We regularly scan eleven journals for new studies of particular population health relevance (the list of journals is at the end of this post). A couple of recent papers caught our eye:
This article describes the impact of raising minimum alcohol prices by 10% in Saskatchewan, Canada. Saskatchewan provides a unique case study in that the provincial government has established a monopoly to control alcohol distribution. The intervention led to an 8.43% reduction in alcohol consumption, with the greatest declines from beer, spirits, and wine respectively. Notably, a significant portion of this effect was observed via retail sales, as opposed to bars and restaurant consumption. Equally interesting, the study found a differential affect by alcoholic beverage potency. High alcohol content beer and wine were associated with the largest decreases in consumption, with high alcohol beer dropping 22% compared to only 8% for low alcohol beer. The surprisingly targeted effects of the alcohol pricing legislation investigated here merits further research, including probing for broader policy application.
For this research, the Community Preventive Services Task Force analyzed 16 mass media campaigns promoting physical activity from 1980 to 2009. The studies varied considerably in their medium, duration, audience, and metrics used to evaluate effectiveness. Findings suggest modest gains in physical activity across the ten campaigns with comparable measures. The six other studies also observed similar slight gains in physical activities in participants using unique outcome measures. The authors emphasize that these types of media campaigns are distinct in that they are stand-alone versus multi-faceted, comprehensive public health initiatives, which have well-established promotion effects. Notably, limitations of data and methods prevent drawing causal relationships about the specific role that media campaigns play as a part of broader intervention strategies.
I want to acknowledge the assistance of Erik Bakken, BA for his assistance in scanning the literature and drafting this post.
Journals we follow:
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
American Journal of Public Health
Annual Review of Public Health
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
New England Journal of Medicine
Preventing Chronic Disease
Social Science and Medicine
David A. Kindig, MD, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Follow him on twitter: @DAKindig.