Melbourne School of Population and Global Health - Research Publications
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A suicide research agenda for people from immigrant and refugee backgrounds
(ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2017-01-01)
The aim of this study was to establish mental health and suicide research priorities for people from immigrant and refugee background in Australia. This article focuses on the data relevant to the development of the suicide research agenda. This study was conducted using Delphi consensus method with two rounds of online questionnaires. A total of 138 and 86 participants, respectively, completed the first and second rounds of survey. Participants were policy makers, service providers, academics, service users, and carer advocates in Australia with expertise in mental health and/or suicide among people from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. Of the total 268 research questions included in the questionnaires, 70 questions about suicide were ranked as essential by over 50% respondents (i.e., the set level of consensus). In particular, research questions regarded as the greatest priority related to access and engagement with suicide prevention services, suicide protective and risk factors compared to populations not from immigrant and refugee backgrounds, and culturally appropriate assessment of suicide risk.
Reliability and Validity of a Domain-Specific Last 7-d Sedentary Time Questionnaire
(LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, 2014-06-01)
PURPOSE: The objective of this study is to examine test-retest reliability, criterion validity, and absolute agreement of a self-report, last 7-d sedentary behavior questionnaire (SIT-Q-7d), which assesses total daily sedentary time as an aggregate of sitting/lying down in five domains (meals, transportation, occupation, nonoccupational screen time, and other sedentary time). Dutch (DQ) and English (EQ) versions of the questionnaire were examined. METHODS: Fifty-one Flemish adults (ages 39.4 ± 11.1 yr) wore a thigh accelerometer (activPAL3™) and simultaneously kept a domain log for 7 d. The DQ was subsequently completed twice (median test-retest interval: 3.3 wk). Thigh-acceleration sedentary time was log annotated to create comparable domain-specific and total sedentary time variables. Four hundred two English adults (ages 49.6 ± 7.3 yr) wore a combined accelerometer and HR monitor (Actiheart) for 6 d to objectively measure total sedentary time. The EQ was subsequently completed twice (median test-retest interval: 3.4 wk). In both samples, the questionnaire reference frame overlapped with the criterion measure administration period. All participants had five or more valid days of criterion data, including one or more weekend day. RESULTS: Test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient (95% CI)) was fair to good for total sedentary time (DQ: 0.68 (0.50-0.81); EQ: 0.53 (0.44-0.62)) and poor to excellent for domain-specific sedentary time (DQ: from 0.36 (0.10-0.57) (meals) to 0.66 (0.46-0.79) (occupation); EQ: from 0.45 (0.35-0.54) (other sedentary time) to 0.76 (0.71-0.81) (meals)). For criterion validity (Spearman rho), significant correlations were found for total sedentary time (DQ: 0.52; EQ: 0.22; all P <0.001). Compared with domain-specific criterion variables (DQ), modest-to-strong correlations were found for domain-specific sedentary time (from 0.21 (meals) to 0.76 (P < 0.001) (screen time)). The questionnaire generally overestimated sedentary time compared with criterion measures. CONCLUSION: The SIT-Q-7d appears to be a useful tool for ranking individuals in large-scale observational studies examining total and domain-specific sitting.
Sexual behaviours of men who inject drugs in Northeast India
BACKGROUND: Promoting safer sex behaviours among people who inject drugs is important as drug-using populations with high HIV prevalence can contribute to transition from a concentrated to a generalised epidemic. This study describes the sexual behaviours of men who inject drugs in two Northeast Indian states (Manipur and Nagaland) where HIV prevalence is high, with a focus on the HIV risks for their regular female sexual partners. METHODS: Data were obtained from two cross-sectional surveys combined (N = 3,362)-both conducted in 2009 using respondent-driven sampling to recruit men who injected drugs. Both surveys asked about demographics, drug use, sexual and injecting risk behaviours, and interventions. One survey tested participants for HIV and syphilis. Statistical analyses included logistic regression modelling to predict inconsistent condom use with regular sexual partners. RESULTS: Two thirds of participants (68.2%) had a regular female sexual partner. Of these, 78.4% had sex with their regular partner in the last month, on average five times. Only 10.7% reported consistent condom use with regular partners. Unsafe injecting was common among men with regular partners, and 40.2% had more than one sexual partner in the last year. Half of those with regular partners (51.0%) had never had an HIV test, and 14.3% of those tested were HIV positive. After controlling for confounding, inconsistent condom use with regular partners was associated with being illiterate, married, sharing needle and syringe with others, never having had an HIV test and not receiving condoms from an NGO. CONCLUSION: The findings from this study among men who inject drugs in Manipur and Nagaland highlight the risk of HIV infection for their regular female sexual partners. Promoting better uptake of HIV testing among men who inject drugs will potentially benefit both them and their regular partners. While effectively reaching regular partners is challenging, a number of strategies for improving their situation in relation to HIV prevention are available.
