[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper considers estimation of disease prevalence for small areas (neighbourhoods) when the available observations on prevalence are for an alternative partition of a region, such as service areas. Interpolation to neighbourhoods uses a kernel method extended to take account of two types of collateral information. The first is morbidity and service use data, such as hospital admissions, observed for neighbourhoods. Variations in morbidity and service use are expected to reflect prevalence. The second type of collateral information is ecological risk factors (e.g., pollution indices) that are expected to explain variability in prevalence in service areas, but are typically observed only for neighbourhoods. An application involves estimating neighbourhood asthma prevalence in a London health region involving 562 neighbourhoods and 189 service (primary care) areas.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10/2013; 10(10):5011-5025.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been hypothesised that residents of deprived neighbourhoods have poorer economic access to physical activity resources, inhibiting physical activity. Here we explore whether the cost of accessing gyms and fitness centres varies by neighbourhood deprivation in Wales. The location of gyms and fitness suites were obtained, and a telephone survey of all facilities was conducted to collect entry price data. We tested associations between neighbourhood deprivation and mean entry prices for public and private facilities. The cost of accessing private facilities is lower in deprived versus affluent neighbourhoods, whereas costs are similar across all deprivation categories for public facilities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drawing on evidence from the Framingham Heart Study, Christakis and Fowler in their 2007 article published in the New England Journal of Medicine make the claim that obesity spreads in social networks. Whether they are correct in this assertion is neither the concern nor focus of this article. Rather, what is of interest is the subsequent mobilisation of 'contagion' to describe this spread and to account for the emergence of an 'obesity epidemic' in contemporary society. Contrary to the argument that there is less stigma attached to obesity, the reporting of the Christakis and Fowler article suggests that being 'fat' remains a signifier of moral and physical decay; if we add to this the suggestion that obesity is spread within social networks, it is possible that the stigma associated with body size will begin to mirror that which is attached to other infectious bodies. In order to consider the potential implications of this, the article develops in three directions: it explores the application of contagion as a metaphor for understanding the spread of obesity; it sets this understanding within the context of scholarship on contagion and it draws on critical obesity studies literature to call for a more cautionary approach to be taken when deploying a term that when combined with pre-emptive public health discourse would add significantly to the pathologising of the corpulent, fat or obese body.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The risk of hospitalisation from bushfire exposure events in Darwin, Australia, is examined. Several local studies have found evidence for the effects of exposure to bushfire particulates on respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions. They have characterised the risk of admission from seasonal exposures to biomass air pollution. A new, unanalysed data set presented an additional chance to examine unique exposure effects, as there are no anthropogenic sources of particulates in the vicinity of the exposure monitor. The incidence of daily counts of hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular diagnoses was calculated with respect to exposures of particulate matter (PM(10)), course particulate matter, fine particulate matter (FPM) and black carbon composition. A Poisson model was used to calculate unadjusted (crude) measures of effect and then adjusted for known risk factors and confounders. The final model adjusted for the effects of minimum temperature, relative humidity, a smoothed spline for seasonal effects, 'date' for a linear effect over time, day of the week and public and school holidays. A subset analysis adjusted for an influenza epidemic in a particular year. The main findings suggest that respiratory admissions were associated with exposure to PM(10) with a lag of 1 day when adjusted for flu and other confounders (RR = 1.025, 95 % CI 1.000-1.051, p < 0.05). This effect is strongest for exposure to FPM concentrations (RR = 1.091, 95 % CI 1.023-1.163, p < 0.01) when adjusted for flu. Respiratory admissions were also associated with black carbon concentrations recorded the previous day (RR = 1.0004, 95 % CI 1.000-1.0008, p < 0.05), which did not change strength when adjusted for flu. Cardiovascular admissions had the strongest association with exposure to same-day PM and highest RR for exposure to FPM when adjusted for confounders (RR = 1.044, 95 % CI 0.989-1.102). Consistent risks were also found with exposure to black carbon with lags of 0-3 days.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coastal saltmarsh ecosystems occupy only a small percentage of Earth's land surface, yet contribute a wide range of ecosystem services that have significant global economic and societal value. These environments currently face significant challenges associated with climate change, sea level rise, development and water quality deterioration and are consequently the focus of a range of management schemes. Increasingly, soft engineering techniques such as managed realignment (MR) are being employed to restore and recreate these environments, driven primarily by the need for habitat (re)creation and sustainable coastal flood defence. Such restoration schemes also have the potential to provide additional ecosystem services including climate regulation and waste processing. However, these sites have frequently been physically impacted by their previous land use and there is a lack of understanding of how this ‘disturbance’ impacts the delivery of ecosystem services or of the complex linkages between ecological, physical and biogeochemical processes in restored systems. Through the exploration of current data this paper determines that hydrological, geomorphological and hydrodynamic functioning of restored sites may be significantly impaired with respects to natural ‘undisturbed’ systems and that links between morphology, sediment structure, hydrology and solute transfer are poorly understood. This has consequences for the delivery of seeds, the provision of abiotic conditions suitable for plant growth, the development of microhabitats and the cycling of nutrients/contaminants and may impact the delivery of ecosystem services including biodiversity, climate regulation and waste processing. This calls for a change in our approach to research in these environments with a need for integrated, interdisciplinary studies over a range of spatial and temporal scales incorporating both intensive and extensive research design.
Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 06/2012; 106:23–32.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Health data may be collected across one spatial framework (e.g. health provider agencies), but contrasts in health over another spatial framework (neighbourhoods) may be of policy interest. In the UK, population prevalence totals for chronic diseases are provided for populations served by general practitioner practices, but not for neighbourhoods (small areas of circa 1500 people), raising the question whether data for one framework can be used to provide spatially interpolated estimates of disease prevalence for the other. A discrete process convolution is applied to this end and has advantages when there are a relatively large number of area units in one or other framework. Additionally, the interpolation is modified to take account of the observed neighbourhood indicators (e.g. hospitalisation rates) of neighbourhood disease prevalence. These are reflective indicators of neighbourhood prevalence viewed as a latent construct. An illustrative application is to prevalence of psychosis in northeast London, containing 190 general practitioner practices and 562 neighbourhoods, including an assessment of sensitivity to kernel choice (e.g. normal vs exponential). This application illustrates how a zero-inflated Poisson can be used as the likelihood model for a reflective indicator.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The last two decades have seen a profound shift in how labour is spatially conceptualized and understood within economic geography, based on a recognition of workers’ abilities to fashion the geography of capitalism to suit their own needs. However, the bulk of work in labour geography fails to examine worker agency beyond a narrow focus on the trade union movement, largely divorces workers’ activities from the sphere of social reproduction, and rarely looks beyond the ‘core’ capitalist economies of the Global North. In response, this article presents findings from a regional labour mobility survey of 439 call centre workers in India’s National Capital Region (May 2007). Here, previous work has heavily criticized the ‘dead-end’ nature of call centre jobs offshored to India from the Global North, yet has done so based on an intra-firm focus of analysis. By taking an alternative cross-firm worker agency approach, our analysis documents for the first time some Indian call centre agents’ abilities to circumvent a lack of internal job ladders and achieve career progression through lateral ‘career staircases’, as they job hop between firms in pursuit of better pay, improved working conditions and more complex job roles. In the absence of widespread unionization within this sector, the article also discusses the productive and social reproductive factors that underpin these patterns of Indian call centre worker agency, and their mediation by a complex nexus of labour market intermediaries beyond the firm. In so doing, the article ‘theorizes back’ (Yeung, 2007) on ‘mainstream’ (Western) theories of the limits to call centre worker agency and career advancement.
Journal of Economic Geography 04/2012; 12(4):841-875.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ecological studies of suicide and self-harm have established the importance of area variables (e.g., deprivation, social fragmentation) in explaining variations in suicide risk. However, there are likely to be unobserved influences on risk, typically spatially clustered, which can be modeled as random effects. Regression impacts may be biased if no account is taken of spatially structured influences on risk. Furthermore a default assumption of linear effects of area variables may also misstate or understate their impact. This paper considers variations in suicide outcomes for small areas across England, and investigates the impact on them of area socio-economic variables, while also investigating potential nonlinearity in their impact and allowing for spatially clustered unobserved factors. The outcomes are self-harm hospitalisations and suicide mortality over 6,781 Middle Level Super Output Areas.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 01/2012; 10(1):158-77.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate associations between neighbourhood greenspace and weight status, and to explore the contribution of physical activity to these associations.
Cross-sectional observational study over two time-periods.
Participants were adults (aged 18 years+) in from a nationally representative sample of the English population for the time periods 2000-2003 (n=42,177) and 2004-2007 (n=36,959).
Weight status was defined as body mass index (BMI) category according to WHO classification. Neighbourhood greenspace was measured using the Generalised Land use Database for England that defines greenspace as parks, open spaces and agricultural land, excluding domestic gardens. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate associations between neighbourhood greenspace and BMI and, in eligible sub-samples, to investigate the contribution of total physical activity to these. All models were adjusted for age, sex, social class, economic activity, neighbourhood income deprivation and urban/rural status.
In 2000-2003 there was a counterintuitive association between greenspace and BMI. Residence in the greenest areas was significantly associated with increases in overweight (12%) and obesity (23%). In 2004-2007, there was a small protective effect of greenspace for those living in the greenest areas, but this was not statistically significant. Markers of total physical activity did not attenuate associations. Tests for interactions with urban/rural status confirmed that significant associations between neighbourhood greenspace and obesity were only present in urban areas in 2000-2003.
Better evidence for the utility of greenspace in the prevention of weight gain is required before greenspace interventions are developed.
International journal of obesity (2005) 10/2011; 36(8):1108-13.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper contributes to extant understandings of media representations of climate change by examining the role of the English regional newspaper press in the transformation and dissemination of climate change discourse. Unlike previous accounts, this paper contends that such newspapers shape public understandings of climate change in ways that have yet to be adequately charted. With this in mind, this paper examines the ways in which global climate change is translated into a locally relevant phenomenon. That is, it focuses on its "domestication." Although we acknowledge that there are a number of ways in which this process occurs, specific attention is drawn to stories that highlight the destruction of local landscape features, the transformation of important habitats, and the arrival of "alien" species. The broader significance of such stories is considered in relation to long-standing debates concerning the importance of landscape to notions of national and regional identity.
Public Understanding of Science 09/2011; 20(5):658-73.
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