Publications by authors named "Lynne C Messer"

71 Publications

Characteristics associated with downward residential mobility among birthing persons in California.

Soc Sci Med 2021 Jun 4;279:113962. Epub 2021 May 4.

Program in Public Health & Center for Population, Inequality, and Policy, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA.

Background: Substantial research documents health consequences of neighborhood disadvantage. Patterns of residential mobility that differ by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES) may sort non-Hispanic (NH) Black and low-SES families into disadvantaged neighborhoods. In this study, we leverage a sibling-linked dataset to track residential mobility among birthing persons between pregnancies and investigate baseline characteristics associated with downward mobility, including race/ethnicity, SES, and pre-existing health conditions.

Methods: We used a probabilistic linkage strategy to identify births to the same person between 2007 and 2015 (n = 624,222) and categorized downward residential mobility by quartile-level increases in neighborhood disadvantage. We defined strong downward mobility as a move from a neighborhood with very low (quartile 1) to very high (quartile 4) disadvantage and estimated the logit (i.e., log-odds) of strong downward mobility as a function of racial/ethnic, sociodemographic, and health characteristics of the birthing person and their first birth. We further explored the role of neighborhood housing affordability by examining changes in affordability from first to second birth by race/ethnicity.

Results: NH Black birthing persons show an over three-fold increased odds of strong downward mobility relative to NH white birthing persons (OR = 3.34, CI: 2.91, 3.84). To a lesser extent, Hispanic race/ethnicity, WIC receipt, low educational attainment, obesity, and infant preterm birth (PTB) also predict strong downward mobility. Examination of changes in neighborhood affordability indicate that over half of NH Black birthing persons move to a more affordable neighborhood, compared to less than a quarter of NH white birthing persons, before the birth of their second child. Results remain consistent across outcomes, measures of neighborhood SES, and modified log-Poisson models.

Conclusion: We find an elevated risk of strong downward mobility among NH Black and low-SES birthing persons. Future research may identify other factors (e.g., housing affordability) that generate downward residential mobility to identify interventions that promote neighborhood equity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113962DOI Listing
June 2021

Joint effects of ethnic enclave residence and ambient volatile organic compounds exposure on risk of gestational diabetes mellitus among Asian/Pacific Islander women in the United States.

Environ Health 2021 May 8;20(1):56. Epub 2021 May 8.

Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 6710B Rockledge Drive, MSC, Bethesda, MD, 7004, USA.

Background: Asian/Pacific Islander (API) communities in the United States often reside in metropolitan areas with distinct social and environmental attributes. Residence in an ethnic enclave, a socially distinct area, is associated with lower gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) risk, yet exposure to high levels of air pollution, including volatile organic compounds (VOCS), is associated with increased GDM risk. We examined the joint effects of ethnic enclaves and VOCs to better understand GDM risk among API women, the group with the highest prevalence of GDM.

Methods: We examined 9069 API births in the Consortium on Safe Labor (19 hospitals, 2002-2008). API ethnic enclaves were defined as areas ≥66th percentile for percent API residents, dissimilarity (geographic dispersal of API and White residents), and isolation (degree that API individuals interact with another API individual). High levels of 14 volatile organic compounds (VOC) were defined as ≥75th percentile. Four joint categories were created for each VOC: Low VOC/Enclave (reference group), Low VOC/No Enclave, High VOC/Enclave, High VOC/No Enclave. GDM was reported in medical records. Hierarchical logistic regression estimated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) between joint exposures and GDM, adjusted for maternal factors and area-level poverty. Risk was estimated for 3-months preconception and first trimester exposures.

Results: Enclave residence was associated with lower GDM risk regardless of VOC exposure. Preconception benzene exposure was associated with increased risk when women resided outside enclaves [High VOC/No Enclave (OR:3.45, 95%CI:1.77,6.72)], and the effect was somewhat mitigated within enclaves, [High VOC/Enclave (OR:2.07, 95%:1.09,3.94)]. Risks were similar for 12 of 14 VOCs during preconception and 10 of 14 during the first trimester.

Conclusions: API residence in non-enclave areas is associated with higher GDM risk, regardless of VOC level. Ethnic enclave residence may mitigate effects of VOC exposure, perhaps due to lower stress levels. The potential benefit of ethnic enclaves warrants further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-021-00738-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8106843PMC
May 2021

Police violence and preterm birth-Moving towards antiracism in our research on racism.

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Community Health, Social Justice, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Portland, OR, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ppe.12764DOI Listing
March 2021

Youth Assets and Associations With Adolescent Risk Taking.

J Sch Health 2021 01 12;91(1):37-49. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

TRAIL Project, 300 Mooresville Road, Kannapolis, NC, 28081, USA.

Background: Positive youth development emphasizes that adaptive features of adolescence may contribute to teenage pregnancy prevention.

Methods: Using data from approximately 1300 seventh-ninth graders, we describe positive youth development assets (external and internal) and their association with sexual risk taking. School-, sex-, and race/ethnicity-stratified logistic or linear models assessed associations between developmental assets and 6 outcomes (continuous attitudes about teenage sex and marriage, abstinence intentions, and nonsexual risk-taking behavior; dichotomous high risk-dating behavior, friends' sexual activity, and prior sexual activity).

Results: Associations between developmental assets and youth sexual behavior differed by school, sex, and race/ethnicity. White female respondents showed the most consistent associations between higher amounts of each of the positive youth development assets and attitudes and behaviors conducive to delaying sexual activity while black youth showed the fewest associations.

Conclusion: These results contribute to the positive youth development literature by identifying that relationships between assets and adolescent risk differs by race and sex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/josh.12973DOI Listing
January 2021

Associations between cumulative environmental quality and ten selected birth defects in Texas.

Birth Defects Res 2021 Jan 31;113(2):161-172. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

US EPA, Office of Research and Development, Center of Public Health and Environmental Assessment, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.

Background: Causes of most birth defects are largely unknown. Genetics, maternal factors (e.g., age, smoking) and environmental exposures have all been linked to some birth defects, including neural tube, oral cleft, limb reduction, and gastroschisis; however, the contribution of cumulative exposures across several environmental domains in association with these defects is not well understood.

