Hygiene behaviour in rural Nicaragua in relation to diarrhoea.
BACKGROUND: Childhood diarrhoea is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Nicaragua. Amongst the risk factors for its transmission are 'poor' hygiene practices. We investigated the effect of a large number of hygiene practices on diarrhoeal disease in children aged <2 years and validated the technique of direct observation of hygiene behaviour. METHODS: A prospective follow-up study was carried out in a rural zone of Nicaragua. From the database of a previously conducted case-control study on water and sanitation 172 families were recruited, half of which had experienced a higher than expected rate of diarrhoea in their children and the other half a lower rate. Hygiene behaviour was observed over two mornings and diarrhoea incidence was recorded with a calendar, filled out by the mother, and collected every week for 5 months. RESULTS: Of 46 'good' practices studied, 39 were associated with a lower risk of diarrhoea, five were unrelated and only for two a higher risk was observed. Washing of hands, domestic cleanliness (kitchen, living room, yard) and the use of a diaper/underclothes by the child had the strongest protective effect. Schooling (>3 years of primary school) and better economic position (possession of a radio) had a positive influence on general hygiene behaviour, education having a slightly stronger effect when a radio was present. Individual hygiene behaviour appeared to be highly variable in contrast with the consistent behaviour of the community as a whole. Feasible and appropriate indicators of hygiene behaviour were found to be domestic cleanliness and the use of a diaper or underclothes by the child. CONCLUSION: A consistent relationship between almost all hygiene practices and diarrhoea was detected, more schooling producing better hygiene behaviour. The high variability of hygiene behaviour at the individual level requires repeated observations (at least two) before and after the hygiene education in the event one wants to measure the impact of the campaign on the individual. (+info)
Cancer mortality by educational level in the city of Barcelona.
The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between educational level and mortality from cancer in the city of Barcelona. The data were derived from a record linkage between the Barcelona Mortality Registry and the Municipal Census. The relative risks (RR) of death and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) according to level of education were derived from Poisson regression models. For all malignancies, men in the lowest educational level had a RR of death of 1.21 (95% CI 1.13-1.29) compared with men with a university degree, whereas for women a significant decreasing in risk was observed (RR 0.81; 95% CI 0.74-0.90). Among men, significant negative trends of increasing risk according to level of education were present for cancer of the mouth and pharynx (RR 1.70 for lowest vs. highest level of education), oesophagus (RR 2.14), stomach (RR 1.99), larynx (RR 2.56) and lung (RR 1.35). Among women, cervical cancer was negatively related to education (RR 2.62), whereas a positive trend was present for cancers of the colon (RR 0.76), pancreas (RR 0.59), lung (RR 0.55) and breast (RR 0.65). The present study confirms for the first time, at an individual level, the existence of socioeconomic differences in mortality for several cancer sites in Barcelona, Spain. There is a need to implement health programmes and public health policies to reduce these inequities. (+info)
Moderate physical activity in relation to mammographic patterns.
High-risk mammographic patterns may be used as a surrogate end point for breast cancer in etiologic research as well as in prevention studies. Physical activity may be one of the few modifiable risk factors for breast cancer. We examined the relationship between physical activity and mammographic patterns among 2720 Norwegian women, ages 40-56 years, who participated in both the Second and Third Tromso studies. Epidemiologic data were obtained through questionnaires. Two questions from the Second Tromso study and five questions from the Third elicited information on physical activity. The mammograms were categorized into five groups based on anatomical-mammographic correlations. For analysis, patterns I through III were combined into a low-risk group and patterns IV and V into a high-risk group. Odds ratios that were adjusted for age, education, menopausal status, body mass index, parity, age at menarche, oral contraceptive use, and alcohol intake, with 95% confidence intervals, were estimated using logistic regression. Women who reported moderate physical activity, i.e., more than 2 h/week, were 20% less likely (odds ratio, 0.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.6-1.1) to have high-risk mammographic patterns compared with those who reported being inactive. This relationship remains consistent when stratified by menopausal status, parity, and tertiles of body mass index. However, all of the associations between various measures of physical activity and high-risk patterns found in this study are weak with confidence intervals that include 1.0. Thus, chance is a reasonable explanation for the weak associations found. The relationship between physical activity and high-risk patterns should be examined further as a means to explore the biologic mechanisms relating physical activity to breast cancer risk. (+info)
Low-weight neonatal survival paradox in the Czech Republic.
