Development of a measure of multiple physical environmental deprivation. After United Kingdom and New Zealand, Portugal

Ribeiro, A. I., de Pina, M. d. F. and Mitchell, R. (2015) Development of a measure of multiple physical environmental deprivation. After United Kingdom and New Zealand, Portugal. European Journal of Public Health, 25(4), pp. 610-617. (doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku242) (PMID:25653297)

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Background: Spatial inequalities in health have been identified, but the contribution of physical environment has been largely ignored. In Portugal, strong spatial differences in morbidity and mortality remain unexplained. Based on previous United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand (NZ) research, we aimed to develop a Portuguese measure of multiple environmental deprivation (PT-MEDIx) to assist in understanding spatial inequalities in health. Methods: PT-MEDIx was built at municipality level in four stages: (i) identify health-relevant environmental factors; (ii) acquire datasets about selected environmental factors and calculate municipality-level measures using Geographical Information Systems; (iii) test associations between selected environmental factors and mortality using negative binomial models, adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic deprivation and interactions and (iv) construct a summary measure and assess its association with mortality. Results: We included five dimensions of the physical environment: air pollution, climate, drinking water quality, green space availability and industry proximity. PT-MEDIx score ranged from −1 (least environmental deprivation) to +4 (most) and depicted a clear spatial pattern: least deprived municipalities in the depopulated rural areas and most deprived in urban and industrial settings. Comparing with those in the intermediate category of environment deprivation, less deprived municipalities showed lower mortality rate ratios (MRRs) and vice versa: MRRs for all-cause mortality were 0.962 (95% confidence interval: 0.934–0.991) and 1.209 (1.086–1.344), in the least and most deprived municipalities, respectively, and for cancer, 0.957 (0.911–1.006) and 1.345 (1.123–1.598). Conclusions: The methods used to create UK and NZ indexes have good transferability to Portugal. MEDIx might contribute to untangle the complex pathways that link health, socioeconomic and physical environment.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Rich and Ribeiro, Ms Ana
Authors: Ribeiro, A. I., de Pina, M. d. F., and Mitchell, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:European Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1464-360X

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