To determine the efficacy of an automated, interactive, telephone-based health communication intervention for improving glaucoma treatment adherence among patients in two hospital-based eye clinics.
Randomized controlled trial.
Two eye clinics located in hospitals in the Southeastern United States.
312 glaucoma patients aged 18 to 80 years, non-adherent with medication taking, medication refills, and/or appointment keeping
The treatment group received an automated, interactive, tailored telephone intervention and tailored printed materials. The control group received usual care.
Main Outcome Measures
Adherence with medication taking, prescription refills, and appointment keeping measured by interviews, medical charts, appointment records, and pharmacy data.
A statistically significant increase was found for all adherence measures in both the intervention and control groups. Interactive phone calls and tailored print materials did not significantly improve adherence measures compared to controls.
During the study period, patient adherence to glaucoma treatment and appointment keeping improved in both study arms. Participation in the study and interviews may have contributed. Strategies that address individuals’ barriers and facilitators may increase the impact of telephone calls, especially for appointment keeping and prescription refills.
The use of pioglitazone, a thiazolidinedione (TZD), may increase the risk of bladder cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes. In this study, we assessed the risk of bladder cancer associated with the use of TZDs and between pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, an alternative TZD.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who initiated treatment with a TZD (n = 18 459 patients) or a sulfonylurea (SU) (n = 41 396 patients) between July 1, 2000, and August 31, 2010, using The Health Improvement Network database in the United Kingdom. Incident cancers were identified for 196 708 person-years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of bladder cancer in the TZD cohort compared with the SU cohort (referent), adjusted for potential confounders. Risk associated with increasing duration of drug exposure was also examined. All statistical tests were two-sided.
We identified 60 incident bladder cancers in the TZD cohort and 137 cancers in the SU cohort. No difference in bladder cancer risk was found between the two cohorts (TZD vs SU, HR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.68 to 1.29) in analyses that did not account for duration of exposure. However, the risk of bladder cancer was increased among patients with the longest duration of TZD vs SU therapy (≥5 years of use, HR = 3.25, 95% CI = 1.08 to 9.71) and among those with the longest time since initiation of therapy (≥5 years since first use, HR = 2.53, 95% CI = 1.12 to 5.77). Risk of bladder cancer also increased with increasing time since initiation of pioglitazone (P
trend < .001) and rosiglitazone (P
trend = .006). Comparison of pioglitazone to rosiglitazone use did not demonstrate difference in cancer risk (P = .49).
Long-term TZD therapy (≥5 years) in patients with type 2 diabetes may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, which may be common to all TZDs.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. Lifeguards are at increased risk of excessive sun exposure and sunburn.
We sought to examine changes in: (1) sunburn frequency over a summer while controlling for sun exposure, sun protection habits, and participation in a skin cancer prevention program; and (2) tanning attitudes while controlling for participation in the program.
Participants in this study were lifeguards (n = 3014) at swimming pools participating in the Pool Cool program in 2005. Lifeguards completed surveys at the beginning and end of the summer. Sequential regression analyses were used to assess changes in sunburn frequency and tanning attitudes.
Sunburn frequency decreased between baseline and follow-up. Having a sunburn over the summer was significantly predicted by baseline sunburn history, ethnicity, skin cancer risk, and sun exposure. The tanning attitude, “People are more attractive if they have a tan,” was significantly predicted from baseline tanning attitude and ethnicity. The second tanning attitude, “It helps to have a good base suntan,” was significantly predicted by baseline tanning attitude, ethnicity, basic/enhanced group, and moderate skin cancer risk.
Self-reported data and limited generalizability to lifeguards at other outdoor pools are limitations.
The findings showed that previous sunburn history is an important predictor of sunburn prospectively. In addition, a more risky tanning attitude is an important predictor of future attitudes toward tanning. Active involvement in targeted prevention programs may help to increase preventive behavior and health risk reduction.
prevention; skin cancer; sun exposure; sun protection habits; sunburn; tanning attitudes
The aim of this study was to measure ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposures of lifeguards in pool settings and evaluate their personal UVR protective practices.
