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1.  ETHNIC DISPARITIES IN HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY OF LIFE AMONG OLDER RURAL ADULTS WITH DIABETES 
Ethnicity & disease  2007;17(3):471-476.
Diabetes mellitus disproportionately affects ethnic minorities and has serious economic, social, and personal implications. This study examines the effect of diabetes disease burden and social resources on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among older rural adults with diabetes. Data come from a population-based cross-sectional survey of 701 adults (age ≥65 years) with diabetes in North Carolina from three ethnic groups: African American, Native American, and White. HRQOL was assessed using the 12-item short-form health survey (SF-12). Mean scores were 35.1 ± 11.4 and 50.5 ± 10.8 for the physical and mental components of the SF-12, respectively. In bivariate analyses, scores were significantly lower for Native Americans than Whites for both components. In multivariate analyses, higher physical HRQOL was associated with male sex, greater mobility ability, fewer chronic conditions, exercising vs not exercising, fewer depressive symptoms, and not receiving process assistance. Higher mental HRQOL was associated with greater mobility ability, fewer chronic conditions, and a high school education or more. Diabetes appears to have a substantial effect on physical HRQOL. Physical disability associated with diabetes may have a greater impact in the rural environment than in other areas. Aspects of rural social milieu may help to keep mental HRQOL high, even in the face of severe chronic disease. Ethnic differences in HRQOL are largely accounted for by diabetes disease burden and, to a lesser extent, social resources. Strategies to reduce diabetes-related complications (long term) and assist mobility (short term) may reduce ethnic disparities in HRQOL. (Ethn Dis. 2007;17:471–476)
PMCID: PMC2621317  PMID: 17985500
African Americans; Diabetes; Quality of Life; Native Americans; Rural; Minority Health
2.  Depressive Symptoms and Diabetes Self-Management among Rural Older Adults 
Objectives
To assess the association of depressive symptoms with diabetes self-management regimens among older adults with type 2 diabetes in a rural, ethnically diverse community.
Methods
Data from 696 rural older African Americans, American Indians and whites were used to assess depressive symptoms (modified CES-D) and diabetes self-management (physical activity, blood glucose self-monitoring, self foot checks, following a healthful eating plan, and medication adherence).
Results
In bivariate analyses, high CES-D scores were associated with decreased adherence to a healthful eating plan and physical activity, and increased foot checks; the latter 2 remained significant in multivariate analyses.
Conclusions
Older adults with diabetes and depression are less likely to adhere to self-management, increasing their risk of complications.
PMCID: PMC2726973  PMID: 19663750
depressive symptoms; type 2 diabetes; African Americans; American Indians; diabetes self-management
3.  The Association of Health and Functional Status with Private and Public Religious Practice among Rural, Ethnically Diverse Older Adults with Diabetes 
Purpose
This analysis describes the association of health and functional status with private and public religious practice among ethnically diverse (African American, Native American, white) rural older adults with diabetes.
Methods
Data were collected using a population-based, cross-sectional, stratified, random sample survey of 701 community-dwelling elders with diabetes in two rural North Carolina counties. Outcome measures were private religious practice, church attendance, religious support provided, and religious support received. Correlates included religiosity, health and functional status, and personal characteristics. Statistical significance was assessed using multiple linear regression and logistic regression models.
Findings
These rural elders had high levels of religious belief, and private and public religious practice. Religiosity was associated with private and public religious practice. Health and functional status were not associated with private religious practice, but they were associated with public religious practice, such that those with limited functional status participated less in public religious practice. Ethnicity was associated with private religious practice: African Americans had higher levels of private religious practice than Native Americans or whites, while Native Americans had higher levels than whites.
Conclusions
Variation in private religious practice among rural older adults is related to personal characteristics and religiosity, while public religious practice is related to physical health, functional status and religiosity. Declining health may affect the social integration of rural older adults by limiting their ability to participate in a dominant social institution.
doi:10.1111/j.1748-0361.2007.00097.x
PMCID: PMC3653177  PMID: 17565525
rural aging; minority aging; chronic disease; diabetes; religious participation; religiosity; social integration
4.  Ethnic Disparities in Glycemic Control Among Rural Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes 
Ethnicity & disease  2005;15(4):656-663.
Glycemic control is a predictor of diabetes-related morbidity and mortality. However, little is known about how well older adults in rural communities, with limited access to self-care resources and specialty care practitioners, control their diabetes. Even less is known about whether minority, older, rural adults are at increased risk for poor glycemic control. We analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey of randomly selected older (≥65 years) adults with type 2 diabetes in rural North Carolina. Participants (N=693) were men and women from three ethnic groups: African American, Native American, and White. Capillary blood samples were collected for HbA1C analysis. HbA1C levels (<7%, 7%–<8%, and ≥8%) were compared across ethnic and gender groups. Two multiple logistic regression models (model 1: personal characteristics; model 2: personal and health characteristics) were used to evaluate potential predictors of HbA1C ≥7%. Overall, 36.4% had HbA1C ≥7%. Native Americans and African-American men had the highest proportion at levels of poor glycemic control (≥7%), and African-American women and White men had the lowest. In bivariate analysis, ethnicity, living arrangements, use of medications for diabetes, having a diabetes-related healthcare visit in the past year, and duration of diabetes were significantly associated with glycemic control. In multivariate analysis (model 1), being Native American, having low income without Medicaid, and being married were associated with poor glycemic control. Adding health characteristics (model 2), longer diabetes duration and diabetes medication therapy were significant predictors. These data indicate that older ethnic minorities in rural communities are at increased risk for diabetes complications and need diabetes management strategies to improve glycemic control.
PMCID: PMC1780265  PMID: 16259490
African Americans; Elderly; Diabetes; Ethnicity; Glycosylated Hemoglobin; Health Disparities; Native Americans; Rural
5.  The Effect of Rural-to-Urban Migration on Obesity and Diabetes in India: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000268.
Shah Ebrahim and colleagues examine the distribution of obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular risk factors among urban migrant factory workers in India, together with their rural siblings. The investigators identify patterns of change of cardiovascular risk factors associated with urban migration.
Background
Migration from rural areas of India contributes to urbanisation and may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. We tested the hypotheses that rural-to-urban migrants have a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes than rural nonmigrants, that migrants would have an intermediate prevalence of obesity and diabetes compared with life-long urban and rural dwellers, and that longer time since migration would be associated with a higher prevalence of obesity and of diabetes.
Methods and Findings
The place of origin of people working in factories in north, central, and south India was identified. Migrants of rural origin, their rural dwelling sibs, and those of urban origin together with their urban dwelling sibs were assessed by interview, examination, and fasting blood samples. Obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular risk factors were compared. A total of 6,510 participants (42% women) were recruited. Among urban, migrant, and rural men the age- and factory-adjusted percentages classified as obese (body mass index [BMI] >25 kg/m2) were 41.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39.1–44.7), 37.8% (95% CI 35.0–40.6), and 19.0% (95% CI 17.0–21.0), respectively, and as diabetic were 13.5% (95% CI 11.6–15.4), 14.3% (95% CI 12.2–16.4), and 6.2% (95% CI 5.0–7.4), respectively. Findings for women showed similar patterns. Rural men had lower blood pressure, lipids, and fasting blood glucose than urban and migrant men, whereas no differences were seen in women. Among migrant men, but not women, there was weak evidence for a lower prevalence of both diabetes and obesity among more recent (≤10 y) migrants.
