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The extent and distribution of gambling harm in Finland as assessed by the Problem Gambling Severity Index

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Raisamo, S. U., Makela, P., Salonen, A. H., Lintonen, T. P.


Background: Preventing gambling harm has become a policy priority in many European countries. Adverse consequences related to problem gambling are well known, but few studies have analyzed gambling-related harm in detail in general population samples. We determined the extent and distribution of gambling harm in Finland, as assessed by the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), and analyzed gambling involvement, demographics and their association with various types of harm. Methods: A nationwide telephone survey was conducted among 4484 Finns aged 15–74 years in 2011–12. Gambling-related harms were based on the nine-item PGSI. Gambling involvement was measured by gambling frequency and weekly average gambling expenditure. Associations among harms, demographics and gambling involvement were examined in logistic regression. Results: During the previous year, 13% of respondents experienced at least one gambling-related harm (males 18.1%, females 7.2%). The four commonest harms were ‘chasing losses’ (8.6%), ‘escalating gambling to maintain excitement’ (3.1%), ‘betting more than could afford to lose’ (2.8%), and ‘feeling guilty’ (2.6%). The harm profile in descending order was the same for both genders but differed in prevalence. Young age (<25 years) was associated with increased likelihood of reporting harms. Both monthly and weekly gambling and spending over 21 per week on gambling were related to the harms. Conclusions: Our results provide support for the public health approach to gambling: harms were reported even at low gambling frequency-expenditure levels. In addition to the high-risk approach, adopting a population-level approach to preventing gambling harm could shift the population distribution of harm in a lower direction.


Fast-food outlets and grocery stores near school and adolescents' eating habits and overweight in Finland

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Virtanen, M., Kivimaki, H., Ervasti, J., Oksanen, T., Pentti...


Background: Environmental factors may affect adolescents’ eating habits and thereby body weight. However, the contribution of school neighbourhood environment is poorly understood. This study examined the association between proximity of a fast-food outlet or grocery store to school and adolescents’ eating habits and overweight. Methods: Participants were 23 182 adolescents (mean age 15 years) who responded to a classroom survey in 181 lower secondary schools in Finland (2008–09). School location was linked to data on distance from school to the nearest fast-food outlet or grocery store (≤100 m, 101–500 m, >500 m) using global positioning system-coordinate databases. Outcomes were irregular eating habits (skipping breakfast, skipping free school lunch, skipping free school-provided snacks and not having family dinners), the accumulation of these habits and overweight, including obesity (body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2). Results: Thirteen percentage of the participants were overweight. Having a fast-food outlet or grocery store near school was associated with skipping often breakfast and free school lunch, and the accumulation of irregular eating habits. The proximity of a fast-food outlet or grocery store was associated with a 1.25-fold (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.52) risk of overweight among adolescent with a low socioeconomic status but not among those with higher socioeconomic status. This association was partly (12%) explained by the accumulation of irregular eating habits. Conclusions: Among adolescents from low socioeconomic background, the presence of fast-food retailers near schools is associated with accumulation of irregular eating habits and greater overweight. These findings suggest that obesogenic school neighbourhoods may contribute to social inequalities in overweight.


European Public Health News * Message from the WHO regional director for Europe * How eHealth can help with Europe's chronic diseases epidemic * 8th EPH Conference--'Health in Europe--from global to local policies, methods and practices'

Date

Source

24.07.2015

McKee, M., Jakab, Z., Andriukaitis, V., Barnhoorn, F.



Emotional symptoms among adolescents: epidemiological analysis of individual-, classroom- and school-level factors

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Meilstrup, C., Ersboll, A. K., Nielsen, L., Koushede, V., Be...


Background: Large proportions of schoolchildren suffer from emotional symptoms and there are large variations across schools. It is unknown to what degree this variation is due to composition of schoolchildren in each school or to contextual factors. Objectives are to identify factors at individual, classroom and school levels associated with emotional symptoms. Method: Data stem from the Danish contribution to the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study 2010 including 4922 schoolchildren aged 11–15-years from a random sample of schools and including data from school leaders. Emotional symptoms are defined as daily presence of at least one of four symptoms: feeling low, irritable or bad tempered, nervous and having difficulties falling asleep. Multilevel multivariable logistic regression analyses are applied to identify and quantify factors at individual, classroom and school level. Results: Schoolchildren from low (odds ratio (OR) 1.70, 95% CI: 1.33–2.17) and medium (OR 1.50, 95% CI: 1.22–1.85) occupational social class (OSC), girls (OR 1.32, 95% CI: 1.13–1.56) and schoolchildren exposed to bullying (OR 3.82, 95% CI: 2.71–5.40), had increased odds for emotional symptoms. A negative classroom climate was associated with emotional symptoms (OR 1.29, 95% CI: 0.99–1.69) and so was being part of classrooms with a high prevalence of bullying (OR 1.28, 95% CI: 1.0–1.60). Conclusion: Female sex, low OSC, single parent family, exposure to bullying and a high prevalence of bullying within a class are all associated with emotional symptoms. Most variation across schools is explained by individual-level factors but psychosocial aspects of the classroom environment also play a role.


