298 e-Letters

  • Family meals boost children's 5 A Day

    We all know eating together as a family can boost conversation, foster closeness and encourage healthy ways with food. However, a 2011 survey of 1354 people for the insurance firm Cornish Mutual found 48% of British households do not share a meal every day. [1]

    This study shows that by having a family dinner together it can increase children's daily fruit and vegetable intake to reach the 5 A Day target. It reinforces the view that children learn more from what adults do than what they say, therefore it is the parental role modelling that helps shape their future habits.

    The strengths of this study are its large sample size (2383 children) and reliable methods of assessing dietary intake through a validated food intake tool. However, there are limitations which have not been noted by the researchers.

    This is a single sample of London schoolchildren taking part in trials assessing school gardening and diet. We do not know whether the children who were taking part in this trial may have particular characteristics that make them different from, for example, children selected from a completely ra...

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  • Policy-as-discourse - an additional theory that makes for a more comprehensive glossary
    Sara E Shaw

    Dear Editor

    In their recent paper, Smith and Katikireddi (2012) provide a useful outline of theories for understanding policymaking. The article is aimed at public health practitioners and researchers who are seeking to shape policy. It rightly encourages them to draw on relevant theory to more productively guide their interactions with, and potential influence on, relevant policy. This is a timely and welcome...

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  • What leads to a healthy ageing and longevity?
    Ivy Shiue
    It is with great interest we read "Frequent shopping by men and women increases survival in the older Taiwanese population" by Chang et al.1 The authors have found that highly frequent shopping compared to never or rarely is likely to predict survival as it captures several dimensions of personal well-being, health and security as well as contributing to the community's cohesiveness and economy. The significance has remained after...
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  • Validity of self-reported prevalent cases of stroke and acute myocardial infarction in the Spanish cohort of the EPIC study
    Siamak Sabour

    The aim of the authors was to assess the validity and agreement of self-reported prevalent cases of stroke and AMI in the Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). They calculated sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values and ? statistics. The sensitivity of self-reported prevalent cases of stroke was 81.3% and that for AMI was 97.7%. The positive predictive value...

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  • Health inequalities and IMR
    Rosemary J Brown

    I was interested to read your letter/article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, and your conclusion that there were significant reductions in IMR. You wondered whether this might have been due to interventions such as Sure Start and the Health in Pregnancy grant. I would be surprised if the latter played any significant part, as it came far too late in pregnancy to do anything significant and, anecdotally...

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  • "Green cities and mortality: is migration the answer?"
    Sonam O Lasopa

    Numerous studies conducted have found evidence for a positive relation between green space in peoples environment and self reported indicators of morbidity and mortality (Lee and Maheswaran, 2011). The authors in this study have found mortality from all causes to be higher in greener cities. Attempts have been made to adjust for factors which may act as confounders, however other community level factors have not been tak...

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  • It might be Survival that determines Shopping !
    Giridhara R Babu
    Sir, I read with interest the article by Yu-Hung Chang et al.(1) Authors have articulated some limitations in their paper. However, the findings are derived from purpose of the Elderly Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (1999-2000), done to assess the diet, nutrition and health of persons aged 65 and above in Taiwan. One of the common and often forgotten limitation of such surveys is Survivor Bias.(2) People who go to shoppin...
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  • Coffee, hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma: study exclusions and omissions are significant
    Gee Yen Shin


    As a coffee-drinking virologist, I read Leung et al's report on coffee consumption and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with interest[1].

    The authors excluded those "under medication for liver diseases". It is a reasonable assumption that this means that patients who were receiving antiviral therapy for hepatitis B virus (HBV), e.g. lamivudine, entecavir etc. were excluded. Because patients...

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  • Income Inequality and the Prevalence of Mental illness: A Note of Caution
    Andrew Brand

    Dear Editor,

    The correlation (r = 0.73) between income inequality and prevalence of mental illness reported by Pickett, James and Wilkinson (2006) was an intriguing finding, but we should be extremely cautious interpreting it.

    First, it was admittedly only a preliminary analysis and hence the number of data points (countries) was small (n = 8). Consequently, the correlation estimate will lack precision...

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  • Good fit, but still the wrong model? Understanding data generation matters more than likelihood-based model-fit statistics.
    Mark S. Gilthorpe
    We read with interest the article describing methods for modelling count data with excess zeros compared to standard count distributions, such as Poisson1. This topic has been extensively discussed in the statistical and epidemiological literature2-3. Didactic messages given by statisticians can often lack an appreciation of the epidemiological context and sadly this article has the same shortcomings. The primary novelty is t...
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