News and Publications


News and Publications from 2022


Sierra N. Clark, Abosede S. Alli, Majid Ezzati, Michael Brauer, Mireille B. Toledano, James Nimo, Josephine Bedford Moses, Solomon Baah, Allison Hughes, Alicia Cavanaugh, Samuel Agyei-Mensah, George Owusu, Brian Robinson, Jill Baumgartner, James Bennett, Raphael Arku.

Spatial modelling and inequalities of environmental noise in accra, Ghana.

Environmental Research, 2022, 113932, ISSN 0013-9351, doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2022.113932.
(sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935122012592)
Available online July 20th, 2022

Abstract:

Noise pollution is a growing environmental health concern in rapidly urbanizing sub-Saharan African (SSA) cities. However, limited city-wide data constitutes a major barrier to investigating health impacts as well as implementing environmental policy in this growing population. As such, in this first of its kind study in West Africa, we measured, modelled and predicted environmental noise across the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) in Ghana, and evaluated inequalities in exposures by socioeconomic factors. Specifically, we measured environmental noise at 146 locations with weekly (n = 136 locations) and yearlong monitoring (n = 10 locations). We combined these data with geospatial and meteorological predictor variables to develop high-resolution land use regression (LUR) models to predict annual average noise levels (LAeq24hr, Lden, Lday, Lnight). The final LUR models were selected with a forward stepwise procedure and performance was evaluated with cross-validation. We spatially joined model predictions with national census data to estimate population levels of, and potential socioeconomic inequalities in, noise levels at the census enumeration-area level. Variables representing road-traffic and vegetation explained the most variation in noise levels at each site. Predicted day-evening-night (Lden) noise levels were highest in the city-center (Accra Metropolis) (median: 64.0 dBA) and near major roads (median: 68.5 dBA). In the Accra Metropolis, almost the entire population lived in areas where predicted Lden and night-time noise (Lnight) surpassed World Health Organization guidelines for road-traffic noise (Lden <53; and Lnight <45). The poorest areas in Accra also had significantly higher median Lden and Lnight compared with the wealthiest ones, with a difference of ∼5 dBA. The models can support environmental epidemiological studies, burden of disease assessments, and policies and interventions that address underlying causes of noise exposure inequalities within Accra.


Galbraith E, Fajzel W, Xu S, Xia V, Frie E, Barrington-Leigh C, et al. (2022)

Interdisciplinary applications of human time use with generalized lexicons.

PLoS ONE 17(7): e0270583. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0270583
Published July 14th, 2022

Abstract:

Time use studies quantify what people do, over particular time intervals. The results of these studies have illuminated diverse and important aspects of societies and economies, from populations around the world. Yet, these efforts have advanced in a fragmented manner, using non-standardized descriptions (lexicons) of time use that often require researchers to make arbitrary designations among non-exclusive categories, and are not easily translated between disciplines. Here we propose a new approach, assembling multiple dimensions of time use to construct what we call the human chronome, as a means to provide novel interdisciplinary perspectives on fundamental aspects of human behaviour and experience. The approach is enabled by parallel lexicons, each of which aims for low ambiguity by focusing on a single coherent categorical dimension, and which can then be combined to provide a multi-dimensional characterization. Each lexicon should follow a single, consistent theoretical orientation, ensure exhaustiveness and exclusivity, and minimize ambiguity arising from temporal and social aggregation. As a pragmatic first step towards this goal, we describe the development of the Motivating- Outcome- Oriented General Activity Lexicon (MOOGAL). The MOOGAL is theoretically oriented towards the outcomes of activities, is applicable to any human from hunter-gatherers to modern urbanites, and deliberately focuses on the physical outcomes which motivate the undertaking of activities to reduce ambiguity from social aggregation. We illustrate the utility of the MOOGAL by comparing it with existing economic, sociological and anthropological lexicons, showing that it exhaustively covers the previously-defined activities with low ambiguity, and apply it to time use and economic data from two countries. Our results support the feasibility of using generalized lexicons to incorporate diverse observational constraints on time use, thereby providing a rich interdisciplinary perspective on the human system that is particularly relevant to the current period of rapid social, technological and environmental change.


Cover of The Routledge Handbook of Feminist BioethicsNatalie Stoljar and Catriona Mackenzie co-wrote the following chapter:

Relational autonomy in feminist bioethics

Rogers, W.A., Scully, J.L., Carter, S.M., Entwistle, V.A., & Mills, C. (Eds.). (2022). The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Bioethics (1st ed.). Routledge. doi.org/10.4324/9781003016885


Tuan Nguyen, Jennifer Cashin, Ha Tran, Duong Vu, Arijit Nandi, Minh Pham, Van Nguyen, Amy Weissman, Binh Nguyen, Toan Pham, Roger Mathisen.

