American Journal of Public Health research highlights:

Note: Hyperlinks to the studies will go live following the embargo lift on Feb. 16, 2017, at 4 p.m. EST.

Affordable Care Act television news focused on political strategy over public health policy

Newswise — Researchers examined the public health and policy-relevant messages conveyed through local television news during the first stage of Affordable Care Act implementation, when about 10 million Americans gained insurance. They analyzed content of 1,569 ACA-related local evening television news stories, obtained from local news aired between Oct. 1, 2013, and April 19, 2014.

Overall, only half of all ACA-related news coverage focused on health insurance products compared to a focus on political disagreements. Major policy tools of the ACA — including the Medicaid expansion and subsidies available — were cited in less than 10 percent of news stories. Number of enrollees and website glitches were more common features of coverage. Sources with a political affiliation were by far the most common source of information, while research was cited in fewer than 4 percent of stories. Researchers concluded that the most common source of news for Americans provided little public health-relevant substance about the ACA during its early implementation, favoring political strategy in coverage.

[“Local Television News Coverage of the Affordable Care Act: Emphasizing Politics Over Consumer Information.” Contact: Sarah E. Gollust, PhD, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management, Minneapolis, Minnesota.]

Housing assistance linked to better physical, psychological health in residentsResearchers examined whether access to housing assistance is associated with better health among low-income adults. They used National Health Interview Survey data from 1999-2012 linked to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative records from 1999-2014 to examine differences in reported health status and psychological distress. They also compared those currently receiving HUD housing assistance with those who will receive housing assistance within two years — the average duration of HUD waitlists — to account for selection into HUD assistance.

Results showed reduced odds of fair/poor health for current public housing and multifamily housing residents, compared with future residents. Public housing residents also had reduced odds of psychological distress. These differences were not mediated by neighborhood-level characteristics and no health benefits were found for current housing choice voucher recipients. Researchers concluded that receiving housing assistance was associated with improved health and psychological well-being for individuals entering public housing and multifamily housing programs.

[“Housing Assistance Programs and Adult Health in the United States.” Contact: Andrew Fenelon, PhD, University of Maryland, Department of Health Services Administration, College Park, Maryland.]

Household, population-level cigarette purchasing decreases after CVS ends tobacco sales

Researchers assessed the impact of CVS Health's discontinuation of tobacco sales in all CVS Pharmacy locations on cigarette purchasing. Using data on households’ cigarette purchasing, they looked at rates at which households stopped purchasing cigarettes for more than six months during September 2014-August 2015. They examined data from three groups: people who exclusively purchase cigarettes at CVS; those who purchase at CVS and other retailers; and those who only purchase at non-CVS retailers. They also conducted state-level analyses using retailers’ point-of-sale cigarette purchase data, comparing cigarette purchasing pre- and post-tobacco removal in 13 states with CVS market share greater than 15 percent versus three states with no CVS stores.

Compared with people who only purchased cigarettes at non-CVS retailers, CVS-exclusive purchasers were 38 percent likelier to stop purchasing cigarettes post-tobacco removal. In the state-level study, compared to states with no CVS stores, the states with CVS stores had a significant decrease in cigarette purchasing post-tobacco removal. After CVS's tobacco removal, researchers concluded that household- and population-level cigarette purchasing declined significantly, and that private retailers can play a meaningful role in restricting access to tobacco.

[“Impact of CVS Pharmacy’s Discontinuance of Tobacco Sales on Cigarette Purchasing (2012–2014).” Contact: Jennifer M. Polinski, ScD, MPH, CVS Health, Woonsocket, Rhode Island.]

Find a full list of AJPH research papers to be published online on Feb. 16, 2017, at 4 p.m. EST below:• Local Television News Coverage of the Affordable Care Act: Emphasizing Politics Over Consumer Information • Housing Assistance Programs and Adult Health in the United States• Impact of CVS Pharmacy’s Discontinuance of Tobacco Sales on Cigarette Purchasing (2012–2014)• Nutritional, Economic, and Environmental Costs of Milk Waste in a Classroom School Breakfast Program• Handgun Legislation and Changes in Statewide Overall Suicide Rates• Impact of Early Head Start in North Carolina on Dental Care Use Among Children Younger Than 3 Years• Visual Loss and Subsequent Activity Limitations in the Elderly: The French Three-City Cohort• Longitudinal Patterns and Predictors of Depression Trajectories Related to the 2014 Occupy Central/Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong• Demographic Characteristics and Health Status of Transgender Adults in Select US Regions: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2014• Cumulative Lifetime Marijuana Use and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in Middle Age: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study• Parent-Centered Prevention of Risky Behaviors Among Hispanic Youths in Florida• Measuring Socioeconomic Inequalities With Predicted Absolute Incomes Rather Than Wealth Quintiles: A Comparative Assessment Using Child Stunting Data From National Surveys

The articles above will be published online Feb. 16, 2017, at 4 p.m. EST 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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