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1.  Public, environmental, and occupational health research activity in Arab countries: bibliometric, citation, and collaboration analysis 
Background
The objective of this study was to analyze quantity, assess quality, and investigate international collaboration in research from Arab countries in the field of public, environmental and occupational health.
Methods
Original scientific articles and reviews published from the 22 Arab countries in the category "public, environmental & occupational health" during the study period (1900 – 2012) were screened using the ISI Web of Science database.
Results
The total number of original and review research articles published in the category of "public, environmental & occupational health" from Arab countries was 4673. Main area of research was tropical medicine (1862; 39.85%). Egypt with 1200 documents (25.86%) ranked first in quantity and ranked first in quality of publications (h-index = 51). The study identified 2036 (43.57%) documents with international collaboration. Arab countries actively collaborated with authors in Western Europe (22.91%) and North America (21.04%). Most of the documents (79.9%) were published in public health related journals while 21% of the documents were published in journals pertaining to prevention medicine, environmental, occupational health and epidemiology.
Conclusion
Research in public, environmental and occupational health in Arab countries is in the rise. Public health research was dominant while environmental and occupation health research was relatively low. International collaboration was a good tool for increasing research quantity and quality.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-73-1
PMCID: PMC4322552  PMID: 25671116
Arab countries; Public health; Environmental and occupational health; Bibliometric analysis; ISI web of science
2.  Why children are not vaccinated against measles: a cross-sectional study in two Nigerian States 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):48.
Background
Childhood vaccination rates in Nigeria are among the lowest in the world and this affects morbidity and mortality rates. A 2011 mixed methods study in two states in Nigeria examined coverage of measles vaccination and reasons for not vaccinating children.
Methods
A household survey covered a stratified random cluster sample of 180 enumeration areas in Bauchi and Cross River States. Cluster-adjusted bivariate and then multivariate analysis examined associations between measles vaccination and potential determinants among children aged 12-23 months, including household socio-economic status, parental knowledge and attitudes about vaccination, and access to vaccination services. Focus groups of parents in the same sites subsequently discussed the survey findings and gave reasons for non-vaccination. A knowledge to action strategy shared findings with stakeholders, including state government, local governments and communities, to stimulate evidence-based actions to increase vaccination rates.
Results
Interviewers collected data on 2,836 children aged 12-23 months in Cross River and 2,421 children in Bauchi. Mothers reported 81.8% of children in Cross River and 42.0% in Bauchi had received measles vaccine. In both states, children were more likely to receive measles vaccine if their mothers thought immunisation worthwhile, if immunisation was discussed in the home, if their mothers had more education, and if they had a birth certificate. In Bauchi, maternal awareness about immunization, mothers’ involvement in deciding about immunization, and fathers’ education increased the chances of vaccination. In Cross River, children from communities with a government immunisation facility were more likely to have received measles vaccine. Focus groups revealed lack of knowledge and negative attitudes about vaccination, and complaints about having to pay for vaccination. Health planners in both states used the findings to support efforts to increase vaccination rates.
Conclusion
Measles vaccination remains sub-optimal, particularly in Bauchi. Efforts to counter negative perceptions about vaccination and to ensure vaccinations are actually provided free may help to increase vaccination rates. Parents need to be made aware that vaccination should be free, including for children without a birth certificate, and vaccination could be an opportunity for issuing birth certificates. The study provides pointers for state level planning to increase vaccination rates.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-48
PMCID: PMC4322649  PMID: 25671115
Vaccination; Measles; Immunisation; Children; MDG4; Nigeria
3.  Reliability and Validity of the Dutch Physical Activity Questionnaires for Children (PAQ-C) and Adolescents (PAQ-A) 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):47.
Background
This study was designed to validate the Dutch Physical Activity Questionnaires for Children (PAQ-C) and Adolescents (PAQ-A).
Methods
After adjustment of the original Canadian PAQ-C and PAQ-A (i.e. translation/back-translation and evaluation by expert committee), content validity of both PAQs was assessed and calculated using item-level (I-CVI) and scale-level (S-CVI) content validity indexes. Inter-item and inter-rater reliability of 196 PAQ-C and 95 PAQ-A filled in by both children or adolescents and their parent, were evaluated. Inter-item reliability was calculated by Cronbach’s alpha (α) and inter-rater reliability was examined by percent observed agreement and weighted kappa (κ). Concurrent validity of PAQ-A was examined in a subsample of 28 obese and 16 normal-weight children by comparing it with concurrently measured physical activity using a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test for the assessment of peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak).
Results
For both PAQs, I-CVI ranged 0.67-1.00. S-CVI was 0.89 for PAQ-C and 0.90 for PAQ-A. A total of 192 PAQ-C and 94 PAQ-A were fully completed by both child and parent. Cronbach’s α was 0.777 for PAQ-C and 0.758 for PAQ-A. Percent agreement ranged 59.9-74.0% for PAQ-C and 51.1-77.7% for PAQ-A, and weighted κ ranged 0.48-0.69 for PAQ-C and 0.51-0.68 for PAQ-A. The correlation between total PAQ-A score and VO2 peak – corrected for age, gender, height and weight – was 0.516 (p = 0.001).
Conclusions
Both PAQs have an excellent content validity, an acceptable inter-item reliability and a moderate to good strength of inter-rater agreement. In addition, total PAQ-A score showed a moderate positive correlation with VO2 peak. Both PAQs have an acceptable to good reliability and validity, however, further validity testing is recommended to provide a more complete assessment of both PAQs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-47) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-47
PMCID: PMC4323128  PMID: 25671114
Pediatrics; Physical activity; Reliability; Validation
4.  Study protocol: effects of school gardens on children’s physical activity 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):43.
