communities were pair-matched, and one member of each pair was randomly allocated to the experimental group. Thirteen interventions were implemented in the experimental communities from 2005 to 2009: community engagement; general practitioner training in alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI); feedback to key stakeholders; media campaign; workplace policies/practices training; school-based intervention; general practitioner feedback on their prescribing of alcohol medications; community pharmacy-based SBI; web-based SBI; Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services support for SBI; Good Sports program for sports clubs; identifying and targeting high-risk weekends; and hospital emergency department–based SBI. Primary outcomes based on routinely collected data were alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions. Routinely collected data for the entire study period (2001–2009) were obtained in 2010. Secondary outcomes based on pre- and post-intervention surveys (n = 2,977 and 2,255, respectively) were the following: long-term risky drinking, short-term high-risk drinking, short-term risky drinking, weekly consumption, hazardous/harmful alcohol use, and experience of alcohol harm. At the 5% level of statistical significance, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the interventions were effective in the experimental, relative to control, communities for alcohol-related crime, traffic crashes, and hospital inpatient admissions, and for rates of risky alcohol consumption and hazardous/harmful alcohol use. Although respondents in the experimental communities reported statistically significantly lower average weekly consumption (1.90 fewer standard drinks per week, 95% CI = −3.37 to −0.43, p = 0.01) and less alcohol-related verbal abuse (odds ratio = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.96, p = 0.04) post-intervention, the low survey response rates (40% and 24% for the pre- and post-intervention surveys, respectively) require conservative interpretation. The main limitations of this study are as follows: (1) that the study may have been under-powered to detect differences in routinely collected data outcomes as statistically significant, and (2) the low survey response rates.
This RCT provides little evidence that community action significantly reduces risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, other than potential reductions in self-reported average weekly consumption and experience of alcohol-related verbal abuse. Complementary legislative action may be required to more effectively reduce alcohol harms.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000123448
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
People have consumed alcoholic beverages throughout history, but alcohol use is now an increasing global public health problem. According to the World Health Organization's 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, alcohol use is the fifth leading risk factor (after high blood pressure and smoking) for disease and is responsible for 3.9% of the global disease burden. Alcohol use contributes to heart disease, liver disease, depression, some cancers, and many other health conditions. Alcohol also affects the well-being and health of people around those who drink, through alcohol-related crimes and road traffic crashes. The impact of alcohol use on disease and injury depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking. Most guidelines define long-term risky drinking as more than four drinks per day on average for men or more than two drinks per day for women (a “drink” is, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine), and short-term risky drinking (also called binge drinking) as seven or more drinks on a single occasion for men or five or more drinks on a single occasion for women. However, recent changes to the Australian guidelines acknowledge that a lower level of alcohol consumption is considered risky (with lifetime risky drinking defined as more than two drinks a day and binge drinking defined as more than four drinks on one occasion).
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. This strategy emphasizes the importance of community action–a process in which a community defines its own needs and determines the actions that are required to meet these needs. Although community action is highly acceptable to community members, few studies have looked at the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. Here, the researchers undertake a cluster randomized controlled trial (the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities [AARC] project) to quantify the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption and harms in rural communities in Australia. A cluster randomized trial compares outcomes in clusters of people (here, communities) who receive alternative interventions assigned through the play of chance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pair-matched 20 rural Australian communities according to the proportion of their population that was Aboriginal (rates of alcohol-related harm are disproportionately higher among Aboriginal individuals than among non-Aboriginal individuals in Australia; they are also higher among young people and males, but the proportions of these two groups across communities was comparable). They randomly assigned one member of each pair to the experimental group and implemented 13 interventions in these communities by negotiating with key individuals in each community to define and implement each intervention. Examples of interventions included general practitioner training in screening for alcohol use disorders and in implementing a brief intervention, and a school-based interactive session designed to reduce alcohol harm among young people. The researchers quantified the effectiveness of the interventions using routinely collected data on alcohol-related crime and road traffic crashes, and on hospital inpatient admissions for alcohol dependence or abuse (which were expected to increase in the experimental group if the intervention was effective because of more people seeking or being referred for treatment). They also examined drinking habits and experiences of alcohol-related harm, such as verbal abuse, among community members using pre- and post-intervention surveys. After implementation of the interventions, the rates of alcohol-related crime, road traffic crashes, and hospital admissions, and of risky and hazardous/harmful alcohol consumption (measured using a validated tool called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) were not statistically significantly different in the experimental and control communities (a difference in outcomes that is not statistically significantly different can occur by chance). However, the reported average weekly consumption of alcohol was 20% lower in the experimental communities after the intervention than in the control communities (equivalent to 1.9 fewer standard drinks per week per respondent) and there was less alcohol-related verbal abuse post-intervention in the experimental communities than in the control communities.