BMC Public Health is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community.


The Library has Vol. 1(2001) to current. See also BMC International Health and Human Rights (has merged with BMC Public Health as of 2021)

Recent Submissions

  • Health care costs and lost productivity costs related to excess weight in Belgium

    Vanessa Gorasso; Isabelle Moyersoen; Johan Van der Heyden; Karin De Ridder; Stefanie Vandevijvere; Stijn Vansteelandt; Delphine De Smedt; Brecht Devleesschauwer (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background This study aimed to estimate annual health care and lost productivity costs associated with excess weight among the adult population in Belgium, using national health data. Methods Health care costs and costs of absenteeism were estimated using data from the Belgian national health interview survey (BHIS) 2013 linked with individual health insurance data (2013–2017). Average yearly health care costs and costs of absenteeism were assessed by body mass index (BMI) categories – i.e., underweight (BMI < 18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5 ≤ BMI < 25 kg/m2), overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Health care costs were also analysed by type of cost (i.e. ambulatory, hospital, reimbursed medication). The cost attributable to excess weight and the contribution of various other chronic conditions to the incremental cost of excess weight were estimated using the method of recycled prediction (a.k.a. standardisation). Results According to BHIS 2013, 34.7% and 13.9% of the Belgian adult population were respectively affected by overweight or obesity. They were mostly concentrated in the age-group 35–65 years and had significantly more chronic conditions compared to the normal weight population. Average total healthcare expenses for people with overweight and obesity were significantly higher than those observed in the normal weight population. The adjusted incremental annual health care cost of excess weight in Belgium was estimated at €3,329,206,657 (€651 [95% CI: €144-€1,084] and €1,015 [95% CI: €343–€1,697] per capita for individuals with overweight and obesity respectively). The comorbidities identified to be the main drivers for these incremental health care costs were hypertension, high cholesterol, serious gloom and depression. Mean annual incremental cost of absenteeism for overweight accounted for €242 per capita but was not statistically significant, people with obesity showed a significantly higher cost (p < 0.001) compared to the normal weight population: €2,015 [95% CI: €179–€4,336] per capita. The annual total incremental costs due to absenteeism of the population affected by overweight and obesity was estimated at €1,209,552,137. Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, was the most important driver of the incremental cost of absenteeism in individuals with overweight and obesity, followed by hypertension and low back pain. Conclusions The mean annual incremental cost of excess weight in Belgium is of concern and stresses the need for policy actions aiming to reduce excess body weight. This study can be used as a baseline to evaluate the potential savings and health benefits of obesity prevention interventions.
  • Prevalence of sarcopenia in Chinese community-dwelling elderly: a systematic review

    Xiaoyu Ren; Xianliang Zhang; Qiang He; Litao Du; Ke Chen; Si Chen; Yang Pan (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Sarcopenia is associated with age-related loss of muscle mass and function and is becoming prevalent in the older Chinese population. This systematic review aims to obtain a reliable estimation of the prevalence of sarcopenia among community-dwelling Chinese populations aged 65 years and older and to characterize its epidemiology. Methods A literature search was performed in the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Web of Science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang Data, and CQVIP databases up to September 31, 2021. All studies that reported the prevalence of sarcopenia in Chinese community-dwelling older adults were included, and Hoy et al.’s tool was used to assess the risk of bias. The overall prevalence of sarcopenia will be calculated as the primary outcome, and subgroup analyses will be performed by study year, age, sex, muscle mass assessment method, diagnostic criteria and area. Results A total of 26 studies were included in this study, which involved 25,921 subjects, and 3597 had sarcopenia. Although significant heterogeneity between studies was reported, no statistically significant publication bias was detected. The overall prevalence of sarcopenia in community-dwelling older adults aged over 65 years in the Chinese population was 17.4% (95% CI: 14.6%-20.2%). Subgroup analysis based on study year, age and sex, muscle mass assessment method, diagnostic criteria, region and area showed that the prevalence of sarcopenia was different in each subgroup. Implications The prevalence of sarcopenia in Chinese community-dwelling older adults was higher than that in previous studies. As a multidimensional survey of the prevalence of sarcopenia in older adults, this meta-analysis provides data support for the targeted management of sarcopenia among Chinese older adults.
  • Statistical modeling of health space based on metabolic stress and oxidative stress scores

