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A focus on children’s public health issues, geography including the mountain women, and advocacy for health
  1. Carlos Alvarez-Dardet, Joint Editor,
  2. John R Ashton, Joint Editor

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    In this issue we carry a range of papers throwing light on the public health condition of children. From China (via Italy) comes an Editorial reviewing 25 years of the Chinese one child family policy, which identifies two major outcomes:

    • the gross distortion in the birth ratio of boys to girls;

    • the rapid demographic skewing towards an aging population. The policy implications are huge.

    See page 358

    The JECH Gallery features an obituary of Patxi Catalá, the founder of the Andalusian School of Public Health in 1985 and pioneer of the re-creation of public health in Spain after the Franco era; and in a vignette from El Salvador we hear about the role of the mountain women midwives during the guerrilla war. Also in Gallery, influential woman Lynn Goldman draws our attention to how the environment has been taken out of public health and environmental agencies have lost touch with health. Meanwhile D F Salerno, occupying our Speakers’ Corner, from Pfizer Global Research and Development, challenges us to think how globalisation might be turned around to provide worker protection.
 See pages 360, 411, 433, 373

    Simon Chapman, good friend and colleague in public health and Editor of our sister journal, Tobacco Control, spells out the “white arts” of advocacy in a Continuing Professional Education primer.
 See page 361

    A systematic review of sudden unexpected death in infancy supports a significant role for adverse social circumstances in the pathways to sudden expected death—this in Evidence Based Public Health Policy and Practice.
 See page 366

    Research Reports including the following main messages:

    • Specific working conditions affect the risk of pre-term birth and suggest that employment related risks could be mediated by the social and legislative context.

    • Increasing primary care services, especially in areas with high levels of social disparities, can have beneficial effects on infant mortality and low birth weight.

    • Occupational exposure to gasoline of men employed at filling stations may affect the sex ratio of their children.

    • Geographical variation in risks of type 1 diabetes point to local environmental factors playing a part.

    • Women who experience childhood abuse are at increased risk of becoming cigarette smokers.

    • Failure in school performance has the potential to trigger time related injury.

    • Children who have had substitute care in early childhood may be at particular risk for suicide death in adolescence and young adulthood.

    See pages 395, 374, 393, 388, 402, 407, 412

    Our Theory and Methods section includes a paper that shows that social differences in birth weight are determined not only by health related behaviour in pregnancy, but also by intergenerational effects. Two further papers offer help in surveys of unplanned pregnancy and in providing a framework for modelling differences in regional mortality over time.
 See pages 418, 426, 420

    Some discussion of disposable face masks as protection against SARS gets an airing in our Letters column; and the life course approach to women’s health is featured in a Book Review, where violence against women as a health issue is also considered.
 See page 434

    Finally, Hygieia this month brings together a specialist set of abstracts from the British Journal of Ophthalmology covering a range of eye conditions of public health significance. With current demographic trends, expect a resurgence of interest in blindness as a public health challenge.
 See page 436

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