Background
Childhood obesity is an epidemic. Strategies are needed to promote children’s healthy habits related to diet and physical activity. School gardens have the potential to bolster children’s physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary activity; however little research has examined the effect of gardens on children’s physical activity. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) examines the effect of school gardens on children’s overall physical activity and sedentary behavior; and on children’s physical activity during the school day. In addition, physical activity levels and postures are compared using direct observation, outdoors, in the garden and indoors, in the classroom.
Methods/Design
Twelve New York State schools are randomly assigned to receive the school garden intervention or to serve in the wait-list control group that receives gardens and lessons at the end of the study. The intervention consists of a raised bed garden; access to a curriculum focused on nutrition, horticulture, and plant science and including activities and snack suggestions; resources for the school including information about food safety in the garden and related topics; a garden implementation guide provided guidance regarding planning, planting and maintaining the garden throughout the year; gardening during the summer; engaging volunteers; building community capacity, and sustaining the program.
Data are collected at baseline and 3 post-intervention follow-up waves at 6, 12, and 18 months. Physical activity (PA) “usually” and “yesterday” is measured using surveys at each wave. In addition, at-school PA is measured using accelerometry for 3 days at each wave. Direct observation (PARAGON) is used to compare PA during an indoor classroom lesson versus outdoor, garden-based lesson.
Discussion
Results of this study will provide insight regarding the potential for school gardens to increase children’s physical activity and decrease sedentary behaviors.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrial.gov # NCT02148315
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-43
PMCID: PMC4322466  PMID: 25671113
Children; Gardens; Physical activity; Sedentary behavior; Health behaviors; Schools; Randomized controlled trial
5.  What determines health-related quality of life among people living with HIV: an updated review of the literature 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):40.
Background
As infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has evolved to a chronic disease, perceived health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is becoming a prominent and important patient-reported outcome measure in HIV care. Literature discusses different factors influencing HRQoL in this population, however, currently no consensus exists about the main determinants. In this review a clear, up-to-date overview of the determinants influencing HRQOL among people living with HIV is provided.
Methods
All studies published before July 2013 that identified determinants of HRQoL among people living with HIV in high-income countries, were considered in this narrative review. PubMed, Web of Science and The Cochrane Library were consulted using the keywords ‘determinants’, ‘quality of life’, ‘HIV’ and ‘AIDS’. To be included, studies should have reported overall health and/or physical/mental health scores on a validated instrument and performed multivariable regression analyses to identify determinants that independently influence perceived HRQoL.
Results
In total, 49 studies were included for further analysis and they used a variety of HRQoL instruments: Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 or variants, Medical Outcomes Study-HIV, HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study measure, Multidimensional Quality of Life Questionnaire, HIV targeted quality of life instrument, Functional Assessment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection, HIV Overview of Problems Evaluation System, EuroQol, Fanning Quality of Life scale, Health Index and PROQOL-HIV. In this review, the discussed determinants were thematically divided into socio-demographic, clinical, psychological and behavioural factors. Employment, immunological status, presence of symptoms, depression, social support and adherence to antiretroviral therapy were most frequently and consistently reported to be associated with HRQoL among people living with HIV.
Conclusions
HRQoL among people living with HIV is influenced by several determinants. These determinants independently, but simultaneously impact perceived HRQoL. Most HRQoL instruments do not capture all key determinants. We recommend that the choice for an instrument should depend on the purpose of the HRQoL assessment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-40) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-40
PMCID: PMC4323115  PMID: 25671112
HIV; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Quality of life; Epidemiologic factors; Review
6.  Access to social capital and risk of HIV infection in Bukoba urban district, Kagera region, Tanzania 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):38.
Background
Kagera is one of the 22 regions of Tanzania mainland, which has witnessed a decline in HIV prevalence during the past two decades; decreasing from 24% in 1987 to 4.7 in 2009 in the urban district of Bukoba. Access to social capital, both structural and cognitive, might have played a role in this development. The aim was to examine the association between individual structural and cognitive social capital and socio-economic characteristics and the likelihood of being HIV infected.
Methods
We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study of 3586 participants, of which 3423 (95%) agreed to test for HIV following pre-test counseling. The HIV testing was performed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) antibody detection tests. Multiple logistic regression analysis was applied to estimate the impact of socio-economic factors, individual structural and cognitive social capital and HIV sero-status.
Results
Individuals who had access to low levels of both structural and cognitive individual social capital were four and three times more likely to be HIV positive compared to individuals who had access to high levels. The associations remained statistically significant for both individual structural and cognitive social capital after adjusting for potential confounding factors such as age, sex, marital status, occupation, level of education and wealth index (OR =8.6, CI: 5.7-13.0 and OR =2.4, CI: 1.6-3.5 for individual structural and cognitive social capital respectively). For both women and men access to high levels of individual structural and cognitive social capital decreased the risk of being HIV infected. This study confirms previous qualitative studies indicating that access to structural and cognitive social capital is protective to HIV infection.
Conclusions
We suggest that policy makers and programme managers of HIV interventions may consider strengthening and facilitating access to social capital as a way of promoting HIV preventive information and interventions in order to reduce new HIV infections in Tanzania.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-38
PMCID: PMC4322460  PMID: 25671111
Structural; Cognitive social capital; HIV prevalence; Tanzania
7.  Adherence influencing factors – a systematic review of systematic reviews 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):37.
