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Bemelmans W.J.E.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment RIVM | Bemelmans W.J.E.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment | Wijnhoven T.M.A.,World Health Organization | Verschuuren M.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment RIVM | Breda J.,World Health Organization
BMC Public Health

Community-based initiatives (CBIs) on childhood obesity are considered a good practice approach against childhood obesity. The European Commission called for an overview of CBIs implemented from 2005-2011. A survey was executed by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment of the Netherlands, in collaboration with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the European CBIs, as identified in the survey, presenting their general characteristics, applied strategies (separately for actions targeting the environment and/or directly the children's behaviour) and the reported effects on weight indicators. Methods. Potentially eligible CBIs were identified by informants in 27 European Union countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and through desk research. School based approaches could be included if they complied with criteria related to being 'community-based'. In total, 278 potential eligible CBIs were identified and of these, 260 projects were approached. For 88 an electronic questionnaire was completed; of these 71 met all criteria. The included projects were reported by 15 countries. Results: 66% of the 71 CBIs implemented actions in more than one setting or throughout the neighbourhood. Most frequently reported environmental actions were professional training (78%), actions for parents (70%), and changing the social (62%) and physical (52%) environment. Most frequently reported educational activities were group education (92%), general educational information (90%), and counselling sessions (58%). The vast majority (96%) implemented both environmental and individual strategies and about half of the CBIs reported a public-private partnership. Eight CBIs provided evidence supporting positive effects on weight indicators and/or overweight prevalence in a general population of children (aged 6 to 12 yrs), and one CBI did not support this. Two of those CBIs were also conducted among adolescents (aged 12 to 16,5 yrs), but showed no effect in this age-group. Conclusions: Despite diversity of included CBIs, common characteristics were the application of integrated actions at a local level, aimed at changing the environment and the children's behaviour directly. Evidence supporting effectiveness on weight indicators is available, although the design and conduct of most of these studies were suboptimal (i.e. no control group, a small sample size, not random). © 2014 Bemelmans et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Bowmer T.,Applied Scientific Research | Linders J.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment
WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs

As part of the preparations for entry into force of the Ballast Water Convention (2004), the International Maritime Organization has initiated a process to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential technologies for disinfecting ballast water on board ships. Ballast Water Management Systems intended to remove potentially 'harmful aquatic organisms' are subjected to a review process, one aspect of which is aimed at ensuring safety by assessing the risks of the systemto the environment, human health (including the ships crew) as well as the safety of the ship. With 25 systems in the various stages of the evaluation process and some already approved, this paper takes a first look at the types of systems under development, especially their environmental characteristics and look for any emerging trends. Quite awide range of different technologies are being developed based on chemical, physicochemical and physical mechanisms. Of these, chlorination by electrolysis in-situ is the most common and indications are that such systems may become even more common. © 2010 World Maritime University. Source

De Graaf R.,Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction | Ten Have M.,Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction | Van Gool C.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment | Van Dorsselaer S.,Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

Objective To present prevalences of lifetime and 12- month DSM-IV mood, anxiety, substance use and impulse- control disorders from the second Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS-2), and to compare the 12-month prevalence of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders with estimates from the first study (NEMESIS-1). Method Between November 2007 and July 2009, a nationally representative face-to-face survey was conducted using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0 among 6,646 subjects aged 18-64. Trends in 12-month prevalence of mental disorders were examined with these data and NEMESIS-1 data from 1996 (n = 7,076). Results Lifetime prevalence estimates in NEMESIS-2 were 20.2% for mood, 19.6% for anxiety, 19.1% for substance use disorder and 9.2% for impulse-control disorder. For 12-month disorders, these figures were 6.1, 10.1, 5.6 and 2.1%, respectively. Between 1996 and 2007-2009, the 12-month prevalence of anxiety and substance use disorder did not change. The prevalence of mood disorder decreased slightly but lost significance after controlling for differences in sociodemographic variables between the two studies. Conclusion This study shows that in the Netherlands mental disorders are prevalent. In about a decade, no clear change in mental health status was found. © Springer-Verlag 2010. Source

Klaasen M.,University Utrecht | Roest H.-J.,Wageningen University | Van Der Hoek W.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment | Goossens B.,SOS Childrens Villages International | And 2 more authors.

Background: Q fever is a zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii, a Gram negative bacterium present worldwide. Small ruminants are considered the main reservoirs for infection of humans. This study aimed to estimate the extent of C. burnetii infection among sheep and goats in part of The Gambia. Methodology/Principal Findings: This survey was carried out from March to May 2012 at two areas in The Gambia. The first area comprised a cluster of seven rural villages situated 5-15 km west of Farafenni as well as the local abattoir. A second sampling was done at the central abattoir in Abuko (30 km from the capital, Banjul) in the Western Region. Serum samples were obtained from 490 goats and 398 sheep. In addition, 67 milk samples were obtained from lactating dams. Sera were tested with a Q fever ELISA kit. C. burnetii DNA was extracted from milk samples and then detected using a specific quantitative multiplex PCR assay, targeting the IS1111a element. A multivariable mixed logistic regression model was used to examine the relationship between seropositivity and explanatory variables. An overall seroprevalence of 21.6% was found. Goats had a significantly higher seroprevalence than sheep, respectively 24.2% and 18.5%. Seropositive animals were significantly older than seronegative animals. Animals from the villages had a significantly lower seroprevalence than animals from the central abattoir (15.1% versus 29.1%). C. burnetii DNA was detected in 2 out of 67 milk samples, whereas 8 samples gave a doubtful result. Conclusion/Significance: A substantial C. burnetii seroprevalence in sheep and goats in The Gambia was demonstrated. People living in close proximity to small ruminants are exposed to C. burnetii. Q fever should be considered as a possible cause of acute febrile illness in humans in The Gambia. Future studies should include a simultaneous assessment of veterinary and human serology, and include aetiology of febrile illness in local clinics. © 2014 Klaasen et al. Source

Vonk J.A.,University of Amsterdam | Mulder C.,National Institute for Public Health and Environment

There is increasing evidence of the coexistence of trophic and environmental constraints belowground. While too often ignored in current literature, the extent to which phosphorus is relevant for soil biota was demonstrated in this study by positive correlations of soil C/P and N/P ratios with all the measured microbial parameters (biomass, density and activity), with the numerical abundance of roundworms (Nematoda) and potworms (Enchytraeidae) from lower trophic levels and with the roundworm biomass. Total worm biomass seems dependent on land use, being in rangelands about twice as high as in croplands, although the relative contribution of potworms remains comparable for both land use types (49 ± 20 % SD versus 45 ± 27 % SD). Besides soil [P], soil type plays an important role in the relative biomass of potworms compared to roundworms. Soil parameters (here pH, C/P and N/P ratios) are better predictors for the abundance and biomass of roundworms than microbial parameters. We also propose a graphical way to visualize the major responses of basal consumers to their microbial drivers. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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