    Cheolgyun Park; Youjin Kim; Chanhee Lee; Ji Yeon Kim; Oran Kwon; Taesung Park (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Health space (HS) is a statistical way of visualizing individual’s health status in multi-dimensional space. In this study, we propose a novel HS in two-dimensional space based on scores of metabolic stress and of oxidative stress. Methods These scores were derived from three statistical models: logistic regression model, logistic mixed effect model, and proportional odds model. HSs were developed using Korea National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey data with 32,140 samples. To evaluate and compare the performance of the HSs, we also developed the Health Space Index (HSI) which is a quantitative performance measure based on the approximate 95% confidence ellipses of HS. Results Through simulation studies, we confirmed that HS from the proportional odds model showed highest power in discriminating health status of individual (subject). Further validation studies were conducted using two independent cohort datasets: a health examination dataset from Ewha-Boramae cohort with 862 samples and a population-based cohort from the Korea association resource project with 3,199 samples. Conclusions These validation studies using two independent datasets successfully demonstrated the usefulness of the proposed HS.
  • Perceived knowledge of scheme members and their satisfaction with their medical schemes: a cross-sectional study in South Africa

    Francis M’bouaffou; Eric Buch; Steve Olorunju; Evelyn Thsehla (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background South Africa has a dual healthcare system comprising of private and public sectors covering 16% and 84% of the population, respectively. Medical schemes are the primary source of health insurance in the private sector. The aim of this study was to assess members of medical schemes' perceived knowledge and satisfaction with their medical schemes. Methods A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a stratified systematic sample of members of 22 open medical schemes. Medical schemes members completed an online questionnaire on knowledge and satisfaction with their medical schemes. We calculated a composite perceived knowledge and satisfaction score. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate analysis was conducted. Results A total of 336 members of medical schemes participated in this study. Respondents generally perceived themselves to have good knowledge of their medical schemes. Eighty-one percent of participants were satisfied with the quality of services received from their designated service providers (DSPs), however, only 9% were satisfied with accessibility of doctors under their DSP arrangement. Twenty-five percent of respondents were satisfied with scheme contributions and only 46% were satisfied with the prescribed minimum benefit package. Conclusion Medical schemes remain a key element of private healthcare in South Africa. The analysis shows that medical schemes, should put more effort into the accessibility of general practitioner under their designated service providers. Furthermore, the prescribed minimum benefits should be reviewed to provide a comprehensive benefits basket without co-payment for members as recommended by the Medical Schemes Act Amendment Bill of 2018.
  • Living with tuberculosis: a qualitative study of patients’ experiences with disease and treatment

    Juliet Addo; Dave Pearce; Marilyn Metcalf; Courtney Lundquist; Gillian Thomas; David Barros-Aguirre; Gavin C. K. W. Koh; Mike Strange (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Although tuberculosis (TB) is a curable disease, treatment is complex and prolonged, requiring considerable commitment from patients. This study aimed to understand the common perspectives of TB patients across Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa throughout their disease journey, including the emotional, psychological, and practical challenges that patients and their families face. Methods This qualitative market research study was conducted between July 2020 and February 2021. Eight TB patients from each country (n = 40) completed health questionnaires, video/telephone interviews, and diaries regarding their experiences of TB. Additionally, 52 household members were interviewed. Patients at different stages of their TB treatment journey, from a range of socioeconomic groups, with or without TB risk factors were sought. Anonymized data underwent triangulation and thematic analysis by iterative coding of statements. Results The sample included 23 men and 17 women aged 13–60 years old, with risk factors for TB reported by 23/40 patients. Although patients were from different countries and cultural backgrounds, experiencing diverse health system contexts, five themes emerged as common across the sample. 1) Economic hardship from loss of income and medical/travel expenses. 2) Widespread stigma, delaying presentation and deeply affecting patients’ emotional wellbeing. 3) TB and HIV co-infection was particularly challenging, but increased TB awareness and accelerated diagnosis. 4) Disruption to family life strained relationships and increased patients’ feelings of isolation and loneliness. 5) The COVID-19 pandemic made it easier for TB patients to keep their condition private, but disrupted access to services. Conclusions Despite disparate cultural, socio-economic, and systemic contexts across countries, TB patients experience common challenges. A robust examination of the needs of individual patients and their families is required to improve the patient experience, encourage adherence, and promote cure, given the limitations of current treatment.
  • Measuring inequalities in COVID-19 vaccination uptake and intent: results from the Canadian Community Health Survey 2021