Background
Non-adherence is widespread problem. Adherence is a crucial point for the success and the safe use of therapies. The objective of this overview (review of reviews) was to identify factors that influence adherence in chronic physical conditions.
Methods
A systematic literature search was performed in Medline and Embase (1990 to July 2013). Publications were screened according to predefined inclusion criteria. The study quality was assessed using AMSTAR. Both process steps were carried out independently by two reviewers. Relevant data on study characteristics and results were extracted in piloted standardized tables by one reviewer and checked by a second. Data were synthesized using a standardized quantitative approach by two reviewers.
Results
Seven systematic reviews were included. Higher education and employment seem to have a positive effect on adherence. Ethnic minorities seem to be less adherent. Co-payments and higher medication cost seems to have negative effect on adherence. In contrast financial status/income and marital status seem to have no influence on adherence. The effect of therapy related factors was mostly unclear or had no effect. Only the number of different medications in heart failure patients showed the tendency of an effect. Indicators of regime complexity showed consistently a negative effect direction. Duration of disease seems to have no effect on adherence. There is the tendency that higher or middle age is associated with higher adherence. But in more than half of the reviews the effect was unclear. There is no clear effect of physical as well as mental comorbidity. Only one review showed the tendency of an effect for mental comorbidity. Also for gender the effect is not clear because the effect direction was heterogenic between and within the systematic reviews.
Conclusion
The presented overview shows factors than can potentially have influence on adherence. Only for a few factors the influence on adherence was consistent. Most factors showed heterogeneous results regarding statistical significance and/or effect direction. However, belonging to an ethnic minority, unemployment and cost for the patient for their medications showed consistently a negative effect on adherence which indicates that there is a social gradient.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-37) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-37
PMCID: PMC4323150  PMID: 25671110
Adherence; Compliance; Systematic review; Oral medications; Oral therapy
8.  Association between medical home characteristics and staff professional experiences in pediatric practices 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):36.
Background
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model has been touted as a potential way to improve primary care. As more PCMH projects are undertaken it is critical to understand professional experiences as staff are key in implementing and maintaining the necessary changes. A paucity of information on staff experiences is available, and our study aims to fill that critical gap in the literature.
Methods
Eligible pediatric practices were invited to participate in the Florida Pediatric Medical Home Demonstration Project out which 20 practices were selected. Eligibility criteria included a minimum of 100 children with special health care needs and participation in Medicaid, a Medicaid health plan, or Florida KidCare. Survey data were collected from staff working in these 20 pediatric practices across Florida. Ware’s seven-point scale assessed satisfaction and burnout was measured using the six-point Maslach scale. The Medical Home Index measured the practice’s medical home characteristics. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted. In total, 170 staff members completed the survey and the response rate was 42.6%.
Results
Staff members reported high job satisfaction (mean 5.54; SD 1.26) and average burnout. Multivariate analyses suggest that care coordination is positively associated (b = 0.75) and community outreach is negatively associated (b = -0.18) with job satisfaction. Quality improvement and organizational capacity are positively associated with increased staff burnout (OR = 1.37, 5.89, respectively). Chronic condition and data management are associated with lower burnout (OR = 0.05 and 0.20, respectively). Across all models adaptive reserve, or the ability to make and sustain change, is associated with higher job satisfaction and lower staff burnout.
Conclusions
Staff experiences in the transition to becoming a PCMH are important. Although our study is cross-sectional, it provides some insight about how medical home, staff and practice characteristics are associated with job satisfaction and burnout. Many PCMH initiatives include facilitation and it should assist staff on how to adapt to change. Unless staff needs are addressed a PCMH may be threatened by fatigue, burnout, and low morale.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-36
PMCID: PMC4216343  PMID: 25364502
Medical home; Pediatrics; CHIPRA; Staff; Survey
9.  The EPIRARE proposal of a set of indicators and common data elements for the European platform for rare disease registration 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):35.
Background
The European Union acknowledges the relevance of registries as key instruments for developing rare disease (RD) clinical research, improving patient care and health service (HS) planning and funded the EPIRARE project to improve standardization and data comparability among patient registries and to support new registries and data collections.
Methods
A reference list of patient registry-based indicators has been prepared building on the work of previous EU projects and on the platform stakeholders’ information needs resulting from the EPIRARE surveys and consultations. The variables necessary to compute these indicators have been analysed for their scope and use and then organized in data domains.
Results
The reference indicators span from disease surveillance, to socio-economic burden, HS monitoring, research and product development, policy equity and effectiveness. The variables necessary to compute these reference indicators have been selected and, with the exception of more sophisticated indicators for research and clinical care quality, they can be collected as data elements common (CDE) to all rare diseases. They have been organized in data domains characterized by their contents and main goal and a limited set of mandatory data elements has been defined, which allows case notification independently of the physician or the health service.
Conclusions
The definition of a set of CDE for the European platform for RD patient registration is the first step in the promotion of the use of common tools for the collection of comparable data. The proposed organization of the CDE contributes to the completeness of case ascertainment, with the possible involvement of patients and patient associations in the registration process.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-35) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-35
PMCID: PMC4210567  PMID: 25352985
Registries; Common data elements; European platform; Rare diseases; Patient registration; EPIRARE
10.  Premature mortality in Belgium in 1993-2009: leading causes, regional disparities and 15 years change 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):34.
