Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1009420)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Prevalence, risk factors and co-morbidities of diabetes among adults in rural Saskatchewan: the influence of farm residence and agriculture-related exposures 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:7.
Although rural Canadians are reported to have higher rates of diabetes than others, little is known about the relative influence of known versus agriculture-related risk factors. The purpose of this research was to carry out a comprehensive study of prevalence, risk factors and co-morbidities of diabetes among adults in rural Saskatchewan and to determine possible differences between those living on and off farms.
In 2010, we conducted a baseline mail-out survey (Saskatchewan Rural Health Study) of 11,982 households located in the province′s four agricultural quadrants. In addition to self-reported physician-diagnosed diabetes, the questionnaire collected information from farm and small town cohorts on possible diabetes determinants including lifestyle, family history, early life factors and environmental/agricultural-related exposures. Clustering effect within households was adjusted using Generalized Estimating Equations approach.
Responses were obtained from 4624 (42%) households comprising 8208 males and females aged 18 years or older and 7847 self-described Caucasian participants (7708 with complete information). The overall age-standardized diabetes prevalence for the latter was 6.35% but people whose primary residence was on farms had significantly lower diabetes prevalence than those living in non-farm locations (5.11% versus 7.33% respectively; p<0.0001). Diabetes risk increased with age and affected almost 17% of those older than 65 (OR 2.57; CI′ 1.63, 4.04 compared to those aged 18–45). Other known independent risk factors included family history of diabetes (OR 2.50 [CI′s 1.94, 3.23] if father; OR 3.11 [CI′s 2.44, 3.98] if mother), obesity (OR 2.66; CI′s 1.86, 3.78), as well as lower socioeconomic status, minimal/no alcohol intake and smoking. The most original finding was that exposure to insecticides conferred an increased risk for diabetes among males (OR 1.83; CI′s 1.15, 2.91). Finally, the co-morbidities with the strongest independent association with diabetes were heart disease and hypertension.
While known diabetes risk factors are important determinants of diabetes in the agricultural zones of Saskatchewan, on-farm residence is protective and appears related to increased outdoor activities. In contrast, we have now shown for the first time that exposure to insecticides is an independent risk factor for diabetes among men in rural Canada.
PMCID: PMC3552674  PMID: 23289729
Diabetes; Rural; Agriculture; Insecticides; Farm; Exposures
2.  Excessive daytime sleepiness among rural residents in Saskatchewan 
Obstructive sleep apnea and its sequelae are emerging public health issues in North America, and symptoms are often under-recognized or under-reported. Although several patient factors have been identified, limited data regarding the prevalence of and predictors for excessive daytime sleepiness in rural or remote populations area available. Accordingly, this study used Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores to evaluate daytime sleepiness in a large rural population participating in the Saskatchewan Rural Health Study.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common diagnosis in clinical practice. Excessive daytime sleepiness may be a warning for possible OSA.
To assess the prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness as measured by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) in a rural community population; potential risk factors for OSA were also assessed.
In 2010, a baseline respiratory health questionnaire within the Saskatchewan Rural Health Study was mailed to 11,982 households in Saskatchewan. A total of 7597 adults within the 4624 (42%) respondent households completed the ESS questionnaire. Participants were categorized according to normal or high (>10) ESS scores. Data obtained included respiratory symptoms, doctor-diagnosed sleep apnea, snoring, hypertension, smoking and demographics. Body mass index was calculated. Multivariable logistic regression analysis examined associations between high ESS scores and possible risk factors. Generalized estimating equations accounted for the two-tiered sampling procedure of the study design.
The mean age of respondents was 55.0 years and 49.2% were male. The prevalence of ESS>10 and ‘doctor diagnosed’ OSA were 15.9% and 6.0%, respectively. Approximately 23% of respondents reported loud snoring and 30% had a body mass index >30 kg/m2. Of those with ‘doctor-diagnosed’ OSA, 37.7% reported ESS>10 (P<0.0001) and 47.7% reported loud snoring (P<0.0001). Risk of having an ESS>10 score increased with age, male sex, obesity, lower socioeconomic status, marriage, loud snoring and doctor-diagnosed sinus trouble.
High levels of excessive daytime sleepiness in this particular rural population are common and men >55 years of age are at highest risk. Examination of reasons for residual sleepiness and snoring in persons with and without sleep apnea is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4173890  PMID: 24791255
Epworth Sleepiness Scale; Farm; Nonfarm; Obesity; Rural; Sleep apnea; Snoring; Socioeconomic
3.  Income adequacy and education associated with the prevalence of obesity in rural Saskatchewan, Canada 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:700.
Obesity is prevalent in rural communities in Canada, however little is known about the social determinants of health and obesity in rural populations. Socioeconomic status has been found to be inversely associated with the risk of obesity in developed countries. This study investigated the relationship between income adequacy, education and obesity in a rural setting.
The study used data from 5391 adults aged 18–69 who participated in the Saskatchewan Rural Health Study in 2010. Participants completed a survey that included questions about location of residence, body weight, height, and socio-demographic and behavioral factors. Obesity was defined as body mass index being ≥ 30 kg/m2. Logistic regression using generalized estimating equation was conducted to assess the associations of income adequacy and education level with the prevalence of obesity taking covariates into consideration.
Approximately a third of the participants were obese and the prevalence of obesity was similar for men and women. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher for rural residents not living on farm compared with those living on farm (p < 0.05). After adjustment for potential confounders, the risk of obesity was increased for those with ≤ 12 years of education compared with those with > 12 years of education (aOR: 1.18; 95 % CI: 1.05 - 1.34). Low income adequacy was significantly associated with an increased risk of obesity but only among those not living on farm (aOR: 1.80; 95 % CI: 1.16 – 2.79).
Home location was associated with obesity prevalence in rural Saskatchewan and modified the influence of income adequacy, but not the influence of education, on obesity. Adults not living on farm had an increased risk of obesity and showed a significant impact of income adequacy on obesity.
