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Dr. Melanie  Nichols  Phd image

Dr. Melanie Nichols Phd

5351 Delmar Blvd Metropolitan St Louis Psychiatric Center
Saint Louis MO 63112
314 770-0611
Medical School: Other - Unknown
Accepts Medicare: No
Participates In eRX: No
Participates In PQRS: No
Participates In EHR: No
License #: 2013043060
NPI: 1093122152
Taxonomy Codes:
103TC0700X

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Publications

Critical design features for establishing a childhood obesity monitoring program in Australia. - Australian journal of primary health
Efforts to combat childhood obesity in Australia are hampered by the lack of quality epidemiological data to routinely monitor the prevalence and distribution of the condition. This paper summarises the literature on issues relevant to childhood obesity monitoring and makes recommendations for implementing a school-based childhood obesity monitoring program in Australia. The primary purpose of such a program would be to collect population-level health data to inform both policy and the development and evaluation of community-based obesity prevention interventions. Recommendations are made for the types of data to be collected, data collection procedures and program management and evaluation. Data from an obesity monitoring program are crucial for directing and informing policies, practices and services, identifying subgroups at greatest risk of obesity and evaluating progress towards meeting obesity-related targets. Such data would also increase the community awareness necessary to foster change.
Cardiovascular disease in Europe--epidemiological update 2015. - European heart journal
This article provides an update for 2015 on the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD), with a particular focus on coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, across the countries of Europe. Cardiovascular disease is still the most common cause of death within Europe, causing almost two times as many deaths as cancer across the continent. Although there is clear evidence, where data are available, that mortality from CHD and stroke has decreased substantially over the last 5-10 years, there are still large inequalities found between European countries, in both current rates of death and the rate at which these decreases have occurred. Similarly, rates of treatment, particularly surgical intervention, differ widely between those countries for which data are available, indicating a range of inequalities between them. This is also the first time in the series that we use the 2013 European Standard Population (ESP) to calculate age-standardized death rates (ASDRs). This new standard results in ASDRs around two times as large as the 1976 ESP for CVD conditions such as CHD but changes little the relative rankings of countries according to ASDR.Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2015. For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Is demography destiny? Application of machine learning techniques to accurately predict population health outcomes from a minimal demographic dataset. - PloS one
For years, we have relied on population surveys to keep track of regional public health statistics, including the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Because of the cost and limitations of such surveys, we often do not have the up-to-date data on health outcomes of a region. In this paper, we examined the feasibility of inferring regional health outcomes from socio-demographic data that are widely available and timely updated through national censuses and community surveys. Using data for 50 American states (excluding Washington DC) from 2007 to 2012, we constructed a machine-learning model to predict the prevalence of six non-communicable disease (NCD) outcomes (four NCDs and two major clinical risk factors), based on population socio-demographic characteristics from the American Community Survey. We found that regional prevalence estimates for non-communicable diseases can be reasonably predicted. The predictions were highly correlated with the observed data, in both the states included in the derivation model (median correlation 0.88) and those excluded from the development for use as a completely separated validation sample (median correlation 0.85), demonstrating that the model had sufficient external validity to make good predictions, based on demographics alone, for areas not included in the model development. This highlights both the utility of this sophisticated approach to model development, and the vital importance of simple socio-demographic characteristics as both indicators and determinants of chronic disease.
The stability of weight status through the early to middle childhood years in Australia: a longitudinal study. - BMJ open
To investigate the sociodemographic and behavioural factors associated with incidence, persistence or remission of obesity in a longitudinal sample of Australian children aged 4-10 years.Nationally representative Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).The sample for this analysis included all children in the Kinder cohort (aged 4-5 years at wave 1) who participated in all four waves of LSAC (wave 1, 2004, aged 4-5 years; wave 2, 2006, aged 6-7 years; wave 3, 2008, aged 8-9 years and wave 4, 2010, aged 10-11 years). Of the 4983 children who participated in the baseline (wave 1) survey, 4169 (83.7%) children completed all four waves of data collection.Movement of children between weight status categories over time and individual-level predictors of weight status change (sociodemographic characteristics, selected dietary and activity behaviours).The study found tracking of weight status across this period of childhood. There was an inverse association observed between socioeconomic position and persistence of overweight/obesity. Sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit and vegetable intake and screen time appeared to be important predictors of stronger tracking.Overweight and obesity established early in childhood tracks strongly to the middle childhood years in Australia, particularly among children of lower socioeconomic position and children participating in some unhealthy behaviour patterns.Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
