AJPH April 2019 Highlights

Date: Apr 18 2019

CONTACT: Megan Lowry, 202-777-3913

AJPH publishes research on NYC blood lead levels, Hurricane Maria causes of death, blood lead levels in refugee children and more.

American Journal of Public Health June issue research highlights:

Kids in NYC public housing 92% less likely to have elevated lead levels than kids in private housing

Researchers found children living in public housing in New York City were significantly less likely to have elevated blood lead levels than children living in private housing. Decreases in blood lead levels over time were likely a result of lead reduction legislation.

The study examined electronic medical records for blood lead levels among 4,693 children receiving care at a multisite Federally Qualified Health Center during 2003 to 2017. Only 0.25% of children residing in public housing had blood lead levels exceeding the upper reference limit of 5 micrograms per deciliter, as compared with 2.76% of children residing in private housing. After adjusting for age, gender and race/ethnicity, public housing was associated with 92% lower odds of having a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or above.

[Author Contact: Jacqueline M. Chiofalo, Institute for Family Health, New York, NY. “Pediatric Blood Lead Levels Within New York City Public Versus Private Housing, 2003–2017”].

Heart disease most common cause of excess death in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Researchers estimated a total of 1,205 excess deaths in Puerto Rico in September and October 2017, following Hurricane Maria. Excess deaths were slightly higher among men than women (632 and 579 deaths, respectively) and found only among people age 60 or older (1,038 deaths). Most excess deaths occurred from heart disease (253 deaths), “other” causes (204 deaths), diabetes (195 deaths), Alzheimer’s disease (122 deaths) and septicemia (81 deaths).

The number of excess deaths was similar to recent government estimates. However, this study is the first to identify the causes of death that were exacerbated by the disaster.

Authors note an accurate estimation of the top causes of excess mortality can help authorities plan resource allocation for the island’s recovery and for the prevention of deaths in future disasters.

[Author Contact: Raul Cruz-Cano, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. “Causes of Excess Deaths in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: A Time-Series Estimation”].

22% of refugee children in Ohio have elevated blood lead levels

In this study of 5,661 children resettled in Ohio from 2009 to 2016, researchers found 22.3% of children younger than age 18 and 27.1% of those younger than age 6 had elevated blood lead levels. Children resettled from a South Asia region including Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma had the highest prevalence of elevated blood lead levels. In addition, those younger than age 6, who were male and who were screened within 30 days of arrival had significantly higher elevated blood lead level prevalence than did children ages 13 and older, who were female and who were screened 90 days after arrival.

Authors concluded the overall high proportion and variation in elevated blood lead levels by country of origin among resettled refugee children in the United States warrant comprehensive, yet tailored, guidelines for health professionals and resettlement and government agencies for better prevention and awareness programs targeting these high-risk children.

[Author Contact: Madhav P. Bhatta, College of Public Health, Kent State University, Kent, OH. “Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Resettled Refugee Children in Ohio, 2009–2016”].

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

  • Causes Of Excess Deaths In Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria: A Time-Series Estimation
  • Pediatric Blood Lead Levels Within New York City Public Versus Private Housing, 2003-2017
  • Provider And Public Health Adaptation To Changing CDC Guidance For Zika Virus, 2015-2017
  • Alcohol Availability Across Neighborhoods In Ontario Following Alcohol Sales Deregulation, 2013-2017
  • Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status And Healthcare Costs: A Population-Wide Study In The Netherlands
  • Interactive Vs Video-Based Training of Police to Communicate Syringe Legality To People Who Inject Drugs: The Shield Study, Mexico, 2015-2016.
  • The Eighteen Of 18-19: Black Nurses And The Great Flu Pandemic In The United States
  • Does Despair Really Kill? A Roadmap For An Evidence-Based Answer
  • Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Resettled Refugee Children In Ohio, 2009-2016
  • An MHealth SMS Intervention On Postpartum Contraceptive Use Among Women And Couples In Kenya: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Changes In State Technical Assistance Priorities And Block Grant Funds For Addiction After ACA Implementation

The articles above will be published online April 18, 2019, 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 Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.