PMCID: PMC4513791  PMID: 26205987
Rural; Income adequacy; Education; Obesity; Farm
4.  Impact of excessive daytime sleepiness on the safety and health of farmers in Saskatchewan 
Sleep disorders are common, yet are frequently undiagnosed. They can have negative impact on health and well-being, and can lead to impaired functioning and risks for injury. The anthropometric characteristics of farming populations put them at greater risk for sleep disorders, and occupational injury and accidental death. This study, a continuation of previous work, sheds more light on the impact of sleep disorders on daytime drowsiness, and raises additional issues concerning the control and prevention of the epidemic of farm-related injury.
Sleep disorders may negatively impact the health and well-being of affected individuals. The resulting sleepiness and impaired cognitive functioning may also increase the risks for injury.
To examine the relationship between daytime sleepiness, defined as an Epworth Sleepiness Scale score >10, and self-reported sleep apnea, as potential determinants of farming-related injury and self-perceived physical health.
Phase 2 of the Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort Study (2013) involved a baseline survey that included 2849 individuals from 1216 farms. A mail-based questionnaire was administered to obtain self-reports regarding sleep, demographics, farm injuries and general physical health. Multilevel logistic regression was used to quantify relationships between excessive daytime sleepiness and health.
The prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness was 15.1%; the prevalence of diagnosed sleep apnea was 4.0%. Sleepiness was highest in the 60 to 79 (18.7%) and ≥80 (23.6%) years of age groups, and was higher in men (19.0%) than in women (9.3%). Injuries were reported by 8.4% of individuals, and fair or poor health was reported by 6.2%. Adjusting for confounding, individuals with excessive daytime sleepiness appeared more likely to experience a farming-related injury (OR 1.34 [95% CI 0.92 to 1.96]) and were more likely to report poorer physical health (OR 2.19 [95% CI 1.45 to 3.30]) than individuals with normal daytime sleepiness.
Excessive daytime sleepiness, a potentially treatable condition, appeared to be common in farmers and to negatively affect their health. Sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment programs did not appear to be used to their full potential in this population.
PMCID: PMC4266156  PMID: 25299365
Agriculture; Farming; Health; Injury; Sleep apnea; Sleepiness
5.  The Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort: Rationale and Methodology 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(5):567-575.
The Saskatchewan Farm Injury Cohort (SFIC) is a major new Canadian study that was developed to evaluate potential causes of injury among farmers and their family members. The cohort involves 2,390 farms and 5,492 farm people being followed over a two-year period. The article describes the rationale and methodology for the baseline and longitudinal components of this study. The SFIC is one of the first studies to apply population health theory to the modeling of risks for injury in a defined Canadian population. In doing so, the relative influence of several potential causes of farm injury, including physical, socioeconomic, and cultural factors, will be estimated. Study findings will inform the content and targeting of injury prevention initiatives specific to the farm occupational environment.
PMCID: PMC2496929  PMID: 18828411
6.  A community-based participatory research methodology to address, redress, and reassess disparities in respiratory health among First Nations 
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:199.
To date, determinants of respiratory health in First Nations people living on reserves and means of addressing and redressing those determinants have not been well established. Hence the Saskatchewan First Nations Lung Health Project (FNLHP) is a new prospective cohort study of aboriginal people being conducted in two First Nations reserves to evaluate potential health determinants associated with respiratory outcomes. Using the population health framework (PHF) of Health Canada, instruments designed with the communities, joint ownership of data, and based on the 4-phase concept of the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey, the project aims to evaluate individual factors, contextual factors, and principal covariates on respiratory outcomes. The objective of this report is to clearly describe the methodology of (i) the baseline survey that consists of two components, an interviewer-administered questionnaire and clinical assessment; and (ii) potential intervention programs; and present descriptive results of the baseline data of longitudinal FNLHP.
The study is being conducted over 5 years (2012–2017) in two phases, baseline and longitudinal. Baseline survey has been completed and consisted of (i) an interviewer-administered questionnaire-based evaluation of individual and contextual factors of importance to respiratory health (with special focus on chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and obstructive sleep apnea), and (ii) clinical lung function and allergy tests with the consent of study participants. The address-redress phase consists of potential intervention programs and is currently being rolled out to address-at community level (via green light program and environmental study), and redress-at policy level (via obesity reduction and improved diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea) the issues that have been identified by the baseline data.
Interviewer-administered surveys were conducted in 2012–2013 and collected data on 874 individuals living in 406 households from two reserve communities located in Saskatchewan, Canada. Four hundred and forty six (51%) females and 428 (49%) males participated in the FNLHP.
The information from this project will assist in addressing and redressing many of the issues involved including the provision of adequate housing, health lifestyle practices, and in planning for health service delivery.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1137-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4440281  PMID: 25981585
7.  Asthma and Farm Exposures in a Cohort of Rural Iowa Children 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2004;113(3):350-356.
Epidemiologic studies of farm children are of international interest because farm children are less often atopic, have less allergic disease, and often have less asthma than do nonfarm children—findings consistent with the hygiene hypothesis. We studied a cohort of rural Iowa children to determine the association between farm and other environmental risk factors with four asthma outcomes: doctor-diagnosed asthma, doctor-diagnosed asthma/medication for wheeze, current wheeze, and cough with exercise. Doctor-diagnosed asthma prevalence was 12%, but at least one of these four health outcomes was found in more than a third of the cohort. Multivariable models of the four health outcomes found independent associations between male sex (three asthma outcomes), age (three asthma outcomes), a personal history of allergies (four asthma outcomes), family history of allergic disease (two asthma outcomes), premature birth (one asthma outcome), early respiratory infection (three asthma outcomes), high-risk birth (two asthma outcomes), and farm exposure to raising swine and adding antibiotics to feed (two asthma outcomes). The high prevalence of rural childhood asthma and asthma symptoms underscores the need for asthma screening programs and improved asthma diagnosis and treatment. The high prevalence of asthma health outcomes among farm children living on farms that raise swine (44.1%, p = 0.01) and raise swine and add antibiotics to feed (55.8%, p = 0.013), despite lower rates of atopy and personal histories of allergy, suggests the need for awareness and prevention measures and more population-based studies to further assess environmental and genetic determinants of asthma among farm children.