Background
Reducing premature mortality is a crucial public health objective. After a long gap in the publication of Belgian mortality statistics, this paper presents the leading causes and the regional disparities in premature mortality in 2008–2009 and the changes since 1993.
Methods
All deaths occurring in the periods 1993–1999 and 2003–2009, in people aged 1–74 residing in Belgium were included.
The cause of death and population data for Belgium were provided by Statistics Belgium , while data for international comparisons were extracted from the WHO mortality database.
Age-adjusted mortality rates and Person Year of Life Lost (PYLL) were calculated. The Rate Ratios were computed for regional and international comparisons, using the region or country with the lowest rate as reference; statistical significance was tested assuming a Poisson distribution of the number of deaths.
Results
The burden of premature mortality is much higher in men than in women (respectively 42% and 24% of the total number of deaths). The 2008–9 burden of premature mortality in Belgium reaches 6410 and 3440 PYLL per 100,000, respectively in males and females, ranking 4th and 3rd worst within the EU15. The disparities between Belgian regions are substantial: for overall premature mortality, respective excess of 40% and 20% among males, 30% and 20% among females are observed in Wallonia and Brussels as compared to Flanders. Also in cause specific mortality, Wallonia experiences a clear disadvantage compared to Flanders. Brussels shows an intermediate level for natural causes, but ranks differently for external causes, with less road accidents and suicide and more non-transport accidents than in the other regions.
Age-adjusted premature mortality rates decreased by 29% among men and by 22% among women over a period of 15 years. Among men, circulatory diseases death rates decreased the fastest (-43.4%), followed by the neoplasms (-26.6%), the other natural causes (-21.0%) and the external causes (-20.8%). The larger decrease in single cause is observed for stomach cancer (-48.4%), road accident (-44%), genital organs (-40.4%) and lung (-34.6%) cancers. On the opposite, liver cancer death rate increased by 16%.
Among female, the most remarkable feature is the 50.2% increase in the lung cancer death rate. For most other causes, the decline is slightly weaker than in men.
Conclusion
Despite a steady decrease over time, international comparisons of the premature mortality burden highlight the room for improvement in Belgium. The disadvantage in Wallonia and to some extent in Brussels suggest the role of socio-economic factors; well- designed health policies could contribute to reduce the regional disparities. The increase in female lung cancer mortality is worrying.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-34
PMCID: PMC4200135  PMID: 25328677
Premature mortality; Mortality rates; Potential Years of Life Lost; Causes of death; Belgium
11.  Effects of vitamin D in the elderly population: current status and perspectives 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):32.
Besides its well-known effect on bone metabolism, recent researches suggest that vitamin D may also play a role in the muscular, immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems. Double-blind RCTs support vitamin D supplementation at a dose of 800 IU per day for the prevention of falls and fractures in the senior population. Ecological, case–control and cohort studies have suggested that high vitamin D levels were associated with a reduced risk of autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases and cancer but large clinical trials are lacking today to provide solid evidence of a vitamin D benefit beyond bone health. At last, the optimal dose, route of administration, dosing interval and duration of vitamin D supplementation at a specific target dose beyond the prevention of vitamin D deficiency need to be further investigated.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-32
PMCID: PMC4181706  PMID: 25279143
12.  Pneumonia and influenza, and respiratory and circulatory hospital admissions in Belgium: a retrospective database study 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):33.
Background
Influenza infections can lead to viral pneumonia, upper respiratory tract infection or facilitate co-infection by other pathogens. Influenza is associated with the exacerbation of chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease and consequently, these result in acute hospitalizations. This study estimated the number, proportions and costs from a payer perspective of hospital admissions related to severe acute respiratory infections.
Methods
We analyzed retrospectively, a database of all acute inpatient stays from a non-random sample of eleven hospitals using the Belgian Minimal Hospital Summary Data. Codes from the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification was used to identify and diagnose cases of pneumonia and influenza (PI), respiratory and circulatory (RC), and the related complications.
Results
During 2002–2007, we estimated relative hospital admission rates of 1.69% (20960/1237517) and 21.79% (269634/1237517) due to primary PI and RC, respectively. The highest numbers of hospital admissions with primary diagnosis as PI were reported for the elderly patient group (n = 10184) followed by for children below five years of age (n = 3451).
Of the total primary PI and RC hospital admissions, 56.14% (11768/20960) and 63.48% (171172/269634) of cases had at least one possible influenza-related complication with the highest incidence of complications reported for the elderly patient group. Overall mortality rate in patients with PI and RC were 9.25% (1938/20960) and 5.51% (14859/269634), respectively. Average lengths of hospital stay for PI was 11.6 ± 12.3 days whereas for RC it was 9.1 ± 12.7 days. Annual average costs were 20.2 and 274.6 million Euros for PI and RC hospitalizations. Average cost per hospitalization for PI and RC were 5779 and 6111 Euros (2007), respectively. These costs increased with the presence of complications (PI: 7159, RC: 7549 Euros).
Conclusion
The clinical and economic burden of primary influenza hospitalizations in Belgium is substantial. The elderly patient group together with children aged <18 years were attributed with the majority of all primary PI and RC hospitalizations.
Trial registration
Not applicable.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-33
PMCID: PMC4335400
Hospital admission; Influenza; Pneumonia; Costs; Complication
13.  Causes of metabolic syndrome and obesity-related co-morbidities Part 1: A composite unifying theory review of human-specific co-adaptations to brain energy consumption 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):30.