    Mireille Guay; Aubrey Maquiling; Ruoke Chen; Valérie Lavergne; Donalyne-Joy Baysac; Audrey Racine; Eve Dubé; Shannon E. MacDonald; Nicolas L. Gilbert (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background By July 2021, Canada had received enough COVID-19 vaccines to fully vaccinate every eligible Canadian. However, despite the availability of vaccines, some eligible individuals remain unvaccinated. Differences in vaccination uptake can be driven by health inequalities which have been exacerbated and amplified by the pandemic. This study aims to assess inequalities in COVID-19 vaccination uptake and intent in adults 18 years or older across Canada by identifying sociodemographic factors associated with non-vaccination and low vaccination intent using data drawn from the June to August 2021 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). Methods The CCHS is an annual cross-sectional and nationally representative survey conducted by Statistics Canada, which collects health-related information. Since September 2020, questions about the COVID-19 pandemic are asked. Adjusted logistic regression models were fitted to examine associations between vaccination uptake or intent and sociodemographic and health related variables. Region, age, gender, level of education, Indigenous status, visible minority status, perceived health status, and having a regular healthcare provider were considered as predictors, among other factors. Results The analysis included 9,509 respondents. The proportion of unvaccinated was 11%. Non-vaccination was associated with less than university education (aOR up to 3.5, 95% CI 2.1–6.1), living with children under 12 years old (aOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.4), not having a regular healthcare provider (aOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2), and poor self-perceived health (aOR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3–2.4). Only 5% of the population had low intention to get vaccinated. Being unlikely to get vaccinated was associated with the Prairies region (aOR 2.2, 95% CI 1.2–4.1), younger age groups (aOR up to 4.0, 95% CI 1.3–12.3), less than university education (aOR up to 3.8, 95% CI 1.9–7.6), not being part of a visible minority group (aOR 3.0, 95% CI 1.4–6.4), living with children under 12 years old (aOR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1–2.9), unattached individuals (aOR 2.6, 95% CI 1.1–6.1), and poor self-perceived health (aOR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3–2.9). Conclusions Disparities were observed in vaccination uptake and intent among various sociodemographic groups. Awareness of inequalities in COVID-19 vaccination uptake and intent is needed to determine the vaccination barriers to address in vaccination promotion strategies.
  • Correction: Socioeconomic gradient in physical activity: findings from the PERSIAN cohort study

    Ali Kazemi Karyani; Behzad Karmi Matin; Shahin Soltani; Satar Rezaei; Moslem Soofi; Yahya Salimi; Mehdi Moradinazar; Mohammad Hajizadeh; Yahya Pasdar; Behrooz Hamzeh (BMC, 2022-09-01)
  • Effects of extreme precipitation on hospital visit risk and disease burden of depression in Suzhou, China

    Gang Jiang; Yanhu Ji; Changhao Chen; Xiaosong Wang; Tiantian Ye; Yuhuan Ling; Heng Wang (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of extreme precipitation on the risk of outpatient visits for depression and to further explore its associated disease burden and vulnerable population. Methods A quasi-Poisson generalized linear regression model combined with distributed lag non-linear model (DLNM) was used to investigate the exposure-lag-response relationship between extreme precipitation (≥95th percentile) and depression outpatient visits from 2017 to 2019 in Suzhou city, Anhui Province, China. Results Extreme precipitation was positively associated with the outpatient visits for depression. The effects of extreme precipitation on depression firstly appeared at lag4 [relative risk (RR): 1.047, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.005–1.091] and lasted until lag7 (RR = 1.047, 95% CI: 1.009–1.087). Females, patients aged ≥65 years and patients with multiple outpatient visits appeared to be more sensitive to extreme precipitation. The attributable fraction (AF) and numbers (AN) of extreme precipitation on outpatient visits for depression were 5.00% (95% CI: 1.02–8.82%) and 1318.25, respectively. Conclusions Our findings suggested that extreme precipitation may increase the risk of outpatient visits for depression. Further studies on the burden of depression found that females, aged ≥65 years, and patients with multiple visits were priority targets for future warnings. Active intervention measures against extreme precipitation events should be taken to reduce the risk of depression outpatient visits.
  • An overview of implementing an evidence based program to increase HPV vaccination in HIV community clinics