Conclusions
Migration into urban areas is associated with increases in obesity, which drive other risk factor changes. Migrants have adopted modes of life that put them at similar risk to the urban population. Gender differences in some risk factors by place of origin are unexpected and require further exploration.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
India, like the rest of the world, is experiencing an epidemic of diabetes, a chronic disease characterized by dangerous levels of sugar in the blood that cause cardiovascular and kidney disease, which lower life expectancy. The prevalence of diabetes (the proportion of the population with diabetes) has been increasing steadily in India over recent decades, particularly in urban areas. In 1984, only 5% of adults living in the towns and cities of India had diabetes, but by 2004, 15% of adults in urban areas were affected by diabetes. In rural areas of India, diabetes is less common than in urban areas but even here, the prevalence of diabetes is now 6%. Obesity—too much body fat—is a major risk factor for diabetes and, in parallel with the greater increase in diabetes in urban India compared to rural India, there has been a greater increase in obesity in urban areas than in rural areas.
Why Was This Study Done?
Experts think that the increasing prevalence of obesity and diabetes in India (and in other developing countries) is caused in part by increased consumption of saturated fats and sugars and by reduced physical activity, and that these changes are related to urbanization—urban expansion into the countryside and migration from rural to urban areas. If living in an urban setting is a major determinant of obesity and diabetes risk, then people migrating into urban areas should acquire the high risk of the urban population for these two conditions. In this cross-sectional study (a study in which participants are studied at a single time point), the researchers investigate whether rural to urban migrants in India have a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes than rural nonmigrants. They also ask whether migrants have a prevalence of obesity and diabetes intermediate between that of life-long urban and rural dwellers and whether a longer time since migration is associated with a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited rural-urban migrants working in four Indian factories in north, central, and south regions and their spouses (if they were living in the same town) into their study. Each migrant worker and spouse asked one nonmigrant brother or sister (sibling) still living in their place of origin to join the study. The researchers also enrolled nonmigrant factory workers and their urban siblings into the study. All the participants (more than 6,500 in total) answered questions about their diet and physical activity and had their fasting blood sugar and their body mass index (BMI; weight in kg divided by height in meters squared) measured; participants with a fasting blood sugar of more than 7.0 nmol/l or a BMI of more than 25 kg/m2 were classified as diabetic or obese, respectively. 41.9% and 37.8% of the urban and migrant men, respectively, but only 19.0% of the rural men were obese. Similarly, 13.5% and 14.3% of the urban and migrant men, respectively, but only 6.2% of the rural men had diabetes. Patterns of obesity and diabetes among the women participants were similar. Finally, although the prevalence of diabetes and obesity was lower in the most recent male migrants than in those who had moved more than 10 years previously, this difference was small and not seen in women migrants.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that rural-urban migration in India is associated with rapid increases in obesity and in diabetes. They also show that the migrants have adopted modes of life (for example, reduced physical activity) that put them at a similar risk for obesity and diabetes as the urban population. The findings do not show, however, that migrants have an intermediate prevalence of obesity and diabetes compared to urban and rural dwellers and provide only weak support for the idea that a longer time since migration is associated with a higher risk of obesity and diabetes. Although the study's cross-sectional design means that the researchers could not investigate how risk factors for diabetes evolve over time, these findings suggest that urbanization is helping to drive the diabetes epidemic in India. Thus, targeting migrants and their families for health promotion activities and for treatment of risk factors for obesity and diabetes might help to slow the progress of the epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000268.
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about all aspects of diabetes, including information on diabetes in Southeast Asia (in English, French, and Spanish)
DiabetesIndia.com provides information on the Indian Task Forces on diabetes care in India
Diabetes Foundation (India) has an international collaborative research focus and provides information about health promotion for diabetes; it has also produced consensus guidelines on dietary change for prevention of diabetes in India
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides detailed information about diabetes for patients, health care professionals, and the general public (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000268
PMCID: PMC2860494  PMID: 20436961
6.  Predictors of Falls in a Multiethnic Population of Older Rural Adults With Diabetes 
Background
Falls are a recognized danger for older adults with diabetes. Persons in rural communities with diabetes may face additional risks from falling due to environmental and activity differences.
Methods
Data were obtained in a cross-sectional survey of a stratified random sample of 691 community-dwelling adults (42.7% white, 31.4% African American, and 25.9% Native American) at least 65 years old with two or more Medicare claims for diabetes in 1998–2000, living in two rural counties in North Carolina. Falls data were self-reported for the previous year. Demographic data, foot-related symptoms, diabetes medications, and other health characteristics were reported.
Results
Three hundred two persons (43.7%) reported falling at least once, including 171 (26.2%) who experienced two or more (frequent) falls. Frequent fallers were more likely to be male (odds ratio [OR] = 1.76; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.17, 2.66), report tingling or numbness in feet (OR = 1.75; 95% CI = 1.13, 2.70), have had a stroke (OR = 1.81; 95% CI = 1.19, 2.76), have longer duration of diabetes (OR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.00, 1.47), have lower physical functioning (OR = 0.97; 95% CI = 0.96, 0.99) and mobility (OR = 0.89; 95% CI = 0.82, 0.96), and take a greater number of prescription medications (OR = 1.07; 95% CI = 1.01, 1.13).
Conclusions
For rural older adults with diabetes, falls history should be screened to identify those at risk. Further research should investigate unique environmental factors contributing to falls for rural elderly persons.
PMCID: PMC1592639  PMID: 16611707
7.  Barriers to treatment and culturally endorsed coping strategies among depressed African-American older adults 
Aging & mental health  2010;14(8):971-983.
Objective
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to the effects of depression, however, they are less likely to seek and engage in mental health treatment. African-American older adults are even less likely than their White counterparts to seek and engage in mental health treatment. This qualitative study examined the experience of being depressed among African-American elders and their perceptions of barriers confronted when contemplating seeking mental health services. In addition, we examined how coping strategies are utilized by African-American elders who choose not to seek professional mental health services.
Method
A total of 37 interviews were conducted with African-American elders endorsing at least mild symptoms of depression. Interviews were audiotaped and subsequently transcribed. Content analysis was utilized to analyze the qualitative data.
Results
Thematic analysis of the interviews with African-American older adults is presented within three areas: (1) Beliefs about Depression Among Older African-Americans: (2) Barriers to Seeking Treatment for Older African-Americans: and (3) Cultural Coping Strategies for Depressed African-American Older Adults.
Conclusion
Older African-Americans in this study identified a number of experiences living in the Black community that impacted their treatment seeking attitudes and behaviors. which led to identification and utilization of more culturally endorsed coping strategies to deal with their depression. Findings from this study provide a greater understanding of the stigma associated with having a mental illness and its influence on attitudes toward mental health services.
doi:10.1080/13607863.2010.501061
PMCID: PMC3060025  PMID: 21069603
depression; beliefs/attitudes; health service use; stigma; aging
8.  The burden of chronic diseases in a rural North Florida sample 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:906.
Background
The degree of health disparities present in rural communities is of growing concern and is considered "urgent" since rural residents lag behind their urban counterparts in health status. Understanding the prevalence and type of chronic diseases in rural communities is often difficult since Americans living in rural areas are reportedly less likely to have access to quality health care, although there are some exceptions. Data suggest that rural residents are more likely to engage in higher levels of behavioral and health risk-taking than urban residents, and newer evidence suggests that there are differences in health risk behavior within rural subgroups. The objective of this report is to characterize the prevalence of four major and costly chronic diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis) and putative risk factors including depressive symptoms within an understudied rural region of the United States. These four chronic conditions remain among the most common and preventable of health problems across the United States.
