Publications by authors named "Maurice B Mittelmark"

66 Publications

Health-promotion research over three decades: The social-ecological model and challenges in implementation of interventions.

Scand J Public Health 2018 Feb;46(20_suppl):20-26

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Aims: This debate paper traces the development of innovative methods for undertaking health promotion research with a socialecological orientation, with a few examples drawn from 30 years of research on adolescent health promotion research at the University of Bergen.

Conclusion: We aim to show how the social-ecological model is becoming more evident as a guide to research, using three cases that illustrate progress and potential. The first case is the Norwegian part of the European Network of Health Promoting Schools. The second case is a project just underway, The COMPLETE study, which is a community-led effort to promote students' mental health and create a good psychosocial learning environment. The third case is a developing idea for the next generation of social-ecological research on adolescent well-being, using an asset approach to foster social inclusion and sense of community in multiple settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1403494817743893DOI Listing
February 2018

Household food security and adequacy of child diet in the food insecure region north in Ghana.

PLoS One 2017 11;12(5):e0177377. Epub 2017 May 11.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Background And Objectives: Adequate diet is of crucial importance for healthy child development. In food insecure areas of the world, the provision of adequate child diet is threatened in the many households that sometimes experience having no food at all to eat (household food insecurity). In the context of food insecure northern Ghana, this study investigated the relationship between level of household food security and achievement of recommended child diet as measured by WHO Infant and Young Child Feeding Indicators.

Methods: Using data from households and 6-23 month old children in the 2012 Feed the Future baseline survey (n = 871), descriptive analyses assessed the prevalence of minimum meal frequency; minimum dietary diversity, and minimum acceptable diet. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of minimum acceptable diet with household food security, while accounting for the effects of child sex and age, maternal -age, -dietary diversity, -literacy and -education, household size, region, and urban-rural setting. Household food security was assessed with the Household Hunger Scale developed by USAID's Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project.

Results: Forty-nine percent of children received minimum recommended meal frequency, 31% received minimum dietary diversity, and 17% of the children received minimum acceptable diet. Sixty-four percent of the children lived in food secure households, and they were significantly more likely than children in food insecure households to receive recommended minimum acceptable diet [O.R = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.35, 0.82]. However, in 80% of food secure households, children did not receive a minimal acceptable diet by WHO standards.

Conclusions: Children living in food secure households were more likely than others to receive a minimum acceptable diet. Yet living in a food secure household was no guarantee of child dietary adequacy, since eight of 10 children in food secure households received less than a minimum acceptable diet. The results call for research into factors besides household food security in the search for determinants of child diet adequacy. In this study at least, household food security was a very weak marker of child diet adequacy. This finding is of significance to public health practice, since it calls into question any assumption that having enough food in a household necessarily results in adequately fed children.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177377PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426760PMC
September 2017

Changes in Optimal Childcare Practices in Kenya: Insights from the 2003, 2008-9 and 2014 Demographic and Health Surveys.

PLoS One 2016 17;11(8):e0161221. Epub 2016 Aug 17.

Multicultural Venues in Health, Gender and Social Justice Research Group, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Objective(s): Using nationally representative surveys conducted in Kenya, this study examined optimal health promoting childcare practices in 2003, 2008-9 and 2014. This was undertaken in the context of continuous child health promotion activities conducted by government and non-government organizations throughout Kenya. It was the aim of such activities to increase the prevalence of health promoting childcare practices; to what extent have there been changes in optimal childcare practices in Kenya during the 11-year period under study?

Methods: Cross-sectional data were obtained from the Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 2003, 2008-9 and 2014. Women 15-49 years old with children 0-59 months were interviewed about a range of childcare practices. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine changes in, and correlates of, optimal childcare practices using the 2003, 2008-9 and 2014 data. Samples of 5949, 6079 and 20964 women interviewed in 2003, 2008-9 and 2014 respectively were used in the analysis.

Results: Between 2003 and 2014, there were increases in all health facility-based childcare practices with major increases observed in seeking medical treatment for diarrhoea and complete child vaccination. Mixed results were observed in home-based care where increases were noted in the use of insecticide treated bed nets, sanitary stool disposal and use of oral rehydration solutions, while decreases were observed in the prevalence of urging more fluid/food during diarrhoea and consumption of a minimum acceptable diet. Logit models showed that area of residence (region), household wealth, maternal education, parity, mother's age, child's age and pregnancy history were significant determinants of optimal childcare practices across the three surveys.