    Jessica Wells; James L. Klosky; Yuan Liu; Theresa Wicklin Gillespie (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background HPV-related anal cancer occurs in excess rates among people living with HIV (PLWH) and has been increasing in incidence. The HPV vaccine is an effective and safe approach to prevent and reduce the risk of HPV-related disease. Yet, HPV vaccine programs tailored and implemented in the HIV population are lagging for this high-risk group. Methods A pre-post intervention study design will be used to tailor, refine, and implement the 4 Pillars™ Practice Transformation Program to increase HPV vaccination among PLWH. Guided by the RE-AIM framework, the CHAMPS study will provide training and motivation to HIV providers and clinic staff to recommend and administer the HPV vaccination within three HIV clinics in Georgia. We plan to enroll 365 HIV participants to receive HPV education, resources, and reminders for HPV vaccination. Sociodemographic, HPV knowledge, and vaccine hesitancy will be assessed as mediators and moderators for HPV vaccination. The primary outcome will be measured as an increase in uptake rate in initiation of the HPV vaccine and vaccine completion (secondary outcome) compared to historical baseline vaccination rate (control). Discussion The proposed study is a novel approach to address a serious and preventable public health problem by using an efficacious, evidence-based intervention on a new target population. The findings are anticipated to have a significant impact in the field of improving cancer outcomes in a high-risk and aging HIV population. Trial registration NCT05065840; October 4, 2021.
  • A qualitative exploration of Ugandan mental health care workers’ perspectives and experiences on sexual and reproductive health of people living with mental illness in Uganda

    Emily Tumwakire; Hofmeister Arnd; Yahaya Gavamukulya (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background People with Mental Illness experience vast sexual and reproductive health challenges due to the affected mental health. Globally, prevalence of mental illness is on the rise with subsequent increase in the number of people with sexual and reproductive challenges warranting urgent public health intervention. However, information on the perceptions and experiences of mental health workers, the key health care providers for this population is generally lacking yet it’s essential for formulation of appropriate policies and public health interventions. Aim To explore Ugandan mental health care worker’s perspectives and experiences on the sexual and reproductive health of people living with mental illness in Uganda in order to generate recommendations to the ministry of health on how it can be improved. Materials and methods Qualitative study design was employed with utilization of phone call semi-structured in-depth interviews to collect data from 14 mental health workers from Uganda’s National mental referral hospital, Butabika. Purposive sampling and convenience recruitment was done and the collected data was analyzed using Thematic content analysis. Results Four themes were generated which included people with Mental illness having normal sexual needs, mental illness effect on sexuality and relationships, practices for safeguarding sexuality of people with mental illness and the barriers encountered in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services at a mental hospital. Conclusion People with mental illness experience a multitude of sexual and reproductive health challenges that need public health interventions. However, the integration of sexual and reproductive health services in a mental hospital are not yet successful making people with mental illness to remain with unaddressed health challenges. Policies should therefore be developed and implemented to ensure successful integration of sexual and reproductive health at all mental health service care provision points.
  • Investigation of the role of sleep and physical activity for chronic disease prevalence and incidence in older Irish adults

    Belinda Hernández; Siobhán Scarlett; Frank Moriarty; Roman Romero-Ortuno; Rose Anne Kenny; Richard Reilly (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Many of these diseases have modifiable risk factors, including physical activity and sleep, and may be preventable. This study investigated independent associations of physical activity and sleep with eight common chronic illnesses. Methods Data were from waves 1, 3 and 5 of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (n = 5,680). Inverse probability weighted general estimating equations were used to examine longitudinal lifetime prevalence and cumulative incidence of self-reported conditions. Results Sleep problems were significantly associated with increased odds of incident and prevalent arthritis and angina. Additionally sleep problems were associated with higher odds of lifetime prevalence of hypertension and diabetes. Physical activity was negatively associated incident osteoporosis and respiratory diseases and negatively associated with lifetime prevalence of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. Conclusions Worse sleep quality and lower physical activity were associated with higher odds of chronic diseases. Interventions to improve sleep and physical activity may improve health outcomes.
  • Health behaviours the month prior to COVID-19 infection and the development of self-reported long COVID and specific long COVID symptoms: a longitudinal analysis of 1581 UK adults