Methods: The Environmental Quality Index (EQI) and its domains (air, water, land, sociodemographic, built) were used to estimate county-level cumulative environmental exposures from 2006-2010 and matched to birth defects identified from Texas Birth Defects Registry and live birth records from births in years 2007-2010 (N = 1,610,709). Poisson regression models estimated prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between 10 birth defects and the EQI.

Results: We observed some positive associations between worst environmental quality and neural tube, anencephaly, spina bifida, oral cleft, cleft palate, cleft lip with and without cleft palate, and gastroschisis [PR range: 1.12-1.55], but near null associations with limb reduction defects. Among domain specific results, we observed the strongest positive associations with the sociodemographic domain across birth defects but varied positive associations among the air and water domains, and negative or null associations with the land and built domains. Overall, few exposure-response patterns were evident.

Conclusions: Our results highlight the complexities of cumulative, simultaneous environmental exposures in the prevalence rates of 10 selected birth defects. We were able to explore the impact of overall and domain specific environmental quality on birth defects and identify potential domain specific drivers of these associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdr2.1788DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8091812PMC
January 2021

Air pollution, neighborhood deprivation, and autism spectrum disorder in the Study to Explore Early Development.

Environ Epidemiol 2019 Oct;3(5)

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: To examine whether neighborhood deprivation modifies the association between early life air pollution exposure and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we used resources from a multisite case-control study, the Study to Explore Early Development.

Methods: Cases were 674 children with confirmed ASD born in 2003-2006; controls were 855 randomly sampled children born during the same time period and residents of the same geographic areas as cases. Air pollution was assessed by roadway proximity and particulate matter <2.5 μm (PM) exposure during pregnancy and first year of life. To characterize neighborhood deprivation, an index was created based on eight census tract-level socioeconomic status-related parameters. The continuous index was categorized into tertiles, representing low, moderate, and high deprivation. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Neighborhood deprivation modified ( = 0.08) the association between PM exposure during the first year of life and ASD, with a stronger association for those living in high (OR = 2.42, 95% CI = 1.20, 4.86) rather than moderate (OR=1.21, 95% CI = 0.67, 2.17) or low (OR=1.46, 95% CI = 0.80, 2.65) deprivation neighborhoods. Departure from additivity or multiplicativity was not observed for roadway proximity or exposures during pregnancy.

Conclusion: These results provide suggestive evidence of interaction between neighborhood deprivation and PM exposure during the first year of life in association with ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ee9.0000000000000067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7260884PMC
October 2019

Pregnancy Outcomes and Documentation Status Among Latina Women: A Systematic Review.

Health Equity 2020 11;4(1):158-182. Epub 2020 May 11.

Oregon Health & Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health, Portland, Oregon, USA.

The impression that Latinas experience paradoxically good pregnancy outcomes in the United States persists, despite evidence showing that these outcomes are not enjoyed by all Latina subgroups. We conducted this systematic literature review to examine the relationship between documentation status and pregnancy outcomes among Latinas. This review synthesizes empirical evidence on this relationship; examines how these studies define and operationalize documentation status; and makes recommendations of how a more comprehensive methodological approach can guide public health research on the impact of documentation status on Latina immigrants to the United States. We searched the literature within PubMed, Web of Science, Academic Search Premier, and Google Scholar in 2017 for relevant studies. Based on stringent inclusion criteria, we retained nine studies for analysis. We found that evidence for the impact of documentation status on pregnancy outcomes among Latinas is not conclusive. We believe the divergence in our findings is, in part, due to variation in: conceptualization of how documentation status impacts pregnancy outcomes, sample populations, definitions of exposures and outcomes, and contextual factors included in models. Specific analytic challenges around sampling, measurement, and data analysis are identified. Suggestions for future research are offered regarding measurement of documentation status. Findings highlight the need for increased attention to documentation as an influence on Latina pregnancy outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/heq.2019.0126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7241052PMC
May 2020

The tipping point: could increasing the subminimum wage reduce poverty-related antenatal stressors in U.S. women?

Ann Epidemiol 2020 05 6;45:47-53.e6. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Portland, OR.

Purpose: Tipped workers, primarily women of reproductive-age, can be paid a "subminimum wage" 71% lower than the federal minimum wage, contributing to economic hardship. Poverty-related antenatal stress has deleterious health effects for women and their children. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of increasing the state-level subminimum wage (currently $2.13 per hour) on poverty-related antenatal stress for women in the United States.

Methods: Utilizing a difference-in-differences approach comparing state wage policies over time, we estimated the impact of increases in the subminimum wage on poverty-related antenatal stress using data from 35 states participating in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System between 2004 and 2014, linked to state-level wage laws, census, and antipoverty policy data.

Results: The effect of increasing the subminimum wage on poverty-related stress differed by year and sociodemographics. Wage increases in 2014 were associated with the largest decreases in stress for unmarried women of color with less than a college degree, a population that we estimated would have experienced a 19.7% reduction in stress from 2004 to 2014 if subminimum wage was equivalent to the federal minimum wage.

Conclusions: Increasing the subminimum wage can reduce poverty-related stress and may be a potential intervention for reducing poor health outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.03.007DOI Listing
May 2020

Self-reported depression and social support are associated with egocentric network characteristics of HIV-infected women of color.

BMC Womens Health 2020 04 23;20(1):80. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: We explore the social network characteristics associated with depressive symptoms and social support among HIV-infected women of color (WOC).

Methods: Network data were collected from 87 HIV-infected WOC at an academic Infectious Disease clinic in the United States (US) south. With validated instruments, interviewers also asked about depressive symptoms, social support, and treatment-specific social support. Linear regression models resulted in beta coefficients and 95% confidence intervals for the relationships among network characteristics, depression, and support provision.

Results: Financial support provision was associated with lower reported depressive symptoms while emotional support provision was associated with increased reported social support. Talking less than daily to the first person named in her network, the primary alter, was associated with a nearly 3-point decrease in reported social support for respondents. Having people in their social network who knew their HIV status was also important.

