Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 6, pp 444–446 | Cite as

Innovative Approaches in Public Health Research

Applying Life Course Epidemiology to Aboriginal Health Research
  • Elizabeth A. EsteyEmail author
  • Andrew M. Kmetic
  • Jeff Reading


A life course epidemiology approach embraces the complexity of disease risk and acknowledges the long-term effects of physical, social, psychological, and behaviour pathways, operating across an individual’s life, a community’s generation, and a population’s development, on health and well-being. Researchers who adopt a life course epidemiology approach broaden their ability to understand, explain, and prescribe ways to mitigate the effects of chronic diseases and reduce risk factor development and interaction. Although there are many diseases that explicate the importance and usefulness of a life course approach for Aboriginal health research, this commentary focuses on the benefits for understanding chronic respiratory diseases in Aboriginal populations. The hope is that this will expose the benefits of a life course approach for the study of Aboriginal health research and draw attention to the need for well-rounded, high-quality Aboriginal respiratory health research.

MeSH terms

Indigenous populations epidemiology techniques chronic diseases respiratory tract diseases 


L’épidémiologie biographique est une approche qui tient compte de la complexité des risques de maladie et reconnaît les effets à long terme des cheminements physiques, sociaux, psychologiques et comportementaux sur la santé et le bien-être, effets qui se manifestent au cours de la vie (à l’échelle individuelle), sur une génération (à l’échelle communautaire) et dans le développement d’une population. Les chercheurs qui adoptent cette approche améliorent leur capacité de comprendre, d’expliquer et de prescrire des moyens d’atténuer les effets des maladies chroniques et de réduire l’apparition et l’interaction des facteurs de risque. De nombreuses maladies peuvent illustrer l’importance et l’utilité de l’épidémiologie biographique pour la recherche sur la santé autochtone, mais notre commentaire porte sur les avantages de cette approche pour l’étude des maladies respiratoires chroniques dans les populations autochtones. Nous espérons ainsi mettre en lumière les avantages de l’épidémiologie biographique pour l’étude de la santé autochtone et attirer l’attention sur le besoin d’effectuer des recherches bien équilibrées et de haute qualité sur la santé pulmonaire des Autochtones.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth A. Estey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew M. Kmetic
    • 1
  • Jeff Reading
    • 1
  1. 1.Aboriginal Health Research Group, Faculty of Human and Social DevelopmentUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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