    Elise Paul; Daisy Fancourt (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Demographic and infection-related characteristics have been identified as risk factors for long COVID, but research on the influence of health behaviours (e.g., exercise, smoking) immediately preceding the index infection is lacking. The aim of this study was to examine whether specific health behaviours in the month preceding infection with COVID-19 act as upstream risk factors for long COVID as well as well as three specific long COVID symptoms. Methods One thousand five hundred eighty-one UK adults from the UCL COVID-19 Social Study and who had previously been infected with COVID-19 were analysed. Health behaviours in the month before infection were weekly exercise frequency, days of fresh air per week, sleep quality, smoking, consuming more than the number of recommended alcoholic drinks per week (&gt; 14), and the number of mental health care behaviours (e.g., online mental health programme). Logistic regressions controlling for covariates (e.g., COVID-19 infection severity, socio-demographics, and pre-existing health conditions) examined the impact of health behaviours on long COVID and three long COVID symptoms (difficulty with mobility, cognition, and self-care). Results In the month before infection with COVID-19, poor quality sleep increased the odds of long COVID (odds ratio [OR]: 3.53; (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.01 to 6.21), as did average quality sleep (OR: 2.44; 95% CI: 1.44 to 4.12). Having smoked (OR: 8.39; 95% CI: 1.86 to 37.91) increased and meeting recommended weekly physical activity guidelines (3h hours) (OR: 0.05; 95% CI: 0.01 to 0.39) reduced the likelihood of difficulty with self-care (e.g., washing all over or dressing) amongst those with long COVID. Conclusions Results point to the importance of sleep quality for long COVID, potentially helping to explain previously demonstrated links between stress and long COVID. Results also suggest that exercise and smoking may be modifiable risk factors for preventing the development of difficulty with self-care.
  • Locked up at home: a cross-sectional study into the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns on domestic violence in households with children in Belgium

    Elizaveta Fomenko; Lotte De Schrijver; Christophe Vandeviver; Ines Keygnaert (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Policymakers worldwide took measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19-virus. While these sanitary measures were necessary to fight the spread of the virus, several experts warned for a significant impact on mental health and a potential increase in domestic violence. To study the impact of the COVID-19 measures in Belgium, and the factors influencing the occurrence of domestic violence, we set up the study on relationships, stress, and aggression. In this study, we evaluate the prevalence of domestic violence victimization during the COVID-19 lockdown in Belgian children aged zero to seventeen years and the associations of the parents’ financial status, relationships, mental health, and previous victimization to the child’s victimization. Methods A stepwise forward binary logistic regression was used to analyse the association between multiple risk factors of domestic violence and victimization of the respondent’s child. The respondent being an assailant, the respondent’s age, and the age of the children in the household were added as moderators. Results In this model an association with domestic child abuse was found for the age of the respondent, the household’s size, the presence of children between zero and five years in the household, the perceived stress level of the respondent, and victimization of the respondent during the first wave of the sanitary measures, as well as victimization before the COVID-19 pandemic. None of the interacting effects were found to be significant. Conclusion It is advisable to make extra efforts to improve well-being when maintaining sanitary measures by providing appropriate assistance and helping households struggling with increased or acute stress to install positive coping strategies - especially in larger households with children between six and 17 years. Besides, our findings draw attention to the clustering of risk of child and adult violence exposure in lockdown situations as well as to the potential cumulative impact of exposure to violence across the lifespan and across generations. It is key to invest in training healthcare workers and staff at schools to screen for and assess risks of domestic violence development and ongoing or past occurrence in order to detect, refer and follow-up on families at risk.
  • Is time-restricted eating a robust eating regimen during periods of disruptions in daily life? A qualitative study of perspectives of people with overweight during COVID-19

    Natasja Bjerre; Lotte Holm; Jonas Salling Quist; Kristine Færch; Nana Folmann Hempler (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Time-restricted eating (TRE) has been suggested as a feasible dietary strategy in individuals with overweight. Disruptions in daily life e.g., severe illness can affect engagement in lifestyle interventions to obtain healthier body weight. This study examined if and how the engagement with TRE among people with overweight was affected by the Danish COVID-19 lockdowns as an example of disruptions in daily life. Methods Fifteen participants with overweight enrolled in a TRE intervention, i.e. restricting all eating and drinking except water to the same daily ten-hour window, were interviewed about their experiences and engagement with TRE during COVID-19 lockdowns. Interviews were semi-structured and conducted by phone or face-to-face with safe social distancing. Data analysis was grounded in a reflexive thematic analysis approach. Results Daily life rhythms were disrupted by lockdowns by preventing participants from performing ordinary daily activities such as going to work, socialising, eating out or exercising. For some, this challenged their TRE engagement, while most were able to undertake the TRE eating window but reported increased snacking and consumption of take-away food within their eating window. For all, exercise habits became unhealthier. The negative impact on TRE engagement primarily occurred during daytime, as social distancing made it easier to engage with TRE during evenings. Conclusions This study showed that even people highly motivated to obtain healthier lifestyles practices struggled to maintain engagement with healthy behaviours, whereas sticking to the TRE window was manageable during COVID-19. TRE as a weight loss strategy was challenged which calls for more attention to supporting people in daily life to obtain healthier practices, also in case of periods of other disruptions such as divorce, serious illness etc.
  • Incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in children with commercial insurance or Medicaid coverage in the United States before and after the introduction of 7- and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines during 1998–2018