PMCID: PMC1253764  PMID: 15743727
agricultural occupational exposures; ammonia; animal feeding operations; asthma; asthma diagnosis and treatment; asthma health care policy; asthma school screening; asthma underdiagnosis; asthma undertreatment; children; chronic wheeze; cough with exercise; farming; genetic selection; hydrogen sulfide; hygiene hypothesis; odor; rural
8.  Gender-specific out-migration, deforestation and urbanization in the Ecuadorian Amazon 
Global and planetary change  2005;47(2):99-110.
The Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the richest reserves of biodiversity in the world, has faced one of the highest rates of deforestation of any Amazonian nation. Most of this forest elimination has been caused by agricultural colonization that followed the discovery of oil fields in 1967. Since the 1990s, an increasing process of urbanization has also engendered new patterns of population mobility within the Amazon, along with traditional ways by which rural settlers make their living. However, while very significant in its effects on deforestation, urbanization and regional development, population mobility within the Amazon has hardly been studied at all, as well as the distinct migration patterns between men and women. This paper uses a longitudinal dataset of 250 farm households in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon to understand differentials between men and women migrants to urban and rural destinations and between men and women non-migrants. First, we use hazard analysis based on the Kaplan–Meier (KM) estimator to obtain the cumulative probability that an individual living in the study area in 1990 or at time t, will out-migrated at some time, t+n, before 1999. Results indicate that out-migration to other rural areas in the Amazon, especially pristine areas is considerably greater than out-migration to the growing, but still incipient, Amazonian urban areas. Furthermore, men are more likely to out-migrate to rural areas than women, while the reverse occurs for urban areas. Difference-of-means tests were employed to examine potential factors accounting for differentials between male and female out-migration to urban and rural areas. Among the key results, relative to men younger women are more likely to out-migrate to urban areas; more difficult access from farms to towns and roads constrains women’s migration; and access to new lands in the Amazon–an important cause of further deforestation–is more associated with male out-migration. Economic factors such as engagement in on-farm work, increasing resource scarcity–measured by higher population density at the farm and reduction in farm land on forest and crops–and increase in pasture land are more associated with male out-migration to rural areas. On the other hand, increasing resource scarcity, higher population density and weaker migration networks are more associated with female out-migration to urban areas. Thus, a “vicious cycle” is created: Pressure over land leads to deforestation in most or all farm forest areas and reduces the possibilities for further agricultural extensification (deforestation); out-migration, especially male out-migration, occurs to other rural or forest areas in the Amazon (with women being more likely to choose urban destinations); and, giving continuing population growth and pressures in the new settled areas, new pressures promote further out-migration to rural destinations and unabated deforestation.
PMCID: PMC2720556  PMID: 19657469
Ecuadorian Amazon; out-migration; gender differences; deforestation; urbanization
9.  Intensive hog farming operations and self-reported health among nearby rural residents in Ottawa, Canada 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:330.
In 2004, hog farming operations were introduced in the village of Sarsfield in the eastern part of Ottawa, Canada. This study evaluates the health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and the prevalence of respiratory conditions among adults and children who lived in proximity to this farm.
A cross-sectional survey was administered to a random sample of residents from seven rural communities in the eastern part of Ottawa, Canada. We analyzed self-reported questionnaire data obtained from 723 adults and 285 children/adolescents. HRQOL was assessed using the SF-36 survey instrument, while data were also collected for sociodemographic characteristics, the prevalence of selected health conditions, and lifestyle related behaviours (e.g., smoking) of participants. Variations in self-reported health according to the residential distance to the hog farm were evaluated using logistic regression and analysis of variance methods.
For the most part, the prevalence of selected health conditions among adults and children was not associated with how far they lived from the farm. No associations were observed with migraines, respiratory conditions (asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, and chronic bronchitis), and allergies. However, a higher prevalence of depression was noted among those who lived within 3 km of the farm relative to those who lived more than 9 km away (odds ratio = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.11, 3.65). Furthermore, individuals who lived closer to the IHF were more likely to worry about environmental issues such as water quality, outdoor and indoor smells, and air pollution. This level of worry also contributed to lower HRQOL scores for individuals who lived closer to the farm. It was also observed that the prevalence of depression was much higher among those who indicated a concern about environmental issues (18.2%) when compared to those who did not (8.0%).
While our findings suggest that living in close proximity to an IHF may adversely affect HRQOL these should be interpreted cautiously due to a lack of direct measures of environmental exposures, and possible biases inherent in the use of self-reported health measures.
PMCID: PMC2749827  PMID: 19744310
10.  Predictors of respiratory symptoms in a rural Canadian population: A longitudinal study of respiratory health 
Predictors of new and long-term respiratory symptoms for rural residents are not well defined.
To identify early predictors of respiratory symptoms in a rural community population.
The study population consisted of 871 adults living in the rural community of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, who participated in two cross-sectional respiratory studies conducted in 1993 and 2003. Questionnaire information obtained at both time points included respiratory symptoms (cough, phlegm and wheeze), history of allergy, smoking, and information regarding home and farm environments. Transitional modelling, in which measurement in a longitudinal sequence is described as a function of previous outcomes, was used to predict later outcomes of cough, phlegm and wheeze. Asymptomatic individuals in 1993 were assessed to determine factors associated with the development of symptoms during the study period.
The prevalences of cough, phlegm and wheeze in 1993 were 16.1%, 18.1% and 25.5%, respectively. Change in symptoms over time was significant for cough, phlegm and wheeze. The adjusted ORs (95% CI) from separate transitional models for each respiratory outcome in 1993 that predicted the same symptom in 2003 were 6.32 (4.02 to 9.95) for cough, 14.36 (9.01 to 22.89) for phlegm and 6.40 (4.40 to 9.32) for wheeze. For asymptomatic individuals in 1993, home dampness, allergic reaction to inhaled allergens and cigarette smoking were major risk factors associated with respiratory symptoms that were reported in 2003.
The presence of previous respiratory symptoms, allergies and environmental exposures can predict the occurrence of future respiratory symptoms in adults.
PMCID: PMC3328873  PMID: 21766078
Cough; Longitudinal respiratory symptoms; Phlegm; Predictors; Wheeze
11.  Farm residence and lymphohematopoietic cancers in the Iowa Women’s Health Study 
Environmental research  2014;133:353-361.