One line summary
Metabolic syndrome and obesity-related co-morbidities are largely explained by co-adaptations to the energy use of the large human brain in the cortico-limbic-striatal and NRF2 systems.
The medical, research and general community is unable to effect significantly decreased rates of central obesity and related type II diabetes mellitus (TIIDM), cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. All conditions seem to be linked by the concept of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), but the underlying causes are not known. MetS markers may have been mistaken for causes, thus many treatments are destined to be suboptimal.
The current paper aims to critique current paradigms, give explanations for their persistence, and to return to first principles in an attempt to determine and clarify likely causes of MetS and obesity related comorbidities. A wide literature has been mined, study concepts analysed and the basics of human evolution and new biochemistry reviewed. A plausible, multifaceted composite unifying theory is formulated.
The basis of the theory is that the proportionately large, energy-demanding human brain may have driven co-adaptive mechanisms to provide, or conserve, energy for the brain. A ‘dual system’ is proposed. 1) The enlarged, complex cortico-limbic-striatal system increases dietary energy by developing strong neural self-reward/motivation pathways for the acquisition of energy dense food, and (2) the nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) cellular protection system amplifies antioxidant, antitoxicant and repair activity by employing plant chemicals, becoming highly energy efficient in humans.
The still-evolving, complex human cortico-limbic-striatal system generates strong behavioural drives for energy dense food procurement, including motivating agricultural technologies and social system development. Addiction to such foods, leading to neglect of nutritious but less appetizing ‘common or garden’ food, appears to have occurred. Insufficient consumption of food micronutrients prevents optimal human NRF2 function. Inefficient oxidation of excess energy forces central and non-adipose cells to store excess toxic lipid. Oxidative stress and metabolic inflammation, or metaflammation, allow susceptibility to infectious, degenerative atherosclerotic cardiovascular, autoimmune, neurodegenerative and dysplastic diseases.
Other relevant human-specific co-adaptations are examined, and encompass the unusual ability to store fat, certain vitamin pathways, the generalised but flexible intestine and microbiota, and slow development and longevity.
This theory has significant past and future corollaries, which are explored in a separate article by McGill, A-T, in Archives of Public Health, 72: 31.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-30
PMCID: PMC4335398
Metabolic syndrome; Obesity-related co-morbidities; Theory review; Evolution and nutrition; Food micronutrient; Malnutritive obesity (Malnubesity); Cortico-limbic-striatal; Food addiction; Nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2); Human brain metabolism; Oxidative stress; Metabolic inflammation
14.  Past and future corollaries of theories on causes of metabolic syndrome and obesity related co-morbidities part 2: a composite unifying theory review of human-specific co-adaptations to brain energy consumption 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):31.
Forward
A composite unifying theory on causes of obesity related-MetS has been formulated and published in an accompanying article (1). In the current article, the historical and recent past, present and future corollaries of this theory are discussed. By presenting this composite theory and corollaries, it is hoped that human evolution and physiology will be viewed and studied from a new vantage point. The politics of management of ecological farming and nutrition will change, a profound reconfiguration of scientific theory generation and advancement in a ‘high-tech’ world can be made, and pathways for solutions recognised.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) predicts type II diabetes mellitus (TIIDM), cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, and their rates have escalated over the last few decades. Obesity related co-morbidities also overlap the concept of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, understanding of the syndrome’s underlying causes may have been misapprehended.
The current paper follows on from a theory review by McGill, A-T in Archives of Public Health, 72: 30. This accompanying paper utilises research on human evolution and new biochemistry to theorise on why MetS and obesity arise and how they affect the population. The basis of this composite unifying theory is that the proportionately large, energy-demanding human brain may have driven co-adaptive mechanisms to provide, or conserve, energy for the brain. A ‘dual system’ is proposed. 1) The enlarged, complex cortico-limbic-striatal system increases dietary energy by developing strong neural self-reward/motivation pathways for the acquisition of energy dense food, and (2) the nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF2) cellular protection system amplifies antioxidant, antitoxicant and repair activity by employing plant chemicals. In humans who consume a nutritious diet, the NRF2 system has become highly energy efficient. Other relevant human-specific co-adaptations are explored.
In order to ‘test’ this composite unifying theory it is important to show that the hypothesis and sub-theories pertain throughout the whole of human evolution and history up till the current era. Corollaries of the composite unifying theory of MetS are examined with respect to past under-nutrition and malnutrition since agriculture began 10,000 years ago. The effects of man-made pollutants on degenerative change are examined. Projections are then made from current to future patterns on the state of ‘insufficient micronutrient and/or unbalanced high energy malnutrition with central obesity and metabolic dysregulation’ or ‘malnubesity’.
Forecasts on human health are made on positive, proactive strategies using the composite unifying theory, and are extended to the wider human ecology of food production. A comparison is made with the outlook for humans if current assumptions and the status quo on causes and treatments are maintained. Areas of further research are outlined. A table of suggestions for possible public health action is included.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-31
PMCID: PMC4335399
15.  What determines inclusion in the early phase of the type 2 diabetes care trajectory in Belgium? 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):29.
Background
In 2009, the Belgian National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance established a care trajectory (CT) for a subgroup of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients (T2DM) based on Wagner’s chronic care model. The goal of this CT is to optimise the quality of care using an integrated multidisciplinary approach. This study aims to identify patient-related factors associated with inclusion in a CT and to determine the most frequent reasons for non-inclusion.
