Background Epidemiological studies have provided compelling evidence of associations between ambient temperature and cardiovascular disease. However, evidence of effects of daily temperature variability on cardiovascular disease is scarce and mixed. We aimed to examine short-term associations between temperature variability and hospital admissions for cause-specific cardiovascular disease in urban China. Methods and findings We conducted a national time-series analysis in 184 cities in China between 2014 and 2017. Data on daily hospital admissions for ischemic heart disease, heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, and ischemic stroke were obtained from the database of Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) including 0.28 billion enrollees. Temperature data were acquired from the China Meteorological Data Sharing Service Center. Temperature variability was calculated from the standard deviation (SD) of daily minimum and maximum temperatures over exposure days. City-specific associations between temperature variability and cardiovascular disease were examined with overdispersed Poisson models controlling for calendar time, day of the week, public holiday, and daily mean temperature and relative humidity. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to obtain national and regional average associations. We also plotted exposure-response relationship curve using a natural cubic spline of temperature variability. There were 8.0 million hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease during the study period. At the national-average level, a 1-degrees C increase in temperature variability at 0-1 days (TV0-1) was associated with a 0.44% (0.32%-0.55%), 0.31% (0.20%-0.43%), 0.48% (0.01%-0.96%), 0.34% (0.01%-0.67%), and 0.82% (0.59%-1.05%) increase in hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, and ischemic stroke, respectively. The estimates decreased but remained significant when controlling for ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5), NO2, and SO2 pollution. The main limitation of the present study was the unavailability of data on individual exposure to temperature variability. Conclusions Our findings suggested that short-term temperature variability exposure could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, which may provide new insights into the health effects of climate change.
Background The cesarean section (CS) rate has risen globally during the last two decades. Effective and feasible strategies are needed to reduce it. The aim of this study was to assess the CS rate change after a two-stage intervention package that was designed to reduce the overall CS rate in Guangzhou, China. Methods and findings This intervention package was implemented by the Health Commission of Guangzhou Municipality in 2 stages (October 2010-September 2014 and October 2014-December 2016) and included programs for population health education, skills training for healthcare professionals, equipment and technical support for local healthcare facilities, and capacity building for the maternal near-miss care system. A retrospective repeated cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate influences of the intervention on CS rates. A pre-intervention period from January 2008 to September 2010 served as the baseline. The primary outcome was the CS rate, and the secondary outcomes included maternal mortality ratio (MMR) and perinatal mortality rate (PMR), all obtained from the Guangzhou Perinatal Health Care and Delivery Surveillance System (GPHCDSS). The Cochran-Armitage test was used to examine the trends of the overall CS rate, MMR, and PMR across different stages. Segmented linear regression analysis was used to assess the change of the CS rate over the intervention period. A total of 1,921,932 records of births and 108 monthly CS rates from 2008 to 2016 were analyzed. The monthly CS rate declined across the intervention stages (Z = 75.067, p < 0.001), with an average rate of 42.4% at baseline, 39.8% at Stage 1, and 35.0% at Stage 2. The CS rate declined substantially among nulliparous women who delivered term singletons, with an accelerating decreasing trend observed across Stage 1 and Stage 2 