Conclusions: We found that both functional and structural social network characteristics contributed to perceptions of support by HIV-infected WOC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12905-020-00937-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7181511PMC
April 2020

A nationwide investigation of the impact of the tipped worker subminimum wage on infant size for gestational age.

Prev Med 2020 Feb 8;133:106016. Epub 2020 Feb 8.

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.

Tipped workers, primarily women of reproductive-age, can be paid a "subminimum wage" 71% lower than the federal minimum wage. We estimated the effects of increasing the state-level tipped worker subminimum wage (federally, $2.13 per hour) on infant size for gestational age in the US as infants born small or large are at risk for poor health across the lifecourse. Utilizing unconditional quantile regression and difference-in-differences analysis of data from 2004 to 2016 Vital Statistics Natality Files (N = 41,219,953 mother-infant dyads), linked to state-level wage laws, census, and antipoverty policy data, we estimated the effect of increasing the subminimum wage on birthweight standardized for gestational age (BWz). Smallest and largest infants are defined as those in the 5th and 95th BWz percentiles, respectively. Increases in the subminimum wage affected the BWz distribution. When compared to a static wage of $2.13 for the duration of the study period, wage set to 100% of the federal minimum ($5.15-$7.25) was associated with an increase in BWz of 0.024 (95% CI: 0.004, 0.045) for the smallest infants and a decrease by 0.041 (95% CI: -0.054, -0.029) for the largest infants. Increasing the subminimum wage may be one strategy to promote healthier birthweight in infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106016DOI Listing
February 2020

Ethnic Enclaves and Pregnancy and Behavior Outcomes Among Asian/Pacific Islanders in the USA.

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2020 04 14;7(2):224-233. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 6710B Rockledge Drive, MSC, Bethesda, MD, 7004, USA.

Objectives: Ethnic enclaves are ethnically, spatially, and socially distinct communities that may promote health through access to culturally appropriate resources and reduced exposure to discrimination. This study examined ethnic enclave residence and pregnancy outcomes among Asian/Pacific Islander (API) women in the USA.

Design: We examined 9206 API births in the Consortium on Safe Labor (2002-2008). Ethnic enclaves were defined as hospital regions with high percentage of API residents (> 4%), high dissimilarity index (> 0.41; distribution of API and white residents within a geographic area), and high isolation index (> 0.03; interaction between API and white residents in an area). Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), preterm birth (PTB), small for gestational age (SGA), and smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy were reported in medical records supplemented with ICD-9 codes. Hierarchical logistic regression models estimated associations between ethnic enclaves and pregnancy outcomes, adjusted for maternal factors, area-level poverty, and air pollution.

Results: Women in enclaves had lower odds of GDM (OR 0.61; 95%CI 0.45, 0.82), PTB (OR 0.74; 95%CI 0.56, 0.99), and SGA (OR 0.68; 95%CI 0.52, 0.89) compared with women in non-enclaves. Prenatal smoking and alcohol use appeared less likely in enclaves, but estimates were imprecise. Within enclaves, about 10.5% of homes speak an API language, compared with 6.0% in non-enclaves. The mean percent of foreign-born API populations was 67.4% in enclaves and 68.8% in non-enclaves.

Conclusions: API women residing in ethnic enclaves had better pregnancy outcomes than API women residing in non-enclave areas. Access to culturally appropriate social supports and resources may be important for health promotion among API populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00650-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7104626PMC
April 2020

Divergent trends in life expectancy across the rural-urban gradient and association with specific racial proportions in the contiguous USA 2000-2005.

Int J Public Health 2019 Dec 4;64(9):1367-1374. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), MD 58A, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27711, USA.

Objectives: To estimate county-level adult life expectancy for Whites, Black/African Americans (Black), American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) and Asian/Pacific Islander (Asian) populations and assess the difference across racial groups in the relationship among life expectancy, rurality and specific race proportion.

Methods: We used individual-level death data to estimate county-level life expectancy at age 25 (e25) for Whites, Black, AIAN and Asian in the contiguous USA for 2000-2005. Race-sex-stratified models were used to examine the associations among e25, rurality and specific race proportion, adjusted for socioeconomic variables.

Results: Lower e25 was found in the central USA for AIANs and in the west coast for Asians. We found higher e25 in the most rural areas for Whites but in the most urban areas for AIAN and Asians. The associations between specific race proportion and e25 were positive or null for Whites but were negative for Blacks, AIAN, and Asians. The relationship between specific race proportion and e25 varied across rurality.

Conclusions: Identifying differences in adult life expectancy, both across and within racial groups, provides new insights into the geographic determinants of life expectancy disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00038-019-01274-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026113PMC
December 2019

Analyzing Policies Through a DOHaD Lens: What Can We Learn?

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 12 19;15(12). Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Oregon Health & Science University-Portland State University School of Public Health, Portland, OR 97201, USA.

Social, health, and environmental policies are critical tools for providing the conditions needed for healthy populations. However, current policy analyses fall short of capturing their full potential impacts across the life course and from generation to generation. We argue that the field of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD), a conceptual and research framework positing that early life experiences significantly affect health trajectories across the lifespan and into future generations, provides an important lens through which to analyze social policies. To illustrate this point, we synthesized evidence related to policies from three domains-family leave, nutrition, and housing-to examine the health implications for multiple generations. We selected these policy domains because they represent increasing distance from a reproductive health focus, each with a growing evidence base to support a potential impact on pregnant women and their offspring. Each of these examples represents an opportunity to extend our understanding of policy impact using a DOHaD lens, taking into account the potential life course and intergenerational effects that have previously been overlooked.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313805PMC
December 2018

Associations between environmental quality and infant mortality in the United States, 2000-2005.

Arch Public Health 2018 15;76:60. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, MD 58A, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711 USA.

Background: The United States (U.S.) suffers from high infant mortality (IM) rates and there are significant racial/ethnic differences in these rates. Prior studies on the environment and infant mortality are generally limited to singular exposures. We utilize the Environmental Quality Index (EQI), a measure of cumulative environmental exposure (across air, water, land, sociodemographic, and land domains) for U.S. counties from 2000 to 2005, to investigate associations between ambient environment and IM across maternal race/ethnicity.