Lifeguards (n = 168) wore UVR sensitive polysulfone (PS) film badges in wrist bracelets on 2 days and completed a survey and diary covering sun protection use. Analyses were used to describe sun exposure and sun protection practices, to compare UVR exposure across locations, and to compare findings with recommended threshold limits for occupational exposure.
The measured UVR exposures varied with location, ranging from high median UVR exposures of 6.2 standard erythemal doses (SEDs) to the lowest median of 1.7 SEDs. More than 74% of the lifeguards’ PS badges showed UVR above recommended threshold limits for occupational exposure. Thirty-nine percent received more than four times the limit and 65% of cases were sufficient to induce sunburn. The most common protective behaviors were wearing sunglasses and using sunscreen, but sun protection was often inadequate.
At-risk individuals were exposed to high levels of UVR in excess of occupational limits and though appropriate types of sun protection were used, it was not used consistently and more than 50% of lifeguards reported being sunburnt at least twice during the previous year.
lifeguards; occupational UVR exposure; sun protection behaviors
We determined the complete sequence and organization of the genome of a putative member of the genus Polerovirus tentatively named Pepper yellow leaf curl virus (PYLCV). PYLCV has a wider host range than Tobacco vein-distorting virus (TVDV) and has a close serological relationship with Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV) (both poleroviruses). The extracted viral RNA was subjected to SOLiD next-generation sequence analysis and used as a template for reverse transcription synthesis, which was followed by PCR amplification. The ssRNA genome of PYLCV includes 6,028 nucleotides encoding six open reading frames (ORFs), which is typical of the genus Polerovirus. Comparisons of the deduced amino acid sequences of the PYLCV ORFs 2-4 and ORF5, indicate that there are high levels of similarity between these sequences to ORFs 2-4 of TVDV (84-93%) and to ORF5 of CABYV (87%). Both PYLCV and Pepper vein yellowing virus (PeVYV) contain sequences that point to a common ancestral polerovirus. The recombination breakpoint which is located at CABYV ORF3, which encodes the viral coat protein (CP), may explain the CABYV-like sequences found in the genomes of the pepper infecting viruses PYLCV and PeVYV. Two additional regions unique to PYLCV (PY1 and PY2) were identified between nucleotides 4,962 and 5,061 (ORF 5) and between positions 5,866 and 6,028 in the 3' NCR. Sequence analysis of the pepper-infecting PeVYV revealed three unique regions (Pe1-Pe3) with no similarity to other members of the genus Polerovirus. Genomic analyses of PYLCV and PeVYV suggest that the speciation of these viruses occurred through putative recombination event(s) between poleroviruses co-infecting a common host(s), resulting in the emergence of PYLCV, a novel pathogen with a wider host range.
Taking an alcohol swab of a person’s forearm and analyzing it using a spectrophotometer has been shown to be a reliable method for detecting the presence of sunscreen. The aims of this study were to determine if moisturizing lotions or other non-sun-screen products influence the absorbance readings from skin swabs in a controlled setting, and to establish the cutoff point in determining the presence or absence of sunscreen using a crystal cuvette instead of a plastic one. In a controlled trial of 30 volunteer office workers, absorbance readings from two popular brands of sunscreen with sun-protection factors (SPF) of 30 and 45 were compared with absorbance readings from two different moisturizing lotions, one with an SPF of 15 and another with no stated SPF. Moisturizers with SPF 15 tested positive for sunscreen, with absorbance readings (mean, 3.77; min, 3.30) comparable to sunblock with SPF 30 or 45 (mean, 3.51; min, 2.02). Moisturizers with no stated SPF factor tested negative for the presence of sunscreen, with extremely low absorbance readings (mean, 0.06; max, 0.19) similar to control readings. The skin swabbing technique remains a valid and useful method for detecting the presence of sunscreen and does not result in false positives when moisturizers with no stated SPF are present. Using a conservative cutoff point of 0.30 with a crystal cuvette reduces any chance of false-positive readings and remains robust when sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher is present.
Linking agents connect program developers with end users, enhancing implementation and sustainability of health promotion programs. However, little is known about how linkage systems work in practice and research settings.
This article describes the activities and communication patterns of field coordinators in a 4-year, national study of the dissemination of an effective skin cancer prevention program.