The World Health Organization's Health Promoting Schools framework: a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis
BACKGROUND: Healthy children achieve better educational outcomes which, in turn, are associated with improved health later in life. The World Health Organization's Health Promoting Schools (HPS) framework is a holistic approach to promoting health and educational attainment in school. The effectiveness of this approach has not yet been rigorously reviewed. METHODS: We searched 20 health, education and social science databases, and trials registries and relevant websites in 2011 and 2013. We included cluster randomised controlled trials. Participants were children and young people aged four to 18 years attending schools/colleges. HPS interventions had to include the following three elements: input into the curriculum; changes to the school's ethos or environment; and engagement with families and/or local communities. Two reviewers identified relevant trials, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We grouped studies according to the health topic(s) targeted. Where data permitted, we performed random-effects meta-analyses. RESULTS: We identified 67 eligible trials tackling a range of health issues. Few studies included any academic/attendance outcomes. We found positive average intervention effects for: body mass index (BMI), physical activity, physical fitness, fruit and vegetable intake, tobacco use, and being bullied. Intervention effects were generally small. On average across studies, we found little evidence of effectiveness for zBMI (BMI, standardized for age and gender), and no evidence for fat intake, alcohol use, drug use, mental health, violence and bullying others. It was not possible to meta-analyse data on other health outcomes due to lack of data. Methodological limitations were identified including reliance on self-reported data, lack of long-term follow-up, and high attrition rates. CONCLUSION: This Cochrane review has found the WHO HPS framework is effective at improving some aspects of student health. The effects are small but potentially important at a population level.
An Early-Stage Epidemic: A Systematic Review of Correlates of Smoking Among Chinese Women
BACKGROUND: Despite the historically low smoking prevalence among Chinese women, there is a trend of future increase. PURPOSE: We systematically reviewed the correlates of smoking among Chinese girls and women. METHOD: We conducted a systematic review of literature on correlates of smoking among Chinese women using Medline and China Academic Journals databases. Following the PRISMA statement, two investigators independently searched for literature, identified and reviewed papers, assessed the quality of the papers, and extracted information. The characteristics of studies and correlates of smoking were synthesized separately for youth and adults. RESULTS: A total of 15 articles (11 on adults, 4 on youth) met the inclusion criteria. Based on these studies, peer smoking was the most consistent correlate of smoking among Chinese girls. Among Chinese women, partner smoking, job-related stress, and exposure to cigarettes made for women were consistent correlates of smoking. Knowledge of harms and negative attitudes towards smoking were found to be negatively associated with smoking. CONCLUSION: Overall, the evidence base for smoking among Chinese women is limited. Although smoking among Chinese women is still at an early stage, it is becoming more prevalent among specific population subgroups, such as rural-to-urban migrant workers. Although further research is needed, findings from the current study provide a roadmap for research and policy on prevention of smoking among Chinese girls and women.
The Working After Cancer Study (WACS): a population-based study of middle-aged workers diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their return to work experiences
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-07-29)
BACKGROUND: The number of middle-aged working individuals being diagnosed with cancer is increasing and so too will disruptions to their employment. The aim of the Working After Cancer Study is to examine the changes to work participation in the 12 months following a diagnosis of primary colorectal cancer. The study will identify barriers to work resumption, describe limitations on workforce participation, and evaluate the influence of these factors on health-related quality of life. METHODS/DESIGN: An observational population-based study has been designed involving 260 adults newly-diagnosed with colorectal cancer between January 2010 and September 2011 and who were in paid employment at the time they were diagnosed. These cancer cases will be compared to a nationally representative comparison group of 520 adults with no history of cancer from the general population. Eligible cases will have a histologically confirmed diagnosis of colorectal cancer and will be identified through the Queensland Cancer Registry. Data on the comparison group will be drawn from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Data collection for the cancer group will occur at 6 and 12 months after diagnosis, with work questions also asked about the time of diagnosis, while retrospective data on the comparison group will be come from HILDA Waves 2009 and 2010. Using validated instruments administered via telephone and postal surveys, data will be collected on socio-demographic factors, work status and circumstances, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for both groups while the cases will have additional data collected on cancer treatment and symptoms, work productivity and cancer-related HRQoL. Primary outcomes include change in work participation at 12 months, time to work re-entry, work limitations and change in HRQoL status. DISCUSSION: This study will address the reasons for work cessation after cancer, the mechanisms people use to remain working and existing workplace support structures and the implications for individuals, families and workplaces. It may also provide key information for governments on productivity losses. STUDY REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry No. ACTRN12611000530921.
