Library Dissertation Showcase

Identification of the spatial epidemiology of child-health-related conditions: a spatial analysis of urban-rural populations

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

Background and Aim: Health outcomes in England are on track to be the poorest in Europe. To effectively mitigate poor health in England, child-health must be analysed as children are key in determining the overall health of future societies. This study focuses on uncovering the spatial epidemiology of childhood obesity and acute respiratory emergencies across urban and rural areas on regional and national scales. This study aims to depict the spatial relationships between location and cases of child-health conditions alongside potential influencing factors, to enable possible facilitation of targeted mitigation and management recommendations.

Methods: Childhood obesity and respiratory emergencies were spatially analysed. National and localised data collated from Public Health England and East Midlands Ambulance Service and Satscan version 9.6.1, statistically, significant clusters of childhood obesity and respiratory emergencies were produced. Using ArcMap 10.7.1, significant clusters were superimposed upon varying maps displaying socio-economic and built environment features taken from the access to healthy and hazardous index (AHAHI), Rural to urban conurbation (RUC) and the index of multiple deprivation (IMD). Associations between childhood health conditions and external variables were expressed through spatial analysis and Chi-square and t-test statistical outputs.

Findings: Spatial findings indicated comorbid spatial relationships between childhood obesity and acute childhood respiratory emergencies. Using geographical knowledge, spatial and statistical outputs, this study was able to find associations between external variables and child health issues. For instance, Chi-square analysis revealed that the prevalence of poor health clusters pertained predominantly to urban centres. Furthermore, t-test and spatial outputs displayed significant associations between deprivation score and poor child health clusters. Analysing obesity and respiratory clusters separately found further associated factors, such as the closeness of fast-food services regarding obesity prevalence and poor air quality in regions with higher respiratory clusters.

Conclusion: This study revealed a need to tackle the environmental and economic characteristics of urbanised areas to help reduce childhood obesity and childhood respiratory emergencies and thus increase the health of future societies.

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