Strategies for the Use of Geography in Epidemiological Analysis
The health of populations is affected by a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors, including where people live. Characteristics of locations (including sociodemographic factors and environmental exposure) offer additional information for studies about health. Spatial methods and other geographical procedures can be useful tools in epidemiological investigations, but must serve the analysis and not drive it. Even where accurate environmental data of appropriate resolution are available, our approach should not be “how can we make use of this data?”, but rather “what health problems are we trying to solve, and what are the appropriate data and methods to help us find solutions?”. This chapter addresses some of the issues in using geography, relating these to the various stages of an investigation.
KeywordsGeographical Information System Epidemiological Investigation Lung Cancer Rate Small Area Statistical Census Small Area
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