Archive for February, 2013

For Fourth Year, Hawaii No. 1 in Wellbeing, W.Va. Last

February 28, 2013 Comments off

For Fourth Year, Hawaii No. 1 in Wellbeing, W.Va. Last
Source: Gallup

Hawaii residents have the highest wellbeing in the nation for the fourth consecutive year, with a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score of 71.1 in 2012 — up from 70.2 in 2011. Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont rounded out the top five states with the highest wellbeing scores last year. West Virginia residents have the lowest overall wellbeing for the fourth year in a row, with a Well-Being Index score of 61.3 in 2012 — slightly lower than the 62.3 in 2011. Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas also had among the five lowest wellbeing scores in the country.

New From the GAO

February 28, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

Broadcast and Cable Television
Requirements for Identifying Sponsored Programming Should Be Clarified
GAO-13-237, Jan 31, 2013

Defense Logistics
A Completed Comprehensive Strategy is Needed to Guide DOD’s In-Transit Visibility Efforts
GAO-13-201, Feb 28, 2013

Department Of Justice
Executives’ Use of Aircraft for Nonmission Purposes
GAO-13-235, Feb 26, 2013

Homeland Defense
DOD’s Aerospace Control Alert Basing Decision Was Informed by Various Analyses
GAO-13-230R, Feb 28, 2013

Prescription Drugs
The Number, Role, and Ownership of Pharmacy Services Administrative Organizations
GAO-13-176, Jan 29, 2013

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Workforce Participation Requirement Waivers
GAO-13-423T, Feb 28, 2013

The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data

February 28, 2013 Comments off

The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data

Source: PLoS ONE

While experimental and observational studies suggest that sugar intake is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, independent of its role in obesity, it is unclear whether alterations in sugar intake can account for differences in diabetes prevalence among overall populations. Using econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries, we found that every 150 kcal/person/day increase in sugar availability (about one can of soda/day) was associated with increased diabetes prevalence by 1.1% (p <0.001) after testing for potential selection biases and controlling for other food types (including fibers, meats, fruits, oils, cereals), total calories, overweight and obesity, period-effects, and several socioeconomic variables such as aging, urbanization and income. No other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders. The impact of sugar on diabetes was independent of sedentary behavior and alcohol use, and the effect was modified but not confounded by obesity or overweight. Duration and degree of sugar exposure correlated significantly with diabetes prevalence in a dose-dependent manner, while declines in sugar exposure correlated with significant subsequent declines in diabetes rates independently of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity prevalence changes. Differences in sugar availability statistically explain variations in diabetes prevalence rates at a population level that are not explained by physical activity, overweight or obesity.

Twitter as a Reporting Tool for Breaking News

February 28, 2013 Comments off

Twitter as a Reporting Tool for Breaking News

Source: Digital Journalism

This study focuses on journalists Paul Lewis (The Guardian) and Ravi Somaiya (The New York Times), the most frequently mentioned national and international journalists on Twitter during the 2011 UK summer riots. Both actively tweeted throughout the four-day riot period and this article highlights how they used Twitter as a reporting tool. It discusses a series of Twitter conventions in detail, including the use of links, the taking and sharing of images, the sharing of mainstream media content and the use of hashtags. The article offers an in-depth overview of methods for studying Twitter, reflecting critically on commonly used data collection strategies, offering possible alternatives as well as highlighting the possibilities for combining different methodological approaches. Finally, the article makes a series of suggestions for further research into the use of Twitter by professional journalists.

Hat tip: Journalist’s Resource

The Changing Racial Dynamics of Women’s Incarceration

February 28, 2013 Comments off

The Changing Racial Dynamics of Women’s Incarceration

Source: Sentencing Project

From 2000 to 2009 there was a dramatic shift in the racial composition of the women’s prison population. In 2000, African American women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women. By 2009, that disparity had dropped by half, to less than three times the white rate.

The factors contributing to these changes include: sharply reduced incarceration of African American women for drug offenses in some states; declining rates of arrest of black women for violent, property, and drug offenses; and, cumulative social disadvantages that are increasingly affecting less educated white women.

Recommendations for addressing these issues include conducting state-based analyses of racial disparity, enacting proactive racial impact statement legislation, and engaging practitioners in projects to reduce disparities in local jurisdictions.

How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

February 28, 2013 Comments off

How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization. At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers, and they report striking differences in access to the latest digital technologies between lower and higher income students and school districts.

Asked about the impact of the internet and digital tools in their role as middle and high school educators, these teachers say the following about the overall impact on their teaching and their classroom work:

  • 92% of these teachers say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching
  • 69% say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to share ideas with other teachers
  • 67% say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to interact with parents and 57% say it has had such an impact on enabling their interaction with students

The survey finds that digital tools are widely used in classrooms and assignments, and a majority of these teachers are satisfied with the support and resources they receive from their school in this area. However, it also indicates that teachers of the lowest income students face more challenges in bringing these tools to their classrooms…

Recession Depression: Mental Health Effects of the 2008 Stock Market Crash

February 27, 2013 Comments off

Recession Depression: Mental Health Effects of the 2008 Stock Market Crash

Source: Russell Sage Foundation

How do sudden, large wealth losses affect mental health? Most prior studies of the causal effects of material well-being on health use identification strategies involving income increases; these studies as well as prior research on stock market accumulations may not inform this question if the effect of wealth on health is asymmetric. We use exogenous variation in the interview dates of the 2008 Health and Retirement Study to assess the impact of large wealth losses on mental health among older U.S. adults. We compare cross-wave changes in wealth and health for respondents interviewed before and after the October 2008 stock market crash. We find that the crash reduced wealth and increased depressive symptoms and the use of anti-depressants. These results suggest that sudden wealth losses cause immediate declines in mental health; for example, a loss of $50,000 of non-housing wealth increases the likelihood of feeling depressed by 1.35 percentage points, or by 8%.