Methods
Using survey data (N = 2526), logistic regression models were used to assess the association of the outcome and risk factors adjusting for age, gender, and race.
Results
Key findings are (1) Lower financial security was associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes, but not cancer. (2) Higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes. (3) Former or current smoking was associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease and cancer. (4) Blacks reported higher prevalence of diabetes than Whites; Black women were more likely to report diabetes than all other groups; prevalence of diabetes was greater among women with lower education than among women with higher education. (5) Overall, the prevalence of diabetes and arthritis was higher than that reported by Florida and national data.
Conclusions
The findings presented in this paper are derived from one of only a few studies examining patterns of chronic disease among residents of both a rural and lower income geographic region. Overall, the prevalence of these conditions compared to the state and nation as a whole is elevated and calls for increased attention and tailored public health interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-906
PMCID: PMC3849941  PMID: 24083333
Health disparities; Chronic disease; Rural
9.  Primary and Specialty Medical Care Among Ethnically Diverse, Older Rural Adults With Type 2 Diabetes: The ELDER Diabetes Study 
Purpose
Residents in rural communities in the United States, especially ethnic minority group members, have limited access to primary and specialty health care that is critical for diabetes management. This study examines primary and specialty medical care utilization among a rural, ethnically diverse, older adult population with diabetes.
Methods
Data were drawn from a cross-sectional face-to-face survey of randomly selected African American (n = 220), Native American (n = 181), and white (n = 297) Medicare beneficiaries ≥65 years old with diabetes in 2 rural counties in central North Carolina. Participants were asked about utilization of a primary care doctor and of specialists (nutritionist, diabetes specialist, eye doctor, bladder specialist, kidney specialist, heart specialist, foot specialist) in the past year.
Findings
Virtually all respondents (99.0%) reported having a primary care doctor and seeing that doctor in the past year. About 42% reported seeing a doctor for diabetes-related care. On average, participants reported seeing 2 specialists in the past year, and 54% reported seeing >1 specialist. Few reported seeing a diabetes specialist (5.7%), nutritionist (10.9%), or kidney specialist (17.5%). African Americans were more likely than others to report seeing a foot specialist (P<.01), while men were more likely than women to have seen a bladder specialist (P =.02), kidney specialist (P =.001), and heart specialist (P =.004), after adjusting for potential confounders. Predictors of the number of specialists seen include gender, education, poverty status, diabetes medication use, and self-rated health.
Conclusions
These data indicate low utilization of specialty diabetes care providers across ethnic groups and reflect the importance of primary care providers in diabetes care in rural areas.
PMCID: PMC1586168  PMID: 16092292
10.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use as Health Self-Management: Rural Older Adults With Diabetes 
Objectives
This study describes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among rural older adults with diabetes, delineates the relationship of health self-management predictors to CAM therapy use, and furthers conceptual development of CAM use within a health self-management framework.
Methods
Survey interview data were collected from a random sample of 701 community dwelling African American, Native American, and White elders residing in two rural North Carolina counties. We summarize CAM use for general use and for diabetes care and use multiple logistic modeling to estimate the effects of health self-management predictors on use of CAM therapies.
Results
The majority of respondents used some form of CAM for general purpose, whereas far fewer used CAM for diabetes care. The most widely used CAM categories were food home remedies, other home remedies, and vitamins. The following health self-management predictors were related to the use of different categories of CAM therapies: personal characteristics (ethnicity), health status (number of health conditions), personal resources (education), and financial resources (economic status).
Discussion
CAM is a widely used component of health self-management among rural among older adults with diabetes. Research on CAM use will benefit from theory that considers the specific behavior and cognitive characteristics of CAM therapies.
PMCID: PMC1622916  PMID: 16497962
11.  “Culture” in Diabetes-Related Beliefs among Low- and High-Education African American, American Indian, and White Older Adults 
Ethnicity & disease  2012;22(4):466-472.
Objectives
Racial and ethnic disparities in diabetes and subsequent complications are often attributed to culture; however, previous diabetes disparities research is restricted to in-depth ethnic-specific samples or to comparative study designs with limited belief assessment. The goal of this study is to improve understanding of the cultural basis for variation in diabetes beliefs.
Design
Cross-sectional
Setting
Rural North Carolina
Participants
Older adults (aged 60+) with diabetes, equally divided by ethnicity (White, African American, American Indian) and gender (N=593).
Interventions
Guided by Explanatory Models of Illness and Cultural Consensus research traditions, trained interviewers collected data using 38 items in four diabetes belief domains: causes, symptoms, consequences, and medical management. Items were obtained from the Common Sense Model of Diabetes Inventory (CSMDI).
Main Outcome
Beliefs about diabetes. Response options for each diabetes belief item were “agree,” “disagree” and “don’t know”. Collected data were analyzed using Anthropac (version 4.98) and Latent Gold (version 4.5) programs.
Results
There is substantial similarity in diabetes beliefs among African Americans, American Indians, and Whites. Diabetes beliefs were most similar in the “symptoms” and “consequences” domains compared to beliefs pertaining to “causes” and “medical management.” Although some discrete beliefs differed by ethnicity, systematic differences by ethnicity were observed for specific educational groups.
Conclusions
Socioeconomic conditions influence diabetes beliefs rather than “ethnicity” per se.
PMCID: PMC3510461  PMID: 23140078
Diabetes Beliefs; Explanatory Models of Illness; Cultural Consensus; Ethnic Differences; Health Disparities
12.  Self-monitoring of Blood Glucose in a Multiethnic Population of Rural Older Adults With Diabetes 
The Diabetes educator  2005;31(1):84-90.
Purpose
The purpose of the study was to describe self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) practices of 698 older adults with type 2 diabetes in the rural Southeast, to identify characteristics differentiating testers from nontesters, and to identify personal and support-related predictors of monitoring frequency.
Methods
The ELDER (Evaluating Long-term Diabetes Self-management Among Elderly Rural Adults) study was a population-based, cross-sectional survey of African American, Native American, and white Medicare recipients ≥65 years with diagnosed diabetes. Data were obtained through in-home interviews. Multiple logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with SMBG and frequency of monitoring.
Results
Seventy-seven percent of respondents practiced SMBG in the previous week; 40% tested every day in that week. No ethnic differences were seen. Significant independent predictors of any SMBG were medication regimen (taking oral agents or insulin with or without oral agents) and health care provider (HCP) recommendation to test. Among those monitoring, significant independent predictors of SMBG frequency were medication regimen, HCP recommendation to test, duration of diabetes, and receiving help with testing, which was negatively associated with monitoring frequency.
Conclusions
Among rural older persons with diabetes, HCP recommendation significantly affected practicing SMBG and SMBG frequency. These findings suggest points of intervention by diabetes educators with this vulnerable population. Further research is needed to determine how older adults use SMBG data in their self-care regimen.
PMCID: PMC1630682  PMID: 15779249
13.  Early Emergence of Ethnic Differences in Type 2 Diabetes Precursors in the UK: The Child Heart and Health Study in England (CHASE Study) 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000263.