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide little evidence that community action reduced risky alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms in rural Australian communities. Although there was some evidence of significant reductions in self-reported weekly alcohol consumption and in experiences of alcohol-related verbal abuse, these findings must be interpreted cautiously because they are based on surveys with very low response rates. A larger or differently designed study might provide statistically significant evidence for the effectiveness of community action in reducing risky alcohol consumption. However, given their findings, the researchers suggest that legislative approaches that are beyond the control of individual communities, such as alcohol taxation and restrictions on alcohol availability, may be required to effectively reduce alcohol harms. In other words, community action alone may not be the most effective way to reduce alcohol-related harm.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about alcohol; its fact sheet on alcohol includes information about the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol; the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health provides further information about alcohol, including information on control policies around the world
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has information about alcohol and its effects on health
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health that includes information on the health risks of excessive drinking
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including information on the risks of drinking too much, tools for calculating alcohol consumption, and personal stories about alcohol use problems
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol
More information about the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities project is available
PMCID: PMC3949675  PMID: 24618831
12.  National Survey of Oral/Dental Conditions Related to Tobacco and Alcohol Use in Mexican Adults 
Oral diseases are a major burden on individuals and health systems. The aim of this study was to determine whether consumption of tobacco and alcohol were associated with the prevalence of oral/dental problems in Mexican adults. Using data from the National Performance Evaluation Survey 2003, a cross-sectional study part of the World Health Survey, dental information from a representative sample of Mexico (n = 22,229, N = 51,155,740) was used to document self-reported oral/dental problems in the 12 months prior to the survey. Questionnaires were used to collect information related to sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and other risk factors. Three models were generated for each age group (18–30, 31–45 and 46–98 years). The prevalence of oral/dental conditions was 25.7%. Adjusting for sex, schooling, socioeconomic position, diabetes, and self-reported health, those who used tobacco (sometimes or daily) (OR = 1.15, p = 0.070; OR = 1.24, p < 0.01; and OR = 1.16, p < 0.05, for each age group respectively) or alcohol (moderate or high) (OR = 1.26, p < 0.001; OR = 1.18, p < 0.01 and OR = 1.30, p < 0.001, for each age group respectively) had a higher risk of reporting oral/dental problems. Because tobacco and alcohol use were associated with self-reported oral/dental problems in one out of four adults, it appears advisable to ascertain how direct is such link; more direct effects would lend greater weight to adopting measures to reduce consumption of tobacco and alcohol for the specific purpose of improving oral health.
PMCID: PMC3987028  PMID: 24642844
oral health; epidemiology; smoking; alcohol; adults
13.  Combined Impact of Health Behaviours and Mortality in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(1):e12.
There is overwhelming evidence that behavioural factors influence health, but their combined impact on the general population is less well documented. We aimed to quantify the potential combined impact of four health behaviours on mortality in men and women living in the general community.
Methods and Findings
We examined the prospective relationship between lifestyle and mortality in a prospective population study of 20,244 men and women aged 45–79 y with no known cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline survey in 1993–1997, living in the general community in the United Kingdom, and followed up to 2006. Participants scored one point for each health behaviour: current non-smoking, not physically inactive, moderate alcohol intake (1–14 units a week) and plasma vitamin C >50 mmol/l indicating fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day, for a total score ranging from zero to four. After an average 11 y follow-up, the age-, sex-, body mass–, and social class–adjusted relative risks (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause mortality(1,987 deaths) for men and women who had three, two, one, and zero compared to four health behaviours were respectively, 1.39 (1.21–1.60), 1.95 (1.70–-2.25), 2.52 (2.13–3.00), and 4.04 (2.95–5.54) p < 0.001 trend. The relationships were consistent in subgroups stratified by sex, age, body mass index, and social class, and after excluding deaths within 2 y. The trends were strongest for cardiovascular causes. The mortality risk for those with four compared to zero health behaviours was equivalent to being 14 y younger in chronological age.
Four health behaviours combined predict a 4-fold difference in total mortality in men and women, with an estimated impact equivalent to 14 y in chronological age.
From a large prospective population study, Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues estimate the combined impact of four behaviors--not smoking, not being physically inactive, moderate alcohol intake, and at least five vegetable servings a day--amounts to 14 additional years of life.
