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Happiness, inequalities, and health
  1. Carlos Alvarez-Dardet,
  2. John R Ashton, Joint Editors

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    In this issue we have a mixture of offerings for the summer break: an editorial on health and happiness linked to a paper by Subramanian and colleagues argues that healthy communities tend to be happy communities and explores some of the causal and associated variables, while Stephen Genuis argues that as much of the world’s disease burden results from preventable poor nutrition, it is now time for a global diet strategy.
 See pages 614, 664, 615

    A third editorial by Mindell and Joffe contends that mathematical modelling is seldom applied to research on global measures of health and inequalities, mainly because of the lack of intervention studies that would underpin such work.
 See page 617

    In Speaker’s Corner Luis Castiel takes issue with the misuse of euphemisms in public health, in this case the term food insecurity.
 See page 618

    The Gallery features a flowering almond tree in Alicante in Spain. One of nature’s indicators of global warming.
 See page 637

    Meanwhile, two contributions in Continuing Professional Education are worth a look:

    • A systematic review of social capital and mental illness by De Silva et al, which concludes that current evidence is inadequate to inform the development of specific social capital interventions to combat mental illness.

    • The first part of a glossary from Martin McKee’s group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on International Cooperation and Health.

    See pages 619, 628

    A related issue is tackled in Evidence Based Public Health Policy and Practice by Bernard Choi and colleagues, who ask whether scientists and policy makers can work together.
 See page 632

    Also in this section:

    • Caroline Shaw from New Zealand explores the impact of social and economic reforms and inequalities in child mortality.

    • A paper from Los Angeles concludes that health insurance provisions resulting from a living wage ordinance have the potential to benefit the covered workers far more cost effectively than wage provisions of the same ordinance.

    • From Belgium, further evidence of the relation between the use of primary care and prison and health need.

    See pages 638, 645, 651

    Research findings this month include:

    • Father’s social class around the time of birth may be an important predictor of childhood intelligence.

    • Countries with wider income gaps may have lower obesity in the disadvantaged in developed countries.

    • Low socioeconomic status of the opposite sex is a risk factor for middle aged mortality.

    • Health advocacy groups emphasising the importance of protecting workers against tobacco smoke can be effective in securing smoke free pubs.

    • Although reduced health associated with organisational downsizing is partly attributable to the increase in work related stress, these findings show an additional synergy effect produced by a combination of exposure to both conditions.

    See pages 656, 670, 675, 679, 694

    Our section of Theory and Methods offers a framework for measuring health inequity and provides a practical overview of an applied analysis of recurrent events using statistical techniques.
 See pages 700, 706

    Two book reviews give pointers that should be useful in the classroom: an introduction to concepts, theories, and methods with regard to health inequality by Mel Bartley, and the latest monograph on the MONICA Project of the World Health Organisation relating to cardiovascular disease prevention by Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe.
 See page 711

    Finally, in Hygieia, the Slovenian sex paradox is explored wherein the high rate of chlamydia infection contrasts with low levels of high risk sexual behaviour and it is suggested that this reflects on the quality of clinical services.
 See page 712

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