Paid Maternity Leave in Vietnam: Awareness, Perceptions, Gaps, and Uptake Among Formally Employed Pregnant Women and Mothers of Infants.

Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 6, Issue Supplement_1, June 2022, Page 1102, doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzac071.002
Published June 14, 2022

Abstract:

Objectives: To examine the uptake of Vietnam's paid maternity leave policy in terms of entitlements and awareness, perceptions, and gaps in implementation through the lens of formally employed female workers.

Methods: In this mixed methods study, we interviewed 494 formally employed female workers, among whom 107 were pregnant and 387 were mothers of infants and conducted in-depth interviews with a subset of these women (n = 39).

Results: Of the 494 women interviewed, 268 (54.3%) were working in blue-collar jobs and more than 90% were contributing to the public social insurance fund. Among the 387 mothers on paid maternity leave, 51 (13.2%) did not receive cash entitlements during their leave. Among the 182 mothers with infants aged 6–11 months, 30 (16.5%) returned to work before accruing 180 days of maternity leave. Of 121 women who had returned to work, 26 (21.5%) did not receive a one-hour paid break every day to express breastmilk, relax or breastfeed, and 46 (38.0%) worked the same or more hours per day than before maternity leave. Although most women perceived maternity leave as beneficial for the child's health (92.5%), mother's health (91.5%), family (86.2%), and society (90.7%), fewer women perceived it as beneficial for their income (59.5%), career (46.4%), and employers (30.4%). Not all formally employed women were aware of their maternity protection rights: women were more likely to mention the six-month paid maternity leave (78.7%) and one-hour nursing break (62.3%) than the other nine entitlements (2.0–35.0%). In-depth interviews with pregnant women and mothers of infants supported findings from the quantitative survey.

Conclusions: Although Vietnam's maternity protection policy helps protect the rights of women and children, our study identified implementation gaps that limit its effectiveness. In order to ensure that all women and their families can fully benefit from maternity protection, there is a need to increase awareness of the full set of maternity entitlements, strengthen enforcement of existing policies, and expand entitlements to the informal sector.


Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry presented the following module at the 17th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology 2022 - Victimisation in a digital world: responding to and connecting with victims (June 5th-9th, 2022):

Epistemic Justice and Witnesses with Intellectual Disabilities.


Li X, Baumgartner J, Barrington-Leigh C, Harper S, Robinson B, Shen G, Sternbach T, Tao S, Zhang X, Zhang Y, Carter E.

Socioeconomic and Demographic Associations with Wintertime Air Pollution Exposures at Household, Community, and District Scales in Rural Beijing, China.

Environ Sci Technol. 2022 Jun 8. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c07402.
Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35675631.

Abstract:

The Chinese government implemented a national household energy transition program that replaced residential coal heating stoves with electricity-powered heat pumps for space heating in northern China. As part of a baseline assessment of the program, this study investigated variability in personal air pollution exposures within villages and between villages and evaluated exposure patterns by sociodemographic factors. We randomly recruited 446 participants in 50 villages in four districts in rural Beijing and measured 24 h personal exposures to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon (BC). The geometric mean personal exposure to PM2.5 and BC was 72 and 2.5 μg/m3, respectively. The variability in PM2.5 and BC exposures was greater within villages than between villages. Study participants who used traditional stoves as their dominant source of space heating were exposed to the highest levels of PM2.5 and BC. Wealthier households tended to burn more coal for space heating, whereas less wealthy households used more biomass. PM2.5 and BC exposures were almost uniformly distributed by socioeconomic status. Future work that combines these results with PM2.5 chemical composition analysis will shed light on whether air pollution source contributors (e.g., industrial, traffic, and household solid fuel burning) follow similar distributions.


Jill Baumgartner was quoted in an interview with CJAD iHeartRadio:

Ticks carrying Lyme disease are on the rise in Quebec, experts warn.

CTV News Montreal Videojournalist
Touria Izri
Monday, June 6th 2022 - 5:36 pm


A public, open, and independently-curated database of happiness coefficients.
C. P. Barrington-Leigh, E. Lemermeyer
June 5, 2022

Abstract:

