Archive for September, 2010

Local shops don’t offer enough healthy options: The importance of urban planning to fight an obesogenic environment

September 30, 2010

A tale of two cities: A study of access to food, lessons for public health practice

From Health Education Journal

Using Preston (UK) as a focus, this study maps food access in the city in order to determine access, availability and affordability of healthy food options. The article emphasizes the importance of urban planning policy to ensure access to a range of essential services, including a choice of healthy affordable food outlets, by maintaining the viability of local and district centres. This clearly needs to be linked with transport planning and priority communities groups identified. Through surveys and interviews the results demonstrate that in some areas there are more fast food outlets than general groceries outlets. In areas with a high South Asian population there are more local shops selling affordable food compared to white working class areas. Local area agreements between health agencies and local authorities can offer a way forward, in that they can take into account the expressed needs of local residents. There is a need to engage with the location of shops in urban areas, to ensure they offer a healthy range of options and are sited near to where people live. In addition the number of fast food outlets needs to be controlled and the food they offer improved.

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It pays to be a married member of the Armed Forces rather than a singleton

September 28, 2010

Marriage and the military: Evidence that those who serve marry earlier and divorce earlier

From Armed Forces & Society

The military compensation and benefits system benefits married members compared to single ones without dependents. The Armed Forces place high demands on their personnel and their families. To reduce turnover and retain sufficient numbers of qualified personnel, the military needs to be supportive of family life. The benefits package includes a housing cash allowance and health insurance. The perks consequently induce individuals to marry earlier than they otherwise might. This research finds the odds of members marrying in their early twenties are three times higher than civilians. However marriage whilst serving doesn’t necessarily equate to marital stability as probability of divorce is significantly greater for those who have served two or more years on active duty.

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Under the compensation system of the U.S. Armed Forces, members who are married or have dependents receive higher rates of pay and greater benefits than those who are single with no dependents. This article examines the hypothesis that these compensation policies induce earlier marriage by active-duty military members compared to otherwise similar civilians who have not served on active duty. Using a logistic regression model on American Community Survey data, the authors estimate the effect of active-duty military service on the probability of being married for twenty-three- to twenty-five-year-olds. Controlling for other factors affecting marriage rates, the authors find that the odds of being married were about three times greater for those with military service compared to similar civilians who have not served. For persons ever married, the probability of divorce is significantly greater for those who have served two or more years on active duty.

Read this research for free

Article details:
Hogan, P., & Furst Seifert, R. (2009). Marriage and the Military: Evidence That Those Who Serve Marry Earlier and Divorce Earlier Armed Forces & Society, 36 (3), 420-438 DOI: 10.1177/0095327X09351228

Placing the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women

September 28, 2010

Gender, development, and HIV/AIDS: Implications for child mortality in less industrialized countries

From International Journal of Comparative Sociology

HIV/AIDS continue to have a devastating toll on less industrialized societies, According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) (2007) there were an estimated 2.1 million deaths from HIV/AIDS and 2.9 million new HIV infections in 2007 to bring the world total up to 33.2 million people living with the disease.

This article considers the significance of gender for where the disease is most concentrated. Female prevalence rates are growing in every region of the world with the worse being sub-Saharan Africa where women com­prise almost 61 percent of adults living with HIV. UNAIDS estimated 96 percent of new HIV infections are in developing countries. The findings of this study demonstrate in these areas female empowerment and gender equality decrease the prevalence of child mortality through the infection. This empowerment refers to a movement to include women as part of the dialogue on policy and practice and specifically to the availability to the medication women can take to prevent the spread of the disease. The research reveals the need for grassroots movements and gender-friendly development programs that empower women and contribute to human security and the overall well-being of society.

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What makes Starbucks such a great place to work? A review of the HR policies across the best companies to work for

September 23, 2010

What makes it so great? An analysis of Human Resources practices among fortune’s best companies to work for

From Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

This article provides an analysis of Human Resources practices among the best companies to work for in the US, from an annual list compiled by Fortune. It examines aspects such as job growth, turnover, training, compensation and benefits including health care coverage, work-life balance, diversity initiatives, percentage of minorities and non-discrimination policies.

The analysis concludes that whether it is recognized by managers or not, people are the greatest asset of virtually every organization. This philosophy is arguably the most important factor that separates the top one hundred companies from the other thousands that didn’t make the list.

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Courting artists to revitalize American cities

September 22, 2010

Artist garret as growth machine? Local policy and artist housing in U.S. cities

From Journal of Planning Education and Research

In the last ten years the arts, and artists, have come to be seen as catalysts for the revitalization of American cities. This article demonstrates that in most cities, artist housing programs are considered part of an economic development agenda. Once on the fringes of the municipal policy arena, they have woven their way into core areas of urban development policy making. City and state policy makers now see the arts as a potential generator of jobs and tax revenues rather than as expendable luxuries.