Conclusions: The study observed variation in the uptake of the recommended optimal childcare practices in Kenya. National, regional and local child health promotion activities, coupled with changes in society and in living conditions between 2003 and 2014, could have influenced uptake of certain recommended childcare practices in Kenya. Decreases in the prevalence of children who were offered same/more fluid/food when they had diarrhea and children who consumed the minimum acceptable diet is alarming and perhaps a red flag to stakeholders who may have focused more on health facility-based care at the expense of home-based care. Concerted efforts are needed to address the consistent inequities in the uptake of the recommended childcare practices. Such efforts should be cognizant of the underlying factors that affect childcare in Kenya, herein defined as region, household wealth, maternal education, parity, mother's age, child's age and pregnancy history.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161221PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4993544PMC
August 2017

Aspirations and realities in a North-South partnership for health promotion: lessons from a program to promote safe male circumcision in Botswana.

Global Health 2016 07 28;12(1):42. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, PO Box 7807, 5020, Bergen, Norway.

Background: International donors support the partnership between the Government of Botswana and two international organisations: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Africa Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership to implement Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision with the target of circumcising 80 % of HIV negative men in 5 years. Botswana Government had started integration of the program into its health system when international partners brought in the Models for Optimizing Volume and Efficiency to strengthen delivery of the service and push the target. The objective of this paper is to use a systems model to establish how the functioning of the partnership on Safe Male Circumcision in Botswana contributed to the outcome.

Methods: Data were collected using observations, focus group discussions and interviews. Thirty participants representing all three partners were observed in a 3-day meeting; followed by three rounds of in-depth interviews with five selected leading officers over 2 years and three focus group discussions.

Results: Financial resources, "ownership" and the target influence the success or failure of partnerships. A combination of inputs by partners brought progress towards achieving set program goals. Although there were tensions between partners, they were working together in strategising to address some challenges of the partnership and implementation. Pressure to meet the expectations of the international donors caused tension and challenges between the in-country partners to the extent of Development Partners retreating and not pursuing the mission further.

Conclusion: Target achievement, the link between financial contribution and ownership expectations caused antagonistic outcome. The paper contributes enlightenment that the functioning of the visible in-country partnership is significantly influenced by the less visible global context such as the target setters and donors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12992-016-0179-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963947PMC
July 2016

Association between Maternal and Child Dietary Diversity: An Analysis of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey.

PLoS One 2015 25;10(8):e0136748. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

Navrongo Health Research Centre, Navrongo, Upper East Region, Ghana.

Objective (s): This study examined the association between maternal and child dietary diversity in a population-based national sample in Ghana.

Methods: The data for this analysis are from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. We used data obtained from 1187 dyads comprised of mothers' ages 15-49 and their youngest child (ages 6-36 months). Maternal and child dietary diversity scores (DDS) were created based on the mother's recall of her own and her child's consumption of 15 food groups, during the 24 hours prior to the in-home survey. The same food groups were used to compose both maternal and child DDS. Linear regression was used to assess the relationship between the predicted outcome--child DDS--and maternal DDS, taking into account child age and sex, maternal factors (age, education, occupation, literacy, empowerment, number of antenatal visits as an indicator of health care use), household Wealth Index, and urban/rural place of residence.

Results: There was a statistically significant positive association between child and maternal DDS, after adjusting for all other variables. A difference of one food group in mother's consumption was associated with a difference of 0.72 food groups in the child's food consumption (95% CI: 0.63, 0.82). Also, statistically significant positive associations were observed such that higher child DDS was associated with older child age, and with greater women's empowerment.

Conclusions: The results show a significant positive association between child and maternal DD, after accounting for the influence of child, maternal and household level factors. Since the likely path of influence is that maternal DDS impacts child DDS, public health efforts to improve child health may be strengthened by promoting maternal DDS due to its potential for a widened effect on the entire family.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136748PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549150PMC
May 2016

Associations between intimate partner violence, childcare practices and infant health: findings from Demographic and Health Surveys in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.

BMC Public Health 2015 Aug 25;15:819. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, Christies gate 13, 5020, Bergen, Norway.

Background: Child health is significantly poorer in homes with intimate partner violence (IPV). However, a possible link to parental provision of childcare has been neglected.

Methods: Utilizing data from Demographic and Health Surveys, this study examined the association between IPV and illness signs in children 0-59 months in Bolivia (n = 3586), Colombia (n = 9955) and Peru (n = 6260), taking into account socio-demographic factors, childcare and severe child physical punishment. Data were collected in the years 2008, 2010 and 2012 for Bolivia, Colombia and Peru respectively.