Cancer incidence in male farmers has been studied extensively; however, less is known about risk among women residing on farms or in agricultural areas, who may be exposed to pesticides by their proximity to crop fields. We extended a previous follow-up of the Iowa Women’s Health Study cohort to examine farm residence and the incidence of lymphohematopoietic cancers. Further, we investigated crop acreage within 750 m of residences, which has been associated with higher herbicide levels in Iowa homes.
We analyzed data for a cohort of 37,099 Iowa women aged 55–69 years who reported their residence location (farm, rural (not a farm), town size based on population) at enrollment in 1986. We identified incident lymphohematopoietic cancers (1986–2009) by linkage with the Iowa Cancer Registry. Using a geographic information system, we geocoded addresses and calculated acreage of pasture and row crops within 750 m of homes using the 1992 National Land Cover Database. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in multivariate analyses of cancer risk in relation to both residence location and crop acreage.
As found in an earlier analysis of residence location, risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was higher among women living on farms (HR= 2.23, 95%CI: 1.25–3.99) or rural areas (but not on a farm) (HR= 1.95, 95%CI: 0.89–4.29) compared with women living in towns of > 10,000 population. We observed no association between farm or rural residence and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL; overall or for major subtypes) or multiple myeloma. In analyses of crop acreage, we observed no association between pasture or row crop acreage within 750 m of homes and risk of leukemia overall or for the AML subtype. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) risk was nonsignificantly elevated among women with pasture acreage within 750 m of their home (HRs for increasing tertiles= 1.8, 1.8 and 1.5) and with row crop acreage within 750 m (HRs for increasing tertiles of acreage= 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6) compared to women with no pasture or row crop acreage, respectively.
Iowa women living on a farm or in a rural area were at increased risk of developing AML, which was not related to crop acreage near the home. Living near pasture or row crops may confer an increased risk of CLL/SLL regardless of residence location. Further investigation of specific farm-related exposures and these cancers among women living on farms and in agricultural areas is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4324553  PMID: 25038451
Farm residence; Pesticides; Iowa Women’s Health Study; GIS; Land use
12.  A Model for the Roll-Out of Comprehensive Adult Male Circumcision Services in African Low-Income Settings of High HIV Incidence: The ANRS 12126 Bophelo Pele Project 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000309.
Bertrand Auvert and colleagues describe the large-scale roll-out of adult male circumcision through a program in South Africa.
World Health Organization (WHO)/Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) has recommended adult male circumcision (AMC) for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men from communities where HIV is hyperendemic and AMC prevalence is low. The objective of this study was to investigate the feasibility of the roll-out of medicalized AMC according to UNAIDS/WHO operational guidelines in a targeted African setting.
Methods and Findings
The ANRS 12126 “Bophelo Pele” project was implemented in 2008 in the township of Orange Farm (South Africa). It became functional in 5 mo once local and ethical authorizations were obtained. Project activities involved community mobilization and outreach, as well as communication approaches aimed at both men and women incorporating broader HIV prevention strategies and promoting sexual health. Free medicalized AMC was offered to male residents aged 15 y and over at the project's main center, which had been designed for low-income settings. Through the establishment of an innovative surgical organization, up to 150 AMCs under local anesthesia, with sterilized circumcision disposable kits and electrocautery, could be performed per day by three task-sharing teams of one medical circumciser and five nurses. Community support for the project was high. As of November 2009, 14,011 men had been circumcised, averaging 740 per month in the past 12 mo, and 27.5% of project participants agreed to be tested for HIV. The rate of adverse events, none of which resulted in permanent damage or death, was 1.8%. Most of the men surveyed (92%) rated the services provided positively. An estimated 39.1% of adult uncircumcised male residents have undergone surgery and uptake is steadily increasing.
This study demonstrates that a quality AMC roll-out adapted to African low-income settings is feasible and can be implemented quickly and safely according to international guidelines. The project can be a model for the scale-up of comprehensive AMC services, which could be tailored for other rural and urban communities of high HIV prevalence and low AMC rates in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed about 25 million people since 1981, and more than 30 million people (22 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone) are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV infection is extremely important. Because HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few partners, and by always using a male or female condom. In addition, three trials in sub-Saharan Africa recently reported that medicalized adult male circumcision (AMC)—the surgical removal of the foreskin, a loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—can reduce HIV transmission rates in men by more than a half. Thus, AMC delivered as a catch-up campaign—in the long-term, circumcision of male infants is likely to be a more sustainable strategy—has the potential to reduce the prevalence of HIV (the proportion of the population infected with HIV) in sub-Saharan Africa.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) now recommend that AMC programs should be rolled-out wherever there is a generalized HIV epidemic and few men are circumcised. Accordingly, these organizations have defined a minimum package of AMC services and have issued guidelines and tools designed to engage communities in the roll-out and to ensure that appropriate AMC counseling and surgical facilities are available. But is rapid AMC roll-out feasible in real-life settings? Here, the researchers try to find out by studying the “Bophelo Pele” (Health First) project. This project, which follows the WHO/UNAIDS guidelines for AMC, aims to offer free, safe AMC services to all men aged 15 years or more living in the Orange Farm township in South Africa as part of a community-based intervention against HIV. Orange Farm is in a low-income region of South Africa where HIV prevalence is 15.2% and AMC prevalence is about 25%.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Before the Bophelo Pele project started in January 2008, the researchers consulted the community about the implementation of AMC, helped to create a community advisory board, organized community workshops to discuss the project, and surveyed people's knowledge about AMC and willingness to undergo AMC. These activities indicated a high level of community support for the project and a high level of willingness among men to undergo AMC. Once the project started, the researchers used multiple communication channels to tell the Orange Farm residents about AMC and broader HIV prevention strategies and provided eligible men with counseling about AMC and with voluntary HIV counseling and testing during the recruitment process. Three days after recruitment, eligible men were circumcised free-of-charge at the project's main center, where three teams of one medical circumciser and five nurses were able to complete up to 150 AMCs per day. By November 2009, 14,011 men had been circumcised (more than a third of the eligible men in the township), and AMC uptake was still increasing steadily. Nearly all the men circumcised over one 2-month period rated the AMC services positively in a survey and adverse effects (all mild) occurred after fewer than 1 in 50 circumcisions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the rapid roll-out of high-quality, free AMC as an intervention against HIV has been successful in the Orange Farm township. However, other findings highlight some of the challenges that face AMC roll-out. For example, only a quarter of the participants agreed to voluntary HIV counseling and testing, which is worrying because newly circumcised HIV-positive men have an increased risk of transmitting HIV if they resume sexual activity too soon after the operation. Similarly, only two-thirds of the participants returned for a check-up after circumcision; this proportion needs to be increased to ensure the safety and efficacy of AMC programs. Nevertheless, these findings and those from similar intervention programs in Kenya and Uganda indicate that AMC scale-up should be feasible, at least in the short term, as an HIV prevention strategy in low-income communities where there is a high HIV prevalence and a low AMC rate.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in South Africa, and on circumcision and HIV (in English and Spanish)
More information about male circumcision is available from WHO and from the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, including a June 2010 report from WHO/UNAIDS entitled Progress in male circumcision scale-up: country implementation and research update
More information about the Bophelo Pele project is available
PMCID: PMC2907271  PMID: 20652013
13.  Case-control study investigating an anthrax outbreak in Saskatchewan, Canada — Summer 2006 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2010;51(9):973-978.
