Special Issue "Global Public Health and Epidemiology"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ruoling Chen
Website
Guest Editor
University of Wolverhampton, Centre for Health and Social Care Improvement, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

IJERPH invites submissions to Special Issue devoted to addressing important research topics in public health and epidemiology globally.

This Special Issue of IJERPH follows the international conference of Global Health and Epidemiology, which was successfully held at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, on 20-23 August 2018 (www.wlv.ac.uk/globalhealth), with which IJERPH was involved and sponsored two best conference presentations awards.

Global health is "the application of the principles of public health to health problems and challenges that transcend national boundaries and to the complex array of global and local forces that affect them”. It implies a global perspective on public health problems, using epidemiological methods.

To improve population health globally and its impact on health care and economics, in this Special Issue we highlight health inequalities locally, nationally and internationally and their solutions, including health systems and policy making.

This Special Issue welcomes original studies, review papers and commentary papers that address global health and epidemiology.  Of particular interest are the following themes:

  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Dementia and Mental Health
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Social Epidemiology and Public Health in Developing Countries
  • Epidemiological Methods and Health Data Analysis

Prof. Dr. Ruoling Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Cancer Mortality Trends in Spain (2000–2016): Differences between Immigrant and Native Populations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5127; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17145127 - 16 Jul 2020
Abstract
Spain’s population has changed thanks to recent immigration. Therefore, a new epidemiological and demographic profile has been generated in the country. This study aims to analyze immigrant and native cancer mortality trends in Spain for the period 2000 to 2016. An ecological study [...] Read more.
Spain’s population has changed thanks to recent immigration. Therefore, a new epidemiological and demographic profile has been generated in the country. This study aims to analyze immigrant and native cancer mortality trends in Spain for the period 2000 to 2016. An ecological study of trends was carried out. Age-standardized rates of cancer mortality (ASR) and annual percentage change (APC) between groups and study sub-periods were calculated. Significant decreases in ASR were observed for cancer in both the native and the immigrant populations, in both men and women. However, in 2014–2016, there was an increase in ASR in the immigrant population compared to 2011–2013, due to the increase in ASR among immigrants from European regions. Differences in ASR by cancer between immigrant and native populations residing in Spain have been identified, both in the rate of decline and magnitude as well as by the birth region of the immigrant population. The increase observed in the cancer mortality trend at the end of the period in some immigrant groups indicates the need to monitor these indicators given the demographic, social, and economic changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle
The Emulation and Adaptation of a Global Model of Clinical Practice Guidelines on Chronic Heart Failure in BRICS Countries: A Comparative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1735; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051735 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Whilst knowledge about diseases is universal, access to health care is not equally distributed. During the last decade, the countries of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have become important actors on the global health scene, pushing for universal, affordable, and more [...] Read more.
Whilst knowledge about diseases is universal, access to health care is not equally distributed. During the last decade, the countries of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) have become important actors on the global health scene, pushing for universal, affordable, and more equal access to health care. Although non-communicable diseases place a significant burden on all populations and health systems, low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), such as BRICS, have been affected particularly hard. Approximately 80 percent of worldwide deaths from non-communicable diseases occur in LMIC. We examined if guidelines concerning chronic heart failure from BRICS countries are influenced by global scripts and if these guidelines have converged or diverged in an inter-state context. Our analysis shows that guidelines on heart failure published in BRICS predominantly rely on models initially formulated by European or American cardiological organisations. Guidelines from BRICS deviate from these models to some extent, in particular with regard to specific epidemiological conditions. Except for the Indian guideline, they do not, however, extensively engage with BRICS-specific aspects of costs, access to and affordability of health care services. We interpret these results through the lens of sociological theories on globalisation. Consistent with neoinstitutionalism, recommendations for clinical practice guidelines have spread in BRICS countries in a rather isomorphic fashion. Notwithstanding, some local medical traditions have also been included into these guidelines through localised adaptation and variation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle
Passive Smoking Exposure in Living Environments Reduces Cognitive Function: A Prospective Cohort Study in Older Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1402; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041402 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
There is currently no consensus regarding the effects of passive smoking exposure on cognitive function in older adults. We evaluated 7000 permanent residents from six regions within Zhejiang Province, China, aged ≥60 years, without cognitive impairment at baseline and during follow-up examinations for [...] Read more.
There is currently no consensus regarding the effects of passive smoking exposure on cognitive function in older adults. We evaluated 7000 permanent residents from six regions within Zhejiang Province, China, aged ≥60 years, without cognitive impairment at baseline and during follow-up examinations for two years. The Chinese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination was used to assess the participants’ cognitive function. Multivariate regression analyses were carried out to calculate the adjusted relative risks (RRs) as measures of the association between passive smoking exposure and cognitive impairment after adjusting for potential confounders. The results showed an association between passive smoking exposure in the living environment and increased risk of cognitive impairment (RR: 1.16; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01–1.35). No dose–response relationship between the cumulative dose of passive smoking exposure (days) and cognitive impairment was observed. The results of stratified analyses suggested a harmful effect of passive smoking exposure on cognitive function in non-smokers (RR: 1.24; 95% CI: 1.06–1.46), but not in smokers (RR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.71–1.92). Therefore, passive smoking exposure increased the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults, especially non-smokers. More effective measures to restrict smoking in the living environment should be developed and implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Levels and Determinants of Fine Particulate Matter and Carbon Monoxide in Kitchens Using Biomass and Non-Biomass Fuel for Cooking
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1287; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041287 - 17 Feb 2020
Abstract
To assist interpretation of a study in rural Pakistan on the use of biomass for cooking and the risk of coronary heart disease, we continuously monitored airborne concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO) for up to 48 [...] Read more.
To assist interpretation of a study in rural Pakistan on the use of biomass for cooking and the risk of coronary heart disease, we continuously monitored airborne concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO) for up to 48 h in the kitchens of households randomly selected from the parent study. Satisfactory data on PM2.5 and CO respectively were obtained for 16 and 17 households using biomass, and 19 and 17 using natural gas. Linear regression analysis indicated that in comparison with kitchens using natural gas, daily average PM2.5 concentrations were substantially higher in kitchens that used biomass in either a chimney stove (mean difference 611, 95% CI: 359, 863 µg/m3) or traditional three-stone stove (mean difference 389, 95% CI: 231, 548 µg/m3). Daily average concentrations of CO were significantly increased when biomass was used in a traditional stove (mean difference from natural gas 3.7, 95% CI: 0.8, 6.7 ppm), but not when it was used in a chimney stove (mean difference −0.8, 95% CI: −4.8, 3.2 ppm). Any impact of smoking by household members was smaller than that of using biomass, and not clearly discernible. In the population studied, cooking with biomass as compared with natural gas should serve as a good proxy for higher personal exposure to PM2.5. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Explaining Income-Related Inequalities in Dietary Knowledge: Evidence from the China Health and Nutrition Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020532 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Lack of adequate dietary knowledge may result in poor health conditions. This study aims to measure income-related inequality in dietary knowledge, and to explain the sources of the inequality. Data were from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) conducted in 2015. A [...] Read more.