    Tianyan Hu; Yan Song; Nicolae Done; Qing Liu; Eric M. Sarpong; Esteban Lemus-Wirtz; James Signorovitch; Salini Mohanty; Thomas Weiss (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is a major cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) were introduced in the US in 2000 (PCV7) and 2010 (PCV13). This study estimated the annual incidence rates (IRs) and time trends of IPD to quantify the burden of disease in children before and after the introduction of PCV7 and PCV13 in the US. Methods IPD episodes were identified in the IBM MarketScan Commercial and Medicaid Databases using claims with International Classification of Diseases 9/10th Revision, Clinical Modification codes. Annual IRs were calculated as the number of IPD episodes/100,000 person-years (PYs) for children < 18 years and by age group (< 2, 2–4, and 5–17 years). National estimates of annual IPD IRs were extrapolated using Census Bureau data. Interrupted time series (ITS) analyses were conducted to assess immediate and gradual changes in IPD IRs before and after introduction of PCV7 and PCV13. Results In commercially insured children, IPD IRs decreased from 9.4 to 2.8 episodes/100,000 PY between the pre-PCV7 (1998–1999) and late PCV13 period (2014–2018) overall, and from 65.6 to 11.6 episodes/100,000 PY in children < 2 years. In the Medicaid population, IPD IRs decreased from 11.3 to 4.2 episodes/100,000 PY between the early PCV7 (2001–2005) and late PCV13 period overall, and from 42.6 to 12.8 episodes/100,000 PY in children < 2 years. The trends of IRs for meningitis, bacteremia, and bacteremic pneumonia followed the patterns of overall IPD episodes. The ITS analyses indicated significant decreases in the early PCV7 period, increases in the late PCV7 and decreases in the early PCV13 period in commercially insured children overall. However, increases were also observed in the late PCV13 period in children < 2 years. The percentage of cases with underlying risk factors increased in both populations. Conclusions IRs of IPD decreased from 1998 to 2018, following introduction of PCV7 and PCV13, with larger declines during the early PCV7 and early PCV13 periods, and among younger children. However, the residual burden of IPD remains substantial. The impact of future PCVs on IPD IRs will depend on the proportion of vaccine-type serotypes and vaccine effectiveness in children with underlying conditions.
  • Variation in smoking attributable all-cause mortality across municipalities in Belgium, 2018: application of a Bayesian approach for small area estimations

    Polina Putrik; Martina Otavova; Christel Faes; Brecht Devleesschauwer (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable mortality and morbidity worldwide, with the European Region having the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking among adults compared to other WHO regions. The Belgian Health Interview Survey (BHIS) provides a reliable source of national and regional estimates of smoking prevalence; however, currently there are no estimates at a smaller geographical resolution such as the municipality scale in Belgium. This hinders the estimation of the spatial distribution of smoking attributable mortality at small geographical scale (i.e., number of deaths that can be attributed to tobacco). The objective of this study was to obtain estimates of smoking prevalence in each Belgian municipality using BHIS and calculate smoking attributable mortality at municipality level. Methods Data of participants aged 15 + on smoking behavior, age, gender, educational level and municipality of residence were obtained from the BHIS 2018. A Bayesian hierarchical Besag-York-Mollie (BYM) model was used to model the logit transformation of the design-based Horvitz-Thompson direct prevalence estimates. Municipality-level variables obtained from Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, were used as auxiliary variables in the model. Model parameters were estimated using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (INLA). Deviance Information Criterion (DIC) and Conditional Predictive Ordinate (CPO) were computed to assess model fit. Population attributable fractions (PAF) were computed using the estimated prevalence of smoking in each of the 589 Belgian municipalities and relative risks obtained from published meta-analyses. Smoking attributable mortality was calculated by multiplying PAF with age-gender standardized and stratified number of deaths in each municipality. Results BHIS 2018 data included 7,829 respondents from 154 municipalities. Smoothed estimates for current smoking ranged between 11% [Credible Interval 3;23] and 27% [21;34] per municipality, and for former smoking between 4% [0;14] and 34% [21;47]. Estimates of smoking attributable mortality constituted between 10% [7;15] and 47% [34;59] of total number of deaths per municipality. Conclusions Within-country variation in smoking and smoking attributable mortality was observed. Computed estimates should inform local public health prevention campaigns as well as contribute to explaining the regional differences in mortality.
  • Feeding, caregiving practices, and developmental delay among children under five in lowland Nepal: a community-based cross-sectional survey

