AJPH February 2018 highlights

Date: Feb 22 2018

AJPH publishes new research on gun storage, LARCs and abortion, flu vaccine disparities, air pollution disparities, Brazil birthrate after Zika and more

CONTACT: To request copies of articles or for information on scheduling interviews with an expert, please contact Megan Lowry.

American Journal of Public Health April Issue research highlights:

Gun owner storage practices

A national online survey of gun owners found 46 percent reported safely storing all of their guns. Researchers found that owners had higher odds of reporting safe storage if they had a child in the home or only owned handguns. Other key findings included:

  • Storage decisions were influenced by a gun safety course or discussions with family members
  • Gun owners ranked law enforcement, hunting or outdoors groups, active-duty military, and the National Rifle Association as most effective in communicating safe storage practices
  • 24 percent reported storing all of their guns in an unlocked location in the home
  • 22 percent reported storing all their guns in a gun safe or cabinet
  • 6 percent reported storing all their guns in a locked gun case
  • 44 percent reported storing all their guns assembled but unloaded
  • 71 percent stored their ammunition locked in a gun safe or other locked location
  • 9 percent stored their ammunition in an unlocked location but physically separate from the gun
  • 30 percent of respondents identified concerns about home defense as most strongly influencing their gun storage practices

The study’s authors concluded that public health campaigns to promote safe gun storage should consider partnering with groups that garner respect among gun owners for their experience with safe use of guns.

["Storage Practices of US Gun Owners in 2016." Contact: Cassandra K. Crifasi, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD].

Free LARC program linked to reduction in abortion rate

This study evaluated a public program in Vantaa, Finland, that provided long-acting reversible contraceptive methods free of charge. Researchers found the initiation rate of LARCs increased 2.2-fold after the program began. The abortion rate declined by 16 percent among all women in the study, by 36 percent among those aged 15 to 19 years, and by 14 percent among those aged 20 to 24 years.

Study authors concluded that entitling the population to LARC methods free of charge is an effective means to reduce the unmet need of contraception and the need for abortion, especially among women younger than 25 years.

[“Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Free of Charge, Method Initiation, and Abortion Rates in Finland.” Contact: Oskari Heikinheimo, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Helsinki, Finland].

Flu vaccine disparities

Researchers concluded that there are striking disparities between neighborhoods and racial/ethnic groups in adult flu and pneumonia vaccination coverage. Influenza vaccination coverage differed by gender, age, insurance coverage, acculturation, and confidence or trust in physician. This study also found significant differences in pneumococcal vaccination coverage between community areas.

Non-Hispanic blacks were more likely to be vaccinated with the flu vaccine when they had higher confidence or trust in their physician (45% vs 20%). Mexicans who reported less acculturation were more likely to be vaccinated than were Mexicans who were more acculturated (41% vs 27%).

Influenza vaccination coverage in 2015 to 2016 for all adults in the U.S was 42%, compared with the Healthy People 2020 goal of 70%.

["Local-Level Adult Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccination Disparities: Chicago, Illinois, 2015–2016." Contact: Michelle M. Hughes, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System, Atlanta, GA].

Minorities and those in poverty bear higher burden of air pollution

This study found that disparities in burden from polluting facilities exist at multiple geographic scales. Researchers quantified nationwide disparities in the location of polluting facilities by the characteristics of the surrounding residential population.

The study showed that those in poverty had 1.35 times higher burden of air pollution than did the overall population, and non-whites had 1.28 times higher burden. Blacks, specifically, had 1.54 times higher burden than did the overall population.

These disparities held not only nationally but within most states and counties as well.

[“Disparities in Distribution of Particulate Matter Emission Sources by Race and Poverty Status.” Contact: Ihab Mikati, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC].

Zika threat reduced Brazilian city birthrate in 2016

This study found that the birth rate in the largest Brazilian cities during the second half of 2016 was significantly reduced, which is potentially the effect of a birth control recommendation prompted by an epidemiological alert.

Results of researchers’ data analysis showed in the second half of 2016, the live birth rate was reduced by 7.78%. This reduction was correlated with the Zika virus–associated microcephaly rate. In the cities with the highest microcephaly rate in 2015, the reduction in the live birth rate was 10.84%.

Study authors note that there could be a concurrent effect of a few other factors, such as the current economic crisis that started in 2014, but note that a sharp reduction started approximately 9 months from the beginning of the epidemic.

["Zika-Associated Microcephaly Epidemic and Birth Rate Reduction in Brazilian Cities." Contact: Fredi Alexander Diaz-Quijano, Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil].

Find a full list of AJPH research papers published online below:

  • Medicaid Expansion And Infant Mortality In The United States
  • Guidance To Enhance Clinical Independence In Prison Healthcare
  • Older Adults' Social Relationships And Healthcare Utilization: A Systematic Review
  • Cumulative Prevalence Of Maltreatment Among New Zealand Children, 1998-2015
  • Local-Level Adult Influenza And Pneumococcal Vaccination Disparities, Chicago 2015-2016
  • Law Accommodating Non-Motorized Road Users On Pedestrian Fatalities In Florida, 1975-2013
  • Zika-Associated Microcephaly Epidemic And Birth Rate Reduction In Brazilian Cities
  • Adaptive Behavior Of Sheltered Homeless Children In The Paris Region, France, In 2013: Results Of The ENFAMS Survey
  • Storage Practices Of U.S. Gun Owners In 2016
  • A Qualitative Comparative Analysis Of Combined State Health Policies Related To HPV Vaccine Uptake In The U.S.
  • Breaking Down Walls: Public Health In An Anti-Immigrant Political Environment
  • The Inverse Equity Hypothesis: Analyses Of Institutional Deliveries In 286 National Surveys
  • State Law Approaches To Facility Regulation Of Abortion And Other Office Interventions
  • Racial/Ethnic Variation In The Impact Of The Affordable Care Act On Insurance Coverage And Access Among Young Adults
  • Effect Of Providing Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Free Of Charge On Method Initiation And Abortion Rates In Finland: A Quasi-Experimental Study
  • Contraceptive Method Uptake During The Community-Wide HER Salt Lake Contraceptive Initiative
  • Disparities In Distribution Of Particulate Matter Emission Sources By Race And Poverty Status
  • Lack Of Increase In Secondary Schools' Practices To Support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, And Questioning Students, 2008-2014

The articles above will be published online February 22, 2018, at 4 p.m. ET by AJPH under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at www.ajph.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Megan Lowry at APHA, 202-777-3913, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions Department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single-issue access is $30, and online single-article access is $22 at www.ajph.org. For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a nearly 150-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit www.apha.org.