Peter Whincup and colleagues carry out a cross-sectional study examining ethnic differences in precursors of of type 2 diabetes among children aged 9–10 living in three UK cities.
Background
Adults of South Asian origin living in the United Kingdom have high risks of type 2 diabetes and central obesity; raised circulating insulin, triglyceride, and C-reactive protein concentrations; and low HDL-cholesterol when compared with white Europeans. Adults of African-Caribbean origin living in the UK have smaller increases in type 2 diabetes risk, raised circulating insulin and HDL-cholesterol, and low triglyceride and C-reactive protein concentrations. We examined whether corresponding ethnic differences were apparent in childhood.
Methods and Findings
We performed a cross-sectional survey of 4,796 children aged 9–10 y in three UK cities who had anthropometric measurements (68% response) and provided blood samples (58% response); ethnicity was based on parental definition. In age-adjusted comparisons with white Europeans (n = 1,153), South Asian children (n = 1,306) had higher glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) (% difference: 2.1, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.7), fasting insulin (% difference 30.0, 95% CI 23.4 to 36.9), triglyceride (% difference 12.9, 95% CI 9.4 to 16.5), and C-reactive protein (% difference 43.3, 95% CI 28.6 to 59.7), and lower HDL-cholesterol (% difference −2.9, 95% CI −4.5 to −1.3). Higher adiposity levels among South Asians (based on skinfolds and bioimpedance) did not account for these patterns. Black African-Caribbean children (n = 1,215) had higher levels of HbA1c, insulin, and C-reactive protein than white Europeans, though the ethnic differences were not as marked as in South Asians. Black African-Caribbean children had higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels than white Europeans; adiposity markers were not increased.
Conclusions
Ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes precursors, mostly following adult patterns, are apparent in UK children in the first decade. Some key determinants operate before adult life and may provide scope for early prevention.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, nearly 250 million people have diabetes, and the number of people affected by this chronic disease is increasing rapidly. Diabetes is characterized by dangerous amounts of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone that the pancreas releases when blood sugar levels rise after eating (digestion of food produces glucose). In people with type 2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes), blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that usually respond to insulin by removing sugar from the blood become less responsive to insulin (insulin resistant). Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise, and with drugs that help the pancreas make more insulin or that make cells more sensitive to insulin. Long-term complications of diabetes include kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and stroke.
Why Was This Study Done?
South Asians and African-Caribbeans living in Western countries tend to have higher rates of type 2 diabetes than host populations. South Asian adults living in the UK, for example, have a 3-fold higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than white Europeans. They also have higher fasting blood levels of glucose, insulin and triglycerides (a type of fat), higher blood levels of “glycated hemoglobin” (HbA1c; an indicator of average of blood-sugar levels over time), more body fat (increased adiposity), raised levels of a molecule called C-reactive protein, and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol (another type of fat) than white Europeans. Most of these “diabetes precursors” (risk factors) are also seen in black African-Caribbean adults living in the UK except that individuals in this ethnic group often have raised HDL-cholesterol levels and low triglyceride levels. Ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes precursors are also present in adolescents, but the extent to which they are present in childhood remains unclear. Knowing this information could have implications for diabetes prevention. In this population-based study, therefore, the researchers investigate patterns of diabetes precursors in 9- to 10-year-old UK children of white European, South Asian, and black African-Caribbean origin.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled nearly 5,000 children (including 1,153 white European, 1,306 South Asian and 1,215 black African-Caribbean children) from primary schools with high prevalences of ethnic minority pupils in London, Birmingham, and Leicester in the Child Heart and Health study in England (CHASE). They measured and weighed more than two-thirds of the enrolled children and determined their adiposity. They also took blood samples for measurement of diabetes precursors from nearly two-thirds of the children. The recorded ethnicity of each child was based on parental definition. The researchers' analysis of these data showed that, compared with white Europeans, South Asian children had higher levels of HbA1c, insulin, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein but lower HDL-cholesterol levels. In addition, they had higher adiposity levels than the white European children, but this did not account for the observed differences in the other diabetes precursors. Black African-Caribbean children also had higher levels of HbA1c, insulin, and C-reactive protein than white European children, although the differences were smaller than those between South Asians and white Europeans. Similar to black African-Caribbean adults, however, children of this ethnic origin had higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels than white Europeans.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that ethnic differences in diabetes precursors are already present in apparently healthy children before they are 10 years old. Furthermore, most of the ethnic differences in diabetes precursors seen among the children follow the pattern seen in adults. Although these findings need confirming in more children, they suggest that the ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes susceptibility first described in immigrants to the UK are persisting in UK-born South Asian and black African-Caribbean children. Most importantly, these findings suggest that some of the factors thought to be responsible for ethnic differences in type 2 diabetes—for example, varying levels of physical activity and dietary differences—are operating well before adult life. Interventions that target these factors early could, therefore, offer good opportunities for diabetes prevention in high-risk ethnic groups, provided such interventions are carefully tailored to the needs of these groups.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000263.
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about all aspects of diabetes (in English, French and Spanish)
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides detailed information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals and the general public, including information on diabetes in specific US populations (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service also provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes (in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a fact sheet on diabetes disparities among racial and ethnic minorities
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000263
PMCID: PMC2857652  PMID: 20421924
14.  The Association of Mental Conditions with Blood Glucose Levels in Older Adults with Diabetes 
Aging & mental health  2012;16(8):950-957.
Objectives
People with diabetes must engage in several self-care activities to manage blood glucose; cognitive function and other affective disorders may affect self-care behaviors. We examined the executive function domain of cognition, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to determine which common mental conditions that can co-occur with diabetes are associated with blood glucose levels.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional in-person survey of 563 rural older adults (age 60 years or older) with diabetes that included African Americans, American Indians, and Whites from eight counties in south-central North Carolina. Hemoglobin A1C (A1C) was measured from a finger-stick blood sample to assess blood glucose control. Executive function, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of GAD were assessed using established measures and scoring procedures. Separate multivariate linear regression models were used to examine the association of executive function, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of GAD with A1C.
Results
Adjusting for potential confounders including age, gender, education, ethnicity, marital status, history of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes knowledge, and duration of diabetes, executive function was significantly associated with A1C levels: every one-unit increase in executive function was associated with a 0.23 lower A1C value (p = 0.02). Symptoms of depression and GAD were not associated with A1C levels.
Conclusions
Low executive function is potentially a barrier to self-care, the cornerstone of managing blood glucose levels. Training aids that compensate for cognitive impairments may be essential for achieving effective glucose control.
doi:10.1080/13607863.2012.688193
PMCID: PMC3434257  PMID: 22640032
A1C; cognitive function; depression; anxiety; aging
15.  Physical Activity Among Rural Older Adults With Diabetes 
Purpose
This analysis describes physical activity levels and factors associated with physical activity in an ethnically diverse (African American, Native American, white) sample of rural older adults with diabetes.
Method
Data were collected using a population-based, cross-sectional stratified random sample survey of 701 community-dwelling elders with diabetes completed in 2 rural North Carolina counties. Outcome measures were as follows: first, physical activity in the past year, and second, days physically active in the prior week (0-7). Potential correlates included personal and health characteristics and were evaluated for statistical significance using logistic regression models.