Lack of adequate dietary knowledge may result in poor health conditions. This study aims to measure income-related inequality in dietary knowledge, and to explain the sources of the inequality. Data were from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) conducted in 2015. A summary of the dietary knowledge score and dietary guideline awareness was used to measure the dietary knowledge of respondents. The concentration index was employed as a measure of socioeconomic inequality and was decomposed into its determining factors. The study found that the proportion of respondents who correctly answered questions on dietary knowledge was significantly low for some questions. Compared to rural residents, urban residents had a higher proportion of correctly answered dietary knowledge questions. In addition, there are pro-rich inequalities in dietary knowledge. This observed inequality is determined not only by individual factors but also high-level area factors. Our study recommends that future dietary education programs could take different strategies for individuals with different educational levels and focus more on disadvantaged people. It would be beneficial to consider local dietary habits in developing education materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Associated with Practice-Level Performance Indicators in Primary Health Care in Hungary: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173153 - 29 Aug 2019
Abstract
The performance of general practitioners (GPs) is frequently assessed without considering the factors causing variability among general medical practices (GMPs). Our cross-sectional national-based study was performed in Hungary to evaluate the influence of GMP characteristics on performance indicators. The relationship between patient’s characteristics [...] Read more.
The performance of general practitioners (GPs) is frequently assessed without considering the factors causing variability among general medical practices (GMPs). Our cross-sectional national-based study was performed in Hungary to evaluate the influence of GMP characteristics on performance indicators. The relationship between patient’s characteristics (age, gender, education) and GMP-specific parameters (practice size, vacancy of GP’s position, settlement type, and county of GMP) and the quality of care was assessed by multilevel logistic regression models. The variations attributable to physicians were small (from 0.77% to 17.95%). The education of patients was associated with 10 performance indicators. Practicing in an urban settlement mostly increased the quality of care for hypertension and diabetes care related performance indicators, while the county was identified as one of the major determinants of variability among GPs’ performance. Only a few indicators were affected by the vacancy and practice size. Thus, the observed variability in performance between GPs partially arose from demographic characteristics and education of patients, settlement type, and regional location of GMPs. Considering the real effect of these factors in evaluation would reflect better the personal performance of GPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle
New Health Care Reform and Impoverishment among Chronic Households in China: A Random-Intercept Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(6), 1074; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16061074 - 26 Mar 2019
Abstract
High out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for chronic disease care often contribute directly to household poverty. Although previous studies have explored the determinants of impoverishment in China, few published studies have compared levels of impoverishment before and after the New Health Care Reform (NHCR) in [...] Read more.
High out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for chronic disease care often contribute directly to household poverty. Although previous studies have explored the determinants of impoverishment in China, few published studies have compared levels of impoverishment before and after the New Health Care Reform (NHCR) in households with members with chronic diseases (hereafter referred to as chronic households). Our study explored this using data from the fourth and fifth National Health Service Surveys conducted in Shaanxi Province. In total, 1938 households in 2008 and 7700 households in 2013 were included in the analysis. Rates of impoverishment were measured using a method proposed by the World Health Organization. Multilevel logistic modeling was used to explore the influence of the NHCR on household impoverishment. Our study found that the influence of NHCR on impoverishment varied by residential location. After the reform, in rural areas, there was a significant decline in impoverishment, although the impoverishment rate remained high. There was little change in urban areas. In addition, impoverishment in the poorest households did not decline after the NHCR. Our findings are important for policy makers in particular for evaluating reform effectiveness, informing directions for health policy improvement, and highlighting achievements in the efforts to alleviate the economic burden of households that have members with chronic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Associations between Knowledge of the Causes and Perceived Impacts of Climate Change: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Medical, Public Health and Nursing Students in Universities in China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(12), 2650; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122650 - 26 Nov 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
This study aimed to measure the knowledge and perceptions of medical, public health, and nursing students about climate change and its impacts, and to identify associations between the knowledge and perceptions. Data were from a nationwide cross-sectional survey of 1387 students sampled in [...] Read more.
This study aimed to measure the knowledge and perceptions of medical, public health, and nursing students about climate change and its impacts, and to identify associations between the knowledge and perceptions. Data were from a nationwide cross-sectional survey of 1387 students sampled in five different regional universities in China (April–May 2017). The knowledge and perceptions of the participants were collected by self-administered questionnaires. We found that most respondents believed that climate change is generally “bad” (83%) and bad for human health (88%), while 67% believed that climate change is controllable. The vast majority of respondents acknowledged illness conditions resulting from poor air quality (95%), heat stress (93%), and extreme weather events (91%) as potential impacts of climate change. Nevertheless, only 39% recognized malnutrition as a consequence of food deprivation resulting from climate change. Around 58% of respondents could correctly identify the causes of climate change. The knowledge of the causes of climate change was not associated with the ability to recognize the health consequences of climate change. However, the knowledge of causes of climate change was a significant predictor of increased awareness of the negative impacts of climate change between the medical and nursing students, although this was not the case among their public health counterparts. Poor knowledge about the causes of climate change is evident among students in China. They are able to recognize the direct links between weather events and health, but less likely to understand the consequences involving complicated pathways. Research and training into the underlying mechanisms of health impacts of climate change needs to be strengthened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Cardiovascular Disease and the Female Disadvantage
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071165 - 01 Apr 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
Age-standardised rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are substantially higher in men than women. This explains why CVD has traditionally been seen as a “man’s problem”. However, CVD is the leading cause of death in women, worldwide, and is one of the most common [...] Read more.
Age-standardised rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are substantially higher in men than women. This explains why CVD has traditionally been seen as a “man’s problem”. However, CVD is the leading cause of death in women, worldwide, and is one of the most common causes of disability-adjusted life-years lost. In general, this is under-recognised and, in several ways, women are disadvantaged in terms of CVD. Both in primary and secondary prevention, there is evidence that women are undertreated, compared to men. Women often experience heart disease in a different way compared to men, and lack of recognition of this has been shown to have adverse consequences. Female patients of male cardiac physicians have been found to have worse outcomes than their male counterparts, with no such gender differential for female cardiologists. Clinical trials in CVD primarily recruit male patients, yet, it is well recognised that some drugs act differently in women and men. Diabetes and smoking, and perhaps other risk factors, confer a greater proportional excess cardiovascular risk to women than to men, whilst adverse pregnancies and factors concerned with the female reproductive cycle give women added vulnerability to CVD. However, women’s health research is skewed towards mother and child health, an area where, arguably, the greatest public health gains have already been made, and breast cancer. Hence there is a need to redefine what is meant by “women’s health” to encompass the whole lifecycle, with a stronger emphasis on CVD and other non-communicable diseases. Sex-specific analyses of research data should be the norm, whenever feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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Other