We report the construction of a nascent database of happiness coefficients, that is a synthe- sis of evidence on the size of improvements to human life experience, measured as self-reported satisfaction with life, that can be expected from changing objective, policy-amenable circum- stances. The wealth of data on people’s lives in a wide variety of circumstances within Canada and internationally, including respondents undergoing a diversity of changes and life events, and subject to a variety of public policies and policy changes, has provided a rich base of knowl- edge about what makes life good. This growing research literature has in recent years been met with interest from central governments looking for accountable but more human-centred approaches to measuring progress, communicating objectives, making policy, and allocating resources. Meanwhile, frameworks for benefit-cost accounting using inference from life satis- faction data have been devised, and in some cases central government Finance departments and Treasuries are incorporating this approach into their formal methodology for budgeting. Partly because exclusion restrictions relating to all-encompassing life satisfaction are hard to support, the body of causal inference about these effects is still somewhat diffuse. Collating, reviewing, and synthesizing such evidence is an important task and should likely be led initially by academia and ultimately by a broad academic, civil society, and government collaboration. In this vein, we report on the assembly of a database of summary estimates focused on studies using Canadian data, supplemented where needed by evidence from around the world. The domains of individual experience and circumstances comprising this initial effort include Ed- ucation, Environment, Work, Finances, Health, Social Capital, and Crime. The paper also explains the context for and limitations of the use of a database of happiness coefficients.


Jill Baumgartner was quoted in the following article in the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications:

Experts: Quebec summer forecast calls for heat, humidity and severe thunderstorms.

Published June 1st, 2022


The research of Frank Elgar was mentioned in Moms.com:

Hiding Food Insecurity From Children Does Not Protect Them From Any Psychological Impacts.
Food insecurity is something that a lot of families have been facing due to the pandemic, and now inflation.

Written by Ashley Wehrli
Published May 22, 2022


Christopher Barrington-Leigh co-authored the following:

The Global Happiness Council (2022).
Global Happiness and Well-being Policy Report 2022.
New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
ISBN 978-1-7348080-3-2
happinesscouncil.org


Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

D’Evelyn, S.M., Jung, J., Alvarado, E. et al. Wildfire, Smoke Exposure, Human Health, and Environmental Justice Need to be Integrated into Forest Restoration and Management. Curr Envir Health Rpt (2022). doi.org/10.1007/s40572-022-00355-7
Published May 7th, 2022

Abstract:

Purpose of Review: Increasing wildfire size and severity across the western United States has created an environmental and social crisis that must be approached from a transdisciplinary perspective. Climate change and more than a century of fire exclusion and wildfire suppression have led to contemporary wildfires with more severe environmental impacts and human smoke exposure. Wildfires increase smoke exposure for broad swaths of the US population, though outdoor workers and socially disadvantaged groups with limited adaptive capacity can be disproportionally exposed. Exposure to wildfire smoke is associated with a range of health impacts in children and adults, including exacerbation of existing respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, worse birth outcomes, and cardiovascular events. Seasonally dry forests in Washington, Oregon, and California can benefit from ecological restoration as a way to adapt forests to climate change and reduce smoke impacts on affected communities.

Recent Findings: Each wildfire season, large smoke events, and their adverse impacts on human health receive considerable attention from both the public and policymakers. The severity of recent wildfire seasons has state and federal governments outlining budgets and prioritizing policies to combat the worsening crisis. This surging attention provides an opportunity to outline the actions needed now to advance research and practice on conservation, economic, environmental justice, and public health interests, as well as the trade-offs that must be considered.

Summary: Scientists, planners, foresters and fire managers, fire safety, air quality, and public health practitioners must collaboratively work together. This article is the result of a series of transdisciplinary conversations to find common ground and subsequently provide a holistic view of how forest and fire management intersect with human health through the impacts of smoke and articulate the need for an integrated approach to both planning and practice.


Frank Elgar was quoted in the following article in McGill Newsroom: Institutional Communications on May 4th, 2022:

Shielding children from food insecurity – no protection from psychological problems.


Kristin Voigt, COVID-19 Vaccination Passports: Are They a Threat to Equality?, Public Health Ethics, 2022;, phac006, doi.org/10.1093/phe/phac006
Published April 29th, 2022

Abstract:

In several countries, governments have implemented so-called ‘COVID passport’ schemes, which restrict access to venues such as bars or sports events to those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or exempt vaccinated individuals from public health measures such as curfews or quarantine requirements. These schemes have been the subject of a heated debate. Concerns about inequality have played an important role in the opposition to such schemes. This article highlights that determining how COVID passports affect equality requires a much more nuanced analysis than is typically assumed. I identify a range of broadly egalitarian considerations that could be affected by the introduction of COVID passport schemes. While these schemes could undermine certain aspects of equality, I argue that they could also be used to promote equality. The magnitude and severity of these different effects, both promoting and undermining equality, depend on how precisely these schemes are framed and the local context in which they are implemented.


Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Tseng, TW.J., Carter, E., Yan, L. et al. Household air pollution from solid fuel use as a dose-dependent risk factor for cognitive impairment in northern China. Sci Rep 12, 6187 (2022). doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-10074-6
Published: April 13, 2022

Abstract:

The relationship between exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from solid fuel use and cognition remains poorly understood. Among 401 older adults in peri-urban northern China enrolled in the INTERMAP-China Prospective Study, we estimated the associations between exposure to HAP and z-standardized domain-specific and overall cognitive scores from the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. Interquartile range increases in exposures to fine particulate matter (53.2-µg/m3) and black carbon (0.9-µg/m3) were linearly associated with lower overall cognition [− 0.13 (95% confidence interval: − 0.22, − 0.04) and − 0.10 (− 0.19, − 0.01), respectively]. Using solid fuel indoors and greater intensity of its use were also associated with lower overall cognition (range of point estimates: − 0.13 to − 0.03), though confidence intervals included zero. Among individual cognitive domains, attention had the largest associations with most exposure measures. Our findings indicate that exposure to HAP may be a dose-dependent risk factor for cognitive impairment. As exposure to HAP remains pervasive in China and worldwide, reducing exposure through the promotion of less-polluting stoves and fuels may be a population-wide intervention strategy to lessen the burden of cognitive impairment.


Lim S, Bassey E, Bos B, Makacha L, Varaden D, Arku RE, Baumgartner J, Brauer M, Ezzati M, Kelly FJ, Barratt B. Comparing human exposure to fine particulate matter in low and high-income countries: A systematic review of studies measuring personal PM2.5 exposure. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Apr 11;833:155207. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.155207. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35421472.

Abstract:

Background: Due to the adverse health effects of air pollution, researchers have advocated for personal exposure measurements whereby individuals carry portable monitors in order to better characterise and understand the sources of people's pollution exposure.

Objectives: The aim of this systematic review is to assess the differences in the magnitude and sources of personal PM2.5 exposures experienced between countries at contrasting levels of income.

Methods: This review summarised studies that measured participants personal exposure by carrying a PM2.5 monitor throughout their typical day. Personal PM2.5 exposures were summarised to indicate the distribution of exposures measured within each country income category (based on low (LIC), lower-middle (LMIC), upper-middle (UMIC), and high (HIC) income countries) and between different groups (i.e. gender, age, urban or rural residents).

Results: From the 2259 search results, there were 140 studies that met our criteria. Overall, personal PM2.5 exposures in HICs were lower compared to other countries, with UMICs exposures being slightly lower than exposures measured in LMICs or LICs. 34% of measured groups in HICs reported below the ambient World Health Organisation 24-h PM2.5 guideline of 15 μg/m3, compared to only 1% of UMICs and 0% of LMICs and LICs. There was no difference between rural and urban participant exposures in HICs, but there were noticeably higher exposures recorded in rural areas compared to urban areas in non-HICs, due to significant household sources of PM2.5 in rural locations. In HICs, studies reported that secondhand smoke, ambient pollution infiltrating indoors, and traffic emissions were the dominant contributors to personal exposures. While, in non-HICs, household cooking and heating with biomass and coal were reported as the most important sources.

Conclusion: This review revealed a growing literature of personal PM2.5 exposure studies, which highlighted a large variability in exposures recorded and severe inequalities in geographical and social population subgroups.


Roncarolo F, Pérez EJ, Mercille G, O'Loughlin J, Riva M, Sylvestre MP, Potvin L. Engaging with community organizations to recruit and retain vulnerable adults: The Pathways Study. SSM Popul Health. 2022 Apr 4;18:101088. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2022.101088. PMID: 35464615; PMCID: PMC9019387.


Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in the McGill Reporter:

Amid war and disease, World Happiness Report shows bright spot.

The pandemic brought an increase in social support and benevolence
By Shirley Cardenas, Media Relations Officer, Communications and External Relations
Published on March 22nd, 2022.

Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in Community99:

Despite COVID-19 and war in Ukraine, happiness is rising worldwide.
Published March 26, 2022


Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in Well and Good:

It’s the 10th Anniversary of the World Happiness Report—Here’s the Biggest Takeaway From This Year’s Study.

Written by Erica Sloan and published on March 22nd, 2022.


Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in USA Today:

Europe dominated the happiest countries in the world list. What about the United States?

Written by Jordan Mendoza and published on March 21st, 2022.


The work of Christopher Barrington-Leigh for the World Happiness Report 2022 was mentioned in the following article in the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications:

Amid war and disease, World Happiness Report shows bright spot.

The pandemic brought an increase in social support and benevolence
By Shirley Cardenas, Media Relations Officer, Communications and External Relations
Published on March 18th, 2022.


Sarah M. Mah, Thomas Herrmann, Claudia Sanmartin, Mylène Riva, Kaberi Dasgupta, Nancy A. Ross. Does living near hospital obscure the association between active living environments and hospitalization?, Health & Place, Volume 75, 2022 Mar 17, 102767, ISSN 1353-8292, doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102767.

