Saturday, February 4, 2017

Built environment and cycling for transport in Europe

In a cross-sectional study just published in the journal Health & Place with Lieze Mertens from Ghent University as first author, we explored which observed built environmental factors were associated with cycling for transport among adults in five urban regions across Europe. This study was part of the SPOTLIGHT (sustainable prevention of obesity through integrated strategies) project, that The build environment was observed with a virtual neighbourhood audit tool using Google street view, that was specifically developed for this study. We further explored if the association of build
environment characteristics with cycling for transport depended on such factors as age, gender, socio-economic status and country/urban region. The results showed that people living in neighbourhoods with a preponderance of speed limits below 30 km/h, many bicycle lanes, with less traffic calming devices, and more trees; but also with more litter and parked cars on the road were more likely to cycle for transport than people living in areas with lower prevalence of these factors. The results suggest that reducing speed limits for motorized vehicles and the provision of more bicycle lanes may help to facilitate cycling for transport in urban regions across Europe. Hardly any evidence was found that the associations were different between men and women, or according to age or socio-economic status.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Exploring health education with midwives

In a study just published -with Ruth Baron as first author- in the journal Midwifery we explored the experiences, wishes and needs of pregnant women with respect to health education in primary care with midwives. We used qualitative semi-structured interviews, using thematic analysis and constant comparison. Twenty-two pregnant women in midwife-led primary care, varying in socio-demographic characteristics, weeks of pregnancy and region of residence in the Netherlands, were interviewed between April and December 2013.
The women considered midwives to be the designated health caregivers for providing prenatal health education, and generally appreciated the information they had received from their midwives. Some women, however, believed the amount of verbal health information was insufficient; others that there was too much written information. Many women still had questions and expressed uncertainties regarding various health issues, especially regarding weight gain, alcohol, and physical activity. Women felt that important qualities for midwives underlying health education, were making them feel at ease and building a relationship of trust with them.
Health education was highly appreciated by women in general, suggesting that midwives should err on the side of providing too much verbal information, as opposed to too little. A more pro-active approach with information provision may be of value not only to those with a clear desire for more information, but also to those who are unsure of what information they may be missing. As midwives are the principal health care providers throughout pregnancy,they should ideally emphasize their availability for questions between prenatal visits.