All accidents treated by the Primary Health Services in Vågå Municipality in 1988, were registered. There were altogether 498 accidents (124 accidents per 1,000 inhabitants per year). 418 injured persons were treated by the local health service, 80 were referred to hospital. The major mechanism of injury was falling (38%). The accidents occurred most frequently at home (38%), at the sports-ground/outdoors (23%) or at work (17%). 11 injuries were very serious, none were lethal. 44 occurred during skiing. Our work to prevent accidents will give priority to: the mother and child clinic; environmental health; skiing accidents.
BACKGROUND: Particulate air pollution has been much discussed in Norway during the last few years. Coarse particles from asphalt are likely to have quite different properties than the far smaller particles from diesel exhaust. MATERIALS AND METHODS: On the basis of data from the literature and our own research, we discuss the health problem of different types of particles with a focus on allergy and respiratory symptoms. RESULTS: Diesel exhaust particles have well-documented adverse effects in relation to allergic airway disease. They increase symptoms load in already allergic individuals and also seem to contribute to the increased prevalence of allergy. PM10 is today measured on the basis of weight, not on number. Diesel exhaust particles are much smaller than road surface particles; hence PM10 measurements reflect road surface dust pollution more than exhaust particles. INTERPRETATION: Focus should now be given to diesel exhaust particles in order to reduce the adverse health effects of particulate air pollution in Norwegian cities.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002 Aug 10;122(18):176612362683
A school-based social influences approach to alcohol education was tested among Norwegian 8th grade lower secondary school students. The goal of the programme was to delay onset and minimize involvement in use of alcohol among the participants. 15 schools were randomly assigned to peer-led education, teacher-led education or a control condition. The programme focused on the social and environmental influences to drink alcohol, and skills to resist those influences. It consisted of five lessons over two months. Baseline and post-test data measured alcohol-use, knowledge, attitudes, skills, friends' drinking, and intentions to drink alcohol in the future. Data were collected immediately prior to and following the educational programme. The data indicate that peer-led education appears to be efficacious in reducing alcohol use and intention to use alcohol. There was no intervention effect of the peer-led programme for knowledge, attitudes or skills. There was no intervention effect for the teacher-led education.
BACKGROUND: Under the Norwegian Environmental Tobacco Smoke Act, a minimum of 50% of tables in restaurants have to be in smoke-free areas. The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has defined "smoke-free restaurants" as a priority objective in its anti-tobacco strategy. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We have investigated smoking policies in restaurants in the City of Tromsø in Northern Norway, as reported by restaurateurs in 1998. Representatives of all the 85 restaurants, bars and pubs in the city were interviewed and their smoking policies and habits reported. This study was part of the local health authority's evaluation of the degree of compliance with the legislation. RESULTS: In 71% of establishments, at least 50% of tables were smoke-free; in 88%, smoking areas were in compliance with the legislation. 86% of restaurateurs reported a positive or neutral attitude to the legislation, 80% thought that their guests were of the same opinion. 47% smoked every day; however, there was no association between smoking habits and smoking policies. INTERPRETATION: Though the prevalence of smoking was high among restaurateurs, this did not affect their attitudes towards the Environmental Tobacco Smoke Act or their policies on smoking.
Previous medical investigations have indicated a connection between heavy metal pollution from the metallurgical industry in the Russian town of Nikel on the Kola peninsula and an observed increase of incidence of cancer among the Norwegian population living near the Russian border. This report contains the latest measurements of heavy metals in the local environment and discusses exposure levels in relation to possible health effects. It is concluded that exposure to heavy metals via food, water and air is considered so low as to be unlikely to cause any increase in incidence of cancer. Thus, the previously held hypothesis of a connection between heavy metal pollution from Nikel and cancer in Pasvik is not confirmed.
Conducts research and provide reports, information and expert advice about issues related to global climate change and international climate policy with the aim of acquiring knowledge that can help mitigate the climate problem and enhance international climate cooperation.
The Centre for Sami Health Research (CSHR), Sámi dearvvašvuodadutkama guovvdáš, is an independent centre under the Department of Community Medicine at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The main aim of the CSHR is to enhance knowledge of the health and life of Sami people in Norway.
The emphasis in the CSHR is on interdisciplinary research, mainly population-based studies using quantitative methods. The Population-based Study on Health and Living Conditions – the SAMINOR Study is the most important research project of the centre.