Abstract: Hospitals tend to be among the destinations that make densely populated, well-connected neighbourhoods more conducive to active living. In this study, we determined whether living near a hospital distorts the association between living in favourable ALEs and hospitalization for physical inactivity-related cardiometabolic diseases. We used a record linkage of 442,345 respondents of the Canadian Community Health Survey and their hospitalization records for cardiometabolic disease. We then assessed respondents’ neighbourhoods using the Canadian Active Living Environments measure (Can-ALE), a measure based on ≥3-way intersection density, residential density, and points of interest. We then calculated the distance in kilometers between the centroids of respondents’ assigned dissemination areas and the nearest user-contributed location for hospitals from OpenStreetMap. We monitored changes in estimates for the association between ALEs and odds of cardiometabolic disease hospitalization using a series of logistic regressions with indicator variables for distances to hospital of 500 meters to 10 kilometers. We found that living between 500 meters and six kilometers of a hospital and was associated with modestly higher odds of cardiometabolic hospitalization (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.18 for 500 meters; OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.09 for six kilometers). Living in more favourable ALEs was associated with lower odds of hospitalization (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.68 to 0.91; comparing the most favourable to least favourable ALEs). Effect estimates between more favourable ALEs and lower odds of hospitalization were marginally strengthened when living within 2-6 kilometers to a hospital was accounted for. This study demonstrates the importance of disentangling interrelated geographic factors and underlines the potential for built environments to elicit reductions in health care.


Christopher Barrington-Leigh was quoted in the following article in The McGill Reporter:

Planning greener and happier cities.

McGill Bieler School of Environment funding interdisciplinary solutions to complex environmental challenges
By Daniel Lukes, Communications Officer, Bieler School of Environment
Publisher on March 15th, 2022.


Preda, Adina & Voigt, Kristin. (2022). Shameless luck egalitarians. Journal of Social Philosophy. 10.1111/josp.12463.
Published March 8th, 2022.


The work of Natalie Stoljar was discussed in the following article:

Lee, J. Y. 2022. “Normative Competence, Autonomy, and Oppression.” Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 8 (1). Article 1.
Published on March 4th, 2022.


Antoine Lachance, Richard E. Bélanger, Mylène Riva, Nancy A. Ross. A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of the Evolution of Adolescent and Young Adult Cannabis Consumption Before and After Legalization. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2022, ISSN 1054-139X, doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.11.034.
Available online March 2nd, 2022.

Abstract:

Purpose:
To systematically review evidence assessing the evolution of cannabis consumption before and after the implementation of non-medical cannabis legislation.
Methods
MEDLINE, PubMED, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science were systematically searched for studies that examined change in cannabis consumption before and after nonmedical cannabis legislation. Data were tabulated by study design, levels of consumption, and individual subgroups. Data were analyzed using a narrative synthesis approach, considering study quality.

Results:
32 studies were included (11 higher quality and 21 lower quality). 40% of higher quality evidence supported an increase in postlegalization consumption (55% did not report a change and 5% reported a decrease). The increase was most evident for young adults (42% of higher quality evidence) and in the consumption in the past month (37% of higher quality evidence). There was limited supporting evidence for new users having grown in response to legalization. Based on subgroup analysis, the increase in postlegalization consumption was higher among women and those who engage in binge-drinking.

Conclusions:
Higher quality evidence suggests an increase in adolescent past-month consumption of cannabis following legalization in several geographical jurisdictions. Consumption evolution prelegalization and postlegalization differed by age group and for young women and for binge drinkers. Consumption evolution differences suggest a variety of strategies might be required in efforts to lower public health impacts of cannabis consumption following legalization.


Kaya Van Roost, Miranda Horn, Alissa KoskiChild Marriage or Statutory Rape? A Comparison of Law and Practice Across the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health. March 01, 2022. Volume 70, ISSUE 3, SUPPLEMENT, S72-S77. doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.10.023.

Abstract:

Purpose: In many U.S. states, children can legally marry at an earlier age than they can legally consent to sex, leading to situations in which sex between spouses may be a criminal act. Some states exempt sex between married persons from their definition of statutory rape, which may create perverse incentives for child marriage. We estimated the number of child marriages that violated statutory rape laws across the United States since January 1, 2000.

Methods: We created a longitudinal database of statutory rape laws in place from 2000 to 2020 in each state. Using data from marriage certificates filed in 44 states and Washington, DC, we compared the age of married spouses with the text of state-specific statutory rape laws in place at the time the marriages occurred.

Results: Child marriages violated statutory rape laws in 14 states. The proportion of child marriages that violated statutory rape laws varied from 1% to over 50%. In 33 states, some or all statutory rape laws exempted sex between married couples from the definition of crimes. In these states, the proportion of child marriages that would have been crimes, without these exemptions, varied from less than 1% to over 80%.