Results: The study found weak but persistent effects of IPV on illness signs in Bolivia (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.14-1.63) and Peru (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.26-1.77), after adjusting for the effects of childcare. These effects were not observed in Colombia.

Conclusions: The results call for a mix of qualitative and quantitative research that can map direct, mediating and moderating patterns of relationships between IPV, childcare practices and child health. Can good childcare mitigate the negative effects of IPV? Can poor childcare exacerbate the negative effects of IPV? Such interactions were not observed in the present study, but should be the focus of much more intensive investigation, to help inform child health promotion. Answers could lead to better interventions to improve child health, and perhaps to tackle IPV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-2144-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549006PMC
August 2015

Grassroots volunteers in context: rewarding and adverse experiences of local women working on HIV and AIDS in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

Glob Health Promot 2016 Sep 23;23(3):72-81. Epub 2015 Mar 23.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen And UiB Global, University of Bergen.

Many nongovernmental organizations in Africa rely on grassroots volunteers to provide critical health services. Considering context and the interplay of individual, organizational, and societal influences on the experience of volunteers, this paper addresses three questions: What do grassroots volunteers contribute? What organizational processes promote volunteer engagement? What are the positive and negative consequences of volunteering? Eighteen members and staff of the Tanzanian HIV and AIDS NGO, KIWAKKUKI, were selected from 6000+ women volunteers to be interviewed. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for themes. Within KIWAKKUKI, volunteers contributed time and local knowledge, leading to an indigenous educational approach building on local norms and customs. Volunteers' engagement was motivated by the desire to support family members, reverse stigma, and work/socialize with other women. Benefits to volunteers included skills acquisition and community recognition; yet some volunteers also reported negative experiences including burnout, conferred stigma, and domestic violence. Positive organizational processes built on cultural practices such as collective decision-making and singing. The findings point to important considerations about context, including the synergistic effect training can have on local traditions of caring, complications of gender inequity, and how community health planning processes may need to be modified in extremely poor settings. This research also suggests good utility of the research framework (the Bergen Model of Collaborative Functioning) that was used to analyze volunteer engagement for service delivery in sub-Saharan contexts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757975915569514DOI Listing
September 2016

Unintended effects in settings-based health promotion.

Scand J Public Health 2014 Nov;42(15 Suppl):17-24

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway

The settings-based approach to health promotion (HP) employs a social ecological (SE) framework to integrate HP into the usual activities of the setting and to increase the setting's support for healthy choices. The SE approach calls for systems thinking to account for the inextricable relationship between people, their behaviour and their environment. Knowledge about a setting can be used to mobilise people to participate in HP, to optimise success by taking into account the local context, and to anticipate and avoid barriers to success. In other words, the SE approach aims to help HP reach its goals for better health, established in concert with community needs and wishes. Yet, the focus on HP goals may detract attention from how intervention may have unanticipated, and even untoward effects on the setting. There is much evidence from classical ecological research that well-meaning interventions have unintended effects. Biology is so tuned to the possibility that the study of unintended effects is integral to the field. There is some evidence--but much less--that HP also has unexpected, deleterious effects. The evidence is limited because of neglect; the subject of unintended effects is only of peripheral interest in HP. This is a call for a more robust SE approach, in which frameworks used to guide settings-based HP are augmented so as to be concerned with planned effects, and also unplanned effects. What can be done to more responsibly monitor, document and report the full panoply of our effects, including detecting and preventing untoward effects?
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1403494814545108DOI Listing
November 2014

Influence of childcare practices on nutritional status of Ghanaian children: a regression analysis of the Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys.

BMJ Open 2014 Nov 3;4(11):e005340. Epub 2014 Nov 3.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway.

Objectives: Guided by the UNICEF framework for childcare, this study examined the association of childcare practices (CCP) with infant and young children's growth (height-for-age Z-scores, HAZ), and investigated whether care practices are more important to growth in some sociodemographic subgroups of children.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Urban and rural Ghana.

Participants: The study sample comprised 1187 dyads of mothers aged 15-49 years and their youngest child (aged 6-36 months).

Results: The results showed that CCP was a significant predictor of HAZ, after controlling for covariates/confounders at child, maternal and household levels. Children with higher CCP scores had higher HAZ. A 1-unit increase in the CCP score was associated with a 0.17-unit increase in HAZ. Child's and mother's age, number of children under 5 years, place of residence, maternal weight and wealth index were also significantly associated with HAZ. Statistical interaction analyses revealed no subgroup differences in the CCP/HAZ relationship.

