How can local epidemiologic data be used in public health practice, an illustration

R. de Vlaming, S. Croezen, A. Haveman-Nies, P. van 't Veer, C.P.G.M. de Groot

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractAcademic

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: By collecting data on health and related topics the Community Health Service monitors the local health situation. How to benefit from these data in the development of health promotion activities is still a neglected research area. The aim of this study is therefore, to illustrate the possible use of epidemiologic data in public health practice, addressing loneliness in elderly people. Methods: In 2005, a health monitor was performed among independently living elderly aged 65 years and over in order to identify the main local health problems (response 81%). In view of developing a logic model of change for the planning of interventions and evaluations, determinants of loneliness were assessed by reviewing literature, through interviews, and by in-depth analyses of the monitoring data using logistic regression. Results: Loneliness was identified as a major health problem and therefore became a policy priority area in many municipalities. Quanti-tative results showed that elderly with a good social network and who were engaged in society were more likely to have a good health. Elderly who were satisfied with their social contacts scored better on selfperceived health (OR 2.30; 95%-CI 2.01–2.65), physical functioning (OR 2.00; 95%-CI 1.71–2.35), and mental health (OR 4.29; 95%-CI 3.72–4.93). Results of the literature review and the interviews, also identified social network, social support, and social engagement as the main determinants of loneliness for inclusion in the logic model. Discussion: Health monitors are a rich source of information and can be a powerful tool in public health practice. By supporting quantitative data with qualitative information a more complete picture of the health situation can be obtained as to better support the decision making process
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S16 (P29)-S17
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume63
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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