Concept: Population health
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 2 years ago
Social interactions increasingly take place online. Friendships and other offline social ties have been repeatedly associated with human longevity, but online interactions might have different properties. Here, we reference 12 million social media profiles against California Department of Public Health vital records and use longitudinal statistical models to assess whether social media use is associated with longer life. The results show that receiving requests to connect as friends online is associated with reduced mortality but initiating friendships is not. Additionally, online behaviors that indicate face-to-face social activity (like posting photos) are associated with reduced mortality, but online-only behaviors (like sending messages) have a nonlinear relationship, where moderate use is associated with the lowest mortality. These results suggest that online social integration is linked to lower risk for a wide variety of critical health problems. Although this is an associational study, it may be an important step in understanding how, on a global scale, online social networks might be adapted to improve modern populations' social and physical health.
Volunteering has been advocated by the United Nations, and American and European governments as a way to engage people in their local communities and improve social capital, with the potential for public health benefits such as improving wellbeing and decreasing health inequalities. Furthermore, the US Corporation for National and Community Service Strategic Plan for 2011–2015 focused on increasing the impact of national service on community needs, supporting volunteers' wellbeing, and prioritising recruitment and engagement of underrepresented populations. The aims of this review were to examine the effect of formal volunteering on volunteers' physical and mental health and survival, and to explore the influence of volunteering type and intensity on health outcomes.
Several studies in the new field of cognitive epidemiology have shown that higher intelligence predicts longer lifespan. This positive correlation might arise from socioeconomic status influencing both intelligence and health; intelligence leading to better health behaviours; and/or some shared genetic factors influencing both intelligence and health. Distinguishing among these hypotheses is crucial for medicine and public health, but can only be accomplished by studying a genetically informative sample.
Confronting the Social Determinants of Health After failed intervention efforts, a physician files a Child Protective Services report alleging the medical neglect of two girls with morbid obesity, serious coexisting conditions, and medical nonadherence. But CPS agencies can do little to alter the milieu shaping behavior.
Objectives. We investigated health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults aged 50 years and older. Methods. We analyzed data from the 2003-2010 Washington State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 96 992) on health outcomes, chronic conditions, access to care, behaviors, and screening by gender and sexual orientation with adjusted logistic regressions. Results. LGB older adults had higher risk of disability, poor mental health, smoking, and excessive drinking than did heterosexuals. Lesbians and bisexual women had higher risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity, and gay and bisexual men had higher risk of poor physical health and living alone than did heterosexuals. Lesbians reported a higher rate of excessive drinking than did bisexual women; bisexual men reported a higher rate of diabetes and a lower rate of being tested for HIV than did gay men. Conclusions. Tailored interventions are needed to address the health disparities and unique health needs of LGB older adults. Research across the life course is needed to better understand health disparities by sexual orientation and age, and to assess subgroup differences within these communities. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print June 13, 2013: e1-e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301110).
Though there has sometimes been distrust between the health care and public health fields, they are inevitably and increasingly interdependent. And improvements in some types of public health interventions can increase the impact of clinical care on population health.
European adolescents and students tend to have low levels of physical activity and eat unhealthy foods, and the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased, which poses a public health challenge. Mobile apps play an important role in their daily lives, suggesting their potential to be used in health-promoting strategies.
An increasing number of countries are implementing taxes on unhealthy foods and drinks to address the growing burden of dietary-related disease, but the cost-effectiveness of combining taxes on unhealthy foods and subsidies on healthy foods is not well understood.
During July 2016-January 2017, two unrelated measles cases were identified in the Denver, Colorado area after patients traveled to countries with endemic measles transmission. Each case resulted in multiple exposures at health care facilities and public venues, and activated an immediate and complex response by local and state public health agencies, with activities led by the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), which serves Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties. To track the economic burden associated with investigating and responding to single measles cases, personnel hours and supply costs incurred during each investigation were tracked prospectively. No secondary cases of measles were identified in either investigation. Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) was administered to 31 contacts involving the first case; no contacts of the second case were eligible for PEP because of a delay in diagnosing measles disease. Public health costs of disease investigation in the first and second case were estimated at $49,769 and $18,423, respectively. Single measles cases prompted coordinated public health action and were costly and resource-intensive for local public health agencies.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent a significant threat to human health and well-being, and carry significant implications for economic development and health care and other costs for governments and business, families and individuals. Risks for many of the major NCDs are associated with the production, marketing and consumption of commercially produced food and drink, particularly those containing sugar, salt and transfats (in ultra-processed products), alcohol and tobacco. The problems inherent in primary prevention of NCDs have received relatively little attention from international organizations, national governments and civil society, especially when compared to the attention paid to secondary and tertiary prevention regimes (i.e. those focused on provision of medical treatment and long-term clinical management). This may in part reflect that until recently the NCDs have not been deemed a priority on the overall global health agenda. Low political priority may also be due in part to the complexity inherent in implementing feasible and acceptable interventions, such as increased taxation or regulation of access, particularly given the need to coordinate action beyond the health sector. More fundamentally, governing determinants of risk frequently brings public health into conflict with the interests of profit-driven food, beverage, alcohol and tobacco industries.