Conclusions: This study found a significant, positive association between CCP and child growth, after accounting for other important determinants of child growth at maternal and household levels. This calls for research into the effects on growth of various CCP components, with longitudinal cohort study designs that can disentangle causal relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005340DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4225227PMC
November 2014

Breast-, complementary and bottle-feeding practices in Kenya: stagnant trends were experienced from 1998 to 2009.

Nutr Res 2014 Jun 3;34(6):507-17. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Department of Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.

The pattern of infant and young child feeding that provides the most benefit includes being put to the breast within an hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to 2 years of age or beyond, and avoidance of any bottle-feeding. However, since there are no published data from Kenya regarding trends in these feeding practices, this research undertook time trend estimation of these feeding practices using the 1998, 2003, and 2008-2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey and also examined the multivariate relationships between sociodemographic factors and feeding practices with data from 2008 to 2009. Logistic regression was used to test the significance of trends and to analyze sociodemographic characteristics associated with feeding practices. There was a significant decline in early initiation of breastfeeding among children in Central and Western provinces and those residing in urban areas. Trends in exclusive breastfeeding showed significant improvement in most sociodemographic segments, whereas trends in complementary feeding and breastfeeding remained stable. Bottle-feeding significantly decreased among children aged 12 to 23 months, as well as those living in Coast, Eastern, and Rift Valley provinces. In the multivariate analysis, the province was significantly associated with feeding practices, after controlling for child's size, birth order, and parity. The stagnant (and in some cases worsening) trends in early initiation of breastfeeding and complementary feeding with breastfeeding paint a worrisome picture of breastfeeding practices in Kenya; therefore, efforts to promote the most beneficial feeding practices should be intensified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2014.05.004DOI Listing
June 2014

Reliability of demographic and socioeconomic variables in predicting early initiation of breastfeeding: a replication analysis using the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey data.

BMJ Open 2014 Jun 17;4(6):e005194. Epub 2014 Jun 17.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Objectives: Examine the reliability of sociodemographic variables in predicting initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth (EarlyBF), using data from 1998, 2003 and 2008-2009.

Study Design: A replication analysis using the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) data collected in 1998, 2003 and 2008-2009. The candidate predictor variables were child's gender, home or health facility place of birth, vaginal or caesarean mode of birth, urban or rural setting, province of residence, Wealth Index and maternal education, occupation, literacy and media exposure.

Setting: Kenya.

Participants: 6375 dyads of mothers aged 15-49 and their children aged 0-23 months (2125 dyads in each of the survey years).

Results: Mode of birth and province were statistically significant predictors of EarlyBF in 1998, 2003 and 2008-2009. Children delivered through caesarean section were non-EarlyBF in 1998 (OR 2.63, 95% CI 1.72 to 4.04), 2003 (OR 3.36, 95% CI 1.83 to 6.16) and 2008 (OR 3.51, 95% CI 2.17 to 5.69). The same was true of those living in the Western province in 1998 (OR 2.67, 95% CI 1.61 to 4.43), 2003 (OR 4.92, 95% CI 3.01 to 8.04) and 2008 (OR 6.07, 95% CI 3.54 to 10.39).

Conclusions: The 1998 KDHS data do not provide the basis for reliable prediction of EarlyBF, with reliability conceptualised as replicability of findings using highly similar data sets from 2003 and 2008-2009. Most of the demographic and socioeconomic variables were unreliable predictors of EarlyBF. We speculate that activities in parts or all of Kenya changed the analysis context in the period between 1998 and 2008-2009, and these changes were of a sufficient magnitude to affect the relationships under investigation. The degree to which this is a general problem in child health research is not known, calling for further research to investigate this methodological issue with other health end points and other data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005194DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067828PMC
June 2014

Trends in stunting and overweight in Peruvian pre-schoolers from 1991 to 2011: findings from the Demographic and Health Surveys.

Public Health Nutr 2014 Nov 14;17(11):2407-18. Epub 2014 Mar 14.

2Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE),Lima,Peru.

Objective: To examine trends in stunting and overweight in Peruvian children, using 2006 WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study criteria.

Design: Trend analyses using nationally representative cross-sectional surveys from Demographic and Health Surveys (1991-2011). We performed logistic regression analyses of stunting and overweight trends in sociodemographic groups (sex, age, urban-rural residence, region, maternal education and household wealth), adjusted for sampling design effects (strata, clusters and sampling weights).

Setting: Peru.

Subjects: Children aged 0-59 months surveyed in 1991-92 (n 7999), 1996 (n 14 877), 2000 (n 11 754), 2007-08 (n 8232) and 2011 (n 8186).

