Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (SCAND J PUBLIC HEALT )

Publisher: Scandinavian Association for Social Medicine, SAGE Publications


Public Health as we enter the third millennium, is facing challenges of new and re-emerging diseases. This health transition includes both changes in demographic patterns and the responses of health services to changing patterns of disease. However, while the ongoing transition allows for the chronic diseases of "welfare" and ageing it certainly also results from the "export" of well-known risk factors. Prevention often lies in the hands of public health policy and evidence-based implementation rather than in the search for new risk factors. Equity in health is on the public health agenda of most countries and agencies today. Inequity means unfairness - but nothing is as unfair as poverty, nor any epidemiological risk factor as strong. In bringing the chronic and pandemic nature of poverty and health needs to the attention of the world's conscience, a public health journal may be one lever. We will not avoid disclosing these value premises. They create a future challenge for public health researchers. Our ambition is to make this journal a forum for local, national as well as global health issues and we would like to recognise the challenge in bringing theory and methods nearer to public health efforts. We will certainly try to reflect the healthy multidisciplinarity that has become characteristic of public health globally in recent years. Epidemiologists, health economists and sociologists may thus contribute to conceptual and methodological development of the changing public health in terms of its efficacy, cost-effectiveness and social and ethical implications. Since January 2000 SJPH is under a new editorial management. We welcome contributions from North to South, on Nordic as well as International Public Health Developments, desk or field based studies, quantitative as well as qualitative. Our ambition is unequivocal - to foster and disseminate valid results from public health endeavours and, to the best of our ability, influence the current health research disequilibrium - that too little research effort is addressed to the bulk of health problems.

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    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health website
  • Other titles
    Scandinavian journal of social medicine (Online), Social medicine
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    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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SAGE Publications

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Aim: The purpose of the present study is to examine the prevalence of active commuting and factors associated with participation in active commuting in the municipality of Karlskrona, Sweden. Active commuting is defined here as walking or cycling to and from school/work for at least 15 minutes one-way. Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out, which included baseline data from parents-to-be. Pregnant females and their partners were invited to participate in the study when they contacted either of the municipality’s two antenatal clinics. Data collection ran from March 2008 to February 2009. When completing the questionnaire, the participants were asked to reflect on their situation one month before the female became pregnant. The final sample consisted of 432 participants (response rate 51.9% for females and 85.0% for males). Results: The main mode of commuting was motor vehicle (63.0%), with active commuters forming a minority (8.3%). The main facilitating factor for active commuting was living in an urban as opposed to a rural area. Regular participation in outdoor recreational physical activity was significantly positively associated with active commuting. Being Swedish and being surrounded by a green space environment were significantly negatively associated with active commuting. Conclusions: This study found that the number of people who are active commuters is modest and other modes of transportation are preferred. Several facilitating and impeding factors associated with active commuting were also found, indicating the importance of applying a broad health-promoting approach to encouraging active commuting.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 11/2014; 19.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The aim of the study was to identify and characterize groups with poor mental health defined by the SF-12 Mental Component Summary (MCS-12) scale. Methods: The study is based on the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey 2005 and includes 10,082 participants (16 years or older). Data were analysed by means of logistic regression models. Results: Men and women with poor mental health are characterized by being single, having a long-term illness, not being able to rely on help from others in case of illness and by feeling that family and friends demand too much of them. Men with poor mental health were further characterized by being a heavy smoker, and having a BMI below 25. Women with poor mental health were further characterized by being 16-44 years old and sedentary in leisure time. CONCLUSIONS THE PREVALENCE OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH IS HIGHER AMONG WOMEN THAN MEN, AND DIFFERENT FACTORS CHARACTERIZE MEN AND WOMEN WITH POOR MENTAL HEALTH THE PRESENT FINDINGS SUPPORT THE NOTION THAT BOTH SOCIO-DEMOGRAPHICS AND LIFESTYLE FACTORS ARE INDEPENDENTLY RELATED WITH POOR MENTAL HEALTH WE SUGGEST TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALL THESE AREAS OF LIFE WHEN PLANNING ACTIVITIES TO PREVENT POOR MENTAL HEALTH AND WHEN PROMOTING MENTAL HEALTH:
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco smoking is among the leading risk factors for chronic disease and early death in developed countries, including Denmark, where smoking causes 14% of the disease burden. In Denmark, many public health interventions, including smoking prevention, are undertaken by the municipalities, but models to estimate potential health effects of local interventions are lacking. The aim of the current study was to model the effects of decreased smoking prevalence in Copenhagen, Denmark. Methods: The DYNAMO-HIA model was applied to the population of Copenhagen, by using health survey data and data from Danish population registers. We modelled the effects of four intervention scenarios aimed at different target groups, compared to a reference scenario. The potential effects of each scenario were modelled until 2040. Results: A combined scenario affecting both initiation rates among youth, and cessation and re-initiation rates among adults, which reduced the smoking prevalence to 4% by 2025, would have large beneficial effects on incidence and prevalence of smoking-related diseases and mortality. Health benefits could also be obtained through interventions targeting only cessation or re-initiation rates, whereas an intervention targeting only initiation among youth had marginal effects on morbidity and mortality within the modelled time frame. Conclusions: By modifying the DYNAMO-HIA model, we were able to estimate the potential health effects of four interventions to reduce smoking prevalence in the population of Copenhagen. The effect of the interventions on future public health depended on population subgroup(s) targeted, duration of implementation and intervention reach.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Aim: The population's attitude towards smoking bans in public arenas is important for their passing, implementation and compliance. Smoking bans are believed to reduce the social acceptability of smoking, and once people experience them, public support increases - also among pre-ban sceptics. This study aimed to examine the temporal changes in public attitude towards smoking bans in public arenas from 2007 to 2010 and whether these changes differed across educational attainment, smoking status and intention to quit among smokers. Methods: Data from two surveys among adults (aged 25-79 years) in 2007 and 2010 in the Capital Region of Denmark (n=36,472/42,504, response rate = 52.3) was linked with data on sex, age and educational attainment from central registers. Age-standardised prevalence of supportive attitude towards smoking bans was estimated. Temporal changes in supportive attitude were explored in workplaces, restaurants and bars using logistic regression models. Results: The prevalence of supportive attitude towards smoking bans increased significantly in all arenas from 2007 to 2010. Positive temporal changes in supportive attitude towards smoking bans were seen across educational attainment, smoking status and intention to quit smoking in restaurants and across smoking status for smoking bans in workplaces and bars. Conclusions: The results of this study show that the public's attitude towards smoking in public arenas has changed after the implementation of a comprehensive smoking ban. This change in attitude can support implementation of future legislation on smoking and may lead to positive changes in smoking norms.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to follow-up on previous research indicating that the sex composition of workplaces is related to a number of health outcomes, including sickness absenteeism and mortality. We test two hypotheses. The first is Kanter's theory of tokenism, which suggests that minority group members suffer from an increased risk of stress. Secondly, we test the hypothesis that workplaces with a higher proportion of men will have a higher incidence rate of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), as men are more likely to engage in negative health behaviours, and through peer effects this will result in a workplace culture that is detrimental to health over the long term. Methods: Large-scale, longitudinal Swedish administrative register data are used to study the risk of overnight hospitalization for IHD amongst 67,763 men over the period 1990 to 2001. Discrete-time survival analyses were estimated in the form of logistic regression models. Results: Men have an elevated risk of suffering from IHD in non-gender-balanced workplaces, but this association was only statistically significant in workplaces with 61-80% and 81-100% males. However, after adjusting for occupation no clear pattern of association could be discerned. No pattern of association was observed for women. Conclusions: This study suggests that the gender composition of workplaces is not strongly associated with the risk of suffering from IHD.