Editors' Summary
Every day, or so it seems, new research shows that some aspect of lifestyle—physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, and so on—affects health and longevity. For the person in the street, all this information is confusing. What is a healthy diet, for example? Although there are some common themes such as the benefit of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, the details often differ between studies. And exactly how much physical activity is needed to improve health? Is a gentle daily walk sufficient or simply a stepping stone to doing enough exercise to make a real difference? The situation with alcohol consumption is equally confusing. Small amounts of alcohol apparently improve health but large amounts are harmful. As a result, it can be hard for public-health officials to find effective ways to encourage the behavioral changes that the scientific evidence suggests might influence the health of populations.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is another factor that is hindering official attempts to provide healthy lifestyle advice to the public. Although there is overwhelming evidence that individual behavioral factors influence health, there is very little information about their combined impact. If the combination of several small differences in lifestyle could be shown to have a marked effect on the health of populations, it might be easier to persuade people to make behavioral changes to improve their health, particularly if those changes were simple and relatively easy to achieve. In this study, which forms part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), the researchers have examined the relationship between lifestyle and the risk of dying using a health behavior score based on four simply defined behaviors—smoking, physical activity, alcohol drinking, and fruit and vegetable intake.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 1993 and 1997, about 20,000 men and women aged 45–79 living in Norfolk UK, none of whom had cancer or cardiovascular disease (heart or circulation problems), completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire, had a health examination, and had their blood vitamin C level measured as part of the EPIC-Norfolk study. A health behavior score of between 0 and 4 was calculated for each participant by giving one point for each of the following healthy behaviors: current non-smoking, not physically inactive (physical inactivity was defined as having a sedentary job and doing no recreational exercise), moderate alcohol intake (1–14 units a week; a unit of alcohol is half a pint of beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of spirit), and a blood vitamin C level consistent with a fruit and vegetable intake of at least five servings a day. Deaths among the participants were then recorded until 2006. After allowing for other factors that might have affected their likelihood of dying (for example, age), people with a health behavior score of 0 were four times as likely to have died (in particular, from cardiovascular disease) than those with a score of 4. People with a score of 2 were twice as likely to have died.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the combination of four simply defined health behaviors predicts a 4-fold difference in the risk of dying over an average period of 11 years for middle-aged and older people. They also show that the risk of death (particularly from cardiovascular disease) decreases as the number of positive health behaviors increase. Finally, they can be used to calculate that a person with a health score of 0 has the same risk of dying as a person with a health score of 4 who is 14 years older. These findings need to be confirmed in other populations and extended to an analysis of how these combined health behaviors affect the quality of life as well as the risk of death. Nevertheless, they strongly suggest that modest and achievable lifestyle changes could have a marked effect on the health of populations. Armed with this information, public-health officials should now be in a better position to encourage behavior changes likely to improve the health of middle-aged and older people.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia contains a page on healthy living (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus page on seniors' health contains links to many sites dealing with healthy lifestyles and longevity (in English and Spanish)
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study is investigating the relationship between nutrition and lifestyle and the development of cancer and other chronic diseases; information about the EPIC-Norfolk study is also available
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on healthy aging for older adults, including information on health-related behaviors (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Age Concerns provides a fact sheet about staying healthy in later life
The London Health Observatory, which provides information for policy makers and practitioners about improving health and health care, has a section on how lifestyle and behavior affect health
PMCID: PMC2174962  PMID: 18184033
14.  Sociodemographic, Psychosocial, and Health Behavior Risk Factors Associated with Sexual Risk Behaviors among Southeastern US College Students 
We examined correlates of 1) being a virgin; 2) drug or alcohol use prior to the last intercourse; and 3) condom use during the last intercourse in a sample of college students.
We recruited 24,055 students at six colleges in the Southeast to complete an online survey, yielding 4840 responses (20.1% response rate), with complete data from 4514.
Logistic regression indicated that correlates of virginity included being younger (p < 0.001), male (p = 0.01), being White or other ethnicity (p < 0.001), attending a four-vs. two-year school (p < 0.001), being single/never married (p < 0.001), lower sensation seeking (p < 0.001), more regular religious service attendance (p < 0.001), lower likelihood of smoking (p < 0.001) and marijuana use (p = 0.002), and less frequentdrinking (p < 0.001). Correlates of alcohol or drug use prior to most recent intercourse including being older (p = 0.03), being White (p < 0.01), attending a four-year college (p < 0.001), being homosexual (p = 0.041) or bisexual (p = 0.011), having more lifetime sexual partners (p = 0.005), lower satisfaction with life (p = 0.004), greater likelihood of smoking (p < 0.001) and marijuana use (p < 0.001), and more frequent drinking (p < 0.001). Correlates of condom use during the last sexual intercourse including being older (p = 0.003), being female (p < 0.001), being White (p < 0.001), attending a two-year school (p = 0.04), being single/never married (p = 0.005), being homosexual or bisexual (p = 0.04), and a more frequent drinking (p = 0.001).
Four-year college attendees were more likely to be a virgin but, if sexually active, reported higher sexual risk behaviors. These nuances regarding sexual risk may provide targets for sexual health promotion programs and interventions.
PMCID: PMC4110725  PMID: 25068080
Sexual Risk; Substance Use; College Students
15.  Urbanicity and Lifestyle Risk Factors for Cardiometabolic Diseases in Rural Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001683.
Johanna Riha and colleagues evaluate the association of lifestyle risk factors with elements of urbanicity, such as having a public telephone, a primary school, or a hospital, among individuals living in rural settings in Uganda.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Urban living is associated with unhealthy lifestyles that can increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the majority of people live in rural areas, it is still unclear if there is a corresponding increase in unhealthy lifestyles as rural areas adopt urban characteristics. This study examines the distribution of urban characteristics across rural communities in Uganda and their associations with lifestyle risk factors for chronic diseases.