Methods: We linked 2000-2005 infant data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the EQI ( = 22,702,529; 144,741 deaths). We utilized multi-level regression to estimate associations between quartiles of county-level EQI and IM. We also considered associations between quartiles of county level domain specific indices with IM. We controlled for rural-urban status (RUCC1: urban, metropolitan; RUCC2: urban, non-metropolitan; RUCC3: less urbanized; RUCC4: thinly populated), maternal age, maternal education, marital status, infant sex, and stratified on race/ethnicity. Additionally, we estimated associations for linear combinations of environmental quality and rural-urban status.

Results: We found a mix of positive, negative, and null associations and our findings varied across domain and race/ethnicity. Poorer overall environmental quality was associated with decreased odds among Non-Hispanic whites (OR and 95% CI: EQIQ4 (ref. EQIQ1): 0.84[0.80,0.89]). For Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics, some increased odds were observed. Poorer air quality was monotonically associated with increased odds among Non-Hispanic whites (airQ4 (ref. airQ1): 1.05[0.99,1.11]) and blacks (airQ4 (ref. airQ1): 1.09 [0.9,1.31]). Rural status was associated with increased IM odds among Hispanics (RUCC4-Q4:1.36[1.04,1.78]; RUCC1-Q4: 1.04[0.92,1.16], ref. for both RUCC1-Q1).

Conclusions: This study is the first to report on associations between ambient environmental quality and IM across the United States. It corroborates prior research suggesting an association between air pollution and IM and identifies residence in thinly populated (rural) areas as a potential risk factor towards IM amongst Hispanics. Some of the counterintuitive findings highlight the need for additional research into potentially differential drivers of environmental quality across the rural-urban continuum, especially with regards to the sociodemographic environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13690-018-0306-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6191999PMC
October 2018

The association between physical inactivity and obesity is modified by five domains of environmental quality in U.S. adults: A cross-sectional study.

PLoS One 2018 30;13(8):e0203301. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USEPA Human Studies Facility, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America.

Physical inactivity is a primary contributor to the obesity epidemic, but may be promoted or hindered by environmental factors. To examine how cumulative environmental quality may modify the inactivity-obesity relationship, we conducted a cross-sectional study by linking county-level Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data with the Environmental Quality Index (EQI), a composite measure of five environmental domains (air, water, land, built, sociodemographic) across all U.S. counties. We estimated the county-level association (N = 3,137 counties) between 2009 age-adjusted leisure-time physical inactivity (LTPIA) and 2010 age-adjusted obesity from BRFSS across EQI tertiles using multi-level linear regression, with a random intercept for state, adjusted for percent minority and rural-urban status. We modelled overall and sex-specific estimates, reporting prevalence differences (PD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). In the overall population, the PD increased from best (PD = 0.341 (95% CI: 0.287, 0.396)) to worst (PD = 0.645 (95% CI: 0.599, 0.690)) EQI tertile. We observed similar trends in males from best (PD = 0.244 (95% CI: 0.194, 0.294)) to worst (PD = 0.601 (95% CI: 0.556, 0.647)) quality environments, and in females from best (PD = 0.446 (95% CI: 0.385, 0.507)) to worst (PD = 0.655 (95% CI: 0.607, 0.703)). We found that poor environmental quality exacerbates the LTPIA-obesity relationship. Efforts to improve obesity through LTPIA may benefit from considering this relationship.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203301PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6117021PMC
February 2019

Associations between environmental quality and adult asthma prevalence in medical claims data.

Environ Res 2018 10 27;166:529-536. Epub 2018 Jun 27.

Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, United States; Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, 920 E 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, United States; Department of Medicine, Institute of Genomics and Systems Biology, and Computation Institute, University of Chicago, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, United States. Electronic address:

As of 2014, approximately 7.4% of U.S. adults had current asthma. The etiology of asthma is complex, involving genetics, behavior, and environmental factors. To explore the association between cumulative environmental quality and asthma prevalence in U.S. adults, we linked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Quality Index (EQI) to the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database. The EQI is a summary measure of five environmental domains (air, water, land, built, sociodemographic). We defined asthma as having at least 2 claims during the study period, 2003-2013. We used a Bayesian approach with non-informative priors, implementing mixed-effects regression modeling with a Poisson link function. Fixed effects variables were EQI, sex, race, and age. Random effects were counties. We modeled quintiles of the EQI comparing higher quintiles (worse quality) to lowest quintile (best quality) to estimate prevalence ratios (PR) and credible intervals (CIs). We estimated associations using the cumulative EQI and domain-specific EQIs; we assessed U.S. overall (non-stratified) as well as stratified by rural-urban continuum codes (RUCC) to assess rural/urban heterogeneity. Among the 71,577,118 U.S. adults with medical claims who could be geocoded to county of residence, 1,147,564 (1.6%) met the asthma definition. Worse environmental quality was associated with increased asthma prevalence using the non-RUCC-stratified cumulative EQI, comparing the worst to best EQI quintile (PR:1.27; 95% CI: 1.21, 1.34). Patterns varied among different EQI domains, as well as by rural/urban status. Poor environmental quality may increase asthma prevalence, but domain-specific drivers may operate differently depending on rural/urban status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6110955PMC
October 2018

Associations of Tipped and Untipped Service Work With Poor Mental Health in a Nationally Representative Cohort of Adolescents Followed Into Adulthood.

Am J Epidemiol 2018 10;187(10):2177-2185

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.

