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See detailWork ability assessment in a worker population : comparison and determinants of Work Ability index and Work Ability score
EL FASSI, Mehdi; BOCQUET, Valery; MAJERY, Nicole et al

in BMC Public Health (2013), 13

Background Public authorities in European countries are paying increasing attention to the promotion of work ability throughout working life and the best method to monitor work ability in populations of ... [more ▼]

Background Public authorities in European countries are paying increasing attention to the promotion of work ability throughout working life and the best method to monitor work ability in populations of workers is becoming a significant question. The present study aims to compare the assessment of work ability based on the use of the Work Ability Index (WAI), a 7-item questionnaire, with another one based on the use of WAI’s first item, which consists in the worker’s self-assessment of his/her current work ability level as opposed to his/her lifetime best, this single question being termed “Work Ability score” (WAS). Methods Using a database created by an occupational health service, the study intends to answer the following questions: could the assessment of work ability be based on a single-item measure and which are the variables significantly associated with self-reported work ability among those systematically recorded by the occupational physician during health examinations? A logistic regression model was used in order to estimate the probability of observing “poor” or “moderate” WAI levels depending on age, gender, body mass index, smoking status, position held, firm size and diseases reported by the worker in a population of workers aged 40 to 65 and examined between January 2006 and June 2010 (n=12389). Results The convergent validity between WAS and WAI was statistically significant (rs=0.63). In the multivariable model, age (p<0.001), reported diseases (OR=1.13, 95%CI [1.11-1.15]) and holding a position mostly characterized by physical activity (OR=1.67, 95%CI [1.49-1.87]) increased the probability of reporting moderate or poor work ability. A work position characterized by the predominance of mental activity (OR=0.71, 95%CI [0.61-0.84]) had a favourable impact on work ability. These relations were observed regardless of the work ability measurement tool used. Conclusion The convergent validity and the similarity in results between WAI and WAS observed in a large population of employed workers should thus foster the use of WAS for systematic screening of work ability. Ageing, overweight, decline in health status, holding a mostly physical job and working in a large-sized firm increase the risk of presenting moderate or poor work ability. [less ▲]

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See detailA cross-sectional study to assess knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention measures in company workers in Ecuador
Cabezas Guerra, Maria del Carmen ULg; Fornasini, Marco; Dardenne, Nadia ULg et al

in BMC Public Health (2013), 13

Background: HIV/AIDS was first reported in Ecuador in 1984 and its prevalence has been increasing ever since. In 2009, the National AIDS Program reported 21,810 HIV/AIDS cases and confirmed that the ... [more ▼]

Background: HIV/AIDS was first reported in Ecuador in 1984 and its prevalence has been increasing ever since. In 2009, the National AIDS Program reported 21,810 HIV/AIDS cases and confirmed that the worker population was amongst the most affected groups. The objective of this study was to assess knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention measures in company workers in Ecuador. Methods: A cross-sectional survey based on a random sample of 115 companies (1,732 workers), stratified by three large provinces and working sectors (commerce, manufacturing and real estate) was conducted. A validated instrument developed by Family Health International was used to evaluate HIV prevention knowledge and common local misconceptions about HIV transmission. Descriptive statistics, chi square test and logistic regression analysis were performed using SAS. Results: Incorrect knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission were found in 49.1% (95% CI: 46.6-51.6) of subjects. Incorrect knowledge was higher among males (OR=1.73 [1.39 –2.15]), older subjects (OR=1.35 [1.02 – 1.77]), subjects with lower education (OR=3.72 [2.44 – 5.65]), manual labor workers (OR=2.93 [1.82 – 4.73]) and subjects without previous exposure to HIV intervention programs (OR=2.26 [1.79 – 2.86]). Incorrect knowledge about preventive measures was found among 32.9% (95%CI: 30.6-35.2) of respondents. This proportion was higher among subjects with lower education (OR=2.28 [1.52 – 3.43]), married subjects (OR=1.34 [1.07 – 1.68]), manual labor workers (OR=1.80 [1.34 – 2.42]), and subjects not previously exposed to HIV intervention programs (OR=1.44 [1.14 – 1.83]). Conclusions: HIV intervention programs targeting company workers are urgently needed to improve knowledge and reduce HIV transmission in Ecuador. [less ▲]