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Male Genital Mutilation: Beyond the tolerable?

September 21, 2010

From Ethnicities

This article aims to show that, if Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) warrants the serious attention of policy-makers, then so too, despite quantitative differences, does Male Genital Mutilation (MGM). FGM is viewed by many as marking the boundary of toleration. Regarded as a painful, injurious, medically unnecessary tool of sexual control, inflicted by coercive communities on vulnerable individuals. However Male circumcision is believed generally to be benign, uncontroversial and medically justified. To regard it as intolerable or ‘repugnant’ is, for many, ridiculous. The author aims to enable liberals to overcome, often justifiable, claims of ethnocentricity, in order to develop a consistent approach to harmful cultural practices. The author argues that it is inconsistent not to object to both – even if greater priority is given to opposing the more invasive forms of FGM.

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Denouncing priests accused of child sexual abuse as rotten apples in an otherwise clean barrel

September 17, 2010

Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church: Revisiting the rotten apples explanation

From Criminal Justice and Behavior

The Pope’s first state visit to Britain this week has fuelled controversy, not least due to his recent comments expressing his “great sadness” over revelations of widespread abuse of children by Catholic priests, saying  “authorities in the church have not been vigilant enough” in combating the problem. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) retorted “On the contrary, they’ve been prompt and vigilant, but in concealing, not preventing, these horrors.”

During the last decade the Catholic Church has come under intense scrutiny because of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. A 2004 US national study of the nature and scope of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church showed that 4,392 priests and deacons had allegations of sexual abuse against 10,667 minors during the past 50 years). The Church has paid more than $2 billion in legal costs, settlements, and treatment for offenders and victims. This article considers the Church response to the scandals, and how the problem should be addressed. It parallels the “rotten apple” theory. According to this theory, originally generated to explain cases of police brutality, any (policemen) found to be corrupt must promptly be denounced as a rotten apple in an otherwise clean barrel. It must never be admitted that his individual corruption may be symptomatic of underlying disease. The study concludes with a discussion of lessons the Church can learn from the police organization as they seek to prevent, control, and effectively respond to sexual abuse of children by their clergy.

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Study confirms women have become more like men

September 16, 2010

Cohort differences in personality in middle-aged women during a 36-year period. Results from the Population Study of Women in Gothenburg

From Scandinavian Journal of Public Health

This research measures differences in personality in middle-aged Swedish women during a 36-year period. Society has undergone major changes in recent decades, many of which have had a pronounced impact on women’s lives. The results of this survey indicate there has been a transition for women in direction towards a stereotypically ‘‘male’’ personality profile, but not at the expense of traditionally socially important female traits. Comparisons in psychological profile subscales showed an increase in dominance, exhibition, aggression and achievement. The findings support the hypothesis that society and the environment influence personality.

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The current global recession is the most important time for governments to spend rather than save

September 15, 2010

Social Security spending in times of crisis

From Global Social Policy

While it could be assumed that times of financial crisis, like the current global recession, requires a tightening of the government’s purse strings, this research argues that in fact common sense and past experience tells us that countries should be encouraged to adopt expansionary policies. The article supports the idea that crises can be used as an occasion to improve and strengthen social security; in doing so, countries not only mitigate the worst effects, but also create better social policy and improve long-term crisis preparedness.

History has shown, in the long-term, poorly managed crises can increase poverty, create long-term unemployment and reduce growth potential. The findings of this study suggest main emphasis should be placed on spending to kick start the economy and protect the poor and vulnerable groups (unemployed) from falling further into poverty. Policy makers should ensure that pensioners’ incomes are not lost or decreased. Unemployment insurance, social transfers and human capital spending should be protected.  In countries where there are no programmes in place, setting one up from scratch should be carefully planned.

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British ethical foreign policy may be able to justify the intervention in Afghanistan but can it defend the invasion of Iraq?

September 14, 2010

The politics of ethical foreign policy: A responsibility to protect whom?

From European Journal of International Relations

With the 9/11 anniversary just a few days ago, plus the recent publication of Tony Blair’s autobiography, once again there is much public debate regarding the justification and achievements of the foreign policy implemented over the last decade leading to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

This article recognizes how ethical foreign policy persists as a problem of international relations, especially regarding humanitarian intervention. The study finds Britain’s ethical framework, the ‘doctrine of international community’, which justifies interventions in Afghanistan, is undone by the anomalous, yet exemplary, invasion of Iraq.

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