Precarious work is concentrated in the service industry in the United States and is a risk factor for poor mental health. Service occupations in which workers receive tips are potentially more precarious due to unstable schedule and income, and lack of benefits. We tested hypotheses that individuals working in tipped service occupations have greater odds of experiencing poor mental health (as indicated by self-reported depression, sleep problems, and/or greater perceived stress) relative to individuals in untipped service and nonservice occupations, using cross-sectional data from wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health data set (2007-2008; age range, 24-33 years). To improve comparability of occupation types, propensity scores were computed as a function of childhood factors, then used to construct a sample of 2,815 women and 2,586 men. In gender-stratified multivariable regression, women in tipped service had greater odds of reporting a depression diagnosis or symptoms relative to women in nonservice work (odds ratio = 1.61; 95% confidence interval: 1.11, 2.34). Associations of similar magnitude for sleep problems and perceived stress were observed among women but were not statistically significant; all associations were close to the null among men. Additional research is necessary to understand the factors that underlie differences in poor mental health in tipped and untipped service versus nonservice workers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6166209PMC
October 2018

Reliability and One-Year Stability of the PIN3 Neighborhood Environmental Audit in Urban and Rural Neighborhoods.

J Urban Health 2018 06;95(3):431-439

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Reliable and stable environmental audit instruments are needed to successfully identify the physical and social attributes that may influence physical activity. This study described the reliability and stability of the PIN3 environmental audit instrument in both urban and rural neighborhoods. Four randomly sampled road segments in and around a one-quarter mile buffer of participants' residences from the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition (PIN3) study were rated twice, approximately 2 weeks apart. One year later, 253 of the year 1 sampled roads were re-audited. The instrument included 43 measures that resulted in 73 item scores for calculation of percent overall agreement, kappa statistics, and log-linear models. For same-day reliability, 81% of items had moderate to outstanding kappa statistics (kappas ≥ 0.4). Two-week reliability was slightly lower, with 77% of items having moderate to outstanding agreement using kappa statistics. One-year stability had 68% of items showing moderate to outstanding agreement using kappa statistics. The reliability of the audit measures was largely consistent when comparing urban to rural locations, with only 8% of items exhibiting significant differences (α < 0.05) by urbanicity. The PIN3 instrument is a reliable and stable audit tool for studies assessing neighborhood attributes in urban and rural environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11524-018-0243-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5993700PMC
June 2018

High birth weight modifies association between adolescent physical activity and cardiometabolic health in women and not men.

Prev Med 2018 03 23;108:29-35. Epub 2017 Dec 23.

Oregon Health & Science University - Portland State University School of Public Health, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd., Mail Code CB669, Portland, OR 97239-3098, USA. Electronic address:

Recent evidence suggests that adverse prenatal development alters physiological response to physical activity, but longitudinal epidemiologic evidence is scant. This study tested the hypothesis that lower physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood is more strongly associated with later cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and diabetes or prediabetes (DM/PDM) in women and men who were born with high or low birth weight (HBW, LBW), compared to normal birth weight (NBW). We analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a cohort study of US adolescents followed into adulthood (1994-2009). Using sex-stratified multivariable regression, 30-year CVD risk score (calculated using objective measures; n=12,775) and prevalent DM/PDM (n=15,138) at 24-32years of age were each modeled as a function of birth weight category, self-reported moderate-to-vigorous physical activity frequency in adolescence (MVPA1) and young adulthood (MVPA3), and MVPA-birth weight interactions. Greater MVPA1 was associated with lower 30-year CVD risk score and DM/PDM risk in HBW women but not NBW or LBW women. Associations between MVPA1 and 30-year CVD risk or DM/PDM were not modified by HBW in men; or by LBW in women or men. Additionally, birth weight did not modify estimated effects of MVPA3. Findings suggest that frequent MVPA in adolescence may be a particularly important cardiometabolic risk reduction strategy in girls born HBW; however, we found no evidence that birth weight and MVPA interact in cardiometabolic disease risk in men, for MVPA in adulthood, or for LBW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.12.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828988PMC
March 2018

Does the association between early life growth and later obesity differ by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status? A systematic review.

Ann Epidemiol 2017 09 24;27(9):583-592.e5. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland. Electronic address:

Purpose: Rapid growth during infancy predicts higher risk of obesity later in childhood. The association between patterns of early life growth and later obesity may differ by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status (SES), but prior evidence syntheses do not consider vulnerable subpopulations.

Methods: We systemically reviewed published studies that explored patterns of early life growth (0-24 months of age) as predictors of later obesity (>24 months) that were either conducted in racial/ethnic minority or low-SES study populations or assessed effect modification of this association by race/ethnicity or SES. Literature searches were conducted in PubMed and SocINDEX.

Results: Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Faster growth during the first 2 years of life was consistently associated with later obesity irrespective of definition and timing of exposure and outcome measures. Associations were strongest in populations composed of greater proportions of racial/ethnic minority and/or low-SES children. For example, ORs ranged from 1.17 (95% CI: 1.11, 1.24) in a heterogeneous population to 9.24 (95% CI: 3.73, 22.9) in an entirely low-SES nonwhite population.

Conclusions: The impact of rapid growth in infancy on later obesity may differ by social stratification factors such as race/ethnicity and family income. More robust and inclusive studies examining these associations are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2017.08.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6688753PMC
September 2017

County-level cumulative environmental quality associated with cancer incidence.

Cancer 2017 Aug 8;123(15):2901-2908. Epub 2017 May 8.

US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: Individual environmental exposures are associated with cancer development; however, environmental exposures occur simultaneously. The Environmental Quality Index (EQI) is a county-level measure of cumulative environmental exposures that occur in 5 domains.

Methods: The EQI was linked to county-level annual age-adjusted cancer incidence rates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program state cancer profiles. All-site cancer and the top 3 site-specific cancers for male and female subjects were considered. Incident rate differences (IRDs; annual rate difference per 100,000 persons) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using fixed-slope, random intercept multilevel linear regression models. Associations were assessed with domain-specific indices and analyses were stratified by rural/urban status.

Results: Comparing the highest quintile/poorest environmental quality with the lowest quintile/best environmental quality for overall EQI, all-site county-level cancer incidence rate was positively associated with poor environmental quality overall (IRD, 38.55; 95% CI, 29.57-47.53) and for male (IRD, 32.60; 95% CI, 16.28-48.91) and female (IRD, 30.34; 95% CI, 20.47-40.21) subjects, indicating a potential increase in cancer incidence with decreasing environmental quality. Rural/urban stratified models demonstrated positive associations comparing the highest with the lowest quintiles for all strata, except the thinly populated/rural stratum and in the metropolitan/urbanized stratum. Prostate and breast cancer demonstrated the strongest positive associations with poor environmental quality.

