Physical Inactivity as a Pervasive Risk Factor

Physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for the development of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. It is hypothesized that physical inactivity may fit the framework of a behavioral addiction and that chronic physical inactivity may be consistent with biological adaptation and expectation in human behavior. It is presented in the perspective of similar behavioral addiction paradigms and is related to the existing understanding of interventions used to address behavioral addictions. Given what is known about the health risks of physical inactivity, its prevalence worldwide, and the lack of progress to change this behavior at a population level, innovative perspectives are required to consider new population-based paradigms to change the behavior of the sedentary public. The hypothesis that chronic physical inactivity is a complex behavioral issue complicated by physiological resistance to change is presented to stimulate new thinking regarding interventional approaches.

Promoting Health Communication and Empowerment: Intervention Towards Malaria Mosquito Control

Malaria is an endemic disease in many marginalized and socially-and- economically-disadvantaged Philippine villages, especially in remote rural areas frequently visited by heavily armed insurgents and devastating typhoons. In spite of domestic and international campaigns to eliminate - or prevent the transmission of - the disease, government and non-governmental agencies have observed an alarming increase in the rate of malarial infection. The obvious need to institute or improve control mechanisms vis-à-vis the malaria disease, or malaria mosquito, has led to numerous efforts to develop effective models in providing vital assistance to malaria-infected communities. One such model is the “Farmers’ Health Empowerment and Communication Model”, which a research team successfully tested in Barangay Danglas, a marginalized rural community in one of the municipalities in the Province of Abra, Philippines. The research highlights the experiences of farmers involved in malaria vector control, who have developed the competence and confidence to think, decide, and translate into action their knowledge of malaria vector control and undergo change based on their acquired knowledge. The research provides empirical support to validate an intervention model on farmers’ empowerment towards community participation.

The Social Determinants of Health: Do They Apply to Caregivers?

Background: Gender, socioeconomic status, and age are well-known social determinants of health in general populations. More often they are examined separately, less often in combination in terms of their intersectionality. Among informal caregivers to older adults with dementia, they also tend to be studied separately rather than for their combined effects. Furthermore, while poverty is known to be disadvantageous for caregivers’ quality of life, whether being female is disadvantageous is more contentious, and being an older caregiver may be advantageous. Objectives: This paper asks whether being female, living in poverty, or being older, singly and in combination, are disadvantageous for the quality of life of caregivers to older adults as the social determinants of health literature would suggest. Methods: Four quality of life outcomes (self-esteem, burden, anxiety, and depression) are measured in a non-random sample of 767 informal caregivers to older adults with dementia. All caregivers were living in British Columbia, Canada and all care recipients living in the community. Data were collected by in-person interviews at two points in time, one year apart. Bivariate correlations examined the relationship between the three statuses and the four outcome measures then analyses of variance conducted as general linear models were conducted on each outcome measure separately at T1 and at T2 to assess two- and three-way interaction effects. Post-hoc analyses to assess pairwise differences in group means were conducted using the Bonferroni Type I error correction. Conclusions: The analyses point to the complexity of the caregiving experience, the theoretical value of the concept of intersectionality and the fact that some social determinants apply differentially to some groups. Socio-economic status operates as expected. Gender does not. Age operates as the general social determinants of health literature would suggest but opposite to many of the findings for caregivers. Male caregivers living in poverty emerge as especially vulnerable to lower quality of life.