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See detailPsychosocial risk and protective factors of secondary school dropout in Luxembourg: the protocol of an exploratory case-control study.
Esch, Pascale; Bocquet, Valery; Pull, Charles et al

in BMC Public Health (2011), 11

BACKGROUND: In Luxembourg, the extensive phenomenon of school dropout is a prime policy concern in the light of individual, social and economic consequences. Although the authorities report an overall ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: In Luxembourg, the extensive phenomenon of school dropout is a prime policy concern in the light of individual, social and economic consequences. Although the authorities report an overall decrease of the national dropout rate, the proportion of early school leavers who remain without any specific occupation is still alarming. Therefore, this study intends a shift of focus from system-inherent to individual factors, including mental health and family correlates, to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the dropout phenomenon. METHODS/DESIGN: The objectives of this study are to investigate the type and prevalence of psychiatric disorders among school dropouts and to compare the findings with those by a matched control group of regularly enrolled students. Furthermore, family variables and socioeconomic status will be analysed, as they are factors likely to interfere with both educational attainment and mental health. A trained psychologist will use structured interviews and self-report forms to investigate for mental health issues, information on schooling, socioeconomic situation and family life. Controls will be matched for gender, age, school type and educational grade. DISCUSSION: As school dropouts face a serious risk of long term professional and social marginalization, there is an evident need for action. Identifying psychosocial risk and protective factors of school dropout will deliver solid insight on how to conceive public health strategies for young people who may need a more customized support to carry out their academic potential. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01354236. [less ▲]

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See detailPrevalence of the metabolic syndrome in Luxembourg according to the Joint Interim Statement definition estimated from the ORISCAV-LUX study.
Alkerwi, Ala'a; Donneau, Anne-Françoise ULg; Sauvageot, Nicolas et al

in BMC Public Health (2011), 11(1), 4

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MS) has been determined in many countries worldwide but never in Luxembourg. This research aimed to 1) establish the gender- and age ... [more ▼]

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (MS) has been determined in many countries worldwide but never in Luxembourg. This research aimed to 1) establish the gender- and age-specific prevalence of MS and its components in the general adult population of Luxembourg, according to the most recent Joint Interim Statement (JIS) definition, by using both the high and low cut-off points to define abdominal obesity, and 2) compare and assess the degree of agreement with the Revised National Cholesterol Education Programme-Adult Treatment Panel III (R-ATPIII) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) definitions. METHODS: A representative stratified random sample of 1349 European subjects, aged 18-69 years, participated to ORISCAV-LUX survey. Logistic regression and odds ratios (OR) were used to study MS prevalence with respect to gender and age. The Framingham risk score (FRS) to predict the 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk was calculated to compare the proportion of MS cases below or above 20%, according to both high and low waist circumference (WC) thresholds. Cohen's kappa coefficient (kappa) was utilized to measure the degree of agreement between MS definitions. RESULTS: The prevalence of the MS defined by the JIS was 28.0% and 24.7% when using the low (94/80) and the high (102/88) WC cut-off points, respectively. The prevalence was significantly higher in men than in women (OR = 2.6 and 2.3 for the low and high WC thresholds), as were all components of the MS except abdominal obesity measured by both thresholds. It also increased with age (OR values in age categories ranging from 2.7 to 28 when compared to the younger subjects for low WC and from 3.3 to 31 for the high WC cut-offs). The 10-year predicted risk of CHD by FRS did not depend on the threshold used. Globally, excellent agreement was observed between the three definitions of MS (kappa= 0.89), in particular between JIS and IDF (kappa = 0.93). Agreement was significantly higher in women than in men, and differed between age groups. CONCLUSION: Regardless of the definition used, the adult population of Luxembourg reveals a high MS prevalence. Our findings contribute to build evidence regarding the definitive construct of the MS, to help selecting the waist circumference thresholds for Europid populations, and to support the need to revise the guidelines for abdominal obesity levels. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst nationwide survey on cardiovascular risk factors in Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (ORISCAV-LUX).
Alkerwi, Ala'a; Sauvageot, Nicolas; Donneau, Anne-Françoise ULg et al

in BMC Public Health (2010), 10

BACKGROUND: The ORISCAV-LUX study is the first baseline survey of an on-going cardiovascular health monitoring programme in Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The main objectives of the present manuscript were 1 ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The ORISCAV-LUX study is the first baseline survey of an on-going cardiovascular health monitoring programme in Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The main objectives of the present manuscript were 1) to describe the study design and conduct, and 2) to present the salient outcomes of the study, in particular the prevalence of the potentially modifiable and treatable cardiovascular disease risk factors in the adult population residing in Luxembourg. METHOD: ORISCAV-LUX is a cross-sectional study based on a random sample of 4496 subjects, stratified by gender, age categories and district, drawn from the national insurance registry of 18-69 years aged Luxembourg residents, assuming a response rate of 30% and a proportion of 5% of institutionalized subjects in each stratum. The cardiovascular health status was assessed by means of a self-administered questionnaire, clinical and anthropometric measures, as well as by blood, urine and hair examinations. The potentially modifiable and treatable risk factors studied included smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. Both univariate and multivariate statistical analyses used weighted methods to account for the stratified sampling scheme. RESULTS: A total of 1432 subjects took part in the survey, yielding a participation rate of 32.2%. This figure is higher than the minimal sample size of 1285 subjects as estimated by power calculation. The most predominant cardiovascular risk factors were dyslipidemia (69.9%), hypertension (34.5%), smoking (22.3%), and obesity (20.9%), while diabetes amounted 4.4%. All prevalence rates increased with age (except smoking) with marked gender differences (except diabetes). There was a significant difference in the prevalence of hypertension and of lipid disorders by geographic region of birth. The proportion of subjects cumulating two or more cardiovascular risk factors increased remarkably with age and was more predominant in men than in women (P<0.0001). Only 14.7% of men and 23.1% of women were free of any cardiovascular risk factor. High prevalence of non-treated CVRF, notably for hypertension and dyslipidemia, were observed in the study population. CONCLUSION: The population-based ORISCAV-LUX survey revealed a high prevalence of potentially modifiable and treatable cardiovascular risk factors among apparently healthy subjects; significant gender and age-specific differences were seen not only for single but also for combined risk factors. From a public health perspective, these preliminary findings stress the urgent need for early routine health examinations, preventive interventions and lifestyle behavioural changes, even in young asymptomatic adults, to decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in Luxembourg. [less ▲]