Conclusion: We observed strong positive associations between the EQI and all-site cancer incidence rates, and associations differed by rural/urban status and environmental domain. Research focusing on single environmental exposures in cancer development may not address the broader environmental context in which cancers develop, and future research should address cumulative environmental exposures. Cancer 2017;123:2901-8. © 2017 American Cancer Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.30709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121813PMC
August 2017

Comparison of gestational dating methods and implications for exposure-outcome associations: an example with PM2.5 and preterm birth.

Occup Environ Med 2017 02 25;74(2):138-143. Epub 2016 Oct 25.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Objectives: Estimating gestational age is usually based on date of last menstrual period (LMP) or clinical estimation (CE); both approaches introduce potential bias. Differences in methods of estimation may lead to misclassification and inconsistencies in risk estimates, particularly if exposure assignment is also gestation-dependent. This paper examines a 'what-if' scenario in which alternative methods are used and attempts to elucidate how method choice affects observed results.

Methods: We constructed two 20-week gestational age cohorts of pregnancies between 2000 and 2005 (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, USA) using live birth certificates: one defined preterm birth (PTB) status using CE and one using LMP. Within these, we estimated risk for 4 categories of preterm birth (PTBs per 10 pregnancies) and risk differences (RD (95% CIs)) associated with exposure to particulate matter (PM).

Results: More births were classified preterm using LMP (16%) compared with CE (8%). RD divergences increased between cohorts as exposure period approached delivery. Among births between 28 and 31 weeks, week 7 PM exposure conveyed RDs of 44 (21 to 67) for CE and 50 (18 to 82) for LMP populations, while week 24 exposure conveyed RDs of 33 (11 to 56) and -20 (-50 to 10), respectively.

Conclusions: Different results from analyses restricted to births with both CE and LMP are most likely due to differences in dating methods rather than selection issues. Results are sensitive to choice of gestational age estimation, though degree of sensitivity can vary by exposure timing. When both outcome and exposure depend on estimate of gestational age, awareness of nuances in the method used for estimation is critical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2016-103833DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128148PMC
February 2017

Additive Interaction between Heterogeneous Environmental Quality Domains (Air, Water, Land, Sociodemographic, and Built Environment) on Preterm Birth.

Front Public Health 2016 24;4:232. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park , Chapel Hill, NC , USA.

Background: Environmental exposures often occur in tandem; however, epidemiological research often focuses on singular exposures. Statistical interactions among broad, well-characterized environmental domains have not yet been evaluated in association with health. We address this gap by conducting a county-level cross-sectional analysis of interactions between Environmental Quality Index (EQI) domain indices on preterm birth in the Unites States from 2000 to 2005.

Methods: The EQI, a county-level index constructed for the 2000-2005 time period, was constructed from five domain-specific indices (air, water, land, built, and sociodemographic) using principal component analyses. County-level preterm birth rates ( = 3141) were estimated using live births from the National Center for Health Statistics. Linear regression was used to estimate prevalence differences (PDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing worse environmental quality to the better quality for each model for (a) each individual domain main effect, (b) the interaction contrast, and (c) the two main effects plus interaction effect (i.e., the "net effect") to show departure from additivity for the all U.S. counties. Analyses were also performed for subgroupings by four urban/rural strata.

Results: We found the suggestion of antagonistic interactions but no synergism, along with several purely additive (i.e., no interaction) associations. In the non-stratified model, we observed antagonistic interactions, between the sociodemographic/air domains [net effect (i.e., the association, including main effects and interaction effects) PD: -0.004 (95% CI: -0.007, 0.000), interaction contrast: -0.013 (95% CI: -0.020, -0.007)] and built/air domains [net effect PD: 0.008 (95% CI 0.004, 0.011), interaction contrast: -0.008 (95% CI: -0.015, -0.002)]. Most interactions were between the air domain and other respective domains. Interactions differed by urbanicity, with more interactions observed in non-metropolitan regions.

Conclusion: Observed antagonistic associations may indicate that those living in areas with multiple detrimental domains may have other interfering factors reducing the burden of environmental exposure. This study is the first to explore interactions across different environmental domains and demonstrates the utility of the EQI to examine the relationship between environmental domain interactions and human health. While we did observe some departures from additivity, many observed effects were additive. This study demonstrated that interactions between environmental domains should be considered in future analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2016.00232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5076290PMC
October 2016

Civic engagement among orphans and non-orphans in five low- and middle-income countries.

Global Health 2016 10 11;12(1):61. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Center for Health Policy, Duke Global Health Institute, Box 90519, Duke University, Durham, NC, 27708, USA.

Background: Communities and nations seeking to foster social responsibility in their youth are interested in understanding factors that predict and promote youth involvement in public activities. Orphans and separated children (OSC) are a vulnerable population whose numbers are increasing, particularly in resource-poor settings. Understanding whether and how OSC are engaged in civic activities is important for community and world leaders who need to provide care for OSC and ensure their involvement in sustainable development.

Methods: The Positive Outcomes for Orphans study (POFO) is a multi-country, longitudinal cohort study of OSC randomly sampled from institution-based care and from family-based care, and of non-OSC sampled from the same study regions. Participants represent six sites in five low-and middle-income countries. We examined civic engagement activities and government trust among subjects > =16 years old at 90-month follow-up (approximately 7.5 years after baseline). We calculated prevalences and estimated the association between key demographic variables and prevalence of regular volunteer work using multivariable Poisson regression, with sampling weights to accounting for the complex sampling design.

Results: Among the 1,281 POFO participants > =16 who were assessed at 90-month follow-up, 45 % participated in regular community service or volunteer work; two-thirds of those volunteers did so on a strictly voluntary basis. While government trust was fairly high, at approximately 70 % for each level of government, participation in voting was only 15 % among those who were > =18 years old. We did not observe significant associations between demographic characteristics and regular volunteer work, with the exception of large variation by study site.