Conclusions: Our results highlight the blurred legal and conceptual boundaries between child marriage and sexual violence. The simultaneous legality of child marriage and marital exemptions to statutory rape laws provide legal loopholes for sexual acts with children that would otherwise be considered crimes. Marital exemptions to statutory rape laws may also incentivize a substantial portion of child marriages.

This article was mentioned by the McGill Newsroom - Institutional Communications in the following article:

Child marriages violating statutory rape laws in many U.S. states.
Marital exemptions to statutory rape laws provide legal loopholes for sexual acts with children, otherwise considered crimes
.

Written by Shirley Cardenas
Published on February 17th, 2022.

This article was also mentioned in Open Access Government on February 18th, 2022.

Child marriage: The legal loophole which violates statutory rape laws.

This article was also mentioned in TRT World on February 22nd, 2022:

The blurred boundaries between statutory rape and child marriage in the US.

This article was also mentioned in Futurity posted by Shirley Cardenas-McGill on February 24th, 2022:

In many US states, child marriages violate statutory rape laws.


Fan, S., Koski, A. The health consequences of child marriage: a systematic review of the evidence. BMC Public Health 22, 309 (2022). doi.org/10.1186.
Published February 14, 2022

Abstract:

Background: Child marriage, defined as marriage before 18 years of age, is a violation of human rights and a marker of gender inequality. Growing attention to this issue on the global development agenda also reflects concerns that it may negatively impact health. We conducted a systematic review to synthesize existing research on the consequences of child marriage on health and to assess the risk of bias in this body of literature.

Methods and findings: We searched databases focused on biomedicine and global health for studies that estimated the effect of marrying before the age of 18 on any physical or mental health outcome or health behaviour. We identified 58 eligible articles, nearly all of which relied on cross-sectional data sources from sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. The most studied health outcomes were indicators of fertility and fertility control, maternal health care, and intimate partner violence. All studies were at serious to critical risk of bias. Research consistently found that women who marry before the age of 18 begin having children at earlier ages and give birth to a larger number of children when compared to those who marry at 18 or later, but whether these outcomes were desired was not considered. Across studies, women who married as children were also consistently less likely to give birth in health care facilities or with assistance from skilled providers. Studies also uniformly concluded that child marriage increases the likelihood of experiencing physical violence from an intimate partner. However, research in many other domains, including use of contraception, unwanted pregnancy, and sexual violence came to divergent conclusions and challenge some common narratives regarding child marriage.

Conclusions: There are many reasons to be concerned about child marriage. However, evidence that child marriage causes the health outcomes described in this review is severely limited. There is more heterogeneity in the results of these studies than is often recognized. For these reasons, greater caution is warranted when discussing the potential impact of child marriage on health. We provide suggestions for avoiding common biases and improving the strength of the evidence on this subject.


Forthcoming in an edited volume on the ethics of animal shelters with Oxford University Press, edited by Valéry Giroux, Angie Pepper, and Kristin Voigt:

The value of death for animals: an overview.
by Nicolas Delon
View the chapter here


Fan, S., Qian, Y. and Koski, A. (2022), Child Marriage in Mainland China. Studies in Family Planning. doi.org/10.1111/sifp.12185
Published February 3, 2022

Abstract:

Child marriage, defined as marriage before 18 years of age, has harmful consequences for health and development and is an indicator of gender inequality. We used publicly available data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses to estimate the national and provincial-level prevalence of child marriage across mainland China. Between 2000 and 2010, the prevalence of child marriage rose from 2.41 percent to 2.85 percent among women and from 0.54 percent to 0.77 percent among men. The 2010 estimates are equivalent to roughly 1.8 million women and 0.5 million men. Child marriage was more common in western provinces among both girls and boys. Provincial prevalence estimates ranged from 0.44 percent in Beijing to 12.94 percent in Qinghai among girls. Among boys, estimates ranged from 0.13 percent in Beijing to 5.03 percent in Tibet. The gender gap widened across much of the country between censuses. Our results indicate that child marriage continues across mainland China despite laws that ostensibly prohibit the practice. They also draw attention to the global nature of child marriage as a threat to gender equality.