Descriptive and content analyses were completed for all e-mails between field coordinators and program staff and for field coordinator activity logs.
A total of 5 215 e-mails were sent to or from 62 field coordinators from 2003 to 2006. E-mails most often concerned program administration, data collection, and management of program materials. The most common activities recorded in activity logs were communication with program staff and study sites, management of surveys, and delivery and management of program materials.
Field coordinators carried out activities related to program administration and data collection across a large number of study sites. The high volume of e-mails and their emphasis on program administration issues demonstrate the importance of communication between program staff and field coordinators. It is recommended that public health researchers and practitioners implement similar linkage systems when taking effective programs to scale.
diffusion of innovation; public health; qualitative research
Outdoor recreation settings, such as swimming pools, provide a promising venue to assess UVR exposure and sun protection practices among individuals who are minimally clothed and exposed to potentially high levels of UVR. Most studies assessing sun exposure/protection practices rely on self-reported data, which are subject to bias. The aim of this study was to establish the feasibility of conducting a multimethod study to examine the validity of self-reported measures within a swimming pool setting. Data were collected from 27 lifeguards, children and parents in Hawaii. Each participant filled out a survey and a 4 day sun habits diary. On two occasions, researchers assessed observable sun protection behaviors (wearing hats, shirts, sunglasses), swabbed the skin to detect the presence of sunscreen, and subjects wore polysulphone dosimeters to measure UVR exposure. Overall, observed sun protection behaviors were more highly correlated with diary reports than with survey reports. While lifeguards and children reported spending comparable amounts of time in the sun, dosimeter measures showed that lifeguards received twice as much UVR exposure. This study demonstrated the feasibility of implementing a multimethod validity study within a broader population of swimming pools.
This study sought to explore whether Native Hawaiian primary ethnic identity is associated with cigarette use among Native Hawaiian middle school students. This study also explored whether social influence, psychosocial and cultural factors are associated with cigarette use in this sample.
The data are from a cross-sectional survey of 1,695 Native Hawaiian middle school students at 22 public and private schools on five islands in Hawaii. A subset of these students from Native Hawaiian serving schools (N = 136) completed additional measures of Hawaiian cultural variables.
Based on univariate analyses, students whose primary ethnic identification was Hawaiian were more likely to have tried smoking (p<0.001) and to be current smokers (p<0.05) as compared to those classified as part Hawaiian. However, these findings were no longer significant in multivariate analyses. Social influence variables (i.e. peer and parental smoking) were most influential in explaining both prior and current smoking. Attendance at public school was also an important factor in explaining previous (OR = 2.43; 95% CI = 1.74, 3.38) and current (OR = 7.20; 95% CI = 4.58, 11.32) smoking behavior. Finally, cultural variables such as valuing Hawaiian folklore, customs, activities and lifestyle were largely unassociated with smoking behavior among Native Hawaiian middle school youth.
Additional research is needed to understand what aspects of ethnic identity are associated with smoking behavior among Native Hawaiian youth. The strong influence of peer and parental smoking suggests the need for interventions that support the creation of social environments that discourage tobacco use.
Tobacco; Adolescents; Native Hawaiian; Smoking
A combination of verbal reports, observations, and physical assessments can improve understanding of prevention programs.
Skin swabbing techniques were used to detect the presence of sunscreen as part of a sun protection measurement study at 16 swimming pools. Three pools demonstrated much higher sunscreen use (>95%) than the others (47.1%). This paper compares these three pools to the other 13 to examine whether they have common features and if different sources of data can help interpret the findings.
Data were collected from skin swabs detecting the presence of sunscreen; observations of participants; observations of pool environments; and surveys.
Pool observations showed a higher use of shade structures, sun safety signs, and other supporting items at the three high–sunscreen use pools. These three pools had significantly more year-round and long-term employees than did the other 13 pools.
Sunscreen characteristics could not be determined using the swabbing technique. Publicity about the study, or the weather, may have influenced behaviors at the pools.
Supportive environments were associated with consistent high levels of sunscreen use. This study also confirms the importance of using multiple data sources to interpret findings.
