Journal: Health & place
Injuries are a major public health problem around the world. Previous research has suggested that providing prompt access to specialized trauma center care may greatly improve the health outcomes of trauma patients. In this paper, a geographic information system (GIS) method is used to examine potential spatial access to trauma centers by individuals who were either hospitalized or died as a result of a major trauma. Overall, it was determined that 68.5% of individuals who suffered from a major trauma lived within one hour travel time of a Level I or II trauma center. In addition, major traumas resulting in death were found to have poorer potential spatial access to trauma center care than those that were admitted to hospital.
Greenspace is important for physical and mental health. Low-income, multi-ethnic populations in deprived urban areas experience several barriers to using greenspace. This may exacerbate health inequalities. The current study explored structural and individual determinants of greenspace use amongst parents of young children in an urban, deprived, multi-cultural area situated in the North of England, UK. Semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with 30 parents of children aged 0-3 between December 2016 and May 2017 from a range of ethnic groups. Thematic analyses were informed by the Human Health Habitat Map and the Theoretical Domains Framework. The results show that whilst all families recognised the benefits of greenspaces, use was bounded by a variety of structural, community, and individual determinants. Individual determinants preventing use included lack of knowledge about where to go, or how to get there and confidence in managing young children whilst outdoors. Fear of crime, antisocial behaviour and accidents were the overriding barriers to use, even in high quality spaces. Social and community influences both positively encouraged use (for example, positive social interactions, and practical support by others) and prevented use (antisocial or inappropriate behaviours experienced in greenspace). The built environment was a key barrier to use. Problems related to unsuitable or unsafe playgrounds, no gardens or safe areas for children’s play, poor accessibility, and lack of toilets were identified. However, the value that parents and children placed on natural blue and green features was an enabler to use. Contextual influences included external time pressures, difficulties of transporting and caring for young children and poor weather. Multi-sectoral efforts are needed to tackle the uneven playing field experienced by multi-ethnic, urban, deprived communities. Initiatives to increase use should tackle structural quality issues, addressing fears about safety, whilst simultaneously encouraging communities to reclaim their local greenspaces.
This paper is concerned with the establishment, maintenance, and decline of physical exercise practices. Drawing on experiences and observations taken from a carnal ethnography and rhythmanalysis of the practices involved in training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), I argue that maintaining this physical exercise practice is not straightforwardly an outcome of individual commitment, access to facilities, or the availability of free time. It rather depends on the synchronisation of practices: those of MMA, those that support MMA, and those that more broadly make up everyday life. This research suggests that increasing rates of physical activity might be better fostered through facilitating the integration of combinations of healthy activities into everyday life.
This paper explores patterns of increased/ decreased physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviours among Canadian children and youth aged 5-17 years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examines how these changes are associated with the built environment near residential locations. A cluster analysis identified two groups who were primarily distinguished by the changes in outdoor activities. Compliance to 24-hour movement guidelines was low among both groups. For children, houses (versus apartments) was correlated with increased outdoor activities; proximity to major roads was a barrier. For youth, low dwelling density, and access to parks in high-density neighbourhoods, increased the odds of increased outdoor activities during the pandemic. Our findings can inform future urban and health crisis planning practices by providing new insights into the desirable public health messaging and characteristics of healthy and resilient communities.
Financial and carbon reduction incentives have prompted many local authorities to reduce street lighting at night. Debate on the public health implications has centred on road accidents, fear of crime and putative health gains from reduced exposure to artificial light. However, little is known about public views of the relationship between reduced street lighting and health. We undertook a rapid appraisal in eight areas of England and Wales using ethnographic data, a household survey and documentary sources. Public concern focused on road safety, fear of crime, mobility and seeing the night sky but, for the majority in areas with interventions, reductions went unnoticed. However, more private concerns tapped into deep-seated anxieties about darkness, modernity ‘going backwards’, and local governance. Pathways linking lighting reductions and health are mediated by place, expectations of how localities should be lit, and trust in local authorities to act in the best interests of local communities.
