Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Living along the Ohio River is bad for children?

In my wanderings around the Internet looking for stuff about the Ohio River, I found a study performed by a student at the Ohio State University School of Nursing. I couldn't find a date on this study. I may have overlooked it, as the best place to hide something from a member of my family is putting it in plain sight. But the study cites other research published last year, so it must be fairly new.

The name of the study is "Exploring Health Behaviors and Health Outcomes of Third Graders in Appalachia, Ohio: Does School Location Matter?"

I read part of the abstract. This paragraph was what grabbed my attention:

There is also thought to be health differences within Appalachian sub-regions such as “River Bordering” and “Non-River Bordering” counties. Children who live in Ohio’s Appalachian counties that border the Ohio River are disproportionally exposed to adverse environmental conditions existing along the river that may contribute to disparities in health, available access to care and care utilization (Smith and Holloman, 2011). A comparison between the counties showed children residing in river bordering counties had higher rates of obesity (24.4%) and overweight (17%), than children residing in non-river bordering counties (Smith and Holloman, 2011). The majority of the parents reported that their children were in great health, but their BMI profiles indicated otherwise. Holloman and Smith’s findings suggest that the Appalachian counties that border the Ohio River may be particularly vulnerable in the childhood obesity epidemic. A better understanding of the environmental contexts that contribute to the obesity epidemic is needed. Findings further indicate that gender disparities in child health, particularly obesity, exist (Smith and Holloman, 2011).

So, living along the Ohio River correlates with obesity and overweight than living elsewhere. This must be a new thing, as we had few obese kids when I grew up along Route 7 in Gallia County, Ohio.

And that's as far as I plan to take it right now.


Okay, I couldn't help myself. I found the abstract to the 2011 study. Here is part of it:

Childhood asthma was more prevalent in the river-bordering counties (16.4%) compared to the non-river counties (9.4%). Children with asthma had more sere symptoms in the river bordering counties (8.2%) compared to the non-river bordering counties (4.4%). Children residing in river bordering counties had higher rates of obesity (24.4%) and overweight (17%). After controlling for child health and insurance status, children living in the river bordering counties had less access to care (est. -7.14, CI = -17.3,0.74) and more difficulty accessing specialty care. Children residing in the non-river counties had more sickness care utilization (est. 0.25, CI = 0.01, 0.49). Regardless of region, children with a regular health care provider and place for care were healthier. Differences in child health, access to care and utilization of services exist within Ohio's Appalachian region.

 The part about ashtma reminded me of one of my nephews. He's now a grandfather, but when he was a child I think my brother said his sinuses bothered him most when he got close to the Ohio River. Some people in my home area called it the "Ohio River crud".

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