Methods and Findings
Using data collected in 2011, we examined cross-sectional associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors in rural communities in Uganda, with 7,340 participants aged 13 y and above across 25 villages. Urbanicity was defined according to a multi-component scale, and Poisson regression models were used to examine associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors by quartile of urbanicity. Despite all of the villages not having paved roads and running water, there was marked variation in levels of urbanicity across the villages, largely attributable to differences in economic activity, civil infrastructure, and availability of educational and healthcare services. In regression models, after adjustment for clustering and potential confounders including socioeconomic status, increasing urbanicity was associated with an increase in lifestyle risk factors such as physical inactivity (risk ratio [RR]: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.24), low fruit and vegetable consumption (RR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.23), and high body mass index (RR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.24, 1.77).
This study indicates that even across rural communities in SSA, increasing urbanicity is associated with a higher prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. This finding highlights the need to consider the health impact of urbanization in rural areas across SSA.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Cardiometabolic diseases—cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart and/or the blood vessels and metabolic diseases that affect the cellular chemical reactions needed to sustain life—are a growing global health concern. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the prevalence (the proportion of a population that has a given disease) of adults with diabetes (a life-shortening metabolic disease that affects how the body handles sugars) is currently 3.8%. By 2030, it is estimated that the prevalence of diabetes among adults in this region will have risen to 4.6%. Similarly, in 2004, around 1.2 million deaths in sub-Saharan Africa were attributed to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. By 2030, the number of deaths in this region attributable to cardiovascular disease is expected to double. Globally, cardiovascular disease and diabetes are now responsible for around 17.3 million and 1.3 million annual deaths, respectively, together accounting for about one-third of all deaths.
Why Was This Study Done?
Experts believe that increased consumption of saturated fats, sugar, and salt and reduced physical activity are partly responsible for the increasing global prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases. These lifestyle changes, they suggest, are related to urbanization—urban expansion into the countryside and migration from rural to urban areas. If this is true, the prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles should increase as rural areas adopt urban characteristics. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least urbanized region in the world, with about 60% of the population living in rural areas. However, rural settlements across the subcontinent are increasingly adopting urban characteristics. It is important to know whether urbanization is affecting the health of rural residents in sub-Saharan Africa to improve estimates of the future burden of cardiometabolic diseases in the region and to provide insights into ways to limit this burden. In this cross-sectional study (an investigation that studies participants at a single time point), the researchers examine the distribution of urban characteristics across rural communities in Uganda and the association of these characteristics with lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their study, the researchers used data collected in 2011 by the General Population Cohort study, a study initiated in 1989 to describe HIV infection trends among people living in 25 villages in rural southwestern Uganda that collects health-related and other information annually from its participants. The researchers quantified the “urbanicity” of the 25 villages using a multi-component scale that included information such as village size and economic activity. They then used statistical models to examine associations between urbanicity and lifestyle risk factors such as body mass index (BMI, a measure of obesity) and self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption for more than 7,000 study participants living in those villages. None of the villages had paved roads or running water. However, urbanicity varied markedly across the villages, largely because of differences in economic activity, civil infrastructure, and the availability of educational and healthcare services. Notably, increasing urbanicity was associated with an increase in lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. So, for example, people living in villages with the highest urbanicity scores were nearly 20% more likely to be physically inactive and to eat less fruits and vegetables and nearly 50% more likely to have a high BMI than people living in villages with the lowest urbanicity scores.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, across rural communities in Uganda, even a small increase in urbanicity is associated with a higher prevalence of potentially modifiable lifestyle risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases. These findings suggest, therefore, that simply classifying settlements as either rural or urban may not be adequate to capture the information needed to target strategies for cardiometabolic disease management and control in rural areas as they become more urbanized. Because this study was cross-sectional, it is not possible to say how long a rural population needs to experience a more urban environment before its risk of cardiometabolic diseases increases. Longitudinal studies are needed to obtain this information. Moreover, studies of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa are needed to show that these findings are generalizable across the region. However, based on these findings, and given that more than 553 million people live in rural areas across sub-Saharan Africa, it seems likely that increasing urbanization will have a substantial impact on the future health of populations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Fahad Razak and Lisa Berkman
The American Heart Association provides information on all aspects of cardiovascular disease and diabetes; its website includes personal stories about heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and diabetes (including some personal stories)
The World Health Organization’s Global Noncommunicable Disease Network (NCDnet) aims to help low- and middle-income countries reduce illness and death caused by cardiometabolic and other non-communicable diseases
The World Heart Federation has recently produced a report entitled “Urbanization and Cardiovascular Disease”
Wikipedia has a page on urbanization (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4114555  PMID: 25072243
16.  Sexual Behavior and Reproductive Health Among HIV-Infected Patients in Urban and Rural South Africa 
Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)  2008;47(4):10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181648de8.
With the rollout of antiretroviral therapy in South Africa and its potential to prolong the lives of HIV-infected individuals, understanding the sexual behavior of HIV-positive people is essential to curbing secondary HIV transmission.
