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Ambient temperature and morbidity: A review of epidemiological evidence

Ye, Xiaofang, Wolff, Rodney, Yu, Weiwei, Vaneckova, Pavla, Pan, Xiaochuan, & Tong, Shilu (2012) Ambient temperature and morbidity: A review of epidemiological evidence. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120(1), pp. 19-28.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This paper reviews the epidemiological evidence on the relationship between ambient temperature and morbidity. It assesses the methodological issues in previous studies, and proposes future research directions.

DATA SOURCES AND DATA EXTRACTION: We searched the PubMed database for epidemiological studies on ambient temperature and morbidity of non-communicable diseases published in refereed English journals prior to June 2010. 40 relevant studies were identified. Of these, 24 examined the relationship between ambient temperature and morbidity, 15 investigated the short-term effects of heatwave on morbidity, and 1 assessed both temperature and heatwave effects.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Descriptive and time-series studies were the two main research designs used to investigate the temperature–morbidity relationship. Measurements of temperature exposure and health outcomes used in these studies differed widely. The majority of studies reported a significant relationship between ambient temperature and total or cause-specific morbidities. However, there were some inconsistencies in the direction and magnitude of non-linear lag effects. The lag effect of hot temperature on morbidity was shorter (several days) compared to that of cold temperature (up to a few weeks). The temperature–morbidity relationship may be confounded and/or modified by socio-demographic factors and air pollution.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant short-term effect of ambient temperature on total and cause-specific morbidities. However, further research is needed to determine an appropriate temperature measure, consider a diverse range of morbidities, and to use consistent methodology to make different studies more comparable.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 45602
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Climate Change, Heatwave, Hospital Admission, Morbidity, Review, Temperature
DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003198
ISSN: 0091-6765
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Deposited On: 31 Aug 2011 09:31
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2014 12:02

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