Rural Health - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 80
Is social exposure to obesity associated with weight status misperception? Assessing Australians ability to identify overweight and obesity.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-09-04)
INTRODUCTION: Overweight and obesity prevalence has increased significantly over the past two decades, currently impacting greater than 60% of Australians. It is unclear if a social perception of a healthy weight has been obscured by the increase in prevalence and thus has become inconsistent with the medical definitions. METHODS: An electronic questionnaire was distributed via email and social media using the authors' informal networks. Australian adults were eligible to participate. Participants were asked to categorise their own body size using medically accepted words and previously published silhouettes, before identifying underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obesity in a series ofsilhouettes. RESULTS: Eight hundred six questionnaires were completed, a majority of participants had attained a high level of education and were employed female health professionals. Under half the studied population had a Body Mass Index (BMI) corresponding to overweight or obese categories (n = 349, 47%). Accuracy in self-perceived weight status using medicalised words was higher among respondents with BMI corresponding to the healthy weight category (n = 311, 85%) and overweight category (n = 133, 74%) than for respondents with BMI corresponding to obesity (n = 79, 45%) or underweight (n = 5, 31%). A majority of respondents were able to accurately self-perceive their weight status using silhouettes (n = 469, 70%). Females were significantly more likely to be accurate in their self-perception than males, using both medicalised words (p = < 0.001) and silhouettes (p = 0.045). Respondents with a BMI corresponding to the obese category were significantly more likely to be accurate with weight status self-perception using silhouettes than words (87% versus 46% respectively, p = < 0.001). Less than half (41%) of respondents accurately perceived silhouettes corresponding to an overweight BMI and less than one in ten respondents (9%) accurately perceived the lower limit of the silhouettes corresponding to an obese BMI. CONCLUSIONS: Repondents were challenged to accurately perceive silhouettes corresponding to an obese BMI in themselves and others. Weight status misperception was more likely to exist among those with a BMI less than 18.5 or 30 or more (underweight BMI and obese BMI). Accuracy decreased as BMI increased. Respondents with a BMI in the obese category were significantly more likely to accurately self-perceive their weight status using silhouettes than medicalised words. Silhouettes may act as an effective visual cue in initiating weight related discussions.
Longitudinal study of health, disease and access to care in rural Victoria: the Crossroads-II study: methods
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2018-05-30)
BACKGROUND: High quality, contemporary data regarding patterns of chronic disease is essential for planning by health services, policy makers and local governments, but surprisingly scarce, including in rural Australia. This dearth of data occurs despite the recognition that rural Australians live with high rates of ill health, poor health behaviours and restricted access to health services. Crossroads-II is set in the Goulburn Valley, a rural region of Victoria, Australia 100-300 km north of metropolitan Melbourne. It is primarily an irrigated agricultural area. The aim of the study is to identify changes in the prevalence of key chronic health conditions including the extent of undiagnosed and undermanaged disease, and association with access to care, over a 15 year period. METHODS/DESIGN: This study is a 15 year follow up from the 2000-2003 Crossroads-I study (2376 households participated). Crossroads-II includes a similar face to face household survey of 3600 randomly selected households across four towns of sizes 6300 to 49,800 (50% sampled in the larger town with the remainder sampled equally from the three smaller towns). Self-reported health, health behaviour and health service usage information is verified and supplemented in a nested sub-study of 900 randomly selected adult participants in 'clinics' involving a range of additional questionnaires and biophysical measurements. The study is expected to run from October 2016 to December 2018. DISCUSSION: Besides providing epidemiological and health service utilisation information relating to different diseases and their risk factors in towns of different sizes, the results will be used to develop a composite measure of health service access. The importance of access to health services will be investigated by assessing the correlation of this measure with rates of undiagnosed and undermanaged disease at the mesh block level. Results will be shared with partner organisations to inform service planning and interventions to improve health outcomes for local people.