We surveyed 3819 HIV-positive patients during their first visit to an urban wellness clinic and a rural wellness clinic.
Urban residents were more likely than rural residents to have current regular sex partners (75.1% vs. 46.0%; χ2 odds ratio [OR] = 3.531; P < 0.001), to have any current sexual partners (75.3% vs. 51.2%; χ2 OR = 2.908; P < 0.001), and to report consistent condom use with regular partners (78.4% vs. 48.3%; χ2 OR = 3.886; P < 0.001) and with casual partners (68.6% vs. 48.3%; χ2 OR = 2.337; P < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, independent predictors of consistent condom use with regular partners included across gender, urban residence, and higher education levels; for women, disclosure and younger age; and for men only, no history of alcohol consumption. Male and female participants with a casual sexual partner were less likely to use a condom consistently with regular partners. Additionally, urban residence and a CD4 count greater than 200 cells/mm3 as well as (for women only) a higher household income and a history of alcohol consumption were predictors of having a regular sexual partner.
HIV prevention programs in South Africa that emphasize the importance of condom use and disclosure and are tailored to the needs of their attending populations are critical given the potential for HIV-infected individuals to resume risky sexual behavior with improving health.
PMCID: PMC3811008  PMID: 18209685
condom use; HIV prevention; positive prevention; sexual behavior; South Africa; urban-rural
17.  Nutritional profile of Indian vegetarian diets – the Indian Migration Study (IMS) 
Nutrition Journal  2014;13:55.
The cardiovascular and other health benefits and potential harms of protein and micronutrient deficiency of vegetarian diets continue to be debated.
Study participants included urban migrants, their rural siblings and urban residents (n = 6555, mean age - 40.9 yrs) of the Indian Migration Study from Lucknow, Nagpur, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Information on diet (validated interviewer-administered semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire), tobacco, alcohol, physical activity, medical histories, as well as blood pressure, fasting blood and anthropometric measurements were collected. Nutrient databases were used to calculate nutrient content of regional recipes. Vegetarians ate no eggs, fish, poultry and meat. Using multivariate linear regression with robust standard error model, we compared the macro- and micro-nutrient profile of vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets.
Vegetarians, (32.8% of the population), consumed greater amounts of legumes, vegetables, roots and tubers, dairy and sugar, while non-vegetarians had a greater intake of cereals, fruits, spices, salt (p < 0.01), fats and oils. Vegetarians had a higher socioeconomic status, and were less likely to smoke, drink alcohol (p < 0.0001) and engage in less physical activity (p = 0.04). On multivariate analysis, vegetarians consumed more carbohydrates (β = 7.0 g/day (95% CI: 9.9 to 4.0), p < 0.0001), vitamin C (β = 8.7 mg/day (95% CI: 4.3 to13.0), p < 0.0001) and folate (β = 8.0 mcg/day (95% CI: 3.3 to 12.7), p = 0.001) and lower levels of fat (β = −1.6 g/day (95% CI: −0.62 to −2.7), p = 0.002), protein (β = −6.4 g/day (95% CI: −5.8 to −7.0), p < 0.0001), vitamin B12 (β = −1.4 mcg/day (95% CI: −1.2 to −1.5), p < 0.0001) and zinc (β = −0.6 mg/day (95% CI: −0.4 to −0.7), p < 0.0001).
Overall, Indian vegetarian diets were found to be adequate to sustain nutritional demands according to recommended dietary allowances with less fat. Lower vitamin B12 bio-availability remains a concern and requires exploration of acceptable dietary sources for vegetarians.
PMCID: PMC4055802  PMID: 24899080
India; Diet; Nutrition; Vegetarian; Vitamin B12
18.  Rural-Urban Differences in Health Behaviors and Implications for Health Status among US Cancer Survivors 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2013;24(8):1481-1490.
Rural US adults have increased risk of poor outcomes after cancer, including increased cancer mortality. Rural-urban differences in health behaviors have been identified in the general population and may contribute to cancer health disparities, but have not yet been examined among US survivors. We examined rural-urban differences in health behaviors among cancer survivors and associations with self-reported health and health-related unemployment.
We identified rural (n=1,642) and urban (n=6,162) survivors from the cross-sectional National Health Interview Survey (2006–2010) and calculated the prevalence of smoking, physical activity, overweight/obesity, and alcohol consumption. Multivariable models were used to examine the associations of fair/poor health and health-related unemployment with health behaviors and rural-urban residence.
The prevalence of fair/poor health (rural 36.7%, urban 26.6%), health-related unemployment (rural 18.5%, urban 10.6%), smoking (rural 25.3%, urban 15.8%), and physical inactivity (rural 50.7%, urban 38.7%) was significantly higher in rural survivors (all p<.05); alcohol consumption was lower (rural 46.3%, urban 58.6%), and there were no significant differences in overweight/obesity (rural 65.4%, urban 62.6%). All health behaviors were significantly associated with fair/poor health and health-related unemployment in both univariate and multivariable models. After adjustment for behaviors, rural survivors remained more likely than urban survivors to report fair/poor health (OR= 1.21, 95%CI 1.03–1.43) and health-related unemployment (OR= 1.49, 95%CI 1.18–1.88).