Conclusion: As the world's leaders grapple with the many competing demands of global health, economic security, and governmental stability, the participation of today's youth in community and governance is essential for sustainability. This study provides a first step in understanding the degree to which OSC from different care settings across multiple low- and middle-income countries are engaged in their communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12992-016-0202-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5057410PMC
October 2016

Associations between Environmental Quality and Mortality in the Contiguous United States, 2000-2005.

Environ Health Perspect 2017 03 7;125(3):355-362. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Background: Assessing cumulative effects of the multiple environmental factors influencing mortality remains a challenging task.

Objectives: This study aimed to examine the associations between cumulative environmental quality and all-cause and leading cause-specific (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) mortality rates.

Methods: We used the overall Environmental Quality Index (EQI) and its five domain indices (air, water, land, built, and sociodemographic) to represent environmental exposure. Associations between the EQI and mortality rates (CDC WONDER) for counties in the contiguous United States ( = 3,109) were investigated using multiple linear regression models and random intercept and random slope hierarchical models. Urbanicity, climate, and a combination of the two were used to explore the spatial patterns in the associations.

Results: We found 1 standard deviation increase in the overall EQI (worse environment) was associated with a mean 3.22% (95% CI: 2.80%, 3.64%) increase in all-cause mortality, a 0.54% (95% CI: -0.17%, 1.25%) increase in heart disease mortality, a 2.71% (95% CI: 2.21%, 3.22%) increase in cancer mortality, and a 2.25% (95% CI: 1.11%, 3.39%) increase in stroke mortality. Among the environmental domains, the associations ranged from -1.27% (95% CI: -1.70%, -0.84%) to 3.37% (95% CI: 2.90%, 3.84%) for all-cause mortality, -2.62% (95% CI: -3.52%, -1.73%) to 4.50% (95% CI: 3.73%, 5.27%) for heart disease mortality, -0.88% (95% CI: -2.12%, 0.36%) to 3.72% (95% CI: 2.38%, 5.06%) for stroke mortality, and -0.68% (95% CI: -1.19%, -0.18%) to 3.01% (95% CI: 2.46%, 3.56%) for cancer mortality. Air had the largest associations with all-cause, heart disease, and cancer mortality, whereas the sociodemographic index had the largest association with stroke mortality. Across the urbanicity gradient, no consistent trend was found. Across climate regions, the associations ranged from 2.29% (95% CI: 1.87%, 2.72%) to 5.30% (95% CI: 4.30%, 6.30%) for overall EQI, and larger associations were generally found in dry areas for both overall EQI and domain indices.

Conclusions: These results suggest that poor environmental quality, particularly poor air quality, was associated with increased mortality and that associations vary by urbanicity and climate region. Citation: Jian Y, Messer LC, Jagai JS, Rappazzo KM, Gray CL, Grabich SC, Lobdell DT. 2017. Associations between environmental quality and mortality in the contiguous United States, 2000-2005. Environ Health Perspect 125:355-362; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP119.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5332172PMC
March 2017

Potentially traumatic experiences and sexual health among orphaned and separated adolescents in five low- and middle-income countries.

AIDS Care 2016 07 2;28(7):857-65. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

a Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health , University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill , NC , USA.

Orphans and separated children (OSC) are a vulnerable population whose numbers are increasing, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Over 153 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents, including 17 million orphaned by AIDS, and millions more have been separated from their parents. As younger orphans enter adolescence, their sexual health and HIV-related risk behaviors become key considerations for their overall health. Importantly, their high prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) may put OSC at additional risk for adverse sexual health outcomes. The Positive Outcomes for Orphans study followed OSC randomly sampled from institution-based care and from family-based care, as well as a convenience sample of non-OSC, at six sites in five low-and middle-income countries. This analysis focused on the 90-month follow-up, during which adolescents 16 and older were assessed for sexual health, including age at sexual debut, past-year sex, past-year condom use, and perceptions of condom use. We specifically examined the relationship between PTEs and sexual health outcomes. Of the 1258 OSC and 138 non-OSC assessed, 11% reported ever having sex. Approximately 6% of participants reported recent sex and 5% reported having recent unprotected sex. However, 70% of those who had recent sex reported that they did not use a condom every time, and perceptions of condom use tended to be unfavorable for protection against sexual risk behavior. Nearly all (90%) of participants reported experiencing at least one lifetime PTE. For those who experienced "any" PTE, we found increased prevalence of recent sex (PR = 1.39 [0.47, 4.07]) and of recent unprotected sex (PR = 3.47 [0.60, 19.91]). This study highlights the need for caregivers, program managers, and policymakers to promote condom use for sexually active OSC and identify interventions for trauma support services. Orphans living in family-based care may also be particularly vulnerable to early sexual debut and unprotected sexual activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2016.1147013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4917905PMC
July 2016

Dietary fat intake and reproductive hormone concentrations and ovulation in regularly menstruating women.

Am J Clin Nutr 2016 Mar 3;103(3):868-77. Epub 2016 Feb 3.

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY; and.

Background: Emerging evidence suggests potential links between some dietary fatty acids and improved fertility, because specific fatty acids may affect prostaglandin synthesis and steroidogenesis.

Objective: The objective of this exploratory study was to evaluate associations between total and specific types of dietary fat intake and 1) hormone concentrations and 2) the risk of sporadic anovulation in a cohort of 259 regularly menstruating women in the BioCycle Study.

Design: Endogenous reproductive hormones were measured up to 8 times/cycle for up to 2 cycles, with visits scheduled with the use of fertility monitors. Dietary intake was assessed with up to four 24-h recalls/cycle. Linear mixed models and generalized linear models were used to evaluate the associations between dietary fatty acids and both reproductive hormone concentrations and ovulatory status. All models were adjusted for total energy intake, age, body mass index, and race.