Using Rasch analysis to examine the distress thermometer's cut-off scores among a mixed group of patients with cancer
PURPOSE: The distress thermometer (DT) is commonly used in cancer care to improve detection of distress. The DT's recommended cut-off score of 4 or 5 has typically been established using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. The present analysis complements these studies by critically examining the use of the HADS to identify the DT's cut-off score and corroborating the DT's cut-off scores using item response theory (Rasch analysis). METHODS: The DT and HADS were completed by 340 patients with cancer. Rasch dimensionality analysis was performed on the HADS-Total, and test characteristic curves were examined to equate the DT and the HADS subscales. Identified DT cut-off scores were then examined for their sensitivity and specificity. RESULTS: Rasch analysis did not support the unidimensionality of HADS-Total. The test characteristic curves indicated that a cut-off score of ≥8 on the HADS-Anxiety and HADS-Depression subscales was equivalent to a score of 6 and 7 on the DT, respectively. However, a DT cut-off score of 5 resulted in the best balance between sensitivity and specificity across the HADS-Anxiety and HADS-Depression subscales. CONCLUSIONS: Despite being a popular practice, the present findings did not support combining the HADS-Anxiety and HADS-Depression subscales to identify the DT's cut-off score. Furthermore, these results inform the use of the DT as a preliminary screening tool and suggest that when a single screen is used, a DT cut-off score of 6 or 7 might be more appropriate than the typical cut-off score of 4.
Notwithstanding High Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity, Smoking Remains the Most Important Factor in Poor Self-rated Health and Hospital Use in an Australian Regional Community
(AMER INST MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES-AIMS, 2017-01-01)
Objective: To classify a rural community sample by their modifiable health behaviours and identify the prevalence of chronic conditions, poor self-rated health, obesity and hospital use. Method: Secondary analysis of a cross- sectional self-report questionnaire in the Hume region of Victoria, Australia. Cluster analysis using the two-step method was applied to responses to health behaviour items. Results: 1,259 questionnaires were completed. Overall 63% were overweight or obese. Three groups were identified: 'Healthy Lifestyle' (63%), 'Non Smoking, Unhealthy Lifestyle' (25%) and 'Smokers' (12%). 'Healthy lifestyle' were older and more highly educated than the other two groups while 'Non Smoking, Unhealthy Lifestyle' were more likely to be obese. 'Smokers' had the highest rate of poor self-rated health. Prevalence of chronic conditions was similar in each group (>20%). 'Smokers' were twice as likely to have had two or more visits to hospital in the preceding year even after adjustment for age, gender and education. Conclusion: High rates of overweight and obesity were identified but 'Smokers' were at the greatest risk for poor self-rated health and hospitalisation. Implications for Public Health: Within an environment of high rates of chronic ill health and obesity, primary care clinicians and public health policy makers must maintain their vigilance in encouraging people to quit smoking.
Mangan Dunguludja Ngatan (Build Strong Employment) Project Report.
(Echuca Regional Health, 2018)
Executive Summary Storyline Education and income are inextricably linked to positive health outcomes. Australian Aboriginal people are known to have higher rates of unemployment than non-Aboriginal Australians and poorer health. In the Victorian regional town of Echuca, the local health service, Echuca Regional Health (ERH) has developed an Aboriginal Employment Plan (AEP) targeted to reach 2% employment of Aboriginal people by 2020. Aim Learning how to strengthen local employment opportunities at ERH for Aboriginal people was the aim of this study. Hunting and Gathering A qualitative research protocol was designed. Four distinct population groups with a strong interest in the growth of Aboriginal employment at ERH agreed to participate in focus groups and individual interviews: Yorta Yorta Elders, past and present Aboriginal employees, key community stakeholders and ERH Executive Officers. Conversations from the interviews and groups were thematically analysed with careful consideration of cultural meaning. Results Twenty four people participated in the study. Learnings were gathered from the past, present and the future. The past Local Aboriginal Elders recall birthing on the verandah of the health service, testament to a recent history of cultural inequality. In the face of segregation, Elders shared the memory of approaching the Matron to seek and subsequently achieve employment at the health service. Healing shifted from outside the building to within. First steps toward cultural inclusion. The present A contemporary rebuild of the health service provided an opportunity to physically demolish the old verandahs, powerfully