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Open AccessHypothesis
Pollution, Particles, and Dementia: A Hypothetical Causative Pathway
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030862 - 30 Jan 2020
Abstract
Epidemiological studies of air pollution have shown associations between exposure to particles and dementia. The mechanism of this is unclear. As these seem unlikely in terms of the very small dose likely to reach the brain in usual Western urban circumstances, we extend [...] Read more.
Epidemiological studies of air pollution have shown associations between exposure to particles and dementia. The mechanism of this is unclear. As these seem unlikely in terms of the very small dose likely to reach the brain in usual Western urban circumstances, we extend our 1995 hypothetical explanation of the association of air pollution with cardiac deaths as a plausible alternative explanation of its associations with dementia. Since our original proposal, it has become apparent that inflammation may be carried by blood from organ to organ by biologic microparticles derived from cell membranes. These transmit inflammatory messages to endothelial cells throughout the body as part of a general defensive response to assumed bacterial infection; particulate air pollution has recently been shown to be associated with their release into the blood. We propose that episodic release of biologic microparticles from pollution-induced lung inflammation causes secondary inflammation in the blood-brain barrier and cerebral microbleeds, culminating over time in cognitive impairment. Ultimately, by incomplete repair and accumulation of amyloid, this increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, this mechanism may also explain the relationships of other inflammatory conditions and environmental factors with cognitive decline, and point to new opportunities to understand and prevent dementia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Public Health and Epidemiology)
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