Baumgartner J, Rodriguez J, Berkhout F et al. Synthesizing the links between secure housing tenure and health for more equitable cities [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. Wellcome Open Res 2022, 7:18 (\doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17244.1)

Abstract:

Millions of households in rich and poor countries alike are at risk of being unwilfully displaced from their homes or the land on which they live (i.e., lack secure tenure), and the urban poor are most vulnerable. Improving housing tenure security may be an intervention to improve housing and environmental conditions and reduce urban health inequalities. Building on stakeholder workshops and a narrative review of the literature, we developed a conceptual model that infers the mechanisms through which more secure housing tenure can improve housing, environmental quality, and health. Empirical studies show that more secure urban housing tenure can boost economic mobility, improve housing and environmental conditions including reduced exposure to pollution, create safer and more resourced communities, and improve physical and mental health. These links are shared across tenure renters and owners and different economic settings. Broader support is needed for context-appropriate policies and actions to improve tenure security as a catalyst for cultivating healthier homes and neighbourhoods and reducing urban health inequalities in cities.


Bixby H, Bennett JE, Bawah AA, et al. Quantifying within-city inequalities in child mortality across neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana: a Bayesian spatial analysis. BMJ Open 2022;12:e054030. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054030.

Abstract:

Objective: Countries in sub-Saharan Africa suffer the highest rates of child mortality worldwide. Urban areas tend to have lower mortality than rural areas, but these comparisons likely mask large within-city inequalities. We aimed to estimate rates of under-five mortality (U5M) at the neighbourhood level for Ghana’s Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and measure the extent of intraurban inequalities.

Methods: We accessed data on >700 000 women aged 25–49 years living in GAMA using the most recent Ghana census (2010). We summarised counts of child births and deaths by five-year age group of women and neighbourhood (n=406) and applied indirect demographic methods to convert the summaries to yearly probabilities of death before age five years. We fitted a Bayesian spatiotemporal model to the neighbourhood U5M probabilities to obtain estimates for the year 2010 and examined their correlations with indicators of neighbourhood living and socioeconomic conditions.

Results: U5M varied almost five-fold across neighbourhoods in GAMA in 2010, ranging from 28 (95% credible interval (CrI) 8 to 63) to 138 (95% CrI 111 to 167) deaths per 1000 live births. U5M was highest in neighbourhoods of the central urban core and industrial areas, with an average of 95 deaths per 1000 live births across these neighbourhoods. Peri-urban neighbourhoods performed better, on average, but rates varied more across neighbourhoods compared with neighbourhoods in the central urban areas. U5M was negatively correlated with multiple indicators of improved living and socioeconomic conditions among peri-urban neighbourhoods. Among urban neighbourhoods, correlations with these factors were weaker or, in some cases, reversed, including with median household consumption and women’s schooling.

Conclusion: Reducing child mortality in high-burden urban neighbourhoods in GAMA, where a substantial portion of the urban population resides, should be prioritised as part of continued efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goal national target of less than 25 deaths per 1000 live births.


Natalie Stoljar co-authored a chapter in the following book:

Mackenzie C, Stoljar N. Relational autonomy in feminist bioethics. In Rogers W, Carter S, Entwistle V, Mills C, Leach Scully J, editors, Routledge Companion to Feminist Bioethics. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. 2022

Abstract:

This chapter outlines the feminist approach of relational autonomy and contrasts it with decisional and libertarian conceptions. The first section identifies three main themes in relational approaches. The second focuses on the implications of relational autonomy for the notions of informed consent and decisional autonomy. The third outlines the relational autonomy analysis of adaptive preferences, namely preferences that are accommodated to the social circumstances of oppression. And the fourth considers the implications of exploitation and vulnerability for conceptions of autonomy, drawing on ethnographic descriptions of organ markets and gestational surrogacy. The chapter argues that decisional and libertarian autonomy are inadequate to capture feminist moral concerns and that the ethical principle that should be employed is respect for relational autonomy. The chapter concludes by discussing a possible objection, that the principle of respect for relational autonomy is too demanding to be practicable in health care contexts.


Jill Baumgartner co-authored the following article:

Wang J, Alli AS, Clark S, et al.

Nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2) pollution in the Accra metropolis: Spatiotemporal patterns and the role of meteorology.

Science of The Total Environment, Volume 803, 2022,
49931, ISSN 0048-9697,
doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149931.
sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969721050063)
Published January 10, 2022

Abstract:

Economic and urban development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) may be shifting the dominant air pollution sources in cities from biomass to road traffic. Considered as a marker for traffic-related air pollution in cities, we conducted a city-wide measurement of NOx levels in the Accra Metropolis and examined their spatiotemporal patterns in relation to land use and meteorological factors. Between April 2019 to June 2020, we collected weekly integrated NOx (n = 428) and NO2 (n = 472) samples at 10 fixed (year-long) and 124 rotating (week-long) sites. Data from the same time of year were compared to a previous study (2006) to assess changes in NO2 concentrations. NO and NO2 concentrations were highest in commercial/business/industrial (66 and 76 μg/m3, respectively) and high-density residential areas (47 and 59 μg/m3, respectively), compared with peri-urban locations. We observed annual means of 68 and 70 μg/m3 for NO and NO2, and a clear seasonal variation, with the mean NO2 of 63 μg/m3 (non-Harmattan) increased by 25–56% to 87 μg/m3 (Harmattan) across different site types. The NO2/NOx ratio was also elevated by 19–28%. Both NO and NO2 levels were associated with indicators of road traffic emissions (e.g. distance to major roads), but not with community biomass use (e.g. wood and charcoal). We found strong correlations between both NO2 and NO2/NOx and mixing layer depth, incident solar radiation and water vapor mixing ratio. These findings represent an increase of 25–180% when compared to a small study conducted in two high-density residential neighborhoods in Accra in 2006. Road traffic may be replacing community biomass use (major source of fine particulate matter) as the prominent source of air pollution in Accra, with policy implication for growing cities in SSA.


Dawit Guta, Jill Baumgartner, Darby Jack, Ellison Carter, Guofeng Shen, Jennifer Orgill-Meyer, Joshua Rosenthal, Katherine Dickinson, Rob Bailis, Yuta Masuda, Hisham Zerriffi,

A systematic review of household energy transition in low and middle income countries.

Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 86, 2022, 102463, ISSN 2214-6296,
doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102463.
sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629621005508)
Available online December 21, 2021

Abstract: The use of solid fuels stoves contributes to a range of adverse health and social outcomes and can impact regional and global climate. Reducing these impacts requires both adoption and use of cleaner energy solutions and reduction or elimination of solid fuel use. Decades of improved stove and fuel programs in the developing nations have achieved only limited success in fully or even partially replacing solid fuel stoves, highlighting the challenges of modernizing energy. In this paper, we provide a systematic review to characterize household decision-making and the factors that influence adoption and disadoption of both cleaner fuels and improved biomass stoves, and use and suspension of solid fuels. We searched key bibliometric databases and then screened, appraised, and synthesized 92 studies. These were categorized into seven broad household cooking fuel/stove adoption and suspension decision-making: adoption, adoption and suspension, fuel choice, expenditure, level of fuel use, use and non-use decision, and others. We then use these studies to provide a detailed account of factors that influence household cooking fuel/stove adoption and suspension decisions under seven domains (technological characteristics, demographic, socioeconomic, market development, institutional, biophysical). Based on our review results we developed a conceptual framework of the dynamic decision-making process in household energy use decisions and the factors influencing them. Given that households can use multiple fuels and technologies (stove stacking), an understanding of household energy transitions requires attention to both the adoption and use of new fuels but also the reduction in use or suspension of solid fuels and stoves.


José Ignacio, Nazif-Munoz, Brice Batomen, Arijit Nandi

Does ridesharing affect road safety? the introduction of Moto-Uber and other factors in the Dominican Republic.

Research in Globalization, Volume 4, 2022, 100077, ISSN 2590-051X,
doi.org/10.1016/j.resglo.2021.100077.
sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590051X21000423)
Available online December 16th, 2021

Abstract:
Background:
 Annually, more than 379 000 motorcycle occupants across the world die in motor-vehicle collisions‚Äî84% of these fatalities occurred in Low- and Middle-Income countries. Recent studies suggest that the Uber‚Äôs four-wheeler ride-sharing service (UberCAR) may reduce traffic fatalities. However, research has not considered how Uber‚Äôs two-wheeler ridesharing service (UberMOTO) might affect traffic-motorcycle fatalities.

Methods: Monthly counts of car occupant and motorcycle fatalities from the Dominican Republic, a country in which both Uber services have been introduced, were collected from the Ministry of Public Health. We conducted interrupted time-series analyses using monthly traffic fatalities per 100,000 population for the period 2012‚Äì2018. We studied Santo Domingo and Santiago, the only two cities in which UberCAR and UberMOTO were launched in different times.

Results: The introduction of UberMOTO was associated with a 0.16 short-term decrease (95% CI -0.29 to ‚àí0.05) in the level of monthly motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 population in Santo Domingo, and a 0.34 decrease (95% CI ‚àí0.68, 0.00) in Santiago. UberCAR was associated with an increase of 0.03 (95% CI ‚àí0.06 to 0.13) in the level of monthly car occupant fatalities per 100,000 population in Santo Domingo, and with a 0.20 increase (95% CI 0.05 to 0.35) in Santiago.

Conclusion: After Santo Domingo and Santiago introduced UberMOTO and UberCAR services, we observed short-term decreases in motorcycle fatalities and abrupt increases in car fatalities, respectively. These associations of ridesharing services with traffic fatalities vary between cities and over time, which might reflect differences in specific city features, including characteristics of the vehicle fleet and public transportation systems.

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