    Sophiya Dulal; Audrey Prost; Surendra Karki; Dafna Merom; Bhim Prasad Shrestha; Bishnu Bhandari; Dharma S. Manandhar; David Osrin; Anthony Costello; Naomi M. Saville (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Nurturing care, including adequate nutrition, responsive caregiving and early learning, is critical to early childhood development. In Nepal, national surveys highlight inequity in feeding and caregiving practices for young children. Our objective was to describe infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and cognitive and socio-emotional caregiving practices among caregivers of children under five in Dhanusha district, Nepal, and to explore socio-demographic and economic factors associated with these practices. Methods We did a cross-sectional analysis of a subset of data from the MIRA Dhanusha cluster randomised controlled trial, including mother-child dyads (N = 1360), sampled when children were median age 46 days and a follow-up survey of the same mother-child dyads (N = 1352) when children were median age 38 months. We used World Health Organization IYCF indicators and questions from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey-4 tool to obtain information on IYCF and cognitive and socio-emotional caregiving practices. Using multivariable logistic regression models, potential explanatory household, parental and child-level variables were tested to determine their independent associations with IYCF and caregiving indicators. Results The prevalence of feeding indicators varied. IYCF indicators, including ever breastfed (99%), exclusive breastfeeding (24-hour recall) (89%), and vegetable/fruit consumption (69%) were common. Problem areas were early initiation of breastfeeding (16%), colostrum feeding (67%), no pre-lacteal feeding (53%), timely introduction of complementary feeding (56%), minimum dietary diversity (49%) and animal-source food consumption (23%). Amongst caregiving indicators, access to 3+ children’s books (7%), early stimulation and responsive caregiving (11%), and participation in early childhood education (27%) were of particular concern, while 64% had access to 2+ toys and 71% received adequate care. According to the Early Child Development Index score, only 38% of children were developmentally on track. Younger children from poor households, whose mothers were young, had not received antenatal visits and delivered at home were at higher risk of poor IYCF and caregiving practices. Conclusions Suboptimal caregiving practices, inappropriate early breastfeeding practices, delayed introduction of complementary foods, inadequate dietary diversity and low animal-source food consumption are challenges in lowland Nepal. We call for urgent integrated nutrition and caregiving interventions, especially as interventions for child development are lacking in Nepal.
  • Canadian Veteran chronic disease prevalence and health services use in the five years following release: a matched retrospective cohort study using routinely collected data

    Alyson L. Mahar; Kate St. Cyr; Jennifer E. Enns; Alice B. Aiken; Marlo Whitehead; Heidi Cramm; Paul Kurdyak (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background Occupational exposures may result in Canadian military Veterans having poorer health and higher use of health services after transitioning to civilian life compared to the general population. However, few studies have documented the physical health and health services use of Veterans in Canada, and thus there is limited evidence to inform public health policy and resource allocation. Methods In a retrospective, matched cohort of Veterans and the Ontario general population between 1990–2019, we used routinely collected provincial administrative health data to examine chronic disease prevalence and health service use. Veterans were defined as former members of the Canadian Armed Forces or RCMP. Crude and adjusted effect estimates, and 95% confidence limits were calculated using logistic regression (asthma, COPD, diabetes, myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis, family physician, specialist, emergency department, and home care visits, as well as hospitalizations). Modified Poisson was used to estimate relative differences in the prevalence of hypertension. Poisson regression compares rates of health services use between the two groups. Results The study included 30,576 Veterans and 122,293 matched civilians. In the first five years after transition to civilian life, Veterans were less likely than the general population to experience asthma (RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.48–0.53), COPD (RR 0.32, 95% CI 0.29–0.36), hypertension (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.71–0.76), diabetes (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.67–0.76), myocardial infarction (RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.63–0.92), and rheumatoid arthritis (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.60–0.92). Compared to the general population, Veterans had greater odds of visiting a primary care physician (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.70–1.83) or specialist physician (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.35–1.42) at least once in the five-year period and lower odds of visiting the emergency department (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.92–0.97). Risks of hospitalization and of receiving home care services were similar in both groups. Conclusions Despite a lower burden of comorbidities, Veterans had slightly higher physician visit rates. While these visits may reflect an underlying need for services, our findings suggest that Canadian Veterans have good access to primary and specialty health care. But in light of contradictory findings in other jurisdictions, the underlying reasons for our findings warrant further study.
  • Empowerment for behaviour change through social connections: a qualitative exploration of women’s preferences in preconception health promotion in the state of Victoria, Australia