Web search activity data accurately predict population chronic disease risk in the USA. - Journal of epidemiology and community health
The WHO framework for non-communicable disease (NCD) describes risks and outcomes comprising the majority of the global burden of disease. These factors are complex and interact at biological, behavioural, environmental and policy levels presenting challenges for population monitoring and intervention evaluation. This paper explores the utility of machine learning methods applied to population-level web search activity behaviour as a proxy for chronic disease risk factors.Web activity output for each element of the WHO's Causes of NCD framework was used as a basis for identifying relevant web search activity from 2004 to 2013 for the USA. Multiple linear regression models with regularisation were used to generate predictive algorithms, mapping web search activity to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measured risk factor/disease prevalence. Predictions for subsequent target years not included in the model derivation were tested against CDC data from population surveys using Pearson correlation and Spearman's r.For 2011 and 2012, predicted prevalence was very strongly correlated with measured risk data ranging from fruits and vegetables consumed (r=0.81; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.89) to alcohol consumption (r=0.96; 95% CI 0.93 to 0.98). Mean difference between predicted and measured differences by State ranged from 0.03 to 2.16. Spearman's r for state-wise predicted versus measured prevalence varied from 0.82 to 0.93.The high predictive validity of web search activity for NCD risk has potential to provide real-time information on population risk during policy implementation and other population-level NCD prevention efforts.Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
Systematic review of mental health and well-being outcomes following community-based obesity prevention interventions among adolescents. - BMJ open
This paper aimed to systematically evaluate the mental health and well-being outcomes observed in previous community-based obesity prevention interventions in adolescent populations.Systematic review of literature from database inception to October 2014. Articles were sourced from CINAHL, Global Health, Health Source: Nursing and Academic Edition, MEDLINE, PsycARTICLES and PsycINFO, all of which were accessed through EBSCOhost. The Cochrane Database was also searched to identify all eligible articles. PRISMA guidelines were followed and search terms and search strategy ensured all possible studies were identified for review.Intervention studies were eligible for inclusion if they were: focused on overweight or obesity prevention, community-based, targeted adolescents (aged 10-19 years), reported a mental health or well-being measure, and included a comparison or control group. Studies that focused on specific adolescent groups or were treatment interventions were excluded from review. Quality of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) guidelines.Primary outcomes were measures of mental health and well-being, including diagnostic and symptomatic measures. Secondary outcomes included adiposity or weight-related measures.Seven studies met the inclusion criteria; one reported anxiety/depressive outcomes, two reported on self-perception well-being measures such as self-esteem and self-efficacy, and four studies reported outcomes of quality of life. Positive mental health outcomes demonstrated that following obesity prevention, interventions included a decrease in anxiety and improved health-related quality of life. Quality of evidence was graded as very low.Although positive outcomes for mental health and well-being do exist, controlled evaluations of community-based obesity prevention interventions have not often included mental health measures (n=7). It is recommended that future interventions incorporate mental health and well-being measures to identify any potential mechanisms influencing adolescent weight-related outcomes, and equally to ensure interventions are not causing harm to adolescent mental health.Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
Cardiovascular disease in Europe 2014: epidemiological update. - European heart journal
This paper provides an update for 2014 on the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and in particular coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, across the countries of Europe. Cardiovascular disease causes more deaths among Europeans than any other condition, and in many countries still causes more than twice as many deaths as cancer. There is clear evidence in most countries with available data that mortality and case-fatality rates from CHD and stroke have decreased substantially over the last 5-10 years but at differing rates. The differing recent trends have therefore led to increasing inequalities in the burden of CVD between countries. For some Eastern European countries, including Russia and Ukraine, the mortality rate for CHD for 55-60 year olds is greater than the equivalent rate in France for people 20 years older.Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2014. For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of whole of community interventions to prevent excessive population weight gain. - Preventive medicine