Although public support for physical activity-friendly Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs) appears to be growing, information is lacking on private sector perspectives and how economic factors (eg, fuel prices) might influence the development and sale of TNDs.
A sample of realtors from the National Association of Realtors (n = 4950) and developers from the National Association of Home Builders (n = 162) were surveyed in early 2009 to assess factors influencing homebuyers’ decisions; incentives and barriers to developing TNDs; effects of depressed housing market conditions and financing on sales; trends in buying; and energy considerations (eg, green building).
Realtors believed that homebuyers continue to rank affordability, safety and school quality higher than TND amenities. Developers reported numerous barriers to TNDs, including the inability to overcome governmental/political hurdles, lack of cooperation between government agencies, and lack of market demand. Yet, realtors believed clients are increasingly influenced by gas and oil prices, and developers reported that clients are looking for energy efficient homes, reduced commute time, and walkable neighborhoods. Respondents reported consumers are more interested in living in a TND than 5 years ago.
Activity-friendly TNDs appear to be increasing in demand, but developers and realtors reported significant barriers to creating these communities.
physical activity; built environment; survey research; health; motivation; public health
The effectiveness of school-based tobacco use prevention programs depends on proper implementation. This study examined factors associated with teachers’ implementation of a smoking prevention curriculum in a cluster randomized trial called Project SPLASH (Smoking Prevention Launch Among Students in Hawaii).
A process evaluation was conducted and a cross-condition comparison used to examine whether teacher characteristics, teacher training, external facilitators and barriers, teacher attitudes, and curriculum attributes were associated with the dose of teacher implementation in the intervention and control arms of the study. Data were collected from a total of 62 middle school teachers in 20 public schools in Hawaii, during the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 school years. Sources included teacher questionnaires and interviews. Chi-square test and t test revealed that implementation dose was related to teachers’ disciplinary backgrounds and skills and student enjoyment of the curriculum.
Content analysis, within case, and cross-case analyses of qualitative data revealed that implementing the curriculum in a yearlong class schedule and high teacher self-efficacy supported implementation, while high perceived curriculum complexity was associated with less complete implementation.
The results have implications for research, school health promotion practice, and the implementation of evidence-based youth tobacco use prevention curricula.
smoking and tobacco; school health instruction; teaching techniques
Few studies have reported the accuracy of measures used to assess sun-protection practices. Valid measures are critical to the internal validity and use of skin cancer control research.
We sought to validate self-reported covering-up practices of pool-goers.
A total of 162 lifeguards and 201 parent/child pairs from 16 pools in 4 metropolitan regions in the United States completed a survey and a 4-day sun-habits diary. Observations of sun-protective behaviors were conducted on two occasions.
Agreement between observations and diaries ranged from slight to substantial, with most values in the fair to moderate range. Highest agreement was observed for parent hat use (κ = 0.58–0.70). There was no systematic pattern of over- or under-reporting among the 3 study groups.
Potential reactivity and a relatively affluent sample are limitations.
There was little over-reporting and no systematic bias, which increases confidence in reliance on verbal reports of these behaviors in surveys and intervention research.
concurrent validity; measurement; observation; self-report assessment; sun protection
The disease course in multiple sclerosis (MS) is influenced by many factors, including age, sex, and sex hormones. Little is known about sex-specific changes in disease course around age 50, which may represent a key biological transition period for reproductive aging.
Male and female subjects with no prior chemotherapy exposure were selected from a prospective MS cohort to form groups representing the years before (38–46 years, N=351) and after (54–62 years, N=200)age 50. Primary analysis assessed for interaction between effects of sex and age on clinical (Expanded Disability Status Scale, EDSS; relapse rate) and radiologic (T2 lesion volume, T2LV; brain parenchymal fraction, BPF) outcomes. Secondarily, we explored patient-reported outcomes (PROs).
As expected, there were age- and sex- related changes with male and older cohorts showing worse disease severity (EDSS), brain atrophy (BPF), and more progressive course.
There was no interaction between age and sex on cross-sectional adjusted clinical (EDSS, relapse rate) or radiologic (BPF, T2LV) measures, or on 2-year trajectories of decline.