Results: Child stunting declined (F(1, 5149) = 174·8, P ≤ 0·00) and child overweight was stable in the period 1991-2011 (F(1, 5147) = 0·4, P ≤ 0·54). Over the study period, levels of stunting were highest in rural compared with urban areas, the Andean and Amazon regions compared with the Coast, among children of low-educated mothers and among children living in households in the poorest wealth quintile. The trend in overweight rose among males in coastal areas (F(1, 2250) = 4·779, P ≤ 0·029) and among males in the richest wealth quintile (F(1, 1730) = 5·458, P ≤ 0·020).

Conclusions: The 2011 levels of stunting and overweight were eight times and three and a half times higher, respectively, than the expected levels from the 2006 WHO growth standards. The trend over the study period in stunting declined in most sociodemographic subgroups. The trend in overweight was stable in most sociodemographic subgroups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014000275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4173132PMC
November 2014

Child undernutrition in Kenya: trend analyses from 1993 to 2008-09.

BMC Pediatr 2014 Jan 13;14. Epub 2014 Jan 13.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, University of Bergen, P,O,Box 7807, NO-5020, Christiesgt, 13 Bergen, Norway.

Background: Research on trends in child undernutrition in Kenya has been hindered by the challenges of changing criteria for classifying undernutrition, and an emphasis in the literature on international comparisons of countries' situations. There has been little attention to within-country trend analyses. This paper presents child undernutrition trend analyses from 1993 to 2008-09, using the 2006 WHO criteria for undernutrition. The analyses are decomposed by child's sex and age, and by maternal education level, household Wealth Index, and province, to reveal any departures from the overall national trends.

Methods: The study uses the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey data collected from women aged 15-49 years and children aged 0-35 months in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008-09. Logistic regression was used to test trends.

Results: The prevalence of wasting for boys and girls combined remained stable at the national level but declined significantly among girls aged 0-35 months (p < 0.05). While stunting prevalence remained stagnant generally, the trend for boys aged 0-35 months significantly decreased and that for girls aged 12-23 months significantly increased (p < 0.05). The pattern for underweight in most socio-demographic groups showed a decline.

Conclusion: The national trends in childhood undernutrition in Kenya showed significant declines in underweight while trends in wasting and stunting were stagnant. Analyses disaggregated by demographic and socio-economic segments revealed some significant departures from these overall trends, some improving and some worsening. These findings support the importance of conducting trend analyses at detailed levels within countries, to inform the development of better-targeted childcare and feeding interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-14-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898409PMC
January 2014

Attitudes towards smoking restrictions and tobacco advertisement bans in Georgia.

BMJ Open 2013 Nov 25;3(11):e003461. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Objectives: This study aims to provide data on a public level of support for restricting smoking in public places and banning tobacco advertisements.

Design: A nationally representative multistage sampling design, with sampling strata defined by region (sampling quotas proportional to size) and substrata defined by urban/rural and mountainous/lowland settlement, within which census enumeration districts were randomly sampled, within which households were randomly sampled, within which a randomly selected respondent was interviewed.

Setting: The country of Georgia, population 4.7 million, located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia.

Participants: One household member aged between 13 and 70 was selected as interviewee. In households with more than one age-eligible person, selection was carried out at random. Of 1588 persons selected, 14 refused to participate and interviews were conducted with 915 women and 659 men.

Outcome Measures: Respondents were interviewed about their level of agreement with eight possible smoking restrictions/bans, used to calculate a single dichotomous (agree/do not agree) opinion indicator. The level of agreement with restrictions was analysed in bivariate and multivariate analyses by age, gender, education, income and tobacco use status.

Results: Overall, 84.9% of respondents indicated support for smoking restrictions and tobacco advertisement bans. In all demographic segments, including tobacco users, the majority of respondents indicated agreement with restrictions, ranging from a low of 51% in the 13-25 age group to a high of 98% in the 56-70 age group. Logistic regression with all demographic variables entered showed that agreement with restrictions was higher with age, and was significantly higher among never smokers as compared to daily smokers.

Conclusions: Georgian public opinion is normatively supportive of more stringent tobacco-control measures in the form of smoking restrictions and tobacco advertisement bans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845040PMC
November 2013

An analysis of socio-demographic patterns in child malnutrition trends using Ghana demographic and health survey data in the period 1993-2008.

BMC Public Health 2013 Oct 16;13:960. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Christiesgt, 13, 5020 Bergen, Norway.