    Ruth Walker; Sara Quong; Patrick Olivier; Ling Wu; Jue Xie; Jacqueline Boyle (BMC, 2022-08-01)
    Abstract Background Health behaviours in the preconception period have the potential to impact on fertility and pregnancy outcomes, and the health of all women regardless of pregnancy intention. Public awareness of this is low and interventions that promote behaviour change have not been integrated into real-world settings. Aims were to explore women’s understandings of health and health behaviours and what supports are important to promote behaviour change in the preconception period. Methods This qualitative study is the first phase of a broader co-design project set in the state of Victoria, Australia. Over 3 months, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with female participants who were intending to become pregnant in the next 2 years (n = 6) and participants who were not intending to become pregnant in the next 2 years (n = 6). Community advisors (n = 8) aged 18-45 years provided feedback throughout the process. Coding of transcripts from interviews and meetings was undertaken by two researchers before a deductive process identified themes mapped to the COM-B framework. Results Nine themes and eight sub-themes were identified. Participants had a holistic view of health with nutrition, physical activity and sleep being most valued. Social connections were considered as being important for overall health and wellbeing and for promoting health behaviours. The only difference between groups was that pregnancy was an additional motivator for women who were planning to become pregnant in the next 2 years. A range of health information is available from health professionals and other sources. Unlimited access to information was empowering but sometimes overwhelming. Being listened to and shared experiences were aspects of social connections that validated participants and guided them in their decision-making. Conclusions Women valued their health and had a holistic view that includes physical, mental and social dimensions. Women viewed social connections with others as an opportunity to be listened to and to gain support that empowers behaviour change. Future interventions to promote behaviour change in preconception women should consider the importance all women placed on social connections and leverage off existing resources to connect women.
  • Factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine intentions during the COVID-19 pandemic; a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies

    Emily Terry; Sapphire Cartledge; Sarah Damery; Sheila Greenfield (BMC, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract Background A high COVID-19 vaccine uptake is essential to achieve herd immunity to combat the current strain of COVID-19 and potential future variants. This review aimed to identify factors associated with public intention to receive COVID-19 vaccines until February 2021 to provide accessible data to policymakers to inform framing and targeting of messages designed to optimise vaccine uptake. Methods Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Sociological Abstracts and Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts were searched for cross-sectional studies reporting data regarding COVID-19 vaccine intentions, published between 01/01/2020 and 12/02/2021. Title/abstract and full-text screening were performed independently by two authors. The Appraisal Tool for Cross-sectional Studies (AXIS) was used to assess bias and quality. Both random-effects meta-analysis and narrative synthesis were used to describe vaccine intentions and associated factors. A subgroup analysis assessing the impact of sex, sampling method and time of survey on COVID-19 vaccine intention was performed. Results Searches identified 4739 studies, and 23 cross-sectional studies were deemed eligible for the review; 22 used online surveys and one used a mixed-methods study design. Eighteen surveys were conducted in the first half of 2020 and five were conducted in the latter half of 2020. Fifteen countries were represented, with the most common being the United States (n = 4) and the United Kingdom (n = 4) sampling 41,403 participants across all surveys. Most studies employed convenience sampling and 11 non-responder rates raised concerns over non-response bias. From the 18 studies included in the meta-analysis, the pooled proportion of survey participants willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine was 73.3% (n = 18, 95% Confidence Interval 64.2 to 81.5%, I2 = 99.7%). Factors associated with a higher COVID-19 vaccine acceptance included greater perceived risk of COVID-19, lower level of perceived vaccine harm, higher educational attainment and household income, older age, being of White ethnicity and male sex. Conclusions There was a high willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine which was influenced by sociodemographic factors and risk perceptions. The findings suggest future research should explore reasoning behind vaccine intentions for different sociodemographic groups to allow targeted communication strategies to be formulated by public health agencies. Registration PROSPERO Registration Number: CRD42021239134.

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