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

EMBARGOED UNTIL October 25, 4 p.m. ET

American Journal of Public Health December Issue research highlights:

Parents’ attitudes about sugar-sweetened beverages influence how much infants consume

Researchers found that infants of parents with more negative attitudes toward sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, or flavored milks and sweetened teas or coffees) were less likely to consume these beverages. The study surveyed 394 families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in New York, and found 89 percent of all parents surveyed habitually drank sugar-sweetened beverages and 30 percent of infants included in the study habitually consumed these drinks.

Study authors say their findings support targeting parents’ attitudes about soda and other sugary beverages to reduce how much they drink during pregnancy and to prevent infant consumption. Researchers believe that a combination of high availability and greater exposure to advertising among low-income groups could affect both parents’ attitudes and infant consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

[Author Contact: Jennifer Woo Baidal, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center, New, York, NY. “Sugar-sweetened beverage attitudes and consumption during the first 1,000 days of life”].

Chinese health experts rank the 20 most important and preventable health problems facing China

Through a series of surveys using the Delphi method, researchers found consensus among Chinese experts of the 20 most important and preventable health problems in China. In ranked order of importance, they determined that these preventable health issues are the most important for China to address:

Diabetes mellitus

Coronary heart disease/myocardial infarction


Lung cancer


Air pollution

Emerging infectious diseases



Water pollution

Liver cancer



Alzheimer’s disease

Contamination of food with pesticide, antibiotic and hormone residues

Road injury

Unhealthy diet (high dietary intake of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt, and low intake of fruit)

Obesity and overweight

Breast cancer


Authors note that these results should be taken in to consideration in national policymaking, and could be used to help health authorities in China prioritize tasks and allocate resources to create a health action plan that will affect 1.3 billion people.

[Author Contact: Jianguo Xu, State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, and National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China. “Most Important and Most Preventable Health Problems of China: A Delphi Consultation of Chinese Experts”].


Netherlands seniors 65+ living longer, but with fewer years in good physical health

This study found that life expectancy for seniors at 65 years increased between 1993 and 2016, from 14.7 years to 18.7 years for men and 19.2 to 21.4 years for women. However, life expectancy in good physical health fell from 6.9 years in 1993 to 4.7 years in 2016 among men. For women, life expectancy in good physical health also fell from 5.5 to 4 years. Years of life expectancy in good cognitive health increased for both men and women.

Researchers concluded that their findings show a substantial decline in physically healthy life expectancy and that these changes should be taken into account as the Netherlands determines future health care needs.

[Author Contact: Dorly J. H. Deeg, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University MedicalCentre, Amsterdam, Netherlands. “23-year trends in life expectancy in good and poor physical and cognitive health at age 65 years in the Netherlands, 1993-2016”].


4.6 percent of people in Massachusetts 11 years or older showed opioid use disorder in 2015

Researchers found that 4.6 percent of people 11 years or older in Massachusetts have opioid use disorder as of 2015, up from 2.7 percent in 2011. Researchers measured a 76 percent increase in opioid use among those 11-25 years between 2011 and 2012, and a 42 percent increase in that age group from 2013 to 2015. Overall, the study found opioid use disorder is likely increasing in Massachusetts, particularly among young people.

Authors note that the rate of opioid use disorder in Massachusetts is nearly 4 times higher than the current national rate estimates.

[Author Contact: Joshua A. Barocas, Boston University Medical Campus, Boston, MA. “Estimated prevalence of opioid use disorder in Massachusetts, 2011-2015: A capture-recapture analysis”].


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

  • America’s declining well-being, health and life expectancy: Not just a white problem
  • Immigrants in disasters zones face unique risks while playing a key role in disaster recovery
  • Prevalence of opioid use disorder in Massachusetts, annual estimates from 2011 through 2015
  • 23-year trends in life expectancy in good and poor physical and cognitive health of 65-year-olds in the Netherlands (1993-2016)
  • The 20 most important and most preventable health problems of China: Opinions from Chinese experts using a modified Delphi process
  • Identifying unreported opioid deaths through toxicology data and vital records linkage: Case study in Marion County, Indiana
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage attitudes and consumption during the first 1,000 days of life
  • Estimating the risk of exposure to fentanyl in New York City: Testing drug residue in used syringes
  • Mandatory reporting of fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses in a rural public health department
  • Edward Ballard and the practices of epidemiology in the nineteenth century United Kingdom
  • The effects of paid family leave on breastfeeding: A quasi-experimental study of US policies
  • Coming of age in the shadow of the Taliban: Adolescents' and parents' views toward interpersonal violence and harmful traditional practices in Afghanistan
  • Prescription drug monitoring program: Legal mandatory registration and use by prescribers and pharmacists, California, 2010-2017
  • Shade as an environmental design tool for skin cancer prevention
  • Responsible research with urban American Indian and Alaska Native
  • Comparing US and China’s shifting health challenges


The articles above will be published online October 25, 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

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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