Background: A small but growing body of research indicates that progress in reducing child malnutrition is substantially uneven from place to place, even down to the district level within countries. Yet child malnutrition prevalence and trend estimates available for public health planning are mostly available only at the level of global regions and/or at country level. To support carefully targeted intervention to reduce child malnutrition, public health planners and policy-makers require access to more refined prevalence data and trend analyses than are presently available. Responding to this need in Ghana, this report presents trends in child malnutrition prevalence in socio-demographic groups within the country's geographic regions.

Methods: The study uses the Ghana Demographic and Health Surveys (GDHS) data. The GDHS are nationally representative cross-sectional surveys that have been carried out in many developing countries. These surveys constitute one of the richest sources of information currently available to examine time trends in child malnutrition. Data from four surveys were used for the analysis: 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008.

Results: The results show statistically significant declining trends at the national level for stunting (F (1, 7204) = 7.89, p ≤ .005), underweight (F (1, 7441) = 44.87, p ≤ .001) and wasting (F (1, 7130) = 6.19, p ≤ .013). However, analyses of the sex-specific trends revealed that the declining trends in stunting and wasting were significant among males but not among females. In contrast to the national trend, there were significantly increasing trends in stunting for males (F (1, 2004) = 3.92, p ≤ .048) and females (F (1, 2004) = 4.34, p ≤ .037) whose mothers had higher than primary education, while the trends decreased significantly for males and females whose mothers had no education.

Conclusions: At the national level in Ghana, child malnutrition is significantly declining. However, the aggregate national trend masks important deviations in certain socio-demographic segments, including worsening levels of malnutrition. This paper shows the importance of disaggregated analyses of national child malnutrition data, to unmask underlying geographic and socio-demographic differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-13-960DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3853224PMC
October 2013

Child diet and healthy growth in the context of rural poverty in the peruvian andes: what influences primary caregivers' opportunities and choices?

Glob Health Promot 2013 Sep;20(3):5-13

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway.

This study explored opportunities and choices related to child feeding among women living in a remote and low-income district in the Andean highlands. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with mothers (N = 7) with reputations for providing good child care, and who participated in an NGO-run social and health programme. The aim of this study was to learn about women's positive experience with child feeding, in the context of living in low-income communities. Such knowledge could be of substantial practical value to health promotion practitioners, in illuminating existing local circumstances and practices that produce good child nutrition. The women who were most knowledgeable about child health and diet were better educated and had relatively higher social positions in the community. Regarding contextual factors related to child feeding, numerous references were made to the extensive use of own crops and food stuffs, seen to provide a better diet than that available in cities where people buy their food. In discussing food and meal preparation habits, there were clear references to child welfare and health as motivating factors in the choices that were made. The NGO programme was not mentioned by the interviewer, to avoid prompting, yet the respondents referred to it explicitly, and attributed improved health-related knowledge and skills to the NGO education interventions (e.g. education about nutritious meal preparation, child care skills, and sanitation practices). It is concluded that the women were concerned about providing a good diet to their children, they were aware of the impact of feeding practices on child health, and that education about health and diet helped them to improved feeding practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757975913499031DOI Listing
September 2013

The salutogenic model of health in health promotion research.

Glob Health Promot 2013 Jun;20(2):30-8

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway.

Despite health promotion's enthusiasm for the salutogenic model of health, researchers have paid little attention to Antonovsky's central ideas about the ease/dis-ease continuum, defined in terms of 'breakdown' (the severity of pain and functional limitations, and the degree medical care is called for, irrespective of specific diseases). Rather, salutogenesis research has a strong focus on how sense of coherence relates to a wide range of specific diseases and illness endpoints. We address two questions: Why has Antonovsky's health concept failed to stimulate research on breakdown, and how can the present emphasis on disease be complemented by an emphasis on positive well-being in the salutogenic model? We show that (i) the breakdown concept of health as specified by Antonovsky is circular in definition, (ii) it is not measured on the 'required' ease/dis-ease continuum, (iii) it is not measureable by any validated or reliability-tested assessment tool, and (iv) it has not so much been rejected by health promotion, as it has not been considered at all. We show that Antonovsky came to view breakdown as but one aspect of well-being. He was open to the idea of well-being as something more positive than the absence of pain, suffering and need for medical care. We suggest ways to move salutogenesis research in the direction of well-being in its positive sense.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757975913486684DOI Listing
June 2013

Scaling-up and rooting-down: a case study of North-South partnerships for health from Tanzania.