Rural survivors may need tailored, accessible health promotion interventions to address health compromising behaviors and improve outcomes after cancer.
PMCID: PMC3730816  PMID: 23677333
cancer survivors; smoking; physical activity; health status; employment
19.  Health status and quality of life among older adults in rural Tanzania 
Global Health Action  2010;3:10.3402/gha.v3i0.2142.
Increasingly, human populations throughout the world are living longer and this trend is developing in sub-Saharan Africa. In developing African countries such as Tanzania, this demographic phenomenon is taking place against a background of poverty and poor health conditions. There has been limited research on how this process of ageing impacts upon the health of older people within such low-income settings.
The objective of this study is to describe the impacts of ageing on the health status, quality of life and well-being of older people in a rural population of Tanzania.
A short version of the WHO Survey on Adult Health and Global Ageing questionnaire was used to collect information on the health status, quality of life and well-being of older adults living in Ifakara Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Tanzania, during early 2007. Questionnaires were administered through this framework to 8,206 people aged 50 and over.
Among people aged 50 and over, having good quality of life and health status was significantly associated with being male, married and not being among the oldest old. Functional ability assessment was associated with age, with people reporting more difficulty in performing routine activities as age increased, particularly among women. Reports of good quality of life and well-being decreased with increasing age. Women were significantly more likely to report poor quality of life (odds ratio 1.31; p<0.001, 95% CI 1.15–1.50).
Older people within this rural Tanzanian setting reported that the ageing process had significant impacts on their health status, quality of life and physical ability. Poor quality of life and well-being, and poor health status in older people were significantly associated with marital status, sex, age and level of education. The process of ageing in this setting is challenging and raises public health concerns.
PMCID: PMC2958089  PMID: 20975983
health status; quality of life; older people; ageing; Health and Demographic Surveillance System; INDEPTH WHO-SAGE
20.  Urban-rural inequities in knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding tuberculosis in two districts of Pakistan's Punjab province 
The aim of this study was to explore inequities in knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding tuberculosis (TB) among the urban and rural populations.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in two districts of Pakistan's Punjab province. The 1080 subjects aged 20 years and above, including 432 urban and 648 rural respondents, were randomly selected using multistage cluster sampling and interviewed after taking verbal informed consent. Logistic regression was used to calculate the crude odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for the urban area. The differences in knowledge, attitudes, practices and information sources between the urban and rural respondents were highlighted using Pearson chi-square test and Fisher's exact test.
The study revealed poor knowledge regarding TB. The deficit was greater in the rural areas in all aspects. The knowledge regarding symptoms (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.59-2.61), transmission (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.44-2.59), prevention (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.70-2.96), duration of standard treatment (OR 1.88, 95% 1.41-2.49) and DOTS (OR 1.84, 95% CI 1.43-2.38) was significantly higher in the urban areas (all P < 0.001). Although a majority of the subjects (urban 83.8%, rural 81.2%) were aware of the correct treatment for TB, less than half (urban 48.1%, rural 49.2%) were aware of the availability of the diagnostic facility and treatment free of cost. The practice of seeking treatment at a health facility (P = 0.030; OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.06-3.82), as soon as they realized that they had TB symptoms (P < 0.001; OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.26-2.35), was significantly higher in the urban areas. People in the urban areas were more likely to feel ashamed and embarrassed being a TB patient (P < 0.001; OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.50-2.76); however, they seem to be supportive in case their family member suffered from TB (P = 0.005; OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.13-2.06). Nearly half of the respondents, irrespective of the area of residence, believed that the community rejects the TB patient (urban 49.8%, rural 46.4%). Television (urban 80.1%, rural 68.1%) and health workers (urban 30.6%, rural 41.4%) were the main sources for people to acquire the TB related information.
Respondents' knowledge regarding TB was deficient in all aspects, particularly in the rural areas. Intended health seeking behavior was better in the urban areas. Television and health workers were the main sources for TB related information in both the urban as well as the rural areas. Therefore, the area of residence should be considered in tailoring communication strategies and designing future interventions for TB prevention and control.
PMCID: PMC3045313  PMID: 21294873
21.  Oral cancer screening and dental care use among women from Ohio Appalachia 
Rural and remote health  2012;12:2184.
Residents of Appalachia may benefit from oral cancer screening given the region’s higher oral and pharyngeal cancer mortality rates. The current study examined the oral cancer screening behaviors and recent dental care (since dentists perform most screening examinations) of women from Ohio Appalachia.
Women from Ohio Appalachia were surveyed for the Community Awareness Resources Education (CARE) study, which was completed in 2006. A secondary aim of the CARE baseline survey was to examine oral cancer screening and dental care use among women from this region. Outcomes included whether women (n=477; cooperation rate = 71%) had ever had an oral cancer screening examination and when their most recent dental visit had occurred. Various demographic characteristics, health behaviors and psychosocial factors were examined as potential correlates. Analyses used multivariate logistic regression.