Methods
In 2010, the Belgian Sentinel Network of General Practices conducted a prevalence study of type 2 diabetes. The surveillance study carried out by this nationwide, representative network collected unique information about eligibility for the CT, inclusion in the CT and reasons for non-inclusion.
Based on the official inclusion and exclusion criteria, we first identified a group of eligible patients. Within this group, we then calculated the proportion of patients included in a CT as well as the prevalence of reasons for non-inclusion as reported by GPs. Furthermore, bivariate associations between patient-level parameters and inclusion were analysed. Finally, any patient-level parameters found to be statistically significant were included in a multivariate logistic regression model.
Results
The 2010 study recorded 4600 Belgian type 2 diabetes patients. According to the official criteria, 589 patients were eligible for inclusion in a CT T2DM. By the end of August 2011, 95 patients had been included in a CT T2DM.
Our findings reveal that the younger the eligible patient was, the more likely he or she was to be included in a CT. Patients living in Flanders were more likely to be included in the CT than were patients living in Wallonia. Motivated patients with specific plans to change their diets were also more likely to be included in a CT.
The two most frequently reported reasons for non-inclusion were participation in another diabetes care programme and the timing of this surveillance study (inclusion will take place in the near future).
Conclusions
Eligible diabetes patients who were admitted to a CT T2DM during the early phases of CT implementation were mainly found to be those who are able to make progress in their disease trajectories. In the future, more attention could be paid to also include more high-risk patients.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-29
PMCID: PMC4166024  PMID: 25232479
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Health services research; Chronic care; Family practice; Sentinel surveillance
16.  Smart wearable body sensors for patient self-assessment and monitoring 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):28.
Background
Innovations in mobile and electronic healthcare are revolutionizing the involvement of both doctors and patients in the modern healthcare system by extending the capabilities of physiological monitoring devices. Despite significant progress within the monitoring device industry, the widespread integration of this technology into medical practice remains limited. The purpose of this review is to summarize the developments and clinical utility of smart wearable body sensors.
Methods
We reviewed the literature for connected device, sensor, trackers, telemonitoring, wireless technology and real time home tracking devices and their application for clinicians.
Results
Smart wearable sensors are effective and reliable for preventative methods in many different facets of medicine such as, cardiopulmonary, vascular, endocrine, neurological function and rehabilitation medicine. These sensors have also been shown to be accurate and useful for perioperative monitoring and rehabilitation medicine.
Conclusion
Although these devices have been shown to be accurate and have clinical utility, they continue to be underutilized in the healthcare industry. Incorporating smart wearable sensors into routine care of patients could augment physician-patient relationships, increase the autonomy and involvement of patients in regards to their healthcare and will provide for novel remote monitoring techniques which will revolutionize healthcare management and spending.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-28
PMCID: PMC4166023  PMID: 25232478
Sensors; Mobile health; eHealth; Patient education; Quantified patient
17.  Protocol of the PSYCHOTSH study: association between neonatal thyroid stimulating hormone concentration and intellectual, psychomotor and psychosocial development at 4–5 year of age: a retrospective cohort study 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):27.
Background
Several European countries, including Belgium, still suffer from mild iodine deficiency. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration in whole blood measured at birth has been proposed as an indicator of maternal iodine status during the last trimester of pregnancy. It has been shown that mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy may affect the neurodevelopment of the offspring. In several studies, elevated TSH levels at birth were associated with suboptimal cognitive and psychomotor outcomes among young children. This paper describes the protocol of the PSYCHOTSH study aiming to assess the association between neonatal TSH levels and intellectual, psychomotor and psychosocial development of 4–5 year old children. The results could lead to a reassessment of the recommended cut-off levels of 5 > mU/L used for monitoring iodine status of the population.
Methods
In total, 380 Belgian 4–5 year old preschool children from Brussels and Wallonia with a neonatal blood spot TSH concentration between 0 and 15 mU/L are included in the study. For each sex and TSH-interval (0–1, 1–2, 2–3, 3–4, 4–5, 5–6, 6–7, 7–8, 8–9 and 9–15 mU/L), 19 newborns were randomly selected from all newborns screened by the neonatal screening centre in Brussels in 2008–2009. Infants with congenital hypothyroidism, low birth weight and prematurity were excluded from the study. Neonatal TSH concentration was measured by the Autodelphia method in dried blood spots, collected by heel stick on filter paper 3 to 5 days after birth. Cognitive abilities and psychomotor development are assessed using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - third edition - and the Charlop-Atwell Scale of Motor coordination. Psychosocial development is measured using the Child Behaviour Check List for age 1½ to 5 years old. In addition, several socioeconomic, parental and child confounding factors are assessed.
Conclusions
This study aims to clarify the effect of mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy on the neurodevelopment of the offspring. Therefore, the results may have important implications for future public health recommendations, policies and practices in food supplementation. In addition, the results may have implications for the use of neonatal TSH screening results for monitoring the population iodine status and may lead to the definition of new TSH cut-offs for determination of the severity of iodine status and for practical use in data reporting by neonatal screening centres.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-27
PMCID: PMC4150557  PMID: 25180082
Iodine deficiency; Thyroid stimulating hormone; Child development; Cognitive development; Psychomotor development; Psychosocial development
18.  A Centre for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis (CDT) in a resource-limited setting: a dragnet for patients with heart disease? 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):26.