Findings
About half (52.5%) of the participants stated that they had engaged in physical activity in the past year. Among those, 42.5% stated that they had no days with at least 30 minutes of continuous physical activity in the prior week, while 21.5% reported daily physical activity. Common activities were walking and housework. Correlates of physical activity in the past year and days active in the prior week included measures of physical health and mobility.
Conclusions
Physical activity in this ethnically diverse sample of rural elders with diabetes is limited. Effort must be invested to increase physical activity in these groups.
doi:10.1111/j.1748-0361.2006.00026.x
PMCID: PMC1613260  PMID: 16606429
16.  Prevalence of Diabetes and Impaired Fasting Glucose in Chinese Adults, China National Nutrition and Health Survey, 2002 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2010;8(1):A13.
Introduction
As a result of rapid economic development in China, the lifestyles and dietary habits of its people have been changing, and the rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions have increased substantially. We report the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and the association between diabetes and overweight and obesity in Chinese adults. We also compare the results with those from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2002.
Methods
Data were from adults aged 20 years or older who participated in the China National Nutrition and Health Survey, 2002 (n = 47,729). Diabetes and IFG were defined by the American Diabetes Association 2009 criteria. We assessed the prevalence of diabetes, IFG, and overweight and obesity by sex, age, region of residence, and ethnicity.
Results
The prevalence of diabetes and IFG in Chinese adults was 2.7% and 4.9%, respectively. The prevalence of diabetes increased with age and body mass index. Men and women had a similar prevalence of diabetes, but men had a significantly higher prevalence of IFG. The prevalence of diabetes among Chinese who lived in urban areas was 2 to 3 times higher than the prevalence among those who lived in rural areas (3.9% for urban areas and 6.1% for large cities vs 1.9% for rural areas), and the prevalence of IFG was 1.5 to 2 times higher (6.1% and 8.1% vs 4.2%, respectively). The prevalence of diabetes among Chinese women and young (20-39 y) and middle-aged (40-59 y) adults who lived in large cities was similar to the prevalence of diabetes in the US population.
Conclusion
The prevalence of diabetes and IFG was much higher in urban than rural areas, particularly in the large cities of China. Prevention must be emphasized among adults to reduce the future social and economic burden of diabetes in China.
PMCID: PMC3044024  PMID: 21159225
17.  Prevalence, Distribution, and Impact of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Latin America, China, and India: A 10/66 Population-Based Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(2):e1001170.
A set of cross-sectional surveys carried out in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, China, and India reveal the prevalence and between-country variation in mild cognitive impairment at a population level.
Background
Rapid demographic ageing is a growing public health issue in many low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs). Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a construct frequently used to define groups of people who may be at risk of developing dementia, crucial for targeting preventative interventions. However, little is known about the prevalence or impact of MCI in LAMIC settings.
Methods and Findings
Data were analysed from cross-sectional surveys established by the 10/66 Dementia Research Group and carried out in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, China, and India on 15,376 individuals aged 65+ without dementia. Standardised assessments of mental and physical health, and cognitive function were carried out including informant interviews. An algorithm was developed to define Mayo Clinic amnestic MCI (aMCI). Disability (12-item World Health Organization disability assessment schedule [WHODAS]) and informant-reported neuropsychiatric symptoms (neuropsychiatric inventory [NPI-Q]) were measured. After adjustment, aMCI was associated with disability, anxiety, apathy, and irritability (but not depression); between-country heterogeneity in these associations was only significant for disability. The crude prevalence of aMCI ranged from 0.8% in China to 4.3% in India. Country differences changed little (range 0.6%–4.6%) after standardization for age, gender, and education level. In pooled estimates, aMCI was modestly associated with male gender and fewer assets but was not associated with age or education. There was no significant between-country variation in these demographic associations.
Conclusions
An algorithm-derived diagnosis of aMCI showed few sociodemographic associations but was consistently associated with higher disability and neuropsychiatric symptoms in addition to showing substantial variation in prevalence across LAMIC populations. Longitudinal data are needed to confirm findings—in particular, to investigate the predictive validity of aMCI in these settings and risk/protective factors for progression to dementia; however, the large number affected has important implications in these rapidly ageing settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Currently, more than 35 million people worldwide have dementia, a group of brain disorders characterized by an irreversible decline in memory, problem solving, communication, and other “cognitive” functions. Dementia, the commonest form of which is Alzheimer's disease, mainly affects older people and, because more people than ever are living to a ripe old age, experts estimate that, by 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia. At present, there is no cure for dementia although drugs can be used to manage some of the symptoms. Risk factors for dementia include physical inactivity, infrequent participation in mentally or socially stimulating activities, and common vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. In addition, some studies have reported that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is associated with an increased risk of dementia. MCI can be seen as an intermediate state between normal cognitive aging (becoming increasingly forgetful) and dementia although many people with MCI never develop dementia, and some types of MCI can be static or self-limiting. Individuals with MCI have cognitive problems that are more severe than those normally seen in people of a similar age but they have no other symptoms of dementia and are able to look after themselves. The best studied form of MCI—amnestic MCI (aMCI)—is characterized by memory problems such as misplacing things and forgetting appointments.
Why Was This Study Done?
Much of the expected increase in dementia will occur in low and middle income countries (LAMICs) because these countries have rapidly aging populations. Given that aMCI is frequently used to define groups of people who may be at risk of developing dementia, it would be useful to know what proportion of community-dwelling older adults in LAMICs have aMCI (the prevalence of aMCI). Such information might help governments plan their future health care and social support needs. In this cross-sectional, population-based study, the researchers estimate the prevalence of aMCI in eight LAMICs using data collected by the 10/66 Dementia Research Group. They also investigate the association of aMCI with sociodemographic factors (for example, age, gender, and education), disability, and neuropsychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, apathy, irritability, and depression. A cross-sectional study collects data on a population at a single time point; the 10/66 Dementia Research Group is building an evidence base to inform the development and implementation of policies for improving the health and social welfare of older people in LAMICs, particularly people with dementia.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In cross-sectional surveys carried out in six Latin American LAMICS, China, and India, more than 15,000 elderly individuals without dementia completed standardized assessments of their mental and physical health and their cognitive function. Interviews with relatives and carers provided further details about the participant's cognitive decline and about neuropsychiatric symptoms. The researchers developed an algorithm (set of formulae) that used the data collected in these surveys to diagnose aMCI in the study participants. Finally, they used statistical methods to analyze the prevalence, distribution, and impact of aMCI in the eight LAMICs. The researchers report that aMCI was associated with disability, anxiety, apathy, and irritability but not with depression and that the prevalence of aMCI ranged from 0.8% in China to 4.3% in India. Other analyses show that, considered across all eight countries, aMCI was modestly associated with being male (men had a slightly higher prevalence of aMCI than women) and with having fewer assets but was not associated with age or education.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that aMCI, as diagnosed using the algorithm developed by the researchers, is consistently associated with higher disability and with neuropsychiatric symptoms in the LAMICs studied but not with most sociodemographic factors. Because prevalidated and standardized measurements were applied consistently in all the countries and a common algorithm was used to define aMCI, these findings also suggest that the prevalence of aMCI varies markedly among LAMIC populations and is similar to or slightly lower than the prevalence most often reported for European and North American populations. Although longitudinal studies are now needed to investigate the extent to which aMCI can be used as risk marker for further cognitive decline and dementia in these settings, the large absolute numbers of older people with aMCI in LAMICs revealed here potentially has important implications for health care and social service planning in these rapidly aging and populous regions of the world.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001170.