symbolic of reconciling the wrongs of the past with a focus on building a culturally safe healing environment. Successes to date include: • the use of visual representations of culture; • leadership through Aboriginal Board membership; • mandatory online Cultural Awareness Training (CAT); • the development of Aboriginal employment pathways and strengthened relationships with the community; • the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs). The Future Participants urged ERH to acknowledge the Aboriginal past on the ERH historical timeline and heal the future by remaining focused upon strengthening cultural respect and safety. Discussion ERH was not immune to the Commonwealth Segregation Policy that spanned sixty years. Preliminary steps toward cultural inclusion came from local self-determined Aboriginal people whom, in the face of cultural inequity, were able to achieve employment at the health service. Physically, a new health service exists today, built with a noteworthy level of collaboration with the local Aboriginal community. Multiple strategies have achieved significant progress toward a new vision of cultural respect, safety and inclusion. Conclusion Cultural healing is more than the responsibility of an individual, rather a collective commitment from the organisation in partnership with the community at large. Reconciling the past through acknowledging historical events and continually adapting through cultural learnings, demonstrates leadership and an opportunity to teach future generations that healing is possible. Culturally safe environments promote both healing and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people. Continued efforts that advance toward Aboriginal cultural inclusion may indeed mangan dunguludja ngatan (build strong employment). Recommendations Authors’ present study findings as valuable insight into the cultural significance of the past and how healing has emerged on a continuum to reconcile the history, to benefit the future. Recommendations have been proposed in the hope of informing success in mangan dunguludja ngatan (build strong employment) at ERH and a vision for reconciliation, cultural respect and safety. 1. Consider employing an Aboriginal Human Resources (HR) Coordinator to strengthen cultural relations with the community; 2. Commence recording Aboriginal status for all employees during the HR onboarding process, allowing rates to be monitored over time; 3. Consider the development of a formal mentoring program to strengthen cultural respect; 4. Consider formalising Cultural Competency Training (CCT) for Managers and key staff working alongside Aboriginal employees; 5. Develop an Aboriginal Staff Network to engender support and cultural safety within the workplace; 6. Consider including significant Aboriginal events on the ERH historical timeline; 7. Continue to develop partnership arrangements (with local training agencies and education providers) utilising skill matching based upon the needs identified in a workforce analysis across the community; 8. Foster opportunities for dual positions with ERH and local ACCHOs; 9. Build upon Aboriginal acknowledgement through promoting ERH as a culturally safe place (employee posters/biographies on ERH website); 10. Consider developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) or an updated AEP that reflects the Cultural Respect Framework to continue to strengthen the narrative around cultural safety; 11. Formally engage and celebrate culture with the Aboriginal community at every opportunity e.g. National Aborigines and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) events.
Why Australia needs to define obesity as a chronic condition
BACKGROUND: In Australia people with a diagnosed chronic condition can be managed on unique funded care plans that allow the recruitment of a multidisciplinary team to assist in setting treatment goals and adequate follow up. In contrast to the World Health Organisation, the North American and European Medical Associations, the Australian Medical Association does not recognise obesity as a chronic condition, therefore excluding a diagnosis of obesity from qualifying for a structured and funded treatment plan. BODY: The Australian guidelines for management of Obesity in adults in Primary Care are structured around a five step process -the '5As': Ask & Assess, Advise, Assist and Arrange'. This article aims to identify the key challenges and successes associated with the '5As' approach, to better understand the reasons for the gap between the high Australian prevalence of overweight and obesity and an actual diagnosis and treatment plan for managing obesity. It argues that until the Australian health system follows the international lead and defines obesity as a chronic condition, the capacity for Australian doctors to diagnose and initiate structured treatment plans will remain limited and ineffective. CONCLUSION: Australian General Practitioners are limited in their ability manage obesity, as the current treatment guidelines only recognise obesity as a risk factor rather than a chronic condition.
