Jan 31 2012

Public Health News Roundup: January 31

Carpooled Kids Less Likely to be in Booster Seats

More than half of parents carpool children other than their own, but they do not always use boosters for guest children who usually use one, according to a new study in Pediatrics. The authors say social norms may play a big role in booster seat use and state laws may help close the gap between current laws and best practice recommendations for child passenger safety. Read more on transportation and health.

Greater Effort Needed to Reduce Car-Related Deaths among Alaska Natives and American Indians

More research and programs are needed to address the high rate of motor vehicle-related deaths among American Indian and Alaska Native populations, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. The new study, in Epidemiologic Reviews, is the first published review of the evidence on risk factors and interventions concerning car crashes in this population.

Despite overall declines in motor vehicle deaths in the U.S., deaths are highest among American Indian and Alaska Natives, with a motor vehicle death rate that is three times the rate for the Asian and Pacific Islander population—the population with the lowest rate, according to study authors. The authors say risk factors behind the disparity may include include poor road conditions in rural areas or reservations, which often lack traffic control devices and artificial lighting, and alcohol use. Read more on smart growth of communities, which includes designing for safer, more walkable towns.

Physician’s Weight May Influence Obesity Diagnosis and Care

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the impact of physician body mass index (BMI) on obesity care among patients and found that physicians with a normal BMI, as compared to overweight and obese physicians, were more likely to engage their obese patients in weight loss discussions (30 percent versus 18 percent). The study, published in Obesity, also found physicians were more likely to diagnose a patient as obese if they perceived the patient’s BMI met or exceeded their own (93 percent versus 7 percent). Read more obesity news.

Tags: Health disparities, News roundups, Obesity, Public and Community Health, Safety, Transportation