View a full list of AJPH articles publishing online May 21.
To request a full copy of any of these studies or for information on scheduling interviews with an expert, contact Arnice Cottom.
American Journal of Public Health July issue research highlights:
Therapies to change people’s sexual preference cause suicidal ideation
Conversion therapy programs that attempt to change people’s sexual preference dramatically increase their risk of suicide, a study in the July issue of APHA’s American Journal of Public Health finds.
Researchers examined data from a 2016-2018 national survey of over 1,500 individuals ages 18 to 59 who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or another non-heterosexual identity. Seven percent had experienced conversion therapy, with 80% reporting it was under the auspices of a religious group.
After adjusting for demographics and adverse childhood experiences, researchers found that participants were twice as likely to think about suicide over their lifetime than people with the same sexual preferences but who had never experienced conversion therapy. They were also 75% more likely to attempt suicide.
Conversion therapy typically uses shame and sometimes physical pain, such as electric shock, to re-program people’s sexual attraction.
The therapy is “ineffective and may compound or create problems, such as depression, guilt, intimacy avoidance and, as we have shown here, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts,” the researchers said.
[Author Contact: John R. Blosnich, PhD, MPH, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.. “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Suicide Ideation and Attempt Among Sexual Minority Adults, United States, 2016–2018”]
Sugary drink taxes may reduce purchases and improve people’s health
Sugary beverage excise taxes enacted in San Francisco and Oakland, California, resulted in a 1-cent increase per fluid ounce in both cities, a study in July’s AJPH finds.
Other U.S. cities that have increased excise taxes on sugary drinks have shown a drop in purchases and consumption. Overconsumption of the beverages places people at risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.
A few years ago, Oakland and San Francisco passed ordinances that imposed excise taxes on sugary drinks, such as soda, energy drinks and fruit-flavored beverages.
Researchers gathered prices of the beverages at stores before the tax increase and after the tax increase. They compared the excise-taxed prices to those in two other Bay Area cities that did not implement a sugary-drink excise tax. They found that prices in Oakland and San Francisco increased by about 15%.
The increase could translate into fewer sales, resulting in over 5,000 fewer cases of obesity and save over $50 million in health care costs over the next decade in the cities, according to modeling research cited in the study.
[Author Contact: Jennifer Falbe, Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA. “Higher Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Retail Prices After Excise Taxes in Oakland and San Francisco”]
Medical exemptions for vaccines increase in California following ban on exemptions for personal belief.
Medical exemptions for kindergartners’ vaccinations have increased in California as a workaround to the state’s law ending vaccine exemptions for personal belief, a study in AJPH’s July issue finds.
In 2015, California eliminated nonmedical vaccine exemptions. But in regions where those exemptions had proliferated before the measure took effect, researchers discovered a rise in medical exemptions, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.
Medical exemptions are granted for ailments such as congenital conditions and rare allergic reactions. It is unlikely that those chronic ailments would spring up in mass in communities that formerly had clusters of nonmedical vaccine exemptions for personal belief, the researchers said.
In those regions between 2015 and 2018, medical exemptions increased at public schools from 0.2% to to 1%. In private and charter schools, medical exemptions increased from 0.4% to 5.3% and 0.3% to 5%, respectively.
The regional clusters of medical exemptions in California present “a continued threat to local herd immunity and creates an elevated risk of vaccine-preventable diseases,” researchers said.
[Author Contact: Ashley Gromis, PhD, Department of Sociology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ.. “The Emergence of Spatial Clustering in Medical Vaccine Exemptions Following California Senate Bill 277, 2015–2018”]
Georgia law effective at reducing late-term abortions
Georgia law prohibiting late-term abortions effectively reduced the procedure during the desired weeks, a study in July’s AJPH finds.
Researchers examined pregnancy data from the Georgia Department of Health between 2007 and 2017. They compared abortion data before and after enactment in 2012 of a state law banning abortions after 21 weeks, with some exceptions such as preserving the pregnant woman’s life or her having a serious medical impairment.