Glob Health Action 2012 28;5:18369. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Background: North-South Partnership (NSP) is the mandated blueprint for much global health action. Northern partners contribute funding and expertise and Southern partners contribute capacity for local action. Potential Northern partners are attracted to Southern organizations that have a track record of participating in well-performing NSPs. This often leads to the rapid 'scaling up' of the Southern organization's activities, and more predictable and stable access to resources. Yet, scaling up may also present challenges and threats, as the literature on rapid organization growth shows. However, studies of the impact of scaling up within NSPs in particular are absent from the literature, and the positive and negative impact of scaling up on Southern partners' functioning is a matter of speculation.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine how scaling up affects a Southern partner's organizational functioning, in a Southern grassroots NGO with 20 years of scaling up experience.

Design: A case study design was used to explore the process and impact of scaling up in KIWAKKUKI, a women's grassroots organization working on issues of HIV and AIDS in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. Data included documents, observation notes and in-depth interviews with six participants. The data were analyzed by applying an established systems framework of partnership functioning, in addition to a scaling up typology.

Results: KIWAKKUKI has experienced significant scale-up of activities over the past 20 years. Over time, successful partnerships and programs have created synergy and led to further growth. As KIWAKUKKI expanded so did both its partnerships and grassroots base. The need for capacity building for volunteers exceeded the financial resources provided by Northern partners. Some partners did not have such capacity building as part of their own central mission. This gap in training has produced negative cycles within the organization and its NSPs.

Conclusions: Northern partners were drawn to KIWAKKUKI because of its strong and rapidly growing grassroots base, however, a lack of funding has led to inadequate training for the burgeoning grassroots. Opportunity exists to improve this negative result: Northern organizations that value community engagement can purposefully align their missions and funding within NSP to better support grassroots efforts, especially through periods of expansion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v5i0.18369DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3387362PMC
October 2012

Mapping synergy and antagony in North-South partnerships for health: a case study of the Tanzanian women's NGO KIWAKKUKI.

Health Promot Int 2013 Mar 15;28(1):51-60. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Christiesgt 13, Bergen N-5020, Norway.

North-South partnerships for health aim to link resources, expertise and local knowledge to create synergy. The literature on such partnerships presents an optimistic view of the promise of partnership on one hand, contrasted by pessimistic depictions of practice on the other. Case studies are called for to provide a more intricate understanding of partnership functioning, especially viewed from the Southern perspective. This case study examined the experience of the Tanzanian women's NGO, KIWAKKUKI, based on its long history of partnerships with Northern organizations, all addressing HIV/AIDS in the Kilimanjaro region. KIWAKKUKI has provided education and other services since its inception in 1990 and has grown to include a grassroots network of >6000 local members. Using the Bergen Model of Collaborative Functioning, the experience of KIWAKKUKI's partnership successes and failures was mapped. The findings demonstrate that even in effective partnerships, both positive and negative processes are evident. It was also observed that KIWAKKUKI's partnership breakdowns were not strictly negative, as they provided lessons which the organization took into account when entering subsequent partnerships. The study highlights the importance of acknowledging and reporting on both positive and negative processes to maximize learning in North-South partnerships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dar092DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3566659PMC
March 2013

Socioeconomic status and chronic child malnutrition: Wealth and maternal education matter more in the Peruvian Andes than nationally.

Nutr Res 2011 Oct;31(10):741-7

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

This study investigated the association of parents' socioeconomic status (SES) with child stunting in the Peruvian Andes and in Peru nationally. It was hypothesized that the relationship of SES to child stunting would be weaker in the Andean compared with the national sample. This is consistent with earlier research indicating that the relationship of SES to health may be weak in poor regions. The data were from the Demographic and Health Survey 2004 to 2006. Two samples of children 3 to 60 months old were compared: a national sample (n = 1426) and an Andean sample (n = 543). Malnutrition was measured using the indicator "stunting," which is small stature for age. Socioeconomic status was measured using parental education, occupation, and household wealth index (WI). In both samples, SES was significantly related to stunting. The odds of stunting in the poorest WI quintile were significantly higher than in the richest quintile. The same pattern was observed in children of mothers having incomplete primary education compared with children of mothers having complete secondary or higher education. The odds of stunting were significantly lower in children of mothers working at home compared with mothers in professional occupations. The associations of WI and maternal education with stunting were significantly stronger in the Andean compared with the national sample; the study did not find support for the hypothesis. Even in very poor regions such as the Andes, SES may be associated with child health, suggesting the importance of public health measures to overcome the health disadvantages experienced by children living in low SES households.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2011.09.007DOI Listing
October 2011

Does loneliness mediate the stress-sleep quality relation? The Hordaland Health Study.

Int Psychogeriatr 2011 Aug 22;23(6):994-1002. Epub 2011 Feb 22.

Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Background: Sleep problems are common in the general population. A strong association between stress due to inadequate social relationships or loneliness and sleep problems has been found. This paper aims to investigate stress in close social relationships in relation to disrupted sleep patterns in middle-aged and older adults. In addition, in exploring the underlying processes involved in poor social interactions, loneliness is assumed to be a mediator in the stress-sleep quality relation.

Methods: Data from a community sample of 7074 Norwegian middle-aged and older adults in the Hordaland Health Study (HUSK) were used to examine the mediating role of loneliness.

Results: A significant association between interpersonal stress and both nocturnal sleep problems and daytime sleepiness was found in both age groups. This relation was mediated by loneliness (indirect path) as well as effected by a direct path (RMSEA = 0.051; CFI = 0.93). The size of the indirect effect varied with age. Nocturnal sleep problems were fully mediated by loneliness in the older group, while 74% of the total effect was mediated through loneliness in the middle-aged group. For daytime sleepiness, a partial mediation of 36% and 40% was observed for the two groups respectively.

Conclusions: The mediation effects found in this study indicate that the wider social aspects of an individual's life should be taken into account when planning interventions for improving sleep quality in the elderly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1041610211000111DOI Listing
August 2011

Changing of the guard at Global Health Promotion.

Glob Health Promot 2010 Dec;17(4):3-4, 70-1, 93-4

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1757975910383942DOI Listing
December 2010

Social determinants of rest deprivation amongst Ghanaian women: national and urban-rural comparisons with data from a cross-sectional nationally representative survey.

BMC Public Health 2010 Sep 28;10:580. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Department of Health Promotion and Development, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway.

Background: Rest deprivation (rest/napping/sleep 6 or less hours daily) is a clinically recognised risk factor for poor health, but its epidemiology is little studied. This study reports prevalence's and social correlates of rest deprivation in Ghana.

Methods: Data are from the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. Women ages 15-49 were recruited in a national sampling design. Respondents were 4,916 women in the national sample, a sub-sample of 530 women in the three northernmost rural regions and a sub-sample of 853 women in urban Greater Accra.

Results: Prevalence's of rest deprivation were 0.13% nationally, 14.5% in Greater Accra and 16.8% in the North. The significant correlates nationally were age, education, wealth index, Christian religion and literacy. In Accra, they were age, wealth index, having household electricity, and possession of a refrigerator, a stove and a mobile phone. In the North, they were education, occupation, drinking water source, possession of motorcycle/scooter, Christian religion, literacy, and possession of a clock and a cupboard. In logistic regression analyses controlling for age in the national sample, the significant odds ratios were 1.40 for no education compared to secondary and higher education, 0.78-0.43 for the four poorer wealth quintiles compared to the richest wealth index quintile, and 0.55 for Christian religion compared to all others.Also controlling for age, the significant odds ratios in Accra were 2.15 for the second richest wealth quintile compared to the richest quintile and 0.16 for possession of a mobile phone. In the North they were 0.49 for Christian religion compared to all others, 1.87 for having a protected compared to an unprotected water source, and 0.41 for having a cupboard in the home.

Conclusions: Education, wealth and religion were related to rest deprivation nationally but not in the urban and rural regions (except for religion in the North). This suggests caution in generalising about the social correlates of rest deprivation at a regional level, based on national-level data. Qualitative research in local contexts is needed in order to illuminate the social determinants of rest pattern, and to provide guidance about better ways to measure such determinants in future survey research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-10-580DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2955011PMC
September 2010

Intervention to enhance empowerment in breast cancer self-help groups.

Nurs Inq 2010 Mar;17(1):47-57

Faculty of Health Sciences, Research Centre for Health Promotion, Vestfold University College, Horten, Norway.

As arduous psychological reactions and loss of control almost inevitably represent a challenge for women diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, a participatory intervention study was initiated that aimed to enhance empowerment in breast cancer self-help groups. Women newly diagnosed with breast cancer were invited to participate. The intervention encompassed three professionally led self-help groups running sequentially, each group for approximately 4 months. Each group of five to seven participants met weekly. Several empowerment strategies were initiated by two professional facilitators, aiming to promote empowerment processes and to manage stress. The participants experienced group participation as both empowering and as a valuable source of support, and although the group processes developed very differently, a strong sense of fellowship developed in all three groups. The discussion highlights the findings in relation to several theoretical perspectives including social capital, social cohesion, risky agreements, helper-therapy and power/empowerment. We conclude that empowerment strategies that are implemented in professionally led breast cancer self-help groups can contribute to participant empowerment and function as an important source of re-discovery and confirmation of the participants' strengths and abilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1800.2009.00465.xDOI Listing
March 2010
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