There was a significant interaction between age and sex for a physical functioning PRO (SF-36): the older female cohort reported lower physical functioning than men (p=0.002). There were no differences in depression (Center for Epidemiological Study – Depression, CES-D) or fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, MFIS) scores.
There was no interaction between age and sex suggestive of an effect of reproductive aging on clinical or radiologic progression. Prospective analyses across the menopausal transition are needed.
Demyelinating disease; Multiple sclerosis; Natural history studies; MRI; Disease progression; Menopause; Gender
Self-monitoring for weight loss has traditionally been performed with paper diaries. Technologic advances could reduce the burden of self-monitoring and provide feedback to enhance adherence.
To determine if self-monitoring diet using a PDA only or the PDA with daily tailored feedback (PDA+FB), was superior to using a paper diary on weight loss and maintenance.
The Self-Monitoring and Recording Using Technology (SMART) Trial was a 24-month RCCT; participants were randomly assigned to one of three self-monitoring groups.
From 2006 to 2008, 210 overweight/obese adults (84.8% female, 78.1% white) were recruited from the community. Data were analyzed in 2011.
Participants received standard behavioral treatment for weight loss which included dietary and physical activity goals, encouraged the use of self-monitoring, and was delivered in group sessions.
Main outcome measures
Percentage weight change at 24 months, adherence to self-monitoring over time.
Study retention was 85.6%. The mean percentage weight loss at 24 months was not different among groups (paper diary: −1.94% [95% CI= −3.88, 0.01], PDA: −1.38% [95% CI= – 3.38, 0.62], PDA+FB: –2.32% [95% CI= –4.29, −0.35]); only the PDA+FB group (p=0.02) demonstrated a significant loss. For adherence to self-monitoring, there was a time-by-treatment group interaction between the combined PDA groups and the paper diary group (p=0.03) but no difference between PDA and PDA+FB groups (p=0.49). Across all groups, weight loss was greater for those who were adherent ≥60% versus <30% of the time, p<0.001.
PDA+FB use resulted in a small weight loss at 24 months; PDA use resulted in greater adherence to dietary self-monitoring over time. However, for sustained weight loss, adherence to self-monitoring is more important than the method used to self-monitor. A daily feedback message delivered remotely enhanced adherence and improved weight loss, which suggests that technology can play a role in improving weight loss.
Whereas, most cancer research data come from high-profile academic centers, little is known about the outcomes of cancer care in rural communities. We summarize the experience of building a multi-institution partnership to develop a cancer outcomes research infrastructure in Southwest Georgia (SWGA), a primarily rural 33-county area with over 700,000 residents. The partnership includes eight institutions: the Emory University in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Comprehensive Center Registry (the Registry), the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition (the Coalition), and the four community cancer centers located within the SWGA region. The practical application of the partnership model, its organizational structure, and lessons learned are presented using two specific examples: a study evaluating treatment decisions and quality of life among prostate cancer patients, and a study of treatment discontinuation among prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer patients. Our partnership model allowed us to (1) use the Coalition as a link between Atlanta-based researchers and local community; (2) collaborate with the area cancer centers on day-to-day study activities; (3) involve the Registry personnel and resources to identify eligible cancer cases and to perform data collection; and (4) raise community awareness and sense of study ownership through media announcements organized by the Coalition. All of the above activities were performed in consultation with the funding institution (CDC) and its project directors who oversee several other studies addressing similar research questions throughout the country. Our partnership model may provide a useful framework for cancer outcomes research projects in rural communities.
Cancer; Rural population; Outcomes research; Partnership
Identifying neighborhood environment attributes related to childhood obesity can inform environmental changes for obesity prevention.
To evaluate child and parent weight status across neighborhoods in King County/Seattle and San Diego County differing in GIS-defined physical activity environment (PAE) and nutrition environment (NE) characteristics.
Neighborhoods were selected to represent high (favorable) versus low (unfavorable) on the two measures, forming four neighborhood types (low on both measures, low PAE/high NE, high PAE/low NE, and high on both measures). Weight and height of children aged 6–11 years and one parent (n=730) from selected neighborhoods were assessed in 2007–2009. Differences in child and parent overweight and obesity by neighborhood type were examined, adjusting for neighborhood-, family-, and individual-level demographics.