Analysis of vital statistics for the Czech Republic between 1986 and 1993, including 3,254 infant deaths from 350,978 first births to married and single women who conceived at ages 18-29 years, revealed a neonatal survival advantage for low-weight infants born to disadvantaged (single, less educated) women, particularly for deaths from congenital anomalies. This advantage largely disappeared after the neonatal period. The same patterns have been observed for low-weight infants born to black women in the United States. Since the Czech Republic had an ethnically homogenous population, virtually universal prenatal care, and uniform institutional conditions for delivery, Czech results must be attributed to social rather than to biologic or medical circumstances. This strengthens the contention that in the United States, the black neonatal survival paradox may be due as much to race-related social stigmatization and consequent disadvantage as to any hypothesized hereditary influences on birth-weight-specific survival. (+info)
Are sex and educational level independent predictors of dementia and Alzheimer's disease? Incidence data from the PAQUID project.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the age specific risk of Alzheimer's disease according to sex, and to explore the role of education in a cohort of elderly community residents aged 65 years and older. METHODS: A community based cohort of elderly people was studied longitudinally for 5 years for the development of dementia. Dementia diagnoses were made according to the DSM III R criteria and Alzheimer's disease was assessed using the NINCDS-ADRDA criteria. Among the 3675 non-demented subjects initially included in the cohort, 2881 participated in the follow up. Hazard ratios of dementia were estimated using a Cox model with delayed entry in which the time scale is the age of the subjects. RESULTS: During the 5 year follow up, 190 incident cases of dementia, including 140 cases of Alzheimer's disease were identified. The incidence rates of Alzheimer's disease were 0.8/100 person-years in men and 1.4/100 person-years in women. However, the incidence was higher in men than in women before the age of 80 and higher in women than in men after this age. A significant interaction between sex and age was found. The hazard ratio of Alzheimer's disease in women compared with men was estimated to be 0.8 at 75 years and 1.7 at 85 years. The risks of dementia and Alzheimer's disease were associated with a lower educational attainment (hazard ratio=1.8, p<0.001). The increased risk of Alzheimer's disease in women was not changed after adjustment for education. CONCLUSION: Women have a higher risk of developing dementia after the age of 80 than men. Low educational attainment is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, the increased risk in women is not explained by a lower educational level. (+info)
Serum and red blood cell folate concentrations, race, and education: findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the relations between race or ethnicity, educational attainment, and serum and red blood cell folate concentrations. OBJECTIVE: We examined the relation between educational attainment and serum and red blood cell folate concentrations in 8457 white, African American, and Mexican American men and women aged > or = 17 y. DESIGN: We performed a cross-sectional analysis using data from Phase 1 of the third National health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1991). RESULTS: White men had significantly higher adjusted serum and red blood cell folate concentrations (16.9 and 502.6 nmol/L, respectively) than did African American men (15.6 and 423.3 nmol/L, respectively) or Mexican American men (16.0 and 457.0 nmol/L, respectively); white women had significantly higher concentrations (18.4 and 515.9 nmol/L, respectively) than did African American women (16.3 and 415.4 nmol/L, respectively) or Mexican American women (15.9 and 455.7 nmol/L, respectively). For the entire sample, rank correlation coefficients between educational attainment and serum and red blood cell folate were 0.11 and 0.12, respectively, and were larger in white participants than in other participants. No significant linear trends between adjusted serum or red blood cell folate and educational attainment were found. Among participants with > 12 y of education, the mean adjusted concentrations of serum folate were 15% and 18% lower and those of red blood cell were 18% and 22% lower in African American men and women than in white men and women, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: African Americans and Mexican Americans could benefit most from public health programs to boost folate intakes by encouraging increased intake of folate-rich foods and vitamin supplements. (+info)
Alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, problem drinking, and socioeconomic status.
In general, a lower socioeconomic status (SES) is related to a lower health status, more health problems, and a shorter life expectancy. Although causal relations between SES and health are unclear, lifestyle factors play an intermediate role. The purpose of the present study was to obtain more insight into the relation between SES, alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and problem drinking, through a general population survey among 8000 people in Rotterdam. Odds ratios were calculated using educational level as independent, and alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and problem drinking as dependent variables. Abstinence decreased significantly by increasing educational level for both sexes. For men, excessive drinking, and notably very excessive drinking, was more prevalent in the lowest educational group. For women, no significant relation between educational level and prevalence of excessive drinking was found. After controlling for differences in drinking behaviour, among men the prevalence of 'psychological dependence' and 'social problems' was higher in intermediate educational groups, whereas prevalence of 'drunkenness' was lower in intermediate educational groups. For women, a negative relation was found between educational level and 'psychological dependence'; prevalence of 'symptomatic drinking' was higher in the lowest educational group. Prevalence of problem drinking was not related to educational level in either sex. It is concluded that differences exist between educational levels with respect to abstinence, but only limited differences were found with respect to excessive drinking. Furthermore, there is evidence for higher prevalences of alcohol-related problems in lower educational levels, after controlling for differences in drinking behaviour, in both sexes. (+info)
Potential explanations for the educational gradient in coronary heart disease: a population-based case-control study of Swedish women.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between educational attainment and coronary heart disease (CHD) and the factors that may explain this association. METHODS: This population-based case-control study included 292 women with CHD who were 65 years or younger and 292 age-matched controls. RESULTS: Compared with the adjusted odds ratio for CHD associated with college education, the age-adjusted odds ratio associated with mandatory education (< or = 9 years) was 1.87 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.23, 2.84) and the odds ratio for high school education was 1.35 (95% CI = 0.81, 2.25) (P for trend < .01). The odds ratio for mandatory education was reduced by 82%, to 1.16 (95% CI = 0.69, 2.09), after adjustment for psychosocial stress, unhealthy lifestyle patterns, hemostatic factors, hypertension, and lipids. CONCLUSIONS: Much of the increased risk of CHD in women with low education appears to be linked to psychosocial stress and lifestyle factors. Hemostatic factors, lipids, and hypertension also contribute to a lesser extent. These factors may be considered in strategies geared to reducing socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular health. (+info)