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See detailNutrition, environment and cardiovascular health (NESCAV): protocol of an inter-regional cross-sectional study.
Alkerwi, Ala'a; Guillaume, Michèle ULg; Zannad, Faiez et al

in BMC Public Health (2010), 10(1), 698

BACKGROUND: Despite the remarkable technological progress in health care and treatment, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of premature death, prolonged hospitalization and disability in ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Despite the remarkable technological progress in health care and treatment, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of premature death, prolonged hospitalization and disability in most European countries. In the population of the Greater Region (Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, Wallonia in Belgium, and Lorraine in France), the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and disease is among the highest in Europe, warranting the need for a better understanding of factors contributing to this pattern. In this context, the cross-border "Nutrition, Environment and Cardiovascular Health-NESCAV" project is initiated by an inter-regional multi-disciplinary consortium and supported by the INTERREG IV A program "Greater Region", 2007-2013, to fight synergically and harmoniously against this major public health problem. METHODS/DESIGN: The objectives of the three-year planned project are to assess, in a representative sample of 3000 randomly selected individuals living at the Greater Region, 1) the cardiovascular health and risk profile, 2) the association between the dietary habits and the cardiovascular risk, 3) the association of occupational and environmental pollution markers with the cardiovascular risk, 4) the knowledge, awareness and level of control of cardiovascular risk factors, 5) the potential gaps in the current primary prevention, and finally, to address evidence-based recommendations enabling the development of inter-regional guidance to help policy-makers and health care workers for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. DISCUSSION: The findings will provide tools that may enable the Greater Region's decision-makers and health professionals to implement targeted and cost-effective prevention strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailVitamin D inadequacy in Belgian postmenopausal osteoporotic women.
Neuprez, Audrey ULg; Bruyère, Olivier ULg; Collette, Julien ULg et al

in BMC Public Health (2007), 7(147), 64

BACKGROUND: Inadequate serum vitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations are associated with secondary hyperparathyroidism, increased bone turnover and bone loss, which increase fracture risk. The objective of ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Inadequate serum vitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations are associated with secondary hyperparathyroidism, increased bone turnover and bone loss, which increase fracture risk. The objective of this study is to assess the prevalence of inadequate serum 25(OH)D concentrations in postmenopausal Belgian women. Opinions with regard to the definition of vitamin D deficiency and adequate vitamin D status vary widely and there are no clear international agreements on what constitute adequate concentrations of vitamin D. METHODS: Assessment of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and parathyroid hormone was performed in 1195 Belgian postmenopausal women aged over 50 years. Main analysis has been performed in the whole study population and according to the previous use of vitamin D and calcium supplements. Four cut-offs of 25(OH)D inadequacy were fixed : < 80 nmol/L, <75 nmol/L, < 50 nmol/L and < 30 nmol/L. RESULTS: Mean (SD) age of the patients was 76.9 (7.5) years, body mass index was 25.7 (4.5) kg/m2. Concentrations of 25(OH)D were 52.5 (21.4) nmol/L. In the whole study population, the prevalence of 25(OH)D inadequacy was 91.3 %, 87.5 %, 43.1 % and 15.9% when considering cut-offs of 80, 75, 50 and 30 nmol/L, respectively. Women who used vitamin D supplements, alone or combined with calcium supplements, had higher concentrations of 25(OH)D than non-users. Significant inverse correlations were found between age/serum PTH and serum 25(OH)D (r = -0.23/r = -0.31) and also between age/serum PTH and femoral neck BMD (r = -0.29/r = -0.15). There is a significant positive relation between age and PTH (r = 0.16), serum 25(OH)D and femoral neck BMD (r = 0.07). (P < 0.05)Vitamin D concentrations varied with the season of sampling but did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.09). CONCLUSION: This study points out a high prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy in Belgian postmenopausal osteoporotic women, even among subjects receiving vitamin D supplements. [less ▲]

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