Most women identified tobacco-related products as risk factors for oral cancer, but 43% of women did not know an early sign of oral cancer. Only 15% of women reported ever having had an oral cancer screening examination, with approximately 80% of these women indicating that a dentist had performed their most recent examination. Women were less likely to have reported a previous examination if they were from urban areas (OR=0.33, 95% CI: 0.13–0.85) or perceived a lower locus of health control (OR=0.94, 95% CI: 0.89–0.98). Women were more likely to have reported a previous examination if they had had a dental visit within the last year (OR=2.24, 95% CI: 1.03–4.88). Only 65% of women, however, indicated a dental visit within the last year. Women were more likely to have reported a recent dental visit if they were of a high socioeconomic status (OR=2.83, 95% CI: 1.58–5.06), had private health insurance (OR=2.20, 95% CI: 1.21–3.97) or had consumed alcohol in the last month (OR=2.03, 95% CI: 1.20–3.42).
Oral cancer screening was not common among women from Ohio Appalachia, with many missed opportunities having occurred at dental visits. Education programs targeting dentists and other healthcare providers (given dental providers are lacking in some areas of Ohio Appalachia) about opportunistic oral cancer screening may help to improve screening in Appalachia. These programs should include information about populations at high risk for oral cancer (eg smokers) and how screening may be especially beneficial for them. Future research is needed to examine the acceptability of such education programs to healthcare providers in the Appalachian region and to explore why screening was less common among women living in urban areas of Ohio Appalachia.
PMCID: PMC3838993  PMID: 23240899
Appalachia; oral cancer; screening; USA
22.  Steep HIV prevalence declines among young people in selected Zambian communities: population-based observations (1995–2003) 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:279.
Understanding the epidemiological HIV context is critical in building effective setting-specific preventive strategies. We examined HIV prevalence patterns in selected communities of men and women aged 15–59 years in Zambia.
Population-based HIV surveys in 1995 (n = 3158), 1999 (n = 3731) and 2003 (n = 4751) were conducted in selected communities using probability proportional to size stratified random-cluster sampling. Multivariate logistic regression and trend analyses were stratified by residence, sex and age group. Absence, <30% in men and <15% in women in all rounds, was the most important cause of non-response. Saliva was used for HIV testing, and refusal was <10%.
Among rural groups aged 15–24 years, prevalence declined by 59.2% (15.7% to 6.4%, P < 0.001) in females and by 44.6% (5.6% to 3.1%, P < 0.001) in males. In age-group 15–49 years, declines were less than 25%. In the urban groups aged 15–24, prevalence declined by 47% (23.4% to 12.4%, P < 0.001) among females and 57.3% (7.5% to 3.2%, P = 0.001) among males but were 32% and 27% in men and women aged 15–49, respectively. Higher educated young people in 2003 had lower odds of infection than in 1995 in both urban [men: AOR 0.29(95%CI 0.14–0.60); women: AOR 0.38(95%CI 0.19–0.79)] and rural groups [men: AOR 0.16(95%CI 0.11–0.25), women: AOR 0.10(95%CI 0.01–7.34)]. Although higher mobility was associated with increased likelihood of infection in men overall, AOR, 1.71(95%CI 1.34–2.19), prevalence declined in mobile groups also (OR 0.52 95%CI 0.31–0.88). In parallel, urban young people with ≥11 school years were more likely to use condoms during the last casual sex (OR 2.96 95%CI 1.93–4.52) and report less number of casual sexual partners (AOR 0.33 95%CI 0.19–0.56) in the last twelve months than lower educated groups.
Steep HIV prevalence declines in young people, suggesting continuing declining incidence, were masked by modest overall declines. The concentration of declines in higher educated groups suggests a plausible association with behavioural change.
PMCID: PMC1660545  PMID: 17096833
23.  Rates of influenza vaccination in older adults and factors associated with vaccine use: A secondary analysis of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging 
BMC Public Health  2004;4:36.
Influenza vaccination has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality in the older adult population. In Canada, vaccination rates remain suboptimal. We identified factors predictive of influenza vaccination, in order to determine which segments of the older adult population might be targeted to increase coverage in influenza vaccination programs.
The Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA) is a population-based national cohort study of 10263 older adults (≥ 65) conducted in 1991. We used data from the 5007 community-dwelling participants in the CSHA without dementia for whom self-reported influenza vaccination status is known.
Of 5007 respondents, 2763 (55.2%) reported having received an influenza vaccination within the previous 2 years. The largest predictive factors for flu vaccination included: being married (57.4 vs. 52.6%, p = 0.0007), having attained a higher education (11.0 vs. 10.3 years, p < 0.0001), smoking (57.1% vs. 52.9%, p = 0.0032), more alcohol use (57.9% of those who drank more vs. 53.2% of those who drank less, p = 0.001), poorer self-rated health (54.1% of those with good self-rated health vs. 60.6% of those with poor self-rated health, p = 0.0006), regular exercise (56.8% vs. 52.0%, p = 0.001), and urban living (55.8% vs. 51.0%, p = 0.03).