Takeaway food outlets typically sell hot food, ordered and paid for at the till, for consumption off the premises due to limited seating provision. Growing numbers of these outlets has raised concerns about their impact on diet and weight gain. This has led to proposals to regulate their proliferation through urban planning. We conducted a census of local government areas in England with planning power (n = 325) to identify planning policies specifically addressing takeaway food outlets, with a ‘health’, and ‘non-health’ focus. We reviewed planning policies using content analysis, and developed a typology. One hundred and sixty-four (50.5%) local government areas had a policy specifically targeting takeaway food outlets; of these, 56 (34.1%) focused on health. Our typology revealed two main foci: ‘Place’ with five targeted locations and ‘Strategy’ with four categories of approach. The most common health-focused approach was describing exclusion zones around places for children and families (n = 33). Non-health focused approaches primarily involved minimising negative impacts associated with takeaway food outlets within a local government area boundary (n = 146). To our knowledge, this is the first census of planning policies explicitly focused on takeaway food outlets in England. Further work is required to determine why different approaches are adopted in different places and their acceptability and impact.
The importance of neighbourhood on individual health is widely documented. Less is known about the relative role of objective and subjective reports of neighbourhood conditions, how their effect on health changes as people age, and whether they moderate each other’s impact on health. This study uses the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to determine whether older adults report worse self-rated health as they age, and whether this differs between objective and subjective measures of neighbourhood. ELSA data contain 53,988 person-years across six waves collected biannually between 2002 and 03 and 2012 and 13. Objective neighbourhood conditions are measured by the 2004 Index of Multiple Deprivation, and subjective neighbourhood conditions are captured by a summative neighbourhood dissatisfaction score. We find both objective and subjective neighbourhood composite scores independently predict poor health. There is no change over time in the probability of reporting poor health by baseline objective or subjective neighbourhood scores, suggesting neighbourhood effects do not compound as older adults age. There is no moderating effect of area dissatisfaction on the relationship between neighbourhood deprivation and health. The findings provide little support for causal neighbourhood effects operating in later life and indicate different causal pathways through which objective and subjective neighbourhood deprivation impact on health.
Alcohol consumption may be influenced by the local alcohol retailing environment. This study is the first to examine neighbourhood alcohol outlet availability (on- and off-sales outlets) and alcohol-related health outcomes in Scotland. Alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths were significantly higher in neighbourhoods with higher outlet densities, and off-sales outlets were more important than on-sales outlets. The relationships held for most age groups, including those under the legal minimum drinking age, although were not significant for the youngest legal drinkers (18-25 years). Alcohol-related deaths and hospitalisations were higher in more income-deprived neighbourhoods, and the gradient in deaths (but not hospitalisations) was marginally larger in neighbourhoods with higher off-sales outlet densities. Efforts to reduce alcohol-related harm should consider the potentially important role of the alcohol retail environment.
Environmental changes aimed at encouraging walking or cycling may promote activity and improve health, but evidence suggests small or inconsistent effects in practice. Understanding how an intervention works might help explain the effects observed and provide guidance about generalisability. We therefore aimed to review the literature on the effects of this type of intervention and to understand how and why these may or may not be effective. We searched eight electronic databases for existing systematic reviews and mined these for evaluative studies of physical environmental changes and assessed changes in walking, cycling or physical activity. We then searched for related sources including quantitative or qualitative studies, policy documents or reports. We extracted information on the evidence for effects (‘estimation’), contexts and mechanisms (‘explanation’) and assessed credibility, and synthesised material narratively. We identified 13 evaluations of interventions specifically targeting walking and cycling and used 46 related sources. 70% (n = 9 evaluations) scored 3 or less on the credibility criteria for effectiveness. 6 reported significant positive effects, but higher quality evaluations were more likely to report positive effects. Only two studies provided rich evidence of mechanisms. We identified three common resources that interventions provide to promote walking and cycling: (i) improving accessibility and connectivity; (ii) improving traffic and personal safety; and (iii) improving the experience of walking and cycling. The most effective interventions appeared to target accessibility and safety in both supportive and unsupportive contexts. Although the evidence base was relatively limited, we were able to understand the role of context in the success of interventions. Researchers and policy makers should consider the context and mechanisms which might operate before evaluating and implementing interventions.
Socioeconomic disparities in the food environment are known to exist but with little understanding of change over time. This study investigated the density of takeaway food outlets and presence of supermarkets in Norfolk, UK between 1990 and 2008. Data on food retail outlet locations were collected from telephone directories and aggregated within electoral wards. Supermarket presence was not associated with area deprivation over time. Takeaway food outlet density increased overall, and was significantly higher in more deprived areas at all time points; furthermore, socioeconomic disparities in takeaway food outlet density increased across the study period. These findings add to existing evidence and help assess the need for environmental interventions to reduce disparities in the prevalence of unhealthy food outlets.