Alzheimer's Disease International is the international federation of Alzheimer associations around the world; it provides links to individual associations, information about dementia, and links to three World Alzheimer Reports; information about the 10/66 Dementia Research Group is also available on this web site
The Alzheimer's Society provides information for patients and carers about dementia, including information on MCI and personal stories about living with dementia
The Alzheimer's Association also provides information for patients and carers about dementia and about MCI, and personal stories about dementia
A BBC radio program that includes an interview with a man with MCI is available
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about MCI and dementia (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001170
PMCID: PMC3274506  PMID: 22346736
18.  Reinterpreting Ethnic Patterns among White and African American Men Who Inject Heroin: A Social Science of Medicine Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(10):e452.
Background
Street-based heroin injectors represent an especially vulnerable population group subject to negative health outcomes and social stigma. Effective clinical treatment and public health intervention for this population requires an understanding of their cultural environment and experiences. Social science theory and methods offer tools to understand the reasons for economic and ethnic disparities that cause individual suffering and stress at the institutional level.
Methods and Findings
We used a cross-methodological approach that incorporated quantitative, clinical, and ethnographic data collected by two contemporaneous long-term San Francisco studies, one epidemiological and one ethnographic, to explore the impact of ethnicity on street-based heroin-injecting men 45 years of age or older who were self-identified as either African American or white. We triangulated our ethnographic findings by statistically examining 14 relevant epidemiological variables stratified by median age and ethnicity. We observed significant differences in social practices between self-identified African Americans and whites in our ethnographic social network sample with respect to patterns of (1) drug consumption; (2) income generation; (3) social and institutional relationships; and (4) personal health and hygiene. African Americans and whites tended to experience different structural relationships to their shared condition of addiction and poverty. Specifically, this generation of San Francisco injectors grew up as the children of poor rural to urban immigrants in an era (the late 1960s through 1970s) when industrial jobs disappeared and heroin became fashionable. This was also when violent segregated inner city youth gangs proliferated and the federal government initiated its “War on Drugs.” African Americans had earlier and more negative contact with law enforcement but maintained long-term ties with their extended families. Most of the whites were expelled from their families when they began engaging in drug-related crime. These historical-structural conditions generated distinct presentations of self. Whites styled themselves as outcasts, defeated by addiction. They professed to be injecting heroin to stave off “dopesickness” rather than to seek pleasure. African Americans, in contrast, cast their physical addiction as an oppositional pursuit of autonomy and pleasure. They considered themselves to be professional outlaws and rejected any appearance of abjection. Many, but not all, of these ethnographic findings were corroborated by our epidemiological data, highlighting the variability of behaviors within ethnic categories.
Conclusions
Bringing quantitative and qualitative methodologies and perspectives into a collaborative dialog among cross-disciplinary researchers highlights the fact that clinical practice must go beyond simple racial or cultural categories. A clinical social science approach provides insights into how sociocultural processes are mediated by historically rooted and institutionally enforced power relations. Recognizing the logical underpinnings of ethnically specific behavioral patterns of street-based injectors is the foundation for cultural competence and for successful clinical relationships. It reduces the risk of suboptimal medical care for an exceptionally vulnerable and challenging patient population. Social science approaches can also help explain larger-scale patterns of health disparities; inform new approaches to structural and institutional-level public health initiatives; and enable clinicians to take more leadership in changing public policies that have negative health consequences.
Bourgois and colleagues found that the African American and white men in their study had a different pattern of drug use and risk behaviors, adopted different strategies for survival, and had different personal histories.
Editors' Summary
Background.
There are stark differences in the health of different ethnic groups in America. For example, the life expectancy for white men is 75.4 years, but it is only 69.2 years for African-American men. The reasons behind these disparities are unclear, though there are several possible explanations. Perhaps, for example, different ethnic groups are treated differently by health professionals (with some groups receiving poorer quality health care). Or maybe the health disparities are due to differences across ethnic groups in income level (we know that richer people are healthier). These disparities are likely to persist unless we gain a better understanding of how they arise.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers wanted to study the health of a very vulnerable community of people: heroin users living on the streets in the San Francisco Bay Area. The health status of this community is extremely poor, and its members are highly stigmatized—including by health professionals themselves. The researchers wanted to know whether African American men and white men who live on the streets have a different pattern of drug use, whether they adopt varying strategies for survival, and whether they have different personal histories. Knowledge of such differences would help the health community to provide more tailored and culturally appropriate interventions. Physicians, nurses, and social workers often treat street-based drug users, especially in emergency rooms and free clinics. These health professionals regularly report that their interactions with street-based drug users are frustrating and confrontational. The researchers hoped that their study would help these professionals to have a better understanding of the cultural backgrounds and motivations of their drug-using patients.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Over the course of six years, the researchers directly observed about 70 men living on the streets who injected heroin as they went about their usual lives (this type of research is called “participant observation”). The researchers specifically looked to see whether there were differences between the white and African American men. All the men gave their consent to be studied in this way and to be photographed. The researchers also studied a database of interviews with almost 7,000 injection drug users conducted over five years, drawing out the data on differences between white and African men. The researchers found that the white men were more likely to supplement their heroin use with inexpensive fortified wine, while African American men were more likely to supplement heroin with crack. Most of the white men were expelled from their families when they began engaging in drug-related crime, and these men tended to consider themselves as destitute outcasts. African American men had earlier and more negative contact with law enforcement but maintained long-term ties with their extended families, and these men tended to consider themselves as professional outlaws. The white men persevered less in attempting to find a vein in which to inject heroin, and so were more likely to inject the drug directly under the skin—this meant that they were more likely to suffer from skin abscesses. The white men generated most of their income from panhandling (begging for money), while the African American men generated most of their income through petty crime and/or through offering services such as washing car windows at gas stations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Among street-based heroin users, there are important differences between white men and African American men in the type of drugs used, the method of drug use, their social backgrounds, the way in which they identify themselves, and the health risks that they take. By understanding these differences, health professionals should be better placed to provide tailored and appropriate care when these men present to clinics and emergency rooms. As the researchers say, “understanding of different ethnic populations of drug injectors may reduce difficult clinical interactions and resultant physician frustration while improving patient access and adherence to care.” One limitation of this study is that the researchers studied one specific community in one particular area of the US—so we should not assume that their findings would apply to street-based heroin users elsewhere.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030452.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a web page on HIV prevention among injection drug users
The World Health Organization has collected documents on reducing the risk of HIV in injection drug users and on harm reduction approaches
The International Harm Reduction Association has information relevant to a global audience on reducing drug-related harm among individuals and communities
US-focused information on harm reduction is available via the websites of the Harm Reduction Coalition and the Chicago Recovery Alliance
Canada-focused information can be found at the Street Works Web site
The Harm Reduction Journal publishes open-access articles
The CDC has a web page on eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities
The Drug Policy Alliance has a web page on drug policy in the United States
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030452
PMCID: PMC1621100  PMID: 17076569
19.  Determinants of leisure time physical activity in rural compared with urban older and ethnically diverse women in the United States 
STUDY OBJECTIVE—Determinants of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) in rural middle aged and older women of diverse racial and ethnic groups are not well understood. This study examined: (1) urban-rural differences in LTPA by sociodemographic factors, (2) urban-rural differences in LTPA determinants, and (3) the pattern of relations between LTPA determinants and LTPA.