In 2006, an outbreak of anthrax in Saskatchewan affected several species but most of the losses occurred in cattle. Potential risk factors contributing to this outbreak were investigated through questionnaires involving 117 case farms and 259 control farms geographically representative of the Saskatchewan beef herd. The occurrence of flooding [odds ratio (OR) = 3.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.8 to 6.4], wetter pastures (Good: OR = 3.5; 95% CI: 1.4 to 8.5; Wet: OR = 7.2; 95% CI: 2.9 to 18.1), shorter pasture grass length (OR = 3.0; 95% CI: 1.4 to 6.4), and higher density of the animals on pasture (OR = 3.0; 95% CI: 1.6 to 5.7) were more likely to have been reported for case herds than for control herds. Case farms were more likely than control farms to have vaccinated more than 1 week after the first reported case in the rural municipality (OR = 6.3; 95% CI: 2.6 to 15.3). Timing of vaccination in case herds was also significantly associated with the occurrence of subsequent deaths on these farms (P = 0.001).
PMCID: PMC2920171  PMID: 21119863
14.  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
15.  Epidemiology of an outbreak of chronic wasting disease on elk farms in Saskatchewan 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2007;48(12):1241-1248.
An outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in farmed elk in Saskatchewan from 1996 to 2002 was reviewed to 1, determine the progression of CWD from infection to death in farmed elk; 2, assess animal risk factors for CWD infection in farmed elk; 3, assess farm management and exposure risk factors for within herd CWD transmission; and 4, assess the suitability of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) current disease control policy for CWD in light of the findings. The results from animal movement tracing, animal testing, and a farm management questionnaire were used. The duration of CWD (time from exposure to death of a CWD test-positive animal) was between a mean minimum of 19 months and a mean maximum of 40 months. Age and sex were not associated with CWD infection, except that adult elk (≥ 2 y) were more likely to be infected than young elk (< 18 mo) (RR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.6–3.5). Elk calves born in the last 18 mo prior to the death or diagnosis of their dam were at higher risk if their dams died of CWD (RR = 4.1, 95% CI 1.5–11.4) or exhibited clinical signs of CWD (RR = 8.3, 95% CI 2.7–25.7). Significant risk factors for transmission of CWD on elk farms were the introduction from an infected farm of trace-in elk that died of CWD (RR = 13.5, 95% CI 2.0–91) or developed clinical signs of CWD (RR = 7.1, 95% CI 0.93–54) and the elapsed time in years since the incursion of CWD (OR = 5.6, 95% CI 1.8–17.4). The assumptions on which CFIA’s disease control policies were based were validated, but based on this new information, quarantine in cases where exposure to preclinical elk has occurred could be considered as an alternative to whole herd eradication.
PMCID: PMC2081988  PMID: 18189044
16.  Spatial analysis of an anthrax outbreak in Saskatchewan, 2006 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2010;51(7):743-748.
An outbreak of anthrax in Saskatchewan in 2006 affected more than 800 animals at 150 locations. The purpose of this study was to assess the spatial and temporal patterns among the cases to determine if there were any significant trends associated with this outbreak. Case and population data were first analyzed for each individual farm location and then again as aggregate data per rural municipality using spatial and spatiotemporal statistical methods such as Oden’s Ipop, Cuzick-Edwards’ test, spatial scan test, and other mapping techniques. East central Saskatchewan was identified as a primary high risk area, particularly during July 2006. The results of the study led to the conclusion that within this high-risk region, flooding in spring followed by hot and dry conditions could have been a factor in the development of the outbreak.
PMCID: PMC2885116  PMID: 20885827
17.  Individual and district-level predictors of alcohol use: cross sectional findings from a rural mental health survey in Australia 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:586.
Excessive alcohol use is a significant problem in rural and remote Australia. The factors contributing to patterns of alcohol use have not been adequately explained, yet the geographic variation in rates suggests a potential contribution of district-level factors, such as socio-economic disadvantage, rates of population change, environmental adversity, and remoteness from services/population centres. This paper aims to investigate individual-level and district-level predictors of alcohol use in a sample of rural adults.
Using baseline survey data (N = 1,981) from the population-based Australian Rural Mental Health Study of community dwelling residents randomly selected from the Australia electoral roll, hierarchal logistic regression models were fitted for three outcomes: 1) at-risk alcohol use, indicated by Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test scores ≥8; 2) high alcohol consumption (> 40 drinks per month); and 3) lifetime consequences of alcohol use. Predictor variables included demographic factors, pre-dispositional factors, recent difficulties and support, mental health, rural exposure and district-level contextual factors.
Gender, age, marital status, and personality made the largest contribution to at-risk alcohol use. Five or more adverse life events in the past 12 months were also independently associated with at-risk alcohol use (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 3.3, 99%CI 1.2, 8.9). When these individual-level factors were controlled for, at-risk alcohol use was associated with having spent a lower proportion of time living in a rural district (AOR 1.7, 99%CI 1.3, 2.9). Higher alcohol consumption per month was associated with higher district-level socio-economic ranking, indicating less disadvantage (AOR 1.2, 99%CI 1.02, 1.4). Rural exposure and district-level contextual factors were not significantly associated with lifetime consequences of alcohol use.