Age of blood and recipient factors determine the severity of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI)
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2012-01-01)
INTRODUCTION: Critical care patients frequently receive blood transfusions. Some reports show an association between aged or stored blood and increased morbidity and mortality, including the development of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). However, the existence of conflicting data endorses the need for research to either reject this association, or to confirm it and elucidate the underlying mechanisms. METHODS: Twenty-eight sheep were randomised into two groups, receiving saline or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Sheep were further randomised to also receive transfusion of pooled and heat-inactivated supernatant from fresh (Day 1) or stored (Day 42) non-leucoreduced human packed red blood cells (PRBC) or an infusion of saline. TRALI was defined by hypoxaemia during or within two hours of transfusion and histological evidence of pulmonary oedema. Regression modelling compared physiology between groups, and to a previous study, using stored platelet concentrates (PLT). Samples of the transfused blood products also underwent cytokine array and biochemical analyses, and their neutrophil priming ability was measured in vitro. RESULTS: TRALI did not develop in sheep that first received saline-infusion. In contrast, 80% of sheep that first received LPS-infusion developed TRALI following transfusion with "stored PRBC." The decreased mean arterial pressure and cardiac output as well as increased central venous pressure and body temperature were more severe for TRALI induced by "stored PRBC" than by "stored PLT." Storage-related accumulation of several factors was demonstrated in both "stored PRBC" and "stored PLT", and was associated with increased in vitro neutrophil priming. Concentrations of several factors were higher in the "stored PRBC" than in the "stored PLT," however, there was no difference to neutrophil priming in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: In this in vivo ovine model, both recipient and blood product factors contributed to the development of TRALI. Sick (LPS infused) sheep rather than healthy (saline infused) sheep predominantly developed TRALI when transfused with supernatant from stored but not fresh PRBC. "Stored PRBC" induced a more severe injury than "stored PLT" and had a different storage lesion profile, suggesting that these outcomes may be associated with storage lesion factors unique to each blood product type. Therefore, the transfusion of fresh rather than stored PRBC may minimise the risk of TRALI.
Sex Differences in Stroke Incidence, Prevalence, Mortality and Disability-Adjusted Life Years: Results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013
BACKGROUND: Accurate information on stroke burden in men and women are important for evidence-based healthcare planning and resource allocation. Previously, limited research suggested that the absolute number of deaths from stroke in women was greater than in men, but the incidence and mortality rates were greater in men. However, sex differences in various metrics of stroke burden on a global scale have not been a subject of comprehensive and comparable assessment for most regions of the world, nor have sex differences in stroke burden been examined for trends over time. METHODS: Stroke incidence, prevalence, mortality, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and healthy years lost due to disability were estimated as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2013 Study. Data inputs included all available information on stroke incidence, prevalence and death and case fatality rates. Analysis was performed separately by sex and 5-year age categories for 188 countries. Statistical models were employed to produce globally comprehensive results over time. All rates were age-standardized to a global population and 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs) were computed. FINDINGS: In 2013, global ischemic stroke (IS) and hemorrhagic stroke (HS) incidence (per 100,000) in men (IS 132.77 (95% UI 125.34-142.77); HS 64.89 (95% UI 59.82-68.85)) exceeded those of women (IS 98.85 (95% UI 92.11-106.62); HS 45.48 (95% UI 42.43-48.53)). IS incidence rates were lower in 2013 compared with 1990 rates for both sexes (1990 male IS incidence 147.40 (95% UI 137.87-157.66); 1990 female IS incidence 113.31 (95% UI 103.52-123.40)), but the only significant change in IS incidence was among women. Changes in global HS incidence were not statistically significant for males (1990 = 65.31 (95% UI 61.63-69.0), 2013 = 64.89 (95% UI 59.82-68.85)), but was significant for females (1990 = 64.892 (95% UI 59.82-68.85), 2013 = 45.48 (95% UI 42.427-48.53)). The number of DALYs related to IS rose from 1990 (male = 16.62 (95% UI 13.27-19.62), female = 17.53 (95% UI 14.08-20.33)) to 2013 (male = 25.22 (95% UI 20.57-29.13), female = 22.21 (95% UI 17.71-25.50)). The number of DALYs associated with HS also rose steadily and was higher than DALYs for IS at each time point (male 1990 = 29.91 (95% UI 25.66-34.54), male 2013 = 37.27 (95% UI 32.29-45.12); female 1990 = 26.05 (95% UI 21.70-30.90), female 2013 = 28.18 (95% UI 23.68-33.80)). INTERPRETATION: Globally, men continue to have a higher incidence of IS than women while significant sex differences in the incidence of HS were not observed. The total health loss due to stroke as measured by DALYs was similar for men and women for both stroke subtypes in 2013, with HS higher than IS. Both IS and HS DALYs show an increasing trend for both men and women since 1990, which is statistically significant only for IS among men. Ongoing monitoring of sex differences in the burden of stroke will be needed to determine if disease rates among men and women continue to diverge. Sex disparities related to stroke will have important clinical and policy implications that can guide funding and resource allocation for national, regional and global health programs.