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In this issue we carry a Glossary of public health history that may prove controversial; debate is welcome. Speaker’s Corner addresses the challenge of providing a systematic evidence base to tackle inequalities in health, something that becomes evermore pressing as the limitations of biomedical evaluation become apparent. This is reinforced by a rare contribution on social inequalities in health in the United States from Harvard. An optimistic note on public health aspects of housing provision for the homeless from Glasgow reminds us of how recently the concept of the “undeserving poor” has maintained its currency. See pages 164, 162, 186, 163
On the environmental front, a meta-analysis of studies on individual consumption of chlorinated drinking water and bladder cancer finds a moderately high relative risk, but suggests that the attributable risk could be important. See page 166
Healthy schools goes from strength to strength around the world, this time a report from Hong Kong in our Policy and Practice section, together with a report from Finland on the equity aspects of an increased supply of coronary operations. See pages 174, 178
In Theory and Methods, we explore life table methods for quantitative impact assessment in chronic mortality, and report the use of a capture-recapture approach to estimate the lesbian population in Pennsylvania (about 2%). See pages 200, 207
Research findings this month describe the characteristics of neighbourhoods and people on cause specific mortality in a Finnish register, and look at the long term aspects of fruit, vegetables and antioxidants on the risk of adult cancer in the Boyd Orr cohort of 1937 to 1939 concluding that childhood fruit consumption may have a long term protective effect on cancer risk in adults. A report on early and late growth dynamics in adolescence suggests that catch up growth is associated with increased blood pressure; this from Brazil. See pages 210, 218, 226
An important letter on directly observed therapy (DOT) for TB patients underlines the important point that one size does not fit all. Book Reviews touch on the evidence debate, on spatial epidemiology, and on the relation between physical activity and psychological wellbeing. See pages 231, 232