Population-based, 'whole of community' interventions utilise community engagement processes and implement multiple strategies to improve the health of populations defined by geographical boundaries (i.e. cities, villages or regions). The aim of the review was to systematically assess the current state of knowledge about the effectiveness of population-based whole of community interventions in preventing excessive population weight gain. Systematic searches of electronic databases (1990-2011) and reference lists of included trials and previous reviews were conducted to identify interventions to prevent excessive weight gain. Population-based, whole of community interventions were defined as those targeting the weight status of a population characterised along geographical boundaries. The review included eight trials. All of the identified trials targeted children or adolescents. Seven trials reported a significant effect favouring the intervention on at least one measure of adiposity. Meta-analysis of six trials revealed a small reduction in BMI z-score among participants in intervention communities (mean difference (MD) -0.09; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.16 to -0.02). The review suggests that population-based, whole of community interventions can be effective in achieving modest reductions in population weight gain among children.Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Relationship between raised BMI and sugar sweetened beverage and high fat food consumption among children. - Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)
Longitudinal evidence of relationships between unhealthy diets and BMI in children is crucial for appropriately targeting obesity prevention activities. The objective was to determine the relationship between frequency of consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) and high fat foods (HFFs) and body weight in Australian children aged from 4 to 10 years.Data from 4,164 children participating in four waves (wave 1, 2004; wave 2, 2006; wave 3, 2008; and wave 4, 2010) of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children were analyzed. A multi-level growth model tested relationships between consumption of SSB and HFF and BMI z-scores.BMI z-scores were associated with daily consumption of HFF, SSB and maternal BMI independent of BMI z-scores at wave 1 (baseline); with each additional occurrence of SSB and HFF consumption intake per day, BMI z-score increased by 0.015 U (P < 0.01) and 0.014 U (P < 0.001), respectively. With each additional maternal BMI unit, BMI z-score increased by 0.032 (P < 0.001).Higher BMI z-scores were strongly associated with the consumption of SSBs and HFFs. Future efforts to prevent obesity should consider urgent action to address the impact of the consumption of SSBs and HFFs in childhood.Copyright © 2013 The Obesity Society.
Community-based efforts to prevent obesity: Australia-wide survey of projects. - Health promotion journal of Australia : official journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals
Community-based programs that affect healthy environments and policies have emerged as an effective response to high obesity levels in populations. Apart from limited individual reports, little is currently known about these programs, limiting the potential to provide effective support, to promote effective practice, prevent adverse outcomes and disseminate intervention results and experience. The aim of the present study was to identify the size and reach of current community-based obesity prevention projects in Australia and to examine their characteristics, program features (e.g. intervention setting), capacity and approach to obesity prevention.Detailed survey completed by representatives from community-based obesity prevention initiatives in Australia.There was wide variation in funding, capacity and approach to obesity prevention among the 78 participating projects. Median annual funding was Au$94900 (range Au$2500-$4.46 million). The most common intervention settings were schools (39%). Forty per cent of programs focused on a population group of ≥50000 people. A large proportion of respondents felt that they did not have sufficient resources or staff training to achieve project objectives.Community-based projects currently represent a very large investment by both government and non-government sectors for the prevention of obesity. Existing projects are diverse in size and scope, and reach large segments of the population. Further work is needed to identify the full extent of existing community actions and to monitor their reach and future 'scale up' to ensure that future activities aim for effective integration into systems, policies and environments. SO WHAT? Community-based programs make a substantial contribution to the prevention of obesity and promotion of healthy lifestyles in Australia. A risk of the current intervention landscape is that effective approaches may go unrecognised due to lack of effective evaluations or limitations in program design, duration or size. Policy makers and researchers must recognise the potential contribution of these initiatives, to both public health and knowledge generation, and provide support for strong evaluation and sustainable intervention designs.

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