Although recent attention has been directed towards the potential adverse health effects of district or community level adversity across rural regions, our study found relatively few district-level factors contributing to at-risk alcohol consumption after controlling for individual-level factors. Population-based prevention strategies may be most beneficial in rural areas with a higher socio-economic ranking, while individual attention should be focused towards rural residents with multiple recent adverse life events, and people who have spent less time residing in a rural area.
PMCID: PMC3491021  PMID: 22853803
Alcohol; Mental health; Rural health
18.  Results of an online questionnaire to survey calf management practices on dairy cattle breeding farms in Austria and to estimate differences in disease incidences depending on farm structure and management practices 
Calf disease may result in great economic losses. To implement prevention strategies it is important to gain information on management and to point out risk factors. The objective of this internet based survey was to describe calf management practices on registered dairy breeding farms in Austria and to estimate differences in calf disease incidences depending on farm structure and management practices.
A total of 1287 questionnaires were finally analysed (response rate 12.2 %). Herd characteristics and regional distribution of farms indicated that this survey gives a good overview on calf management practices on registered dairy farms in Austria. The median number of cows per farm was 20 (interquartile range 13–30). Significant differences regarding farm characteristics and calf management between small and large farms (≤20 vs >20 cows) were present. Only 2.8 % of farmers tested first colostrum quality by use of a hydrometer. Storing frozen colostrum was more prevalent on large farms (80.8 vs 64.2 %). On 85.1 % of the farms, whole milk, including waste milk, was fed to the calves. Milk replacer and waste milk were more often used on large farms. In accordance with similar studies from other countries, calf diarrhoea was indicated as the most prevalent disease. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that herd size was associated with calf diarrhoea and calf respiratory tract disease, with higher risk of disease on large farms. Furthermore, feeding waste milk to the calves was associated with increasing calf diarrhoea incidence on farm. In the final model with calf respiratory tract disease as outcome, respondents from organic farms reported less often a respiratory tract disease incidence of over 10 % compared with conventional farms [odds ratio (OR) 0.40, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.21–0.75] and farmers that housed calves individually or in groups after birth significantly reported more often to have an incidence of respiratory tract disease >10 % compared with farms where all calves were housed individually (OR 2.28, 95 % CI 1.16–4.48).
The results obtained in this study provide an overview on calf management on dairy breeding farms in Austria and may help to further point out areas to be improved on farm.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13028-015-0134-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4539725  PMID: 26282551
Questionnaire; Dairy calf; Management; Diarrhoea
19.  Loud snoring is a risk factor for occupational injury in farmers 
Loud snoring is a common symptom in the general population. The evidence-based literature indicates that snoring may be associated with sleep fragmentation and sleep apnea, which may affect cognitive function and predispose to occupational injury. High rates of occupational injury occur on farms and may be related to personal and health factors. Thus, loud snoring may not be a trivial symptom and should be considered as important in medical assessments.
A prospective cohort study was conducted in Saskatchewan. Baseline questionnaires were completed for 5502 individuals by representatives from 2390 farms. Sleep patterns at baseline were categorized as the following: no reported sleep disorders; physician-diagnosed sleep apnea (treatment unknown); and loud snoring. Survival analyses were used to relate sleep patterns with subsequent injury.
A total of 6.7% (369 of 5502) of participants reported a possible sleep disorder. Of these, 69.4% (256 of 369) reported loud snoring only. Loud snoring was only associated with a consistent increase in risk (eg, HR 1.45 [95 CI 1.07 to 1.99 for work-related injury]) for five farm injury outcomes. Relationships between physician-diagnosed sleep apnea and time to first injury were not significant, presumably because a diagnosis of sleep apnea implied treatment for sleep apnea.
Sleep disorders are an important potential risk factor for occupational injury on farms. Substantial proportions of farm residents report loud snoring and this is related to subsequent injury. Some of these cases may represent sleep fragmentation or undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea. Identification and clinical management of sleep disorders related to snoring should be part of health assessments conducted by physicians.
PMCID: PMC3628646  PMID: 23457674
Agriculture; Farming; Injury; Occupational health; Sleep disorders; Snoring
20.  Risk Factors Associated with the Choice to Drink Bottled Water and Tap Water in Rural Saskatchewan 
A cross-sectional study investigated risk factors associated with choices to drink bottled water and tap water in rural Saskatchewan. Of 7,500 anonymous postal questionnaires mailed out, 2,065 responses were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Those who reported a water advisory (p < 0.001) or living in the area for ≤10 years (p = 0.01) were more likely to choose bottled water. Those who reported tap water was not safe to drink were more likely to choose bottled water, an effect greater for those who had no aesthetic complaints (p ≤ 0.001), while those with aesthetic complaints were more likely to choose bottled water if they believed the water was safe (p < 0.001). Respondents who treated their water and did not use a community supply were more likely to choose bottled water (p < 0.001), while those who did not treat their water were more likely to choose bottled water regardless of whether a community supply was used (p < 0.001). A similar pattern of risk factors was associated with a decreased likelihood of consuming tap water daily; however, the use of a community water supply was not significant. Understanding the factors involved in drinking water choices could inform public health education efforts regarding water management in rural areas.
PMCID: PMC3945558  PMID: 24487453
drinking water; bottled water; tap water; water treatment; water quality; risk perception; aesthetic characteristics
21.  Socioeconomic Factors and All Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality among Older People in Latin America, India, and China: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(2):e1001179.
Cleusa Ferri and colleagues studied mortality rates in over 12,000 people aged 65 years and over in Latin America, India, and China and showed that chronic diseases are the main causes of death and that education has an important effect on mortality.
Even in low and middle income countries most deaths occur in older adults. In Europe, the effects of better education and home ownership upon mortality seem to persist into old age, but these effects may not generalise to LMICs. Reliable data on causes and determinants of mortality are lacking.