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: SOC is associated with wellbeing and health. The Lundby Study is a cohort study of an unselected population (n=3563) in whom mental health and personality traits have been assessed since 1947, with follow ups in 1957, 1972, and 1997. Aim: To describe the relationship of Antonovsky's 29-item sense of coherence scale (SOC) and its three subscales (comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness) to mental health and mortality in an unselected middle-aged and elderly community cohort, controlling for gender, age, marital status, and socioeconomic status. Another aim was to analyse the three-factor structure of the SOC. Methods: Of the 1797 surviving subjects in 1997, 1559 participated in a semistructured diagnostic interview, and 1164 subjects completed the SOC questionnaire. Psychiatrists performed diagnostic evaluations. Collateral information was obtained from case notes and registers. Dates of death from 1997-2011 were obtained from the cause of death register. Results: SOC scores showed no sex differences, but were positively correlated with age. SOC scores were higher in married relative to unmarried participants and in blue-collar workers and self-employed individuals relative to white-collar workers. Total SOC and subscale scores were negatively correlated with depressive, anxiety, organic, and psychotic disorders. Male gender was positively correlated with comprehensibility and female gender was positively correlated with manageability and meaningfulness. Higher comprehensibility scores were correlated with lower mortality. Conclusions: SOC scores increased with age, were higher for blue-collar workers, and were lower for individuals with psychiatric disorders. Higher comprehensibility scores were associated with lower mortality. However, there was only weak evidence for a three-factor structure.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: To investigate whether high psychosocial job demands (quantitative demands and work pace) and low psychosocial job resources (influence at work and quality of leadership) predicted risk of disability pensioning among employees in four occupational groups - employees working with customers, employees working with clients, office workers and manual workers - in line with the propositions of the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model. Methods: Survey data from 40,554 individuals were fitted to the DREAM register containing information on payments of disability pension. Using multi-adjusted Cox regression, observations were followed in the DREAM-register to assess risk of disability pensioning. Average follow-up time was 5.9 years (SD=3.0). Results: Low levels of influence at work predicted an increased risk of disability pensioning and medium levels of quantitative demands predicted a decreased risk of disability pensioning in the study population. We found significant interaction effects between job demands and job resources as combinations low quality of leadership and high job demands predicted the highest rate of disability pensioning. Further analyses showed some, but no statistically significant, differences between the four occupational groups in the associations between job demands, job resources and risk of disability pensioning. Conclusions: The study showed that psychosocial job demands and job resources predicted risk of disability pensioning. The direction of some of the observed associations countered the expectations of the JD-R model and the findings of the present study therefore imply that associations between job demands, job resources and adverse labour market outcomes are more complex than conceptualised in the JD-R model.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Psychosocial factors in the working environment have been shown to be associated with mobility limitations, but this has not yet been confirmed in a Danish population. We aimed to examine how psychosocial factors at work are related to developing mobility limitations in Denmark. Methods: This study is based on data from 2952 middle-aged men and women without mobility limitations in 2000. Results: We found increased risk of incident mobility limitations during 6-year follow up among men who often perceived high work pace (OR 5.45, 95% CI 1.21-24.52) vs. never, who only sometimes or/never perceived the work to be meaningful (OR 6.54, 95% CI 1.55-27.55) vs. always, and who sometimes perceived high emotional demands at work (OR 7.85, 95% CI 1.78-34.65) vs. never. Among women, lower risk of incident mobility limitations was observed among those who in 2000 perceived high work pace sometimes (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.24-0.87) or often (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.22-0.85) vs. never in 2000. Also, women who always or often experienced high emotional demands had an increased risk. Conclusions: The most important finding was that high work pace was strongly associated with increased risk of mobility limitations among men, but associated with lower risk of mobility limitations among women. This knowledge may be used to better target interventions among men and women in midlife from physical deterioration later in life.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: While several studies suggest that cannabis users are at increased risk of interpersonal violence, it is not clear to what extent the association is causal. Our paper aims to assess the association between cannabis use and violence by using a method that diminishes the risk of confounding. Methods: We analysed data on cannabis use and violent behaviour from the second (1994) and third (1999) waves of the Young in Norway Longitudinal Study (cumulative response rate: 68.1%, n = 2681). We applied fixed-effects modelling to estimate the association between these behaviours, implying that changes in the frequency of violence were regressed on changes in the frequency of cannabis use. The effects of time-invariant confounders were hence eliminated. In addition, we included two time-varying covariates. Results: The elasticity estimate implies that a 10% increase in cannabis use frequency is associated with a 0.4% increase in frequency of violence (p=.024). Conclusions: Analyses of panel data on Norwegian youths reveals a statistically significant association between cannabis use and violence.