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Earth Observation: Investigating Noncommunicable Diseases from Space

Authors
  • Jia, Peng
  • Stein, Alfred
  • James, Peter
  • Brownson, Ross C.
  • Wu, Tong
  • Xiao, Qian
  • Wang, Limin
  • Sabel, Clive E.
  • Wang, Youfa
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Public Health
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2019
Volume
40
Pages
85–104
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040218-043807
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The United Nations has called on all nations to take immediate actions to fight noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which have become an increasingly significant burden to public health systems around the world. NCDs tend to be more common in developed countries but are also becoming of growing concern in low- and middle-income countries. Earth observation (EO) technologies have been used in many infectious disease studies but have been less commonly employed in NCD studies. This review discusses the roles that EO data and technologies can play in NCD research, including (a) integrating natural and built environment factors into NCD research, (b) explaining individual–environment interactions, (c) scaling up local studies and interventions, (d) providing repeated measurements for longitudinal studies including cohorts, and (e) advancing methodologies in NCD research. Such extensions hold great potential for overcoming the challenges of inaccurate and infrequent measurements of environmental exposure at the level of both the individual and the population, which is of great importance to NCD research, practice, and policy.

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