Results: Relative to the lowest levels of percentage of energy from total fat, the highest tertile was associated with increased total and free testosterone concentrations (total: percentage change of 4.0%; 95% CI: 0.7%, 7.3%; free: percentage change of 4.1%; 95% CI: 0.5%, 7.7%). In particular, the percentage of energy from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the highest tertile was associated with increases in total and free testosterone (total: percentage change of 3.7%; 95% CI: 0.6%, 6.8%; free: percentage change of 4.0%; 95% CI: 0.5%, 7.5%). The PUFA docosapentaenoic acid (22:5n-3) was not significantly associated with testosterone concentrations (P-trend = 0.86 in energy substitution models) but was associated with increased progesterone and a reduced risk of anovulation (highest tertile compared with the lowest tertile: RR: 0.42; 95% CI: 0.18, 0.95). Fat intakes were not associated with other reproductive hormone concentrations.

Conclusions: These results indicate that total fat intake, and PUFA intake in particular, is associated with very small increases in testosterone concentrations in healthy women and that increased docosapentaenoic acid was associated with a lower risk of anovulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.119321DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763493PMC
March 2016

Serum Antioxidants Are Associated with Serum Reproductive Hormones and Ovulation among Healthy Women.

J Nutr 2016 Jan 18;146(1):98-106. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Rockville, MD;

Background: Evidence is growing that the equilibrium between reactive oxygen species and antioxidants plays a vital role in women's reproductive health.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate variations in serum antioxidant concentrations across the menstrual cycle and associations between antioxidants and reproductive hormones and anovulation among healthy women.

Methods: The BioCycle Study, a prospective cohort, followed 259 women aged 18-44 y for up to 2 menstrual cycles. Serum fat-soluble vitamin and micronutrient (α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, retinol, lutein, lycopene, and β-carotene), ascorbic acid, and reproductive hormone concentrations were measured 5-8 times/cycle. We used weighted linear mixed models to assess associations between antioxidants and hormone concentrations, after adjustment for age, race, body mass index, parity, sleep, pain medication use, total energy intake, concurrent hormones, serum cholesterol, F2-isoprostanes, and other antioxidants. Generalized linear models were used to identify associations with anovulation.

Results: Serum antioxidant concentrations varied across the menstrual cycle. Retinol and α-tocopherol were associated with higher estradiol [RR: 1.00 pg/mL (95% CI: 0.67, 1.34 pg/mL); RR: 0.02 pg/mL (95% CI: 0.003, 0.03 pg/mL), respectively] and testosterone [RR: 0.61 ng/dL (95% CI: 0.44, 0.78 ng/dL); RR: 0.01 ng/dL (95% CI: 0.001, 0.01 ng/dL), respectively]. Ascorbic acid was associated with higher progesterone (RR: 0.15 ng/mL; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.25 ng/mL) and with lower follicle-stimulating hormone (RR: -0.06 mIU/mL; 95% CI: -0.09, -0.03 mIU/mL). The ratio of α- to γ-tocopherol was associated with an increased risk of anovulation (RR: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.06).

Conclusions: These findings shed new light on the intricate associations between serum antioxidants and endogenous hormones in healthy premenopausal women and support the hypothesis that concentrations of serum vitamins affect steroidogenesis even after adjustment for oxidative stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.115.217620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700980PMC
January 2016

From fatalism to mitigation: A conceptual framework for mitigating fetal programming of chronic disease by maternal obesity.

Prev Med 2015 Dec 30;81:451-9. Epub 2015 Oct 30.

Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.

Prenatal development is recognized as a critical period in the etiology of obesity and cardiometabolic disease. Potential strategies to reduce maternal obesity-induced risk later in life have been largely overlooked. In this paper, we first propose a conceptual framework for the role of public health and preventive medicine in mitigating the effects of fetal programming. Second, we review a small but growing body of research (through August 2015) that examines interactive effects of maternal obesity and two public health foci - diet and physical activity - in the offspring. Results of the review support the hypothesis that diet and physical activity after early life can attenuate disease susceptibility induced by maternal obesity, but human evidence is scant. Based on the review, we identify major gaps relevant for prevention research, such as characterizing the type and dose response of dietary and physical activity exposures that modify the adverse effects of maternal obesity in the offspring. Third, we discuss potential implications of interactions between maternal obesity and postnatal dietary and physical activity exposures for interventions to mitigate maternal obesity-induced risk among children. Our conceptual framework, evidence review, and future research directions offer a platform to develop, test, and implement fetal programming mitigation strategies for the current and future generations of children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.10.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4679670PMC
December 2015

The associations between environmental quality and preterm birth in the United States, 2000-2005: a cross-sectional analysis.

Environ Health 2015 Jun 9;14:50. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Many environmental factors have been independently associated with preterm birth (PTB). However, exposure is not isolated to a single environmental factor, but rather to many positive and negative factors that co-occur. The environmental quality index (EQI), a measure of cumulative environmental exposure across all US counties from 2000-2005, was used to investigate associations between ambient environment and PTB.

Methods: With 2000-2005 birth data from the National Center for Health Statistics for the United States (n = 24,483,348), we estimated the association between increasing quintiles of the EQI and county-level and individual-level PTB; we also considered environmental domain-specific (air, water, land, sociodemographic and built environment) and urban-rural stratifications.

Results: Effect estimates for the relationship between environmental quality and PTB varied by domain and by urban-rural strata but were consistent across county- and individual-level analyses. The county-level prevalence difference (PD (95% confidence interval) for the non-stratified EQI comparing the highest quintile (poorest environmental quality) to the lowest quintile (best environmental quality) was -0.0166 (-0.0198, -0.0134). The air and sociodemographic domains had the strongest associations with PTB; PDs were 0.0196 (0.0162, 0.0229) and -0.0262 (-0.0300, -0.0224) for the air and sociodemographic domain indices, respectively. Within the most urban strata, the PD for the sociodemographic domain index was 0.0256 (0.0205, 0.0307). Odds ratios (OR) for the individual-level analysis were congruent with PDs.

Conclusion: We observed both strong positive and negative associations between measures of broad environmental quality and preterm birth. Associations differed by rural-urban stratum and by the five environmental domains. Our study demonstrates the use of a large scale composite environment exposure metric with preterm birth, an important indicator of population health and shows potential for future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-015-0038-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464856PMC
June 2015