Public health vulnerability to wintertime weather: time-series regression and episode analyses of national mortality and morbidity databases to inform the Cold Weather Plan for England.


Hajat, S; Chalabi, Z; Wilkinson, P; Erens, B; Jones, L; Mays, N; (2016) Public health vulnerability to wintertime weather: time-series regression and episode analyses of national mortality and morbidity databases to inform the Cold Weather Plan for England. Public health, 137. pp. 26-34. ISSN 0033-3506 DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2015.12.015

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To inform development of Public Health England's Cold Weather Plan (CWP) by characterizing pre-existing relationships between wintertime weather and mortality and morbidity outcomes, and identification of groups most at risk.<br/> STUDY DESIGN: Time-series regression analysis and episode analysis of daily mortality, emergency hospital admissions, and accident and emergency visits for each region of England.<br/> METHODS: Seasonally-adjusted Poisson regression models estimating the percent change in daily health events per 1 °C fall in temperature or during individual episodes of extreme weather.<br/> RESULTS: Adverse cold effects were observed in all regions, with the North East, North West and London having the greatest risk of cold-related mortality. Nationally, there was a 3.44% (95% CI: 3.01, 3.87) increase in all-cause deaths and 0.78% (95% CI: 0.53, 1.04) increase in all-cause emergency admissions for every 1 °C drop in temperature below identified thresholds. The very elderly and people with COPD were most at risk from low temperatures. A&E visits for fractures were elevated during heavy snowfall periods, with adults (16-64 years) being the most sensitive age-group. Since even moderately cold days are associated with adverse health effects, by far the greatest health burdens of cold weather fell outside of the alert periods currently used in the CWP.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that levels 0 ('year round planning') and 1 ('winter preparedness and action') are crucial components of the CWP in comparison to the alerts. Those most vulnerable during winter may vary depending on the type of weather conditions being experienced. Recommendations are made for the CWP.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Research Centre: Centre for Statistical Methodology
PubMed ID: 26869382
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2530858

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