Newswise — The articles below will be published online July 21, 2011, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look” at, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the September 2011 print issue of the Journal. “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. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association,, and is available at

(1) High risk of chronic medical conditions such as arthritis hamper aging workforce, particularly blue-collar workers

With more Americans working past age 65, a higher risk of disease and disability threatens both their financial survival and their ability to continue to work. A new study from the American Journal of Public Health examines the burden of disease attributable to arthritis among U.S. workers and finds that blue-collar workers are more likely than white-collar workers to suffer from disabling conditions, reducing their quality of life and work productivity.

Researchers studied the burden of disease attributable to arthritis by occupational class to illustrate the challenges faced by the older poor. They merged data from the National Health Interview Survey, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Death Index into a single database for comparison values. They then calculated and compared age- and occupational class-specific (white-collar, blue-collar, service and farming) quality-adjusted life years between workers with and without arthritis by using unabridged life tables. They found that white-collar workers have a higher overall health-related quality of life than other workers, and suffer fewer quality of life-adjusted years lost to arthritis at all ages.

The study’s authors suggest, “Additional enhancements to federal programs, such as disability and unemployment insurance, will be needed to maintain a higher quality of life for all workers, particularly those with chronic conditions such as arthritis.”

[From: “Arthritis, Occupational Class, and the Aging US Workforce.” ]. (2) Disadvantaged neighborhoods linked to trichomoniasis, a common STI

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health finds that neighborhood environment plays a role in the risk of acquiring trichomoniasis, a common and easily curable sexually transmitted infection.

Researchers examined the relationship between neighborhoods and trichomoniasis among young U.S. adults, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (2001-2002). Trichomoniasis was measured via urine testing, and measures for neighborhood social disorganization — racial and ethnic composition, concentrated poverty and residential instability were derived from the 2000 U.S. Census. The sample comprised 11,370 individuals across 4,912 neighborhoods. They found that trichomoniasis was more likely in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of Black residents, which was explained in part by higher levels of poverty within these neighborhoods.

The study’s authors said, “These findings suggest that the neighborhood racial disparity in young adults’ acquisition of trichomoniasis is attributable to higher levels of concentrated poverty within segregated Black neighborhoods.”

They conclude, “Further research is needed to better understand the pathways through which neighborhood poverty contributes to STI and STI disparities, including studies on how to effectively create structural change aimed at eliminating neighborhood poverty.”

[From: “Neighborhood Social Disorganization and the Acquisition of Trichomoniasis Among Young Adults in the United States.” ].

(3) State policies restricting junk food may help shrink the gap of racial disparities in adolescent soda consumption

State policies targeting junk food in schools may reduce racial/ethnic disparities in adolescent soda consumption, according to a nationwide study from the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers examined the effect of state policy changes influencing junk food in schools on soda consumption and percentile of body mass index. Researchers used data on whether states required or recommended that schools prohibit junk food in vending machines, snack bars, concession stands and parties from the 2000 and 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study. They estimated the association between 2000-2006 policy changes and 2007 soda consumption and BMI percentile, as reported by 90,730 students in 34 states in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and tested for racial/ethnic differences. They found that policy changes were associated with lower soda consumption among non-Hispanic Blacks, although no association between policy change and BMI percentile.

The study’s authors concluded, “Future research should explore the cumulative effect of policy changes on different governing levels, and continue to explore whether the effect of comprehensive change can reduce disparities in both soda consumption and obesity.”

[From: “State Policies Targeting Junk Food in Schools: Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Effect of Policy Change on Soda Consumption.” ].


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