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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007 May; 61(5): 369.
PMCID: PMC2465691


Monitoring Editor: Carlos Alvarez‐Dardet and John R Ashton, Joint Editors

Don Quixote, Gulliver and Borges, and a reminder that maternal death is still an issue in many parts of the world and that school meals can be a central plank of public health

In this issue, a powerful reminder in an Editorial that maternal mortality is still a priority for many women; and a poignant piece in the Gallery which contrasts the use of a former tennis court as a carpark with evidence that two‐thirds of men and three‐quarters of women do less than 30 minutes of moderate‐intensity physical activity on more than five days a week in England. While in Public Health Past and Present we offer an insight into the history of publicly‐organised school meals in Norway, with comparative glances at Britain. Three themes are identified relating to welfare policy, the notion that organised meals are a solution to problems, and the creation of civil and health‐conscious citizens. Our Glossary tackles cognitive epidemiology.

See pages 370, 371, 374, 378

An extended range of papers on Evidence Based Policy and Practice this month find that:

  • the reported incidence rate of mumps seems to be markedly influenced by the level of newspaper coverage, with implications for surveillance;
  • exposure to arsenic in lowland Nepal is associated with an increased prevalence of underweight, which in turn is associated with the increased skin manifestation of arsenic poisoning;
  • increases in Total Suspended Particles generated from pre‐harvest sugar cane burning were associated with asthma hospital admissions in Araraquara, Brazil;
  • great educational inequalities exist in various measures of mobility in Finland. General health promotion using methods that also yield good results in the lowest educational groups is proposed as a good strategy to reduce the disparities in mobility by Sainio and colleagues;
  • the goal of equitable access to healthcare services cannot be achieved without public health strategies that confront and tackle discrimination in society, and specifically in the healthcare setting (even in Sweden);
  • the existence of patient cost sharing in the healthcare systems of Western European countries raises doubts about the possibility of making use of health services independent of individual socioeconomic position;
  • anti‐discriminatory legislation is not an effective way of overcoming the employment consequences of ill health and disability, nor is it a useful public policy tool in terms of reducing inequalities argue Bambra and Pope from Stockton‐on‐Tees, UK;
  • the extent to which employees are treated justly in the workplace seems to be associated with smoking intensity independently of established stressors at work.

See pages 385, 389, 395, 401, 409, 416, 421, 427

And Research findings point to:

  • an understanding that the risks that endocrine disruptors pose to human health is limited by inadequate knowledge of the effects of chronic low level and early life exposures in adult life;
  • in the Boyd Orr cohort, the diet‐disease relationships for the dietary intakes with low measurement error were robust to adjustment for measurement error;
  • the found difference in health between never drinkers and former drinkers compared with moderate drinkers appeared to be only a partial explanation of the observed relationships between alcohol intakes and cardiovascular disease, and between alcohol intake and all‐cause mortality;
  • from Stockholm, Hanratty and co‐authors argue that it is important to monitor the differential effect of welfare support at the end of life across socioeconomic groups;
  • basing analysis on participants does not distort the relative risk of death associated with socioeconomic position. However, it does underestimate the absolute risk;
  • conjugal bereavement, in addition to existing risk factors, is related to mortality risk from major causes of death.

See pages 372, 434, 441, 447, 449, 455

In Theory and Methods, Stephen Duffy and colleagues discuss avoiding bias from aggregate measures of exposure.

See page 461

So what about Don Quixote and his friends from literature? In a piece in Speaker's Corner, Luis David Castiel and Paulo Roberto Vasconcellos‐Silva explore the analogy that calls on us to take a relative view towards the radical positions that sustain ideological configurations based on Euro‐American metaphysical premises. Challenging stuff.

See page 388

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