Use of a Population-Based Survey to Describe the Health of Boston Public Housing Residents

Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 02/2008; 98(1):85-91. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.094912
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We compared the health of public housing residents with other Boston residents through a random-digit-dial survey.
We used data from the Boston Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collected in 2001 and 2003 to make crude and demographically adjusted comparisons between public housing residents and other city residents on measures of health status, access and utilization, and health behaviors.
Public housing residents were more likely to report fair or poor overall health status, ever-diagnosed hypertension, current asthma, ever-diagnosed diabetes, obesity, disability, loss of 6 or more teeth, and feelings of depression for 15 days or more in the past month. Public housing residents were slightly more likely than others to be without health insurance or report financial barriers to medical care. Public housing residents reported more smoking and physical inactivity, less past-month binge drinking and past-year marijuana use, and similar levels of lifetime drug use.
Public housing residents reported substantially poorer health than did other city residents across a variety of conditions but similar levels of access to and utilization of health care. Public health departments may be able to use established surveys to measure health among public housing residents.

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    • "The prevalence of overweight/obesity in the U.S. is substantial and is considerably higher in women with lower socio-economic status compared to other women or in men [1] [2] [3]. In urban areas, individuals with low socioeconomic status living in subsidized public housing report nearly two times higher levels of obesity compared with other urban residents [4]. Diet and physical activity behaviors related to obesity are clearly important individual-level factors, but efforts to change these factors on a population-wide basis have been largely unrealized. "
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    ABSTRACT: Intervention programs that change environments have the potential for greater population impact on preventing obesity as opposed to individual-level programs. We began a cluster randomized, multi-component multi-level intervention to improve weight, diet, and physical activity among low socioeconomic status public housing residents. Here we describe the rationale, intervention design, and baseline survey data. After approaching 12 developments, ten were randomized to intervention (n = 5) or assessment-only control (n = 5). All residents in intervention developments are welcome to attend any intervention component: health screenings, mobile food bus, walking groups, cooking demonstrations, and a social media campaign; all of which are facilitated by community health workers who are residents trained in health outreach. To evaluate weight and behavioral outcomes, a subgroup of female residents and their daughters age 8-15 were recruited into an evaluation cohort. In total, 211 households completed the survey (RR = 46.44%). Respondents were Latino (63%), Black (24%), and had ≤ high school education (64%). Respondents reported ≤ 2 servings of fruits & vegetables/day (62%), visiting fast food restaurants 1 + times/week (32%), and drinking soft drinks daily or more (27%). The only difference between randomized groups was language spoken at home, with more Spanish speakers in the intervention vs. control group (57% vs. 40%, p = 0.007). Among low-socioeconomic status urban public housing residents, we successfully recruited and randomized families into a multi-level intervention targeting obesity. If successful, this intervention model could be adopted in other public housing developments or entities that also employ community health workers, such as food assistance programs or hospitals.
    Contemporary Clinical Trials 11/2014; 39(2). DOI:10.1016/j.cct.2014.08.005 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    • "This is particularly true for persons living in low-income public housing, environments which are often located in distressed neighborhoods with few health promoting resources. Public housing residents report poor health status, chronic disease conditions, and poor health behaviors [23,51]. Thus it is imperative that health promotion interventions targeted and tailored to racial/ethnic minorities and low-income groups consider this constellation of risk factors in order to be effective at closing the health disparities gap. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background This paper presents the study design, intervention components, and baseline data from Open Doors to Health, a study designed to address social contextual factors in colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention for low-income, racial/ethnic minority populations. Methods A cluster randomized design with 12 housing sites as the primary sampling units was used: 6 sites were assigned to a "Peer-led plus Screening Access" (PL) condition, and 6 were assigned to "Screening Access only" (SCR) condition. Study-related outcomes were CRC screening, physical activity (measured as mean steps/day), and multivitamin use. Results At baseline (unweighted sample size = 1554), two-thirds self-reported that they were current with screening recommendations for CRC (corrected for medical records validation, prevalence was 52%), with half having received a colonoscopy (54%); 96% had health insurance. Mean steps per day was 5648 (se mean = 224), and on average 28% of the sample reported regular multivitamin use. Residents reported high levels of social support [mean = 4.40 (se = .03)] and moderately extensive social networks [mean = 2.66 (se = .02)]. Conclusion Few studies have conducted community-based studies in public housing communities; these data suggest areas for improvement and future opportunities for intervention development and dissemination. Findings from the randomized trial will determine the effectiveness of the intervention on our health-related outcomes as well as inform future avenues of research.
    BMC Public Health 09/2009; 9(1). DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-9-353 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During the early stages of an influenza pandemic, a pandemic vaccine likely will not be available. There- fore, interventions to miti- gate pandemic influenza transmission in communi- ties will be an important component of the response to a pandemic. Public- housing residents, single- parent families, and low- income populations may have difficulty complying with community-wide in- terventions. To enable compliance
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