Abortions declined dramatically, especially after 2015 when the policy went into full effect. For example, in 2007, Georgia doctors performed 809 abortions after 21 weeks. In 2017, Georgia doctors performed seven. Data showed that a significant number of out-of-state residents had been coming to Georgia for late-term abortions before the law took effect.
“Given that economically vulnerable and young people are more likely to need later gestational age services, and that racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to experience economic vulnerability because of racism, the policy has strong potential to worsen the already-existing reproductive health disparities by income, age and race/ethnicity in the Southeastern region,” the researchers said.
[Author Contact: Kelli Stidham Hall, PhD, MS, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. “Abortion Trends in Georgia Following Enactment of the 22-Week Gestational Age Limit, 2007–2017”]
Check out the full list of AJPH research papers that will be published online May 21:
· Higher Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Retail Prices After Excise Taxes in Oakland and San Francisco
· The Emergence of Spatial Clustering in Medical Vaccine Exemptions Following California Senate Bill 277, 2015–2018
· Urban Heat Islets: Street Segments, Land Surface Temperatures, and Medical Emergencies During Heat Advisories
· Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Suicide Ideation and Attempt Among Sexual Minority Adults, United States, 2016–2018
· The Sweetened Beverage Tax in Cook County, Illinois: Lessons From a Failed Effort
· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Vaccination Assessment: Collaboration With US State, Local, and Territorial Immunization Programs, 2012–2018
· Federal, State, and Local Nutrition Policies for Cancer Prevention: Perceived Impact and Feasibility, United States, 2018
· Cigarette Pack Prices and Sales Following Policy Changes in California, 2011–2018
· Monetary and Nonmonetary Costs and Benefits of a Public Health Master’s Degree in the 21st Century
· Abortion Trends in Georgia Following Enactment of the 22-Week Gestational Age Limit, 2007–2017
· Perinatal Health Outcomes Following a Community Health Worker–Supported Home-Visiting Program in Rochester, New York, 2015–2018
· Structural Racism, Historical Redlining, and Risk of Preterm Birth in New York City, 2013–2017
· Food Advertising on Television Before and After a National Unhealthy Food Marketing Regulation in Chile, 2016–2017
· Perceived Access to Abortion Among Women in the United States in 2018: Variation by State Abortion Policy Context
· Enrollment Length, Service Category, and HIV Health Outcomes Among Low-Income HIV-Positive Persons Newly Enrolled in a Housing Program, New York City, 2014–2017
· Affordable, Social, and Substandard Housing and Mortality: The EPIPorto Cohort Study, 1999–2019
· Lifetime Asthma Prevalence and Correlates Among US Youths by Sexual Identity and Race/Ethnicity, 2009–2017
· Abortion Access in Ohio’s Changing Legislative Context, 2010–2018
· Policy Lessons From Early Reactions to the COVID-19 Virus in China
· Supporting Social Distancing for COVID-19 Mitigation Through Community-Based Volunteer Networks
· Publication Ethics During Public Health Emergencies Such as the COVID-19 Pandemic
· Teaching Public Health Will Never Be the Same
· Strengthening Local Food Systems in Times of Concomitant Global Crises: Reflections From Chile
· Prisons: Amplifiers of the COVID-19 Pandemic Hiding in Plain Sight
· Will There Be an Epidemic of Corollary Illnesses Linked to a COVID-19–Related Recession?
· Monitoring Returning Travelers During the Early Weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic: One US County’s Experience
· Producing Independent, Systematic Review Evidence: Cochrane’s Response to COVID-19
· COVID-19 Exposes Need for Progressive Criminal Justice Reform
· Raids on Immigrant Communities During the Pandemic Threaten the Country’s Public Health
· Accurate Statistics on COVID-19 Are Essential for Policy Guidance and Decisions
· COVID-19 Exposes the Cracks in Our Already Fragile Mental Health System
· Strengthening China’s Public Health Response System: From SARS to COVID-19
MEDIA CONTACTRegister for reporter access to contact details
American Journal of Public Health