Physical Health

Kristjanson P, Radeny M, Baltenweck I, Ogutu J, Notenbaert A. Livelihood mapping and poverty correlates at a meso-level in Kenya. Food Policy [Internet]. Submitted;30 :568-583. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We identify and map critical spatial factors grouped into natural, human, social, financial and physical capital assets, which largely determine livelihood options, strategies and welfare of agro-pastoral communities in a semi-arid district of southern Kenya. Our approach builds upon new, relatively high-resolution spatial poverty data and refines participatory land-use mapping methods, making
valuable information on natural and social resource availability and access useful for policy makers. While most poverty analyses focus on the household, we employ quantitative spatial data analysis methods to examine the spatial correlates of meso-, or community-level poverty incidence. The results
suggest that variables influencing poverty levels in this district include pasture potential, livestock density, distance to a major town, road density, access to education, access to security, soil fertility and agricultural potential. Because of the participatory research process taken, these results are already feeding into both local- and national-level policy processes aimed at reducing poverty in Kenya.
Haase H, Rink L. Multiple impacts of zinc on immune function. Metallonomics [Internet]. 2014;6 :1175-1180. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Even though zinc is essential for virtually all processes in the human body, observations during zinc deficiency indicate that the absence of this trace element most severely affects the immune response. Numerous investigations of the cellular and molecular requirements for zinc in the immune system have indicated that there is not just one single function of zinc underlying this essentiality. In fact, there is a wide range of different roles of zinc in immunity. This review summarizes the recent developments in three of the major fields: the role of zinc as a second messenger in signal transduction, the importance of zinc for immune cell function, and the competition for zinc between the host and the pathogen, a concept known as nutritional immunity.


Myers SS, Phillips RS, Davis RB, Cherkin DC, Legedza A, Kaptchuk TJ, Hrbek A, Buring JE, Post D, Connelly MT, et al. Patient Expectations as Predictors of Outcome In Patients with Acute Low Back Pain. JGIM: Journal of General Internal Medicine [Internet]. 2008;23 :148-153. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Few studies have evaluated the association between patient expectations for recovery and clinical outcomes, and no study has evaluated whether asking patients to choose their therapy modifies such an association.


To evaluate the association between patients' expectations and functional recovery in patients with acute low back pain (LBP), and to determine whether that association is affected by giving patients choice of therapy.


A secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial comparing usual care alone to usual care plus choice of chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage in 444 adults with acute LBP, lasting less than 21 days.


Primary outcome was functional disability (Roland score) at 5 and 12 weeks. Patients' general expectations for improvement were associated with improvement in functional status (beta = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.56, 1.36). A 1-point increase in general expectations was associated with a 0.96-point improvement in Roland score. The association of expectation with outcome was 2-3 times greater in the usual care group than the choice group. However, these differences did not reach statistical significance.


In patients with acute LBP, higher expectations for recovery are associated with greater functional improvement. Eliciting patient expectations for improvement may be a simple way to identify patients with the highest (or lowest) likelihood of experiencing functional improvement. Incorporating questions about patient expectations in future trials may clarify the role of this important correlate of clinical outcomes.

Wells NM, Lekies KS. Nature and the Life Course: Pathways from Childhood Nature Experiences to Adult Environmentalism. Children, Youth, and Environments. 2006;16 :1-24.Abstract

Model testing of US urban adult interview data and cross-validation procedures using structural equation modeling suggest that childhood participation with nature may set an individual on a trajectory toward adult environmentalism, i.e., positive attitudes and behaviors relating to the environment. This summary is not an official abstract. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract

Lowe M. Obesity and climate change mitigation in Australia: overview and analysis of policies with co-benefits. Aust N Z J Public Health [Internet]. 2014;38 (1) :19-24. Publisher's VersionAbstract

OBJECTIVE: To provide an overview of the shared structural causes of obesity and climate change, and analyse policies that could be implemented in Australia to both equitably reduce obesity rates and contribute to mitigating climate change. METHODS: Informed by the political economy of health theoretical framework, a review was conducted of the literature on the shared causes of, and solutions to, obesity and climate change. Policies with potential co-benefits for climate change and obesity were then analysed based upon their feasibility and capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and equitably reduce obesity rates in Australia. RESULTS: Policies with potential co-benefits fit within three broad categories: those to replace car use with low-emissions, active modes of transport; those to improve diets and reduce emissions from the food system; and macro-level economic policies to reduce the over-consumption of food and fossil fuel energy. CONCLUSION: Given the complex causes of both problems, it is argued that a full spectrum of complementary strategies across different sectors should be utilised. IMPLICATIONS: Such an approach would have significant public health, social and environmental benefits.

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