Background
Cardiovascular disease is a growing public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Cough and dyspnea are symptoms of both lung diseases and heart failure. This study aimed at determining the contribution of cardiac diseases versus pulmonary diseases in the etiological profile of patients presenting with cough and dyspnea in a Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis (CDT), in a semi-rural area in Cameroon.
Methods
This is a cross-sectional analysis of data from patients aged 18 years or more who consulted for cough and or dyspnea between December 2009 and December 2010 at the CDT of Lafe-Baleng, Bafoussam, Cameroon.
Results
A total of 1196 patients were received for various complaints during the study period; 348 (29.1%) of them presented with cough and or dyspnea, and were included in the study. 186 patients (53.4%; 95% CI: 48.2-58.6) had a pure cardiac disease, while 122 patients (35.1%; 95% CI: 30.2-40.2) had a pulmonary disease. The prevalence of hypertension was 50.9%, and hypertensive heart disease was the most frequent cardiac disease with a prevalence rate of 37.6%. Heart failure was diagnosed in 222 patients, representing 63.8% (95% CI: 58.9-68.9) of patients with cough and or dyspnea, and 18.6% (95% CI: 16.5-21.0) of all the patients received at the CDT of Lafe-Baleng during the study period. Compared to patients with a pulmonary disease, patients with cardiac disease were older (p < 0.001) and more likely to present with dyspnea (p < 0.001) and to have hypertension (p < 0.001).
Conclusion
We found a high prevalence of heart failure in this Centre for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis thus, a veritable dragnet for patients with heart disease. Our findings emphasize the urgent need to increase the access to cardiovascular care and to continuously raise the awareness of the communities on cardiovascular diseases in Cameroon.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-26
PMCID: PMC4132523  PMID: 25126419
Cardiac disease; Center for the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis; Sub-Saharan Africa; Cameroon
19.  Factors associated with data quality in the routine health information system of Benin 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):25.
Background
Routine health information systems (RHIS) are crucial to the acquisition of data for health sector planning. In developing countries, the insufficient quality of the data produced by these systems limits their usefulness in regards to decision-making. The aim of this study was to identify the factors associated with poor data quality in the RHIS in Benin.
Methods
This cross-sectional descriptive and analytical study included health workers who were responsible for data collection in public and private health centers. The technique and tools used were an interview with a self-administered questionnaire. The dependent variable was the quality of the data. The independent variables were socio-demographic and work-related characteristics, personal and work-related resources, and the perception of the technical factors. The quality of the data was assessed using the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling method. We used survival analysis with univariate proportional hazards (PH) Cox models to derive hazards ratios (HR) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Focus group data were evaluated with a content analysis.
Results
A significant link was found between data quality and level of responsibility (p = 0.011), sector of employment (p = 0.007), RHIS training (p = 0.026), level of work engagement (p < 0.001), and the level of perceived self-efficacy (p = 0.03). The focus groups confirmed a positive relationship with organizational factors such as the availability of resources, supervision, and the perceived complexity of the technical factors.
Conclusion
This exploratory study identified several factors associated with the quality of the data in the RHIS in Benin. The results could provide strategic decision support in improving the system’s performance.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-25
PMCID: PMC4128530  PMID: 25114792
Data quality; Related factors; Health information systems
20.  A review of the use of health examination data from the Health Survey for England in government policy development and implementation 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):24.
Background
Information is needed at all stages of the policy making process. The Health Survey for England (HSE) is an annual cross-sectional health examination survey of the non-institutionalised general population in England. It was originally set up to inform national policy making and monitoring by the Department of Health. This paper examines how the nurse collected physical and biological measurement data from the HSE have been essential or useful for identification of a health issue amenable to policy intervention; initiation, development or implementation of a strategy; choice and monitoring of targets; or assessment and evaluation of policies.
Methods
Specific examples of use of HSE data were identified through interviews with senior members of staff at the Department of Health and the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Policy documents mentioned by interviewees were retrieved for review, and reference lists of associated policy documents checked. Systematic searches of Chief Medical Officer Reports, Government ‘Command Papers’, and clinical guidance documents were also undertaken.
Results
HSE examination data have been used at all stages of the policy making process. Data have been used to identify an issue amenable to policy-intervention (e.g. quantifying prevalence of undiagnosed chronic kidney disease), in strategy development (in models to inform chronic respiratory disease policy), for target setting and monitoring (the 1992 blood pressure target) and in evaluation of health policy (the effect of the smoking ban on second hand smoke exposure).
Conclusions
A health examination survey is a useful part of a national health information system.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-24
PMCID: PMC4128608  PMID: 25114791
Policy; Evidence; Surveillance; Health examination survey
21.  Smoking-attributable mortality in Morocco: results of a prevalence-based study in Casablanca 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):23.
Background
Tobacco control measurements’ had little impact on smoking prevalence in Morocco. The aim of this study is to provide first data on smoking attributable mortality in Morocco.
Method
The Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software was used to estimate the smoking attributable mortality (SAM) in Casablanca region in 2012. Smoking prevalence and mortality data of people aged 35 years or older were obtained from the national survey on tobacco “Marta” and from Health Ministry Mortality System, respectively.
Results
Of the 5261deaths of persons aged 35 years and older, 508 (9.7%) were attributable to cigarette smoking. This total represents 16.2% of all male deaths (n =448) and 2.0% (n =80) of all female deaths in this region. The leading four causes of smoking attributable deaths were lung cancer (177), chronic airways obstruction (76), ischemic heart disease (39), and cerebrovascular disease (31).