DESIGN—A modified version of the sampling plan of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) was used. Zip codes were selected with 20% or more of each of the following race/ethnic groups: African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN), and Hispanic. A comparison group of white women were also surveyed using standard BRFSS techniques.
PARTICIPANTS—Rural (n=1242) and urban (n=1096) women aged 40 years and older from the US Women's Determinants Study.
MAIN RESULTS—Rural women, especially Southern and less educated women, were more sedentary than urban women. Rural women reported more personal barriers to LTPA, cited caregiving duties as their top barrier (compared with lack of time for urban women), and had greater body mass indices. Rural women were less likely to report sidewalks, streetlights, high crime, access to facilities, and frequently seeing others exercise in their neighbourhood. Multivariate correlates of sedentary behaviour in rural women were AI/AN and African American race, older age, less education, lack of enjoyable scenery, not frequently seeing others exercise, greater barriers, and less social support (p<0.05); and in urban women, older age, greater barriers, less social support (p<0.05), and less education (p<0.09).
CONCLUSIONS—Rural and urban women seem to face different barriers and enablers to LTPA, and have a different pattern of determinants, thus providing useful information for designing more targeted interventions.


Keywords: leisure time physical activity; rural health; women
doi:10.1136/jech.54.9.667
PMCID: PMC1731735  PMID: 10942445
20.  Associations between Active Travel to Work and Overweight, Hypertension, and Diabetes in India: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001459.
Using data from the Indian Migration Study, Christopher Millett and colleagues examine the associations between active travel to work and overweight, hypertension, and diabetes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Increasing active travel (walking, bicycling, and public transport) is promoted as a key strategy to increase physical activity and reduce the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) globally. Little is known about patterns of active travel or associated cardiovascular health benefits in low- and middle-income countries. This study examines mode and duration of travel to work in rural and urban India and associations between active travel and overweight, hypertension, and diabetes.
Methods and Findings
Cross-sectional study of 3,902 participants (1,366 rural, 2,536 urban) in the Indian Migration Study. Associations between mode and duration of active travel and cardiovascular risk factors were assessed using random-effect logistic regression models adjusting for age, sex, caste, standard of living, occupation, factory location, leisure time physical activity, daily fat intake, smoking status, and alcohol use. Rural dwellers were significantly more likely to bicycle (68.3% versus 15.9%; p<0.001) to work than urban dwellers. The prevalence of overweight or obesity was 50.0%, 37.6%, 24.2%, 24.9%; hypertension was 17.7%, 11.8%, 6.5%, 9.8%; and diabetes was 10.8%, 7.4%, 3.8%, 7.3% in participants who travelled to work by private transport, public transport, bicycling, and walking, respectively. In the adjusted analysis, those walking (adjusted risk ratio [ARR] 0.72; 95% CI 0.58–0.88) or bicycling to work (ARR 0.66; 95% CI 0.55–0.77) were significantly less likely to be overweight or obese than those travelling by private transport. Those bicycling to work were significantly less likely to have hypertension (ARR 0.51; 95% CI 0.36–0.71) or diabetes (ARR 0.65; 95% CI 0.44–0.95). There was evidence of a dose-response relationship between duration of bicycling to work and being overweight, having hypertension or diabetes. The main limitation of the study is the cross-sectional design, which limits causal inference for the associations found.
Conclusions
Walking and bicycling to work was associated with reduced cardiovascular risk in the Indian population. Efforts to increase active travel in urban areas and halt declines in rural areas should be integral to strategies to maintain healthy weight and prevent NCDs in India.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity (excessive body fat) are major threats to global health. Every year, more than 36 million people (including 29 million in LMICs) die from NCDs—nearly two-thirds of the world's annual deaths. Cardiovascular diseases (conditions that affect the heart and the circulation), diabetes, cancer, and respiratory diseases are responsible for most NCD-related deaths. Obesity is a risk factor for all these NCDs and the global prevalence of obesity (the proportion of the world's population that is obese) has nearly doubled since 1980. In 2008, 35% of adults were overweight and 11% were obese. One reason for the growing burden of both obesity and NCDs is increasing physical inactivity. Regular physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body weight and to prevent or delay the onset of NCDs. For an adult, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity—walking briskly or cycling, for example—five times a week is sufficient to promote and maintain health. But the daily lives of people in both developed and developing countries are becoming increasingly sedentary and, nowadays, at least 60% of the world's population does not do even this modest amount of exercise.
Why Was This Study Done?
Strategies to increase physical activity levels often promote active travel (walking, cycling, and using public transport). The positive impact of active travel on physical activity levels and cardiovascular health is well established in high-income countries, but little is known about the patterns of active travel or the health benefits associated with active travel in poorer countries. In this cross-sectional study (an investigation that measures population characteristics at a single time point), the researchers examine the mode and duration of travel to work in rural and urban India and associations between active travel and overweight/obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease), and diabetes. In India, a lower middle-income country, the prevalence of overweight and NCDs is projected to increase rapidly over the next two decades. Moreover, rapid unplanned urbanization and a large increase in registered motor vehicles has resulted in inadequate development of the public transport infrastructure and hazardous conditions for walking and cycling in most Indian towns and cities.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their study, researchers analyzed physical activity and health data collected from participants in the Indian Migration Study, which examined the association between migration from rural to urban areas and obesity and diabetes risk. People living in rural areas were more likely to cycle to work than people living in towns and cities (68.3% versus 15.9%). Among people who travelled to work by private transport, public transport, walking, and cycling, the prevalence of overweight or obesity was 50.0%, 37.6%, 24.9%, and 24.2%, respectively. Similar patterns were seen for the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes. After adjustment for factors that affect the risk of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (for example, daily fat intake and leisure time physical activity), people walking or cycling to work were less likely to be overweight or obese than those travelling by public transport, and those cycling to walk were less likely to have hypertension or diabetes. Finally, people with long cycle rides to work had a lower risk of being overweight or having hypertension or diabetes than people with short cycle rides.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, as in high-income settings, walking and cycling to work are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in India. Because this was a cross-sectional study, these findings do not prove that active travel reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease—people who cycle to work may share other unknown characteristics that are actually responsible for their reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, this study did not consider non-cardiovascular outcomes associated with active travel that might affect health such as increased exposure to air pollution. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that programs designed to maintain healthy weight and prevent NCDs in India should endeavor to increase active travel in urban areas and to halt declines in rural areas by, for example, increasing investment in public transport and improving the safety and convenience of walking and cycling routes in urban areas.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001459.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Kavi Bhalla
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of healthy living, on chronic diseases and health promotion, on overweight and obesity and on non-communicable diseases around the world; its Physical Activity for Everyone web pages include guidelines, instructional videos and personal success stories (some information in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information about physical activity and health, about obesity, and about non-communicable diseases (in several languages); its 2010 Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health are available in several languages; its Global Noncommunicable Disease Network (NCDnet) aims to help low- and middle- income countries reduce NCD-related illnesses and death through implementation of the 20082013 Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (also available in French); Face to face with chronic diseases is a selection of personal stories from around the world about dealing with NCDs
The American Heart Association provides information on many important risk factors for non-communicable diseases and provides tips for becoming more active
Information about the Indian Migration Study is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001459
PMCID: PMC3679004  PMID: 23776412
21.  Prevalence and Associated Factors of Elder Mistreatment in a Rural Community in People's Republic of China: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33857.