Development and testing of a past year measure of sedentary behavior: the SIT-Q
BACKGROUND: Most sedentary behavior measures focus on occupational or leisure-time sitting. Our aim was to develop a comprehensive measure of adult sedentary behavior and establish its measurement properties. METHOD: The SIT-Q was developed through expert review (n = 7), cognitive interviewing (n = 11) and pilot testing (n = 34). A convenience sample of 82 adults from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, participated in the measurement property study. Test-retest reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) comparing two administrations of the SIT-Q conducted one month apart. Convergent validity was established using Spearman's rho, by comparing the SIT-Q estimates of sedentary behaviour with values derived from a 7-Day Activity Diary. RESULTS: The SIT-Q exhibited good face validity and acceptability during pilot testing. Within the measurement property study, the ICCs for test-retest reliability ranged from 0.31 for leisure-time computer use to 0.86 for occupational sitting. Total daily sitting demonstrated substantial correlation (ICC = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.78). In terms of convergent validity, correlations varied from 0.19 for sitting during meals to 0.76 for occupational sitting. For total daily sitting, estimates derived from the SIT-Q and 7 Day Activity Diaries were moderately correlated (ρ = 0.53, p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: The SIT-Q has acceptable measurement properties for use in epidemiologic studies.
Excessive sitting at work and at home: Correlates of occupational sitting and TV viewing time in working adults
BACKGROUND: Recent evidence links sedentary behaviour (or too much sitting) with poorer health outcomes; many adults accumulate the majority of their daily sitting time through occupational sitting and TV viewing. To further the development and targeting of evidence-based strategies there is a need for identification of the factors associated with higher levels of these behaviours. This study examined socio-demographic and health-related correlates of occupational sitting and of combined high levels of occupational sitting/TV viewing time amongst working adults. METHODS: Participants were attendees of the third wave (2011/12) of the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study who worked full-time (≥35 h/week; n = 1,235; 38 % women; mean ± SD age 53 ± 7 years). Logistic and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted (separately for women and men) to assess cross-sectional associations of self-reported occupational sitting time (categorised as high/low based on the median) and also the combination of occupational sitting time/TV viewing time (high/low for each outcome), with a number of potential socio-demographic and health-related correlates. RESULTS: Higher levels of occupational sitting (>6 h/day) were associated with higher household income for both genders. Lower levels of occupational sitting were associated with being older (women only); and, for men only, having a blue collar occupation, having a technical/vocational educational attainment, and undertaking more leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). Attributes associated with high levels of both occupational sitting and TV viewing time included white collar occupation (men only), lower levels of LTPA (both genders), higher BMI (men), and higher energy consumption (women). CONCLUSIONS: Higher household income (both genders) and professional/managerial occupations (men only) were correlates of high occupational sitting time, relative to low occupational sitting time, while health-related factors (lower LTPA, higher BMI - men, and higher energy consumption - women) were associated with high levels of both occupational sitting and TV viewing time, relative to low occupational sitting and low TV viewing time. These findings suggest possible high-risk groups that may benefit from targeted interventions. Further research is needed on potentially modifiable environmental and social correlates of occupational sitting time, in order to inform workplace initiatives.
Indigenous perspectives on active living in remote Australia: a qualitative exploration of the socio-cultural link between health, the environment and economics
BACKGROUND: The burden of chronic disease in Indigenous Australia is more than double that of non-Indigenous populations and even higher in remote Northern Territory (NT) communities. Sufficient levels of physical activity are known to reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve the health of those already suffering from chronic disease. It has been identified that effective promotion of physical activity in Indigenous settings requires the diverse cultural perspectives and participation of Indigenous people. However, Indigenous concepts of physical activity are not represented in the public health literature and examples of Indigenous involvement in physical activity promotion are scarce. This study aimed to explore and describe local perspectives, experiences and meanings of physical activity in two remote NT Indigenous communities. METHODS: Qualitative research methods guided by ethnographic and participatory action research principles were used. Semi-structured interviews conducted with 23 purposively selected community members were the main source of data, augmented by five commissioned paintings by community-based artists and observations recorded in a journal by the first author. RESULTS: The findings reveal that in this cultural context the meaning of physical activity is embedded in socially significant and economically necessary physical engagement with the environment. Participants described physical activities associated with Indigenous natural and cultural resource management, customary spaces, seasonal timing and traditional education as creating and protecting health. These activities were viewed not only as culturally appropriate physical activities that contribute to health but as legitimate, physically active forms of social organisation, education and employment that help to build and maintain relationships, wealth, resources and the environment. CONCLUSION: This different construction of physical activity in remote Indigenous communities highlights the importance of involving Indigenous people in the development and implementation of physical activity promotion. Physical activities associated with traditional Indigenous cultural practices and being active 'on country' need to be viewed as legitimate health promotion activities. Exploring further ways to enable Indigenous people in remote NT to be involved in creating viable active livelihoods on 'traditional country' needs to be considered as imperative to health improvement.