Methods and Findings
The vital status of 12,373 people aged 65 y and over was determined 3–5 y after baseline survey in sites in Latin America, India, and China. We report crude and standardised mortality rates, standardized mortality ratios comparing mortality experience with that in the United States, and estimated associations with socioeconomic factors using Cox's proportional hazards regression. Cause-specific mortality fractions were estimated using the InterVA algorithm. Crude mortality rates varied from 27.3 to 70.0 per 1,000 person-years, a 3-fold variation persisting after standardisation for demographic and economic factors. Compared with the US, mortality was much higher in urban India and rural China, much lower in Peru, Venezuela, and urban Mexico, and similar in other sites. Mortality rates were higher among men, and increased with age. Adjusting for these effects, it was found that education, occupational attainment, assets, and pension receipt were all inversely associated with mortality, and food insecurity positively associated. Mutually adjusted, only education remained protective (pooled hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.89–0.98). Most deaths occurred at home, but, except in India, most individuals received medical attention during their final illness. Chronic diseases were the main causes of death, together with tuberculosis and liver disease, with stroke the leading cause in nearly all sites.
Education seems to have an important latent effect on mortality into late life. However, compositional differences in socioeconomic position do not explain differences in mortality between sites. Social protection for older people, and the effectiveness of health systems in preventing and treating chronic disease, may be as important as economic and human development.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, half of all deaths occur in people aged 60 or older. Yet mortality among older people is a neglected topic in global health. In high income countries, where 84% of people do not die until they are aged 65 years or older, the causes of death among older people and the factors (determinants) that affect their risk of dying are well documented. In Europe, for example, the leading causes of death among older people are heart disease, stroke, and other chronic (long-term) diseases. Moreover, as in younger age groups, having a better education and owning a house reduces the risk of death among older people. By contrast, in low and middle income countries (LMICs), where three-quarters of deaths of older people occur, reliable data on the causes and determinants of death among older people are lacking, in part because many LMICs have inadequate vital registration systems—official records of all births and deaths.
Why Was This Study Done?
In many LMICs, chronic diseases are replacing communicable (infectious) diseases as the leading causes of death and disability—health experts call this the epidemiological transition (epidemiology is the study of the distribution and causes of disease in populations)—and the average age of the population is increasing (the demographic transition). Faced with these changes, which occur when countries move from a pre-industrial to an industrial economy, policy makers in LMICs need to introduce measures to improve health and reduce deaths among older people. However, to do this, they need reliable data on the causes and determinants of death in this section of the population. In this longitudinal population-based cohort study (a type of study that follows a group of people from a defined population over time), researchers from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group, which is carrying out population-based research on dementia, aging, and non-communicable diseases in LMICs, investigate the patterns of mortality among older people living in Latin America, India, and China.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 2003 and 2005, the researchers completed a baseline survey of people aged 65 years or older living in six Latin American LMICs, China, and India. Three to five years later, they determined the vital status of 12,373 of the study participants (that is, they determined whether the individual was alive or dead) and interviewed a key informant (usually a relative) about each death using a standardized “verbal autopsy” questionnaire that includes questions about date and place of death, and about medical help-seeking and signs and symptoms noted during the final illness. Finally, they used a tool called the InterVA algorithm to calculate the most likely causes of death from the verbal autopsies. Crude mortality rates varied from 27.3 per 1,000 person-years in urban Peru to 70.0 per 1,000 person-years in urban India, a three-fold difference in mortality rates that persisted even after allowing for differences in age, sex, education, occupational attainment, and number of assets among the study sites. Compared to the US, mortality rates were much higher in urban India and rural China; much lower in urban and rural Peru, Venezuela, and urban Mexico; but similar elsewhere. Although several socioeconomic factors were associated with mortality, only a higher education status provided consistent independent protection against death in statistical analyses. Finally, chronic diseases were the main causes of death; stroke was the leading cause of death at all the sites except those in rural Peru and Mexico.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings identify the main causes of death among older adults in a range of LMICs and suggest that there is an association of education with mortality that extends into later life. However, these findings may not be generalizable to other LMICs or even to other sites in the LMICs studied, and because some of the information provided by key informants may have been affected by recall error, the accuracy of the findings may be limited. Nevertheless, these findings suggest how health and mortality might be improved in elderly people in LMICs. Specifically, they suggest that efforts to ensure universal access to education should confer substantial health benefits and that interventions that target social and economic vulnerability in later life and promote access to effectively organized health care (particularly for stroke) should be considered.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides information on mortality around the world and projections of global mortality up to 2030
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 LMICs, particularly people with dementia; its website includes background information about demographic and epidemiological aging in LMICs
Wikipedia has a page on the demographic transition (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Information about the InterVA tool for interpreting verbal autopsy data is available
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about healthy aging
PMCID: PMC3289608  PMID: 22389633
22.  Does self-rated health predict death in adults aged 50 years and above in India? Evidence from a rural population under health and demographic surveillance 
Background The Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) aims to improve empirical understanding of health and well-being of adults in developing countries. We examine the role of self-rated health (SRH) in predicting mortality and assess how socio-demographic and other disability measures influence this association.
Methods In 2007, a shortened SAGE questionnaire was administered to 5087 adults aged ≥50 years under the Health Demographic Surveillance System in rural Pune district, India.
Respondents rated their own health with a single global question on SRH. Disability and well-being were assessed using the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule Index, Health State Score and quality-of-life score. Respondents were followed up every 6 months till June 2011. Any change in spousal support, migration or death during follow-up was updated in the SAGE dataset.
Results In all, 410 respondents (8%) died in the 3-year follow-up period. Mortality risk was higher with bad/very bad SRH [hazard ratio (HR) in men: 3.06, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.93–4.87; HR in women: 1.64, 95% CI: 0.94–2.86], independent of age, disability and other covariates. Disability measure (WHO Disability Assessment Schedule Index) and absence of spousal support were also associated with increased mortality risk.
Conclusion Our findings confirm an association between bad/very bad SRH and mortality for men, independent of age, socio-demographic factors and other disability measures, in a rural Indian population. This association loses significance in women when adjusted for disability. Our study highlights the strength of nesting cross-sectional surveys within the context of the Health Demographic Surveillance System in studying the role of SRH and mortality.
