ENVIRONMENTAL 
IMPACT

Ashley Bennett, MD, David Wood, MD, MPH, Ryan Butterfield, MPH, DrPH, Dale F Kraemer, PhD, and Jeff Goldhagen, MD, MPH

Center for Health Equity and Quality Research, University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida, US

Finding Hope in Hopeless Environments

Hope, reflected in one‘s future orientation, motivates goal-directed
behavior and facilitates positive youth development. Adolescents‘ future

expectations of life expectancy and educational attainment predict risk-
taking behaviors, educational achievements, and health outcomes.

Previous studies have used these proxy measurements of hope to
characterize high-risk youth and their hopeless environments. Most have
focused on poverty, or the lack of financial capital, as the major
determinant of health. The objective of this study was to use a human
capital investment framework to investigate the individual and contextual
assets of hopeful adolescents. The public-use data (n=6,504) from Wave I
of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health was used for
this analysis. Adolescents who were ―almost certain‖ of living to age 35
and attending college were considered to have high hope. Statistically significant (p<0.0001) relationships were found between the highest sense of hope and social capital (family, neighborhood, school, and
general connectedness), financial capital (household income and
neighborhood poverty concentration), educational capital (parent
education), and environmental capital (connectedness scales, breastfeeding, gender). Hope had stronger associations with social and educational capital measurements than with financial capital measurements. Race and family structure failed to remain significant when controlling for the other variables. Hope, as a form of personal capital, serves as a priceless asset in the face of adversity. Identifying the human capital assets that serve as major determinants of health is crucial in order to guide the design of policy and social interventions to optimize child health and well-being.

Amrita G Mahtani, MPH,
Catherine G Evans, MPH,
Samuel JW Peters, PhDC,
Patrick O Fueta, MD, MPH,
and William M Caudle, PhD

Department of Environmental Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Lead Education Program with the Boys and Girls Club

Approximately 3% of children in the United States have levels of lead in their blood above our currently established level of concern. Exposure to lead is a significant environmental health concern for children living in older housing, especially for low-income and minority groups. Education and outreach programs can improve environmental health literacy regarding lead exposure and mitigation. Methods: We designed a curriculum to educate
and change behaviors related to sources of lead and mitigation. The curriculum drew upon expert and community partner input. We carried out a one-time class pilot for 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade children at a metro Atlanta
Boys and Girls Club. The class contained an interactive game, visual aids, and an outreach component through a parents’ night. Curriculum performance was evaluated using student knowledge pre, mid-point, and post-course
surveys. Results: We observed increases following the program for five knowledge categories; Hazard identification, routes of exposure, characteristics of lead, exposure sources, and mitigation. Mean scores in all

categories were higher than 50% in a post-course evaluation. Discussion with parents following the program indicated a need and appreciation for information regarding lead exposures and health effects. Conclusions: This curriculum demonstrated evidence for an increase in environmental health literacy regarding lead exposure and mitigation. Students were able to identify sources of lead and understand the best behaviors for reducing exposures after participating in the interactive program. Stakeholder and
community engagement were beneficial in creating this curriculum. Large-scale implementation and continued curriculum refinement is recommended.

Manmit Singh, BS, Dylan Avery, BS, and Valerie Vi Thien Mc, PhD, RN

Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Environmental Justice for Vulnerable Florida Children in Hurricane Aftermath 

A literature review was conducted to identify environmental and socioeconomic factors that affect the vulnerability and resilience of communities in the event of a hurricane, particularly children in selected communities in South Florida. Qualitative data analyses mobilizing GIS visualization were used to display spatial patterns of hurricane hazards and demographic vulnerability factors across Floridian counties. Results showed that, while the environmental vulnerability is a reality in the entire state of Florida, socioeconomic vulnerability varies widely throughout the state. Further, counties in Florida that are highly vulnerable according to the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) are also the counties with the greatest proportional population of children under the age of 18 years old. While conducting analyses, several challenges in vulnerability assessment were identified, including but not limited to, the need for more refined indicators of environmental risk to better represent vulnerable populations.

Kristen R Koci, BS, and Courtney G Flint, PhD

Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA

Children's Health and Safety Risk Posed by Irrigation Water in Northern Utah 

In Northern Utah communities, irrigation water runs through city streets and is used for residential purposes, posing a potential risk to children's health and safety. Children may be exposed to these waters in various ways, including through gardening, play, ingestion, or other unintentional contacts. These waters are typically not treated and may contain potentially harmful contaminants. This study explores perceptions of health and safety risks
children may face when exposed to irrigation water in Logan, Utah, and surrounding areas. A qualitative analysis was employed for this study. Specifically, semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders in the area (N=13) to assess local and scientific knowledge and risk perceptions on water quality, health risks, and safety risks associated with the urban irrigation system. Members of the scientific research community expressed concern that irrigation water may expose children to various health and safety risks, and that children of lower socioeconomic status may experience more exposure pathways and have greater levels of vulnerability. Conversely, civic stakeholders expressed a lack of concern about health risks from irrigation and instead, greatly value these waters. Strategies are identified to remedy divisions in perspectives on children’s health and safety risks and break the cycle of vulnerability.

  • Increased Toxins

  • Increased Stress