Venous Thrombotic Risk in Transgender Women Undergoing Estrogen Therapy: A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis
(AMER ASSOC CLINICAL CHEMISTRY, 2019-01-01)
BACKGROUND: Transgender women are female individuals who were recorded men at birth based on natal sex. Supporting a person's gender identity improves their psychological health, and gender-affirming hormones reduce gender dysphoria and benefit mental health. For transgender women, estrogen administration has clinically significant benefits. Previous reviews have reported conflicting literature on the thrombotic risk of estrogen therapy in transgender women and have highlighted the need for more high-quality research. CONTENT: To help address the gap in understanding thrombotic risk in transgender women receiving estrogen therapy, we performed a systematic literature review and metaanalysis. Two evaluators independently assessed quality using the Ottawa Scale for Cohort Studies. The Poisson normal model was used to estimate the study-specific incidence rates and the pooled incidence rate. Heterogeneity was measured using Higgins I2 statistic. The overall estimate of the incidence rate was 2.3 per 1000 person-years (95% CI, 0.8-6.9). The heterogeneity was significant (I2 = 74%; P = 0.0039). SUMMARY: Our study estimated the incidence rate of venous thromboembolism in transgender women prescribed estrogen to be 2.3 per 1000 person-years, but because of heterogeneity this estimate cannot be reliably applied to transgender women as a group. There are insufficient data in the literature to partition by subgroup for subgroup prohibiting the analysis to control for tobacco use, age, and obesity, which is a major limitation. Additional studies of current estrogen formulations, modes of administration, and combination therapies, as well as studies in the aging transgender population, are needed to confirm thrombotic risk and clarify optimal therapy regimens.
Modifiable risk factors for external cause mortality after release from prison: a nested case-control study
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2019-04-01)
AIM: People released from prison are at higher risk of mortality from potentially preventable causes than their peers in the general population. Because most studies of this phenomenon are reliant on registry data, there is little health and behavioural information available on those at risk, hampering the development of targeted, evidence-based preventive responses. Our aim was to identify modifiable risk and protective factors for external cause and cause-specific mortality after release from prison. METHODS: We undertook a nested case-control study using data from a larger retrospective cohort study of mortality after release from prison in Queensland, Australia between 1994 and 2007. Cases were 286 individuals who had died from external causes (drug overdose, suicide, transport accidents, or violence) matched with 286 controls on sex, Indigenous status, and release date. We extracted data from detention, case-management, and prison medical records. RESULTS: Factors associated with increased risk of external cause mortality included use of heroin and other opioids in the community [odds ratio (OR) = 2.20, 95% CI 1.41-3.43, p < 0.001], a prescription for antidepressants during the current prison sentence (OR = 1.94, 95% CI 1.02-3.67, p = 0.042), a history of problematic alcohol use in the community (OR = 1.54, 95% CI 1.05-2.26, p = 0.028), and having ever served two or more custodial sentences (OR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.01-2.25, p = 0.045). Being married (OR = 0.45, 95% CI 0.29-0.70, p < 0.001) was protective. Fewer predictors were associated with cause-specific mortality. CONCLUSIONS: We identified several behavioural, psychosocial, and clinical markers associated with mortality from preventable causes in people released from prison. Emerging evidence points to interventions that could be targeted at those at increased risk of external cause mortality. These include treatment and harm reduction programmes (for substance use), improving transitional support programmes and continuity of care (for mental health), diversion and drug reform (for repeat incarceration) and nurturing stable relationships during incarceration. The period of imprisonment and shortly after release provides a unique opportunity to improve the long-term health of ex-prisoners and overcome the disadvantage associated with imprisonment.