The effects on health of a publicly funded domestic heating programme: a prospective controlled study

Walker, J., Mitchell, R., Petticrew, M. and Platt, S. (2009) The effects on health of a publicly funded domestic heating programme: a prospective controlled study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63(1), pp. 12-17. (doi:10.1136/jech.2008.074096) (PMID:18801798)

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Abstract

Objective: To assess the effect of a publicly funded domestic heating programme on self-reported health. Design, setting and participants: A prospective controlled study of 1281 households in Scotland receiving new central heating under a publicly funded initiative, and 1084 comparison households not receiving new heating. The main outcome measures were self-reported diagnosis of asthma, bronchitis, eczema, nasal allergy, heart disease, circulatory problems or high blood pressure; number of primary care encounters and hospital contacts in the past year; and SF-36 Health Survey scores. Results: Usable data were obtained from 61.4% of 3849 respondents originally recruited. Heating recipients reported higher scores on the SF-36 Physical Functioning scale (difference 2.51; 95% CI 0.67 to 4.37) and General Health scale (difference 2.57; 95% CI 0.90 to 4.34). They were less likely to report having received a first diagnosis of heart disease (OR 0.69; 95% CI 0.52 to 0.91) or high blood pressure (OR 0.77; 95% CI 0.61 to 0.97), but the groups did not differ significantly in use of primary care or hospital services. Conclusions: Provision of central heating was associated with significant positive effects on general health and physical functioning; however, effect sizes were small. Evidence of a reduced risk of first diagnosis with heart disease or high blood pressure must be interpreted with caution, due to the self-reported nature of the outcomes, the limited time period and the failure to detect any difference in health service use.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Richard and Walker, Ms Jennifer and Petticrew, Dr Mark
Authors: Walker, J., Mitchell, R., Petticrew, M., and Platt, S.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Journal Abbr.:J. Epidemiol. Com. Health
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0143-005X
ISSN (Online):1470-2738
Published Online:18 September 2008
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2009 BMJ Publishing Group
First Published:First published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 63(1):12-17
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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