Well-being measurement and the WHO health policy Health 2010: systematic review of measurement scales

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Lindert, J., Bain, P. A., Kubzansky, L. D., Stein, C.


Background: Subjective well-being (SWB) contributes to health and mental health. It is a major objective of the new World Health Organization health policy framework, ‘Health 2020’. Various approaches to defining and measuring well-being exist. We aimed to identify, map and analyse the contents of self-reported well-being measurement scales for use with individuals more than 15 years of age to help researchers and politicians choose appropriate measurement tools. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search in PubMed for studies published between 2007 and 2012, with additional hand-searching, to identify empirical studies that investigated well-being using a measurement scale. For each eligible study, we identified the measurement tool and reviewed its components, number of items, administration time, validity, reliability, responsiveness and sensitivity. Results: The literature review identified 60 unique measurement scales. Measurement scales were either multidimensional (n = 33) or unidimensional (n = 14) and assessed multiple domains. The most frequently encountered domains were affects (39 scales), social relations (17 scales), life satisfaction (13 scales), physical health (13 scales), meaning/achievement (9 scales) and spirituality (6 scales). The scales included between 1 and 100 items; the administration time varied from 1 to 15 min. Conclusions: Well-being is a higher order construct. Measures seldom reported testing for gender or cultural sensitivity. The content and format of scales varied considerably. Effective monitoring and comparison of SWB over time and across geographic regions will require further work to refine definitions of SWB. We recommend concurrent evaluation of at least three self-reported SWB measurement scales, including evaluation for gender or cultural sensitivity.


Effect of neighbourhood motorization rates on walking levels

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Olabarria, M., Perez, K., Santamarina-Rubio, E., Novoa, A. M...


Background: Motorized traffic may discourage people walking. This study analyses the influence of motorization on pedestrian mobility in the neighbourhoods of a European city, controlling for environmental, sociodemographic, mobility and road safety characteristics of the neighbourhood in which each trip was made. Methods: Cross-sectional ecological study using the 38 neighbourhoods of Barcelona as the unit of analysis. Mobility information was obtained from the 2006 Daily Mobility Survey. Walking rates were calculated for 32.343 men and women who made walking trips, per 1000 men and women who made trips in the 38 neighbourhoods. Data were aggregated to calculate the total number of motorized trips made in each neighbourhood. β coefficients and their confidence intervals were calculated using Poisson regression, in order to study the relationship between walking and motorization, in the different tertiles of motorization and adjusting for contextual factors and their corresponding interactions with motorization. Results: Levels of motorization in the neighbourhood negatively influence walking, even when environmental variables of the neighbourhood are considered. In men we observe a gradient whereby walking rates fall as motorization rises (β = –0.248; P < 0.001 and β = –0.363; P < 0.001 in the second and third quartiles of motorization, respectively). In the case of women we find that only high levels of motorization have a negative influence on the rates of women who walk. (β = –0.256; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Motorized traffic discourages people walking. Motorization is a modifiable environment-related factor which should be taken into account when designing policies to promote safe active travel.


Greater involvement and diversity of Internet gambling as a risk factor for problem gambling

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Gainsbury, S. M., Russell, A., Blaszczynski, A., Hing, N.


Background: Concerns that Internet gambling has elevated the prevalence of problem gambling have not been substantiated; however, evidence suggests a subgroup of Internet gamblers do experience higher rates of gambling harms. Greater overall involvement in gambling appears to be predictive of harms. The purpose of this study was to examine differences between Internet gamblers with a single or multiple online gambling accounts, including their gambling behaviours, factors influencing their online gambling and risk of experiencing gambling problems. Methods: Internet gamblers (3178) responding to an online survey that assessed their gambling behaviour, and use of single or multiple online gambling accounts. Results: Results revealed that multiple account holders were more involved gamblers, gambling on more activities and more frequently, and had higher rates of gambling problems than single account holders. Multiple account holders selected gambling sites based on price, betting options, payout rates and game experience, whereas single account holders prioritized legality and consumer protection features. Conclusion: Results suggest two different types of Internet gamblers: one motivated to move between sites to optimize preferred experiences with a tendency to gamble in a more volatile manner; and a smaller, but more stable group less influenced by promotions and experiences, and seeking a reputable and safe gambling experience. As the majority of Internet gamblers use multiple accounts, more universal responsible gambling strategies are needed to assist gamblers to track and control their expenditure to reduce risks of harm.


Alcohol consumption and liver cirrhosis mortality after lifting ban on beer sales in country with state alcohol monopoly

Date

Source

24.07.2015

Tyrfingsson, T., Olafsson, S., Bjornsson, E. S., Rafnsson, V...


Background: The objectives were to study alcohol consumption per capita and liver cirrhosis mortality in the population of Iceland. Methods: The Statistic Iceland website supplied alcohol sales figures and death rates. Results: The alcohol consumption increased 30% during the study period 1982–2009, because of increase in beer and wine, and decrease in spirits consumption. Chronic liver cirrhosis mortality increased significantly for men when comparing the 1982–88 rates (before beer ban was lifted) with the rates for 2003–09. Conclusion: The findings do not support the suggestion that spirits consumption rather than the total alcohol consumption affect the cirrhosis mortality.


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