To request a full copy of any of these studies or for information on scheduling interviews with an expert, please contact Megan Lowry.

EMBARGOED UNTIL Thursday, March 21, 4 p.m. ET

American Journal of Public Health May issue research highlights:


Texting-while-driving bans save over 1,600 emergency room visits per year

Researchers found that on average, states with a texting ban saw a 4 percent reduction in motor vehicle crash-related emergency department visits. This equates to an average of 1,632 traffic-related emergency department visits prevented per year in states with a ban. Both primary and secondary bans were associated with significant reductions in motor vehicle crash-related visits to the emergency department regardless of whether they were on all drivers or young drivers only. Individuals aged 64 years and younger in states with a texting ban saw significantly fewer motor vehicle crash-related emergency department visits following its implementation.

These study findings suggest that states’ efforts to curb distracted driving through texting bans and decrease its negative consequences are associated with significant decreases in emergency department visits following motor vehicle crashes.

[Author Contact: Alva O. Ferdinand, Department of Health Policy and Management, Texas A&M University School of Public Health, College Station, TX. “Texting-while-driving bans and motor vehicle crash–related emergency department visits in 16 U.S. states: 2007–2014”].


Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong use going up substantially among U.S. adults

This study found yoga, tai chi and qigong use increased from 5.8 percent in 2002 to 14.5 percent in 2017 among U.S. adults.

Reasons for using yoga, tai chi and qigong included:

  1. Yoga, tai chi and qigong was beneficial,
  2. Yoga, tai chi and qigong focused on the whole person, and
  3. Yoga, tai chi and qigong was natural.

Acute and chronic pain, arthritis, and depression were the top 3 medical conditions for which people used yoga, tai chi and qigong the most. Researchers also found the prevalence of yoga, tai chi and qigong practice did not increase among current smokers and people who are underweight, and it even dropped among adults who do not have insurance. Only 6.6 percent of yoga, tai chi and qigong users were referred by their medical doctors, and approximately one third disclosed their use of yoga, tai chi and qigong to medical professionals.

Researchers concluded yoga, tai chi and qigong use is increasing substantially, mainly because of its natural and holistic healing approach toward health and chronic diseases.

[Author Contact: Claudia (Chunyun) Wang, Department of Health and Human Development, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA. “Trends in yoga, tai chi, and qigong use among U.S. adults, 2002–2017”].


Replacing dairy milk in school breakfasts with shelf-stable or soy milk substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions

This study estimated that replacing conventional dairy milk with shelf-stable dairy or soy milk in the US Breakfast in the Classroom School Breakfast Program would reduce milk-associated greenhouse gas emissions by 28.5 percent (0.133 kg CO2e) or 79.8 percent (0.372 kg CO2e) per student per meal, respectively. Nationally, this equates to driving 248 million or 693 million fewer miles annually, respectively. This change would increase milk costs 1.9 percent ($0.005) or 59.4 percent ($0.163) per student per meal, respectively.

Researchers adapted existing life cycle assessments and US Environmental Protection Agency Waste Reduction Model estimates to Breakfast in the Classroom parameters. They then estimated net cost with school meal purchasing data.

The study concluded that replacing conventional milk with shelf-stable dairy or soy milk could substantially reduce waste and concomitant GHGE in the U.S Breakfast in the Classroom program; switching to shelf-stable dairy has low net costs. Pilot tests of these options are warranted to optimize the nutritional value, cost, and sustainability of U.S Breakfast in the Classroom.

[Author Contact: Jacob P. Beckerman, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA. “Environmental and economic effects of changing to shelf-stable dairy or soy milk for the Breakfast in the Classroom program”].


Pregnancy outcomes in U.S. prisons, 2016–2017

Researchers reviewed national data on pregnancy frequencies and outcomes among women in U.S. state and federal prisons. They found:

  • 1,396 pregnant women were admitted to prisons 2016-2017
  • 8 percent of newly admitted women and 0.6 percent of all women were pregnant in December 2016
  • There were753 live births (92 percent of outcomes), 46 miscarriages (6 percent of outcomes), 11 abortions (1 percent of outcomes), 4 stillbirths (0.5 percent of outcomes), 3 newborn deaths, and no maternal deaths.
  • 6 percent of live births were preterm and 30 percent were cesarean deliveries.

[Author Contact: Carolyn Sufrin, Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital, Department of Ob/Gyn, Baltimore, MD. “Pregnancy outcomes in US prisons, 2016–2017”].


Rural–urban differences in the decline of adolescent cigarette smoking

This study found between 2008 to 2010 and 2014 to 2016, cigarette smoking rates declined for rural and urban adolescents; however, rural reductions lagged behind urban reductions. Controlling for socioeconomic characteristics, rural versus urban odds of cigarette smoking did not differ in 2008 through 2010; however, in 2014 through 2016, rural youths had 50 percent higher odds of smoking than did their urban peers.

Study authors concluded differential reductions in rural youth cigarette smoking have widened the rural–urban gap in current smoking rates for adolescents.

[Author Contact: Erika C. Ziller, Maine Rural Health Research Center, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME. “Rural–urban differences in the decline of adolescent cigarette smoking.”]


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

  • Association of legal notification of dense breast discovered on mammography with supplemental testing and cancer detection
  • Texting-while-driving bans and motor vehicle crash-related emergency
  • Parental leave, lactation, and childcare policies at top us schools of public health
  • Evidence-based public health provided through local health departments: importance of academic-practice partnerships
  • Third party (manager, owners, drivers, etc) support on access to occupational health and safety among sex workers in a Canadian setting (2010-2016)
  • Pregnancy outcomes in U.S. Prisons, 2016-2017
  • Maltreatment recurrence for home visited young mothers: a randomized controlled trial
  • Trends of yoga, tai chi, and qi gong use among U.S. adults, 2002-2017
  • Joinpoint trend analysis of infant mortality disparities in Wisconsin, 1999-2016
  • S. Emergency department visits for acute harms from prescription opioid use, 2016-2017
  • The depths of despair among us adults entering midlife
  • The comprehensive rural health project, Jamkhed and the Alma-Ata vision of primary health care
  • Malicious actors on twitter: a guide for public health researchers
  • Environmental and economic impacts of changing to shelf-stable dairy or soy milk for the breakfast in the classroom program
  • Austerity policies and mortality rates in European countries 2011-2015
  • Rural-urban differences in the decline of adolescent cigarette smoking
  • Preparing for food access during emergencies: missed meals in Philadelphia
  • Ethical acceptability of reducing the legal blood alcohol concentration limit to .05
  • The state of the us governmental public health workforce, 2014-2017

The articles above will be published online March 21, 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

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 For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

To stay up to date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new content email alerts.


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