While many other differences were statistically significant, most were small (e.g. mean age 75.1 vs. 74.6 years for immunized vs. unimmunized older adults, p = 0.006, higher Modified Mini Mental Status Examination score (89.9 vs. 89.1, p < 0.0001), higher comorbidity (2.7 vs. 2.3 comorbidities, p < 0.0001).
Residents of Ontario were more likely (64.6%) to report vaccination (p < 0.0001), while those living in Quebec were less likely to do so (48.2%, p < 0.0001). Factors retaining significance in a multivariate analysis included older age, higher education, married status, drinking alcohol, smoking, engaging in regular exercise, and having higher comorbidity.
The vaccination rate in this sample, in whom influenza vaccination is indicated, was low (55.2%). Even in a publicly administered health care setting, influenza vaccination did not reach an important proportion of the elderly population. Whether these differences reflect patient preference or access remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC514709  PMID: 15306030
24.  Healthcare-seeking behavior, treatment delays and its determinants among pulmonary tuberculosis patients in rural Nigeria: a cross-sectional study 
Nigeria ranks fourth among 22 high tuberculosis (TB) burden countries. Although it reached 99% DOTS coverage in 2008, current case detection rate is 40%. Little is known about delays before the start of TB therapy and health-seeking behaviour of TB patients in rural resource-limited settings. We aimed to: 1) assess healthcare-seeking behaviour and delay in treatment of pulmonary TB patients, 2) identify the determinants of the delay in treatment of pulmonary TB.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of adult new pulmonary TB patients notified to the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) by three rural (two mission/one public) hospitals. Data on health-seeking and delays were collected using a standardised questionnaire. We defined patient delay as the interval (weeks) between the onset of cough and the first visit to any health provider, and health system delay as the time interval (weeks) between patient's first attendance to any health provider, and the onset of treatment. Total delay is the sum of both delays. Multiple linear regression models using nine exposure variables were built to identify determinants of delays.
Of 450 patients (median age 30 years) enrolled, most were males (55%), subsistent farmers (49%), rural residents (78%); and 39% had no formal education. About 84% of patients reported first consulting a non-NTP provider. For such patients, the first facilities visited after onset of symptoms were drug shops (79%), traditional healers (10%), and private hospitals (10%). The median total delay was 11 (IQR 9–16) weeks, patient delay 8 (IQR 8–12) and health system (HS) delay 3 (IQR 1–4) weeks. Factors associated with increased patient delay were older age (P <0.001) longer walking distance to a public facility (<0.001), and urban residence (P <0.001). Male gender (P = 0.001) and an initial visit to a non-NTP provider (P = 0.025) were independent determinants of prolonged HS delay. Those associated with longer total delay were older age (P <0.001), male gender (P = 0.045), and urban residence (P<0.001).
Overall, TB treatment delays were high; and needs to be reduced in Nigeria. This may be achieved through improved access to care, further education of patients, engagement of informal care providers, and strengthening of existing public-private partnerships in TB control.
PMCID: PMC3560225  PMID: 23327613
Tuberculosis; Health-seeking delays; Private sector; Public sector; Rural; Low-resource setting
25.  Determinants of preventive oral health behaviour among senior dental students in Nigeria 
BMC Oral Health  2013;13:28.
To study the association between oral health behaviour of senior dental students in Nigeria and their gender, age, knowledge of preventive care, and attitudes towards preventive dentistry.
Questionnaires were administered to 179 senior dental students in the six dental schools in Nigeria. The questionnaire obtained information on age, gender, oral self-care, knowledge of preventive dental care and attitudes towards preventive dentistry. Attending a dental clinic for check-up by a dentist or a classmate within the last year was defined as preventive care use. Students who performed oral self-care and attended dental clinic for check-ups were noted to have complied with recommended oral self-care. Chi-square test and binary logistic regression models were used for statistical analyses.
More male respondents agreed that the use of fluoride toothpaste was more important than the tooth brushing technique for caries prevention (P < 0.001). While the use of dental floss was very low (7.3%), more females were more likely to report using dental floss (p=0.03). Older students were also more likely to comply with recommended oral self-care (p<0.001). In binary regression models, respondents who were younger (p=0.04) and those with higher knowledge of preventive dental care (p=0.008) were more likely to consume sugary snacks less than once a day.
Gender differences in the awareness of the superiority of using fluoridated toothpaste over brushing in caries prevention; and in the use of dental floss were observed. While older students were more likely to comply with recommended oral self-care measures, younger students with good knowledge of preventive dental care were more likely to consume sugary snacks less than once a day.
PMCID: PMC3700852  PMID: 23777298
Nigeria; Dental; Students; Knowledge; Behaviour; Prevention

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