Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ineke Vogel defends her thesis on behavior and possible precautions related to exposure to loud music among adolescents

Listening to music is great. Listening to loud music can be a lot of fun, but too loud and too long will damage your ears. Risk of hearing impairment is nowadays especially high among youth who are exposed to long spells of loud music by listening to ‘MP3’ players and such, and by visiting discotheques and music concerts.
How big this potential problem is, who runs the highest risk, and what the possible precautionary actions are, was largely unclear. But yesterday Dr. Inke Vogel defended her doctoral thesis called “Music-listening behaviour of adolescents and hearing conservation: many risks, few precautions” successfully. Her thesis consists of 11 scientific papers of which the majority has already been published or accepted for publication in high ranking journals such as Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and the American Journal of Public Health. In her series of studies, Dr. Vogel assessed what proportion of Dutch youth runs considerable risk (at least 25%), and what differentiates youth with higher risk from those with lower risk (especially level of education; youth at vocational schools have much higher exposure to loud music than youth at university preparation education). Ineke Vogel also explored what could motivate youth to take voluntary precautions and what possible other health protection measures may be considered to tackle this considerable population health problem.

Her conclusions are that exposure to long spells of loud music, especially through personal music devices, is very prevalent, may lead to extensive hearing impairments, but that there are very few opportunities to motivate youth to voluntarily reduce their exposure. Health protection measures, i.e. measures such as legal sound level limitations should be considered.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nanna Tak defends her thesis on promoting Fruits and Vegetables among schoolchildren

Yesterday, Nannah Tak defended her thesis on the evaluation of the ‘Schoolgruiten’ project, an intervention scheme to promote fruit and vegetable intakes among school children in the Netherlands.

This intervention scheme builds on similar projects (such as Pro Children and Pro Greens) in which fruit and vegetable provision in schools is combined with health education about the merits and recommendations regarding fruit and veggie intakes.

Nannah’s thesis consists of a series of scientific papers published in such journals as Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, and Public Health Nutrition, and combines observational research exploring possible determinants of fruit and vegetable intakes with intervention research to assess the (cost) effectiveness of the scheme. The results indicate that Schoolgruiten was successful in promotion of fruits, but effect sizes were small.

Nannah’s thesis was well received, and her defence successful!