Background
Current knowledge about elder mistreatment is mainly derived from studies done in Western countries, which indicate that this problem is related to risk factors such as a shared living situation, social isolation, disease burden, and caregiver strain. We know little about prevalence and risk factors for elder mistreatment and mistreatment subtypes in rural China where the elder population is the most vulnerable.
Methods
In 2010, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among older adults aged 60 or older in three rural communities in Macheng, a city in Hubei province, China. Of 2245 people initially identified, 2039 were available for interview and this was completed in 2000. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data regarding mistreatment and covariates. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors related to elder mistreatment and subtypes of mistreatment.
Results
Elder mistreatment was reported by 36.2% (95% CI: 34.1%–38.3%) of the participants. Prevalence rates of psychological mistreatment, caregiver neglect, physical mistreatment, and financial mistreatment were 27.3% (95% CI: 25.3%–29.2%), 15.8% (95% CI: 14.2%–17.4%), 4.9% (95% CI: 3.9%–5.8%) and 2.0% (95% CI: 1.3%–2.6%), respectively. The multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that depression, being widowed/divorced/single/separated, having a physical disability, having a labor intensive job, depending solely on self-made income, and living alone were risk factors for elder mistreatment. Different types of elder mistreatment were associated with different risk factors, and depression was the consistent risk factor for the three most common mistreatment subtypes.
Conclusion
Older adults in rural China self-report a higher rate of mistreatment than their counterparts in Western countries. Depression is a main risk factor associated with most subtypes of mistreatment. Our findings suggest that prevention and management of elder mistreatment is a challenge facing a rapidly aging Chinese population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033857
PMCID: PMC3309016  PMID: 22448276
22.  Protective neighborhoods: Neighborhood proportion Mexican American and depressive symptoms among very old Mexican Americans 
Research indicates that neighborhood context can have a significant effect on the health of elders. The evidence suggests that there may be physical health benefits afforded to Mexican Americans living in ethnically homogenous neighborhoods, despite the relatively high economic risk in such neighborhoods. However, few studies have considered the impact of neighborhood ethnic density on mental health outcomes in older adults. This study evaluates the association between neighborhoods with a high proportion of Mexican Americans and depressive symptoms among very old Mexican Americans. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine data from Wave 5 (2004–2005) of the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE). Subjects included 1,875 community-dwelling Mexican Americans aged 75 and older living in 386 neighborhoods across five states in the Southwestern United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas). Depressive symptoms were measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D, α =0.88). Results showed that among very old men, there was a significant negative association between percent Mexican Americans in the neighborhood and depressive symptoms (P=.011). Although among women the direction of the association was the same, the effect was not significant. These findings suggest that the proportion of Mexican Americans in the neighborhood matter more for very old Mexican American men than women. Further research may inform screening and treatment for depressive symptoms based on differences in neighborhood composition. Recommendations include culturally tailored programs that offer older Mexican Americans greater mobility and access to programs and opportunities in culturally identifiable neighborhoods.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03244.x
PMCID: PMC3278336  PMID: 21314653
Neighborhood context; gender; Mexican Americans; depressive symptoms
23.  Late-life Depression in Older African Americans: A Comprehensive Review of Epidemiological and Clinical Data 
Objective
The population of older African Americans is expected to triple by 2050, highlighting the public health importance of understanding their mental health needs. Despite evidence of the negative impact of late-life depression, less is known of how this disorder affects the lives of older African Americans. Lack of studies focusing on how depression presents in older African Americans and their subsequent treatment needs lead to a gap in epidemiologic and clinical knowledge for this population. In this review, we aim to present a concise report of prevalence, correlates, course, outcomes, symptom recognition, and treatment of depression for these individuals.
Method
We performed a literature review of English-language articles identified from PubMed and Medline published between January 1990 and June 2012. Studies included older adults and contained the key words “geriatric depression in African Americans,” “geriatric depression in Blacks,” and geriatric depression in minorities.”
Results
Although in most studies older African Americans had higher or equivalence prevalence of depression compared to Caucasian Americans, we also found lower rates of recognition of depression and treatment. Many studies reported worse outcomes associated for depression among older African Americans compared older Caucasians.
Conclusions
Serious racial and ethnic disparities persist in the management of older African Americans with depression. Understanding their unmet needs and improving depression care for these individuals is necessary to reduce these disparities.
doi:10.1002/gps.3908
PMCID: PMC3674152  PMID: 23225736
Late-life Depression; Race; African Americans
24.  Differences in the Clinical Recognition of Depression in Diabetes Patients: The Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE) 
Background
It is unknown to what extent the gap between need and care for depression among patients with diabetes differs across racial/ethnic groups.
Objective
We compared, by race/ethnicity, the likelihood of clinical recognition of depression (diagnosis or treatment) of patients who reported depressive symptoms in a well-characterized community-based population with diabetes.
Design
We used a survey follow-up study of 20,188 patients with diabetes from Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Analyses were limited to 910 patients who scored 10 or higher on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8) which was included in the survey and who had no clinical recognition of depression in the12 months prior to survey. Clinical recognition of depression was defined by a depression diagnosis, referral to mental health services, or antidepressant medication prescription.
Key Results
Among the 910 patients reporting moderate to severe depressive symptoms on the survey and who had no clinical recognition in the prior year, 12%, 8%, 8%, 14%, and 15% of African American, Asian, Filipino, Latino and white patients were clinically recognized for depression in the subsequent 12 months. After adjusting for sociodemographics, limited English proficiency, and depressive symptom severity, racial/ethnic minorities were less likely to be clinically recognized for depression compared to whites (relative risk: Filipino: 0.30, African American: 0.62).
Conclusions
More work is needed to understand the modifiable patient and provider factors that influence clinical recognition of depression among diabetes patients from different racial/ethnic groups, and the potential impact of low rates of clinical recognition on quality of care.
PMCID: PMC3703822  PMID: 23781889
25.  Neighborhood Characteristics, Adherence to Walking, and Depressive Symptoms in Midlife African American Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(8):1201-1210.
Abstract
Background
African American women have more symptoms of depressed mood than white women. Adverse neighborhood conditions may contribute to these symptoms. Although reductions in depressive symptoms with physical activity have been demonstrated in white adults, little research has examined the mental health benefits of physical activity in African American women. Further, it is unknown whether physical activity can offset the effects of living in disadvantaged neighborhoods on depressive symptoms. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among neighborhood characteristics, adherence to a physical activity intervention, and change over time in depressive symptoms in midlife African American women.
Methods
Two hundred seventy-eight women participated in a home-based, 24-week moderate-intensity walking intervention. Either a minimal treatment (MT) or enhanced treatment (ET) version of the intervention was randomly assigned to one of the two community health centers. Walking adherence was measured as the percentage of prescribed walks completed. Objective and perceived measures of neighborhood deterioration and crime were included.
Results
Adjusting for demographics, body mass index (BMI), and depressive symptoms at baseline, walking adherence and objective neighborhood deterioration were associated with significantly lower depressive symptoms, whereas perceived neighborhood deterioration was associated with significantly higher depressive symptoms at 24 weeks.
Conclusions
Adherence to walking as well as aspects of the environment may influence depressive symptoms in African American women. In addition to supporting active lifestyles, improving neighborhood conditions may also promote mental health among African American women.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2008.1168
PMCID: PMC2825683  PMID: 19630546

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