Conclusion
Tobacco use caused one out of six deaths in Casablanca in 2012. Four leading causes (lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and chronic airways obstruction,) accounted for 51.6% of SAM. Effective and comprehensive actions must be taken in order to slow this epidemic in Morocco.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-23
PMCID: PMC4128604  PMID: 25126418
22.  Mortality attributable to tobacco: review of different methods 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):22.
Background
One of the most important measures for ascertaining the impact of tobacco is the estimation of the mortality attributable to its use. Several indirect methods of quantification are available. The objective of the article is to assess methodologies published and applied in calculating mortality attributable to smoking.
Methods
A review of the literature was made for the period 1998 to 2005, in the electronic databases MEDLINE. Twelve articles were selected for analysis.
Results
The most widely used methods were the prevalence methods, followed by smoking impact ration method. Ezzati and Lopez showed that the general rate of Smoking attributable mortality (SAM) globally was 12% (18% in men). Across countries, attributable fractions of total adult deaths ranged from 8% in Southern Africa, 13.6% in Brazil (18.1% in men) and 25% in Hong Kong (33% in men).
Conclusion
The variations can be attributed to methodological differences and to different estimates of the main tobacco-related illnesses and tobacco prevalence. All methods show limitations of one type or another, yet there is no consensus as to which furnishes the best information.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-22
PMCID: PMC4128614  PMID: 25126417
Tobacco; Attributable risk; Mortality; Modelization
23.  An innovative approach to using both cellphones and the radio to identify young people’s sexual concerns in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):21.
Background
As teenagers have easy access to both radio programs and cell phones, the current study used these tools so that young people could anonymously identify questions about sex and other related concerns in the urban environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The purpose of this healthcare intervention was to identify and address concerns raised by young people, which are related to sexual health, and which promote youth health.
Methods
This healthcare intervention was conducted over a six month period and consisted of a survey carried out in Kinshasa. This focused on 14 to 24 old young people using phone calls on a radio program raising concerns related to sexuality. The radio program was jointly run by a journalist and a health professional who were required to reply immediately to questions from young people. All sexual health concerns were recorded and analyzed.
Results
Forty programs were broadcast in six months and 1,250 messages and calls were recorded:
880 (70%) from girls and 370 (30%) from boys, which represents an average of 32 interventions (of which 10 calls and 22 messages) per broadcast. Most questions came from 15-19- and 20-24-year-old girls and boys. Focus of girls’ questions: menstrual cycle calculation and related concerns accounted for the majority (24%); sexual practices (16%), love relationships (15%) and virginity (14%). Boys’ concerns are masturbation (and its consequences) (22%), sexual practices (19%), love relationships (18%) and worries about penis size (10%). Infections (genital and STI) and topics regarding HIV represent 9% and 4% of the questions asked by girls against 7% and 10% by boys. Concerns were mainly related to knowledge, attitudes and competences to be developed.
Conclusions
Concerns and sexual practices raised by teens about their sexual and emotional life have inspired the design of a practical guide for youth self-training and have steered the second phase of this interactive program towards supporting their responsible sexuality.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-21
PMCID: PMC4118317  PMID: 25089197
Emotional and sex life; Cell phone; Radio; Young people; Democratic Republic of Congo
24.  The relationship between school physical activity policy and objectively measured physical activity of elementary school students: a multilevel model analysis 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):20.
Background
There is evidence of school level variability in the physical activity of children and youth. Less is known about factors that may contribute to this variation. The purpose of this study was to examine if the school health environment (Healthy Physical Environment, Instruction and Programs, Supportive Social Environment, and Community Partnerships) is associated with objectively measured time spent in light to vigorous physical activity among a sample of Toronto children.
Methods
The sample comprised 856 grade 5 and 6 students from 18 elementary schools in Toronto, Ontario. Multilevel linear regression analyses were used to examine the impact of school physical activity policy on students’ time spent in light-to-vigorous physical activity.
Results
Significant between-school random variation in objectively measured time spent in light-to-vigorous physical activity was identified [σ2μ0 = 0.067; p < 0.001]; school-level differences accounted for 6.7% of the variability in the time individual students spent in light-to-vigorous physical activity. Of the 22 school-level variables, students attending schools with support for active transportation to/from school and written policies/practices for physical activity, accumulated significantly more minutes of physical activity per school week than students who attended schools that did not.
Conclusions
School physical activity policy and support for active school travel is associated with objectively measured time spent in light to vigorous physical activity. School physical activity policy might be a critical mechanism through which schools can impact the physical activity levels of their students.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-20
PMCID: PMC4082160  PMID: 24999387
25.  Is all bullying the same? 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):19.
Background
We ask whether verbal abuse, threats of violence and physical assault among Canadian youth have the same determinants and whether these determinants are the same for boys and girls. If these are different, the catch-all term “bullying” may mis-specify analysis of what are really different types of behavior.
Methods
We analyze five cohorts of Canadian youth aged 12-15 from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY). There are 11475 observations in total. Pearson’s correlation coefficients and six different multivariate strategies are used.
Results
There are many faces to bullying, in terms of its form and relative frequencies for boys versus girls. Although some characteristics of an adolescent are strong predictors of being subject to more than one type of bullying, some other characteristics are only correlated with specific types of bullying.
Conclusions
The many faces of bullying, and their correlation with different factors, imply different policy interventions may be needed to address each issue effectively.
doi:10.1186/2049-3258-72-19
PMCID: PMC4077233  PMID: 24991409
Bullying; Victim; Adolescent; Longitudinal

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