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Regional Assessment of Temperature-Related Mortality in Finland

Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 406;
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change and Health)
PDF [1968 KB, uploaded 27 February 2018]


The aim of this study was to assess regional differences in temperature–mortality relationships across 21 hospital districts in Finland. The temperature dependence of the daily number of all-cause, all-aged deaths during 2000–2014 was studied in each hospital district by using daily mean temperatures, spatially averaged across each hospital district, to describe exposure to heat stress and cold stress. The relationships were modelled using distributed lag non-linear models (DLNM). In a simple model version, no delayed impacts of heat and cold on mortality were taken into account, whereas a more complex version included delayed impacts up to 25 days. A meta-analysis with selected climatic and sociodemographic covariates was conducted to study differences in the relationships between hospital districts. A pooled mortality-temperature relationship was produced to describe the average relationship in Finland. The simple DLNM model version without lag gave U-shaped dependencies of mortality on temperature almost without exception. The outputs of the model version with a 25-day lag were also U-shaped in most hospital districts. According to the meta-analysis, the differences in the temperature-mortality relationships between hospital districts were not statistically significant on the absolute temperature scale, meaning that the pooled mortality–temperature relationship can be applied to the whole country. However, on a relative temperature scale, heterogeneity was found, and the meta-regression suggested that morbidity index and population in the hospital districts might explain some of this heterogeneity. The pooled estimate for the relative risk (RR) of mortality at a daily mean temperature of 24 °C was 1.16 (95% CI 1.12–1.20) with reference at 14 °C, which is the minimum mortality temperature (MMT) of the pooled relationship. On the cold side, the RR at a daily mean temperature of −20 °C was 1.14 (95% CI 1.12–1.16). On a relative scale of daily mean temperature, the MMT was found at the 79th percentile. View Full-Text
Keywords: temperature-related mortality; distributed lag models; regional differences; meta-analysis temperature-related mortality; distributed lag models; regional differences; meta-analysis

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Ruuhela, R.; Hyvärinen, O.; Jylhä, K. Regional Assessment of Temperature-Related Mortality in Finland. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 406.

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