PMCID: PMC3621387  PMID: 23175517
Ageing; self-rated health; mortality
23.  Physical activity and sedentary behaviours among rural adults in suixi, china: a cross-sectional study 
Modernisation and urbanisation have led to lifestyle changes and increasing risks for chronic diseases in China. Physical activity and sedentary behaviours among rural populations need to be better understood, as the rural areas are undergoing rapid transitions. This study assessed levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviours of farming and non-farming adults in rural Suixi, described activity differences between farming and non-farming seasons, and examined correlates of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and TV viewing.
A random sample of rural adults (n = 287) in Suixi County, Guangdong, China were surveyed in 2009 by trained interviewers. Questionnaires assessed multiple physical activities and sedentary behaviours, and their correlates. Analysis of covariance compared activity patterns across occupations, and multiple logistic regressions assessed correlates of LTPA and TV viewing. Quantitative data analyses were followed by community consultation for validation and interpretation of findings.
Activity patterns differed by occupation. Farmers were more active through their work than other occupations, but were less active and more sedentary during the non-farming season than the farming season. Rural adults in Suixi generally had a low level of LTPA and a high level of TV viewing. Marital status, household size, social modelling for LTPA and owning sports equipment were significantly associated with LTPA but not with TV time. Most findings were validated through community consultation.
For chronic disease prevention, attention should be paid to the currently decreasing occupational physical activity and increasing sedentary behaviours in rural China. Community and socially-based initiatives provide opportunities to promote LTPA and prevent further increase in sedentary behaviours.
PMCID: PMC3094269  PMID: 21521510
24.  Respiratory status in dairy farmers in France; cross sectional and longitudinal analyses 
Aims: To compare respiratory status in dairy farmers with that of non-farming controls.
Methods: Longitudinal study in the Doubs (France). From a cohort constituted in 1994 (T1), 215 (81.1%) dairy farmers and 110 (73.8%) controls were reevaluated in 1999 (T2). The protocol comprised a medical and occupational questionnaire, spirometric tests at both evaluations, allergological tests at T1, and a non-invasive measure of blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) at T2.
Results: In 1999 analyses, the prevalence of chronic bronchitis was higher (p = 0.013), and FEV1/VC (p < 0.025) and SpO2 (-0.7%, p < 0.01) lower in dairy farmers than in controls. In a multiple linear regression model, farming, age, and smoking were significantly and inversely correlated with SpO2. In the whole population, the mean annual decline in FEV1 and FEV1/VC was -13.4 ml and -0.30%, respectively. Farming was associated with an accelerated decline in FEV1/VC (p < 0.025) after adjustment for covariates. No relation between allergy and respiratory function changes was observed, except for FEF25–75.
Conclusions: This prospective study shows that dairy farming is associated with an excess of chronic bronchitis, with a moderate degree of bronchial obstruction and a mild decrease in SpO2.
PMCID: PMC1740421  PMID: 14573716
25.  The impact of different benefit packages of Medical Financial Assistance Scheme on health service utilization of poor population in Rural China 
Since 2003 and 2005, National Pilot Medical Financial Assistance Scheme (MFA) has been implemented in rural and urban areas of China to improve the poorest families' accessibility to health services. Local governments of the pilot areas formulated various benefit packages. Comparative evaluation research on the effect of different benefit packages is urgently needed to provide evidence for improving policy-making of MFA. This study was based on a MFA pilot project, which was one component of Health VIII Project conducted in rural China. This article aimed to compare difference in health services utilization of poor families between two benefit package project areas: H8 towns (package covering inpatient service, some designated preventive and curative health services but without out-patient service reimbursement in Health VIII Project,) and H8SP towns (package extending coverage of target population, covering out- patient services and reducing co-payment rate in Health VIII Supportive Project), and to find out major influencing factors on their services utilization.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2004, which used stratified cluster sampling method to select poor families who have been enrolled in MFA scheme in rural areas of ChongQing. All family members of the enrolled households were interviewed. 748 and 1129 respondents from two kinds of project towns participated in the survey. Among them, 625 and 869 respondents were included (age≥15) in the analysis of this study. Two-level linear multilevel model and binomial regressions with a log link were used to assess influencing factors on different response variables measuring service utilization.
In general, there was no statistical significance in physician visits and hospitalizations among all the respondents between the two kinds of benefit package towns. After adjusting for major confounding factors, poor families in H8SP towns had much higher frequency of MFA use (β = 1.17) and less use of hospitalization service (OR = 0.7 (H8SP/H8), 95%CI (0.5, 1.0)) among all the respondents. While calculating use of hospital services among those who needed, there was significant difference (p = 0.032) in percentage of hospitalization use between H8SP towns (46%) and H8 towns (33%). Meanwhile, the non-use but ought-to-use hospitalization ratio of H8SP (54%) was lower than that of H8 (67 %) towns. This indicated that hospitalization utilizations had improved in H8SP towns among those who needed. Awareness of MFA detailed benefit package and presence of physician diagnosed chronic disease had significant association with frequency of MFA use and hospitalizations. There was no significant difference in rate of borrowing money for illness treatment between the two project areas. Large amount of medical debt had strong association with hospitalization utilization.
The new extended benefit package implemented in pilot towns significantly increased the poor families' accessibility to MFA package in H8SP than that of H8 towns, which reduced poor families' demand of hospitalization services for their chronic diseases, and improved the poor population's utilization of out-patient services to some degree. It can encourage poor people to use more outpatient services thus reduce their hospitalization need. Presence of chronic disease and hospitalization had strong association with the presence of large amount of medical debt, which indicated that: although establishment of MFA had facilitated accessibility of poor families to this new system, and improved service utilization of poor families to some degree, but its role in reducing poor families' medical debt resulted from chronic disease and hospitalization was still very limited. Besides, the following requirements of MFA: co-payment for in-patient services, ceiling and deductibles for reimbursement, limitations on eligibility for diseases reimbursement, also served as most important obstacles for poor families' access to health care.
Therefore, there is great need to improve MFA benefit package design in the future, including extending to cover out-patient services, raising ceiling for reimbursement, removing deductibles of MFA, reducing co-payment rate, and integrating MFA with New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme more closely so as to provide more protection to the poor families.
PMCID: PMC2909998  PMID: 20565720

Results 1-25 (1009420)