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: To study long-term mortality and causes of death in a cohort of drug users in relation to main type of drug use and HIV-status. Methods: A total of 1640 hospitalized drug users in Stockholm was followed up from 1985 to the end of 2007. The mortality was compared with the general Swedish population and hazard ratios (HR) for the main risk indicators were calculated. The causes of death were studied, using information from death certificates. Results: 630 persons died during the observation period. The Standard Mortality Ratio (SMR) was 16.1 (males 13.8, females 18.5). The crude mortality rate was 2.0 % (males 2.2% and females 1.5%). The mortality rate was higher in heroin users than among amphetamine users, HR 1.96, controlled for age and other risk factors. The mortality rate among individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was high (4.9 %), HR 2.64, compared with HIV-negative individuals. Most of the deaths were from other causes than acquired immune deficiency syndrome. One-third of deaths (227) were caused by heroin intoxication. The number of deaths from HIV-related causes decreased after 1996, when highly active anti-retroviral therapy was introduced. In all, there were 92 HIV-related deaths. Deaths from natural causes increased during the observation period. The SMR was highest for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. The results indicate a correlation between amphetamine use and death from cerebral haemorrhage. A high proportion of natural deaths were alcohol-related. Conclusions: The death rate among illicit drug users was persistently high. Alcohol consumption was a contributing factor to premature death.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The Danish National Board of Health has expressed its commitment to social equality in health, evidence-informed health promotion and public health ethics, and has issued guidelines for municipalities on health promotion, in Danish named prevention packages. The aim of this article is to analyse whether the Board of Health adheres to ideals of equality, evidence and ethics in these guidelines. Methods: An analysis to detect statements about equity, evidence and ethics in 10 health promotion packages directed at municipalities with the aim of guiding the municipalities towards evidence-informed disease prevention and health promotion. Results: Despite declared intentions of prioritizing social equality in health, these intentions are largely absent from most of the packages. When health inequalities are mentioned, focus is on the disadvantaged or the marginalized. Several interventions are recommended, where there is no evidence to support them, notwithstanding the ambition of interventions being evidence-informed. Ethical considerations are scanty, scattered and unsystematically integrated. Further, although some packages mention the importance of avoiding stigmatization, there is little indicating how this could be done. Conclusions: Including reduction of health inequalities and evidence-informed and ethically defendable interventions in health promotion is a challenge, which is not yet fully met by the National Board of Health. When judged from liberal ethical principles, only few of the suggested interventions are acceptable, i.e., those concerning information, but from a paternalistic view, all interventions that may actually benefit the citizens are justified.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) affecting the back, upper and lower extremities are widespread in the general population, implying a variety of causal factors. Multiple causes are not mutually exclusive, and a high background rate does not preclude associations with specific factors that are uncommon in the general population. MSDs have well-documented associations with occupational ergonomic stressors such as repetitive motion, heavy lifting, non-neutral postures, and vibration. Organizational features of the work environment, such as time pressure and low decision latitude, may also play a role, at least by potentiating the effects of physical loading. Numerous systematic reviews have mostly concurred with these overall findings. Nevertheless, some continue to debate whether MSDs are sometimes work-related, even for those performing jobs with repetitive and routinized tasks, heavy lifting, and/or pronounced postural strain. This article discusses (1) some epidemiologic features of MSDs that underlie that debate; and (2) the question of what should appropriately be considered a gold standard for scientific evidence on an etiological question such as the health effects of a non-voluntary exposure, such as an occupational or environmental agent. In particular, randomized clinical trials have little relevance for determining the health effects of non-therapeutic risk factors.
    Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 03/2014; 42(13_suppl):49-58.