Children from neighborhoods high on both environment measures were less likely to be obese (7.7% vs 15.9% OR=0.44, p=0.02) and marginally less likely to be overweight (23.7% vs 31.7%; OR=0.67, p=0.08) than children from neighborhoods low on both measures. In models adjusted for parent weight status and demographic factors, neighborhood environment type remained related to child obesity (high vs low on both measures; OR=0.41, p<0.03). Parents in neighborhoods high on both measures (versus low on both) were marginally less likely to be obese (20.1% vs 27.7%; OR=0.66; p=0.08), although parent overweight did not differ on this variable. The lower odds of parent obesity in neighborhoods with environments supportive of physical activity and healthy eating remained in models adjusted for demographics (high vs low on the environment measures; OR=0.57, p=0.053).
Findings support the proposed GIS-based definitions of obesogenic neighborhoods for children and parents that consider both physical activity and nutrition environment features.
The promise of widespread implementation of efficacious interventions across the cancer continuum into routine practice and policy has yet to be realized. Multilevel influences, such as communities and families surrounding patients or health-care policies and organizations surrounding provider teams, may determine whether effective interventions are successfully implemented. Greater recognition of the importance of these influences in advancing (or hindering) the impact of single-level interventions has motivated the design and testing of multilevel interventions designed to address them. However, implementing research evidence from single- or multilevel interventions into sustainable routine practice and policy presents substantive challenges. Furthermore, relatively few multilevel interventions have been conducted along the cancer care continuum, and fewer still have been implemented, disseminated, or sustained in practice. The purpose of this chapter is, therefore, to illustrate and examine the concepts underlying the implementation and spread of multilevel interventions into routine practice and policy. We accomplish this goal by using a series of cancer and noncancer examples that have been successfully implemented and, in some cases, spread widely. Key concepts across these examples include the importance of phased implementation, recognizing the need for pilot testing, explicit engagement of key stakeholders within and between each intervention level; visible and consistent leadership and organizational support, including financial and human resources; better understanding of the policy context, fiscal climate, and incentives underlying implementation; explication of handoffs from researchers to accountable individuals within and across levels; ample integration of multilevel theories guiding implementation and evaluation; and strategies for long-term monitoring and sustainability.
Streetscape (microscale) features of the built environment can influence people’s perceptions of their neighborhoods’ suitability for physical activity. Many microscale audit tools have been developed, but few have published systematic scoring methods. We present the development, scoring, and reliability of the Microscale Audit of Pedestrian Streetscapes (MAPS) tool and its theoretically-based subscales.
MAPS was based on prior instruments and was developed to assess details of streetscapes considered relevant for physical activity. MAPS sections (route, segments, crossings, and cul-de-sacs) were scored by two independent raters for reliability analyses. There were 290 route pairs, 516 segment pairs, 319 crossing pairs, and 53 cul-de-sac pairs in the reliability sample. Individual inter-rater item reliability analyses were computed using Kappa, intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), and percent agreement. A conceptual framework for subscale creation was developed using theory, expert consensus, and policy relevance. Items were grouped into subscales, and subscales were analyzed for inter-rater reliability at tiered levels of aggregation.
There were 160 items included in the subscales (out of 201 items total). Of those included in the subscales, 80 items (50.0%) had good/excellent reliability, 41 items (25.6%) had moderate reliability, and 18 items (11.3%) had low reliability, with limited variability in the remaining 21 items (13.1%). Seventeen of the 20 route section subscales, valence (positive/negative) scores, and overall scores (85.0%) demonstrated good/excellent reliability and 3 demonstrated moderate reliability. Of the 16 segment subscales, valence scores, and overall scores, 12 (75.0%) demonstrated good/excellent reliability, three demonstrated moderate reliability, and one demonstrated poor reliability. Of the 8 crossing subscales, valence scores, and overall scores, 6 (75.0%) demonstrated good/excellent reliability, and 2 demonstrated moderate reliability. The cul-de-sac subscale demonstrated good/excellent reliability.
MAPS items and subscales predominantly demonstrated moderate to excellent reliability. The subscales and scoring system represent a theoretically based framework for using these complex microscale data and may be applicable to other similar instruments.