BACKGROUND: The Norwegian Cancer Society has led a comprehensive information campaign since 1995 with the aim of reducing young children's ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) exposure in their homes. The aims of the present study were to assess changes in parents' reporting of child exposure to ETS, attitudes towards ETS, and awareness regarding the potential hazards of passive smoking to children. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A questionnaire along with a stamped, addressed envelope was sent to a stratified random sample of 1000 households in Norway with three-year-old children at the time of the investigation (May 1995 and August 2001). RESULTS: According to parents, the prevalence of households in which children were exposed to ETS fell from 32% in 1995 to 18% in 2001. In both surveys, the probability of children being exposed was positively correlated with the number of parents smoking and inversely correlated with length of education, negative attitudes towards ETS and strength of health-risk awareness. INTERPRETATION: The observed changes must be viewed in the light of the media focus on passive smoking during this period, a nationwide information campaign and as an artifact caused by more underreporting of a behaviour that is being internalised as in breach of a norm.
A survey conducted among all Norwegian Chief Municipal Medical Officers, provided information about their formal role and involvement in health promotion work. Of the total respondents, 71% regularly attended meetings of the Municipal Board of Health and 32% attended meetings of the Building Council; 80% had authority to forward proposals to the Board of Health on matters of environmental health. On average, the Chief Municipal Medical Officers spent one-fifth of their working time on community health promotion activities. 80% of the respondents would have liked to spend more time on these activities. These officials should have a stronger formal position in the field of health promotion, and they themselves should give higher priority to health promotion work.
From time to time newspapers bring reports on "earth rays" and their alleged damaging effects on health. There is, however, no objective evidence which suggests the existence of earth rays. In spite of this, dowsers claim that earth rays are a main cause of disease, also in children. In this study we wanted to evaluate, using a double-blind design, the alleged effects of earth rays on young children. A total of 44 children in four nursery schools in the Bergen area were recruited. Two dowsers and one interviewer visited the homes of all the children. The dowsers evaluated the presence of earth rays over the child's bed while the parents were interviewed in an independent procedure about the child's medical history over the past 12 months. Whether or not earth rays where found over the child's bed, there where no differences in the reported health of the child with regard to upper and lower respiratory tract infections, stomach aches, allergies or sleeping habits. Parents' report on restlessness and hyperactivity were also the same. The study failed to find any health effects, adverse or not, of earth rays.
Comment In: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1999 Dec 10;119(30):4611-210827512
The article focus on the division of labour in Norwegian municipalities' work on environmental health problems. The analysis shows that this work follows a relatively formalised pattern. To a high degree, formal positions explain who participate and how. The analysis also shows that actors outside the local health authorities also participate to some extent.
BACKGROUND: Pollution from industry assumed new dimensions when large-scale industry and mining were established in Norway towards the end of the nineteenth century. The present article discusses how the local health administration responded to the first extensive industrial pollution of air and water. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Two chemical factories producing wood pulp and one abandoned nickel mine are studied by means of information from court records and municipal archives. RESULTS: New forms of large quantity pollutants and their great spreading capacity were not anticipated in the Health Act of 1860. The legislation at the time had ambiguous points which made it difficult to apply in cases of industrial pollution. One major problem was reliable documentation of adverse health effects. INTERPRETATION: Neither central nor local medical authorities had adequate competence to exert the professional influence required. In spite of this, local health commissions acted with considerable authority in the early 1890s. Within a few years, however, the health aspects were down-played because of the strong economic and political interests behind the new industries. The principal difficulties emerging in the 1890s with industrial pollution eventually lasted for nearly one hundred years.
The Municipal Health Services Act with amendments from 1988 defines environmental health promotion activities directed at physical, chemical, biological and social factors as mandatory for the local Norwegian health authorities. In addition, the municipal health services are responsible for health surveillance and for initiating cross-sectorial preventive measures. In 1991, we undertook a national survey among the Norwegian municipal health services to monitor planning activities, manpower resources, cross-sectorial cooperation, and project-oriented activities within the field of environmental health promotion. Less than one-third of the municipalities employed technically trained hygienic personnel. However, three of four municipalities had carried out some environmental health promotion projects within the last two years. The following factors were all independently related to level of environmental health promotion activity: the availability of technical assistance, the level of cross-sectorial cooperation and the size of the population in the municipality. We conclude that this area of health promotion should be improved by better planning, a higher level of technical hygienic competence within the municipal health services, more inter-sectorial cooperation and greater emphasis on visible projects of limited duration.