Ecological models of healthy eating and physical activity emphasize the influence of behavioral settings such as homes and worksites in shaping behavior. Research on home environments suggests that both social and physical aspects of the home may impact physical activity and healthy eating.
Using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, the Emory Prevention Research Center (EPRC), Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, and the EPRC’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) designed and tested a coach-based intervention to make the home environment more supportive of healthy eating and physical activity for rural adults.
The 6-week intervention consisted of a tailored home environment profile, goal-setting, and behavioral contracting delivered through two home visits and two telephone calls. The study used a quasi-experimental design with data collected via telephone interviews at baseline, 2 and 4 months post-baseline. Ninety households (n = 90) completed all three telephone interviews.
Multilevel models indicated that intervention households reported significant improvements in household food inventories, purchasing of fruit and vegetables, healthier meal preparation, meals with the TV off, and family support for healthy eating, relative to comparison households. Intervention households also reported increased exercise equipment and family support for physical activity relative to comparison households. Percent of fat intake decreased significantly, but no changes were observed for fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, or weight among intervention relative to comparison households, although trends were generally in a positive direction.
Coaching combined with a focus on the home environment may be a promising strategy for weight gain prevention in adults.
Rural; family; obesity prevention; physical activity; nutrition; intervention
We previously described a composite MRI scale combining T1-lesions, T2-lesions and whole brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis (MS): the Magnetic Resonance Disease Severity Scale (MRDSS).
Test strength of the MRDSS versus individual MRI measures for sensitivity to longitudinal change.
We studied 84 MS patients over a 3.2±0.3 year follow-up. Baseline and follow-up T2-lesion volume (T2LV), T1-hypointense lesion volume (T1LV), and brain parenchymal fraction (BPF) were measured. MRDSS was the combination of standardized T2LV, T1/T2 ratio and BPF.
Patients had higher MRDSS at follow-up versus baseline (p<0.001). BPF decreased (p<0.001), T1/T2 increased (p<0.001), and T2LV was unchanged (p>0.5). Change in MRDSS was larger than the change in MRI subcomponents. While MRDSS showed significant change in relapsing-remitting (RR) (p<0.001) and secondary progressive (SP) phenotypes (p<0.05), BPF and T1/T2 ratio changed only in RRMS (p<0.001). Longitudinal change in MRDSS was significantly different between RRMS and SPMS (p=0.0027); however, change in the individual MRI components did not differ. Evaluation with respect to predicting on-study clinical worsening as measured by EDSS revealed a significant association only for T2LV (p=0.038).
Results suggest improved sensitivity of MRDSS to longitudinal change versus individual MRI measures. MRDSS has particularly high sensitivity in RRMS.
MRI; Multiple sclerosis; Neurologic disability; T1 hypointense lesions; T2 hyperintense lesions; Brain atrophy; Measurement scales
Physical activity is important to children’s physical health and well-being. Many factors contribute to children’s physical activity, and the built environment has garnered considerable interest recently, as many young children spend much of their time in and around their immediate neighborhood. Few studies have identified correlates of children’s activity in specific locations. This study examined associations between parent report of their home neighborhood environment and children’s overall and location-specific physical activity.
Parents and children ages 6 to 11 (n=724), living in neighborhoods identified through objective built environment factors as high or low in physical activity environments, were recruited from Seattle and San Diego metropolitan areas, 2007–2009. Parents completed a survey about their child’s activity and perceptions of home neighborhood environmental attributes. Children wore an accelerometer for 7 days. Multivariate regression models explored perceived environment correlates of parent-reported child’s recreational physical activity in their neighborhood, in parks, and in general, as well as accelerometry-based moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA) minutes.
Parent-reported proximity to play areas correlated positively with both accelerometery MVPA and parent-reported total child physical activity. Lower street connectivity and higher neighborhood aesthetics correlated with higher reported child activity in the neighborhood, while reported safety from crime and walk and cycle facilities correlated positively with reported child activity in public recreation spaces.
Different aspects of parent’s perceptions of the neighborhood environment appear to correlate with different aspects of children’s activity. However, prioritizing closer proximity to safe play areas may best improve children’s physical activity and, in turn, reduce their risk of obesity and associated chronic diseases.
Built environment; Perceptions; Recreation; Play
To assess the potential of an online platform, PatientsLikeMe.com (PLM), for research in multiple sclerosis (MS). An investigation of the role of body mass index (BMI) on MS disease course was conducted to illustrate the utility of the platform.
First, we compared the demographic characteristics of subjects from PLM and from a regional MS center. Second, we validated PLM’s patient-reported outcome measure (MS Rating Scale, MSRS) against standard physician-rated tools. Finally, we analyzed the relation of BMI to the MSRS measure.
Compared with 4,039 MS Center patients, the 10,255 PLM members were younger, more educated, and less often male and white. Disease course was more often relapsing remitting, with younger symptom onset and shorter disease duration. Differences were significant because of large sample sizes but small in absolute terms. MSRS scores for 121 MS Center patients revealed acceptable agreement between patient-derived and physician-derived composite scores (weighted kappa = 0.46). The Walking domain showed the highest weighted kappa (0.73) and correlation (rs = 0.86) between patient and physician scores. Additionally, there were good correlations between the patient-reported MSRS composite and walking scores and physician-derived measures: Expanded Disability Status Scale (composite rs = 0.61, walking rs = 0.74), Timed 25 Foot Walk (composite rs = 0.70, walking rs = 0.69), and Ambulation Index (composite rs = 0.81, walking rs = 0.84). Finally, using PLM data, we found a modest correlation between BMI and cross-sectional MSRS (rho = 0.17) and no association between BMI and disease course.
The PLM population is comparable to a clinic population, and its patient-reported MSRS is correlated with existing clinical instruments. Thus, this online platform may provide a venue for MS investigations with unique strengths (frequent data collection, large sample sizes). To illustrate its applicability, we assessed the role of BMI in MS disease course but did not find a clinically meaningful role for BMI in this setting.
Sustained progression on the expanded disability status scale (EDSS) is a common outcome measure of disease progression in clinical studies of MS. Unfortunately, this outcome may not accurately measure long-term and irreversible disease progression. To assess the performance of definitions of sustained progression, patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) or a clinically isolated syndrome with evidence of lesions on a brain MRI were included in our study. Fifteen definitions of sustained progression using both the EDSS and the functional system (FS) scales were investigated. The impact of both relapses and changes in provider on the probability of maintaining progression was also evaluated. Although the provider scoring the EDSS sometimes changed during followup, the provider had access to previous EDSS scores. Between 15.8% and 42.2% of patients experienced sustained progression based on the definitions using EDSS as the outcome, but nearly 50% of these patients failed to maintain sustained progression for the duration of followup. When FS scales were used, progression was most common on the pyramidal and sensory scales. Unfortunately, progression on specific FS scales failed to be more sensitive to irreversible disability. Relapses or changes in provider did not explain the poor performance of the measures. Short-term changes in the EDSS or FS scores may not be an accurate marker of irreversible change in RRMS.
Nutrition labeling of menus has been promoted as a means for helping consumers make healthier food choices at restaurants. As part of national health reform, chain restaurants will be required to post nutrition information at point-of-purchase, but more evidence regarding the impact of these regulations, particularly in children, is needed.
To determine whether nutrition labeling on restaurant menus results in a lower number of calories purchased by children and their parents.
A prospective cohort study compared restaurant receipts of those aged 6–11 years and their parents before and after a menu-labeling regulation in Seattle/King County (S/KC) (n=75), with those from a comparison sample in nonregulated San Diego County (SDC) (n=58). Data were collected in 2008 and 2009 and analyzed in 2010.
In S/KC, there was a significant increase from pre- to post-regulation (44% vs 87%) in parents seeing nutrition information, with no change in SDC (40% vs 34%). Average calories purchased for children did not change in either county (823 vs 822 in S/KC; 984 vs 949 in SDC). There was an approximately 100-calorie decrease for the parents postregulation in both counties (823 vs 720 in S/KC; 895 vs 789 in SDC), but no difference between counties.
A restaurant menu-labeling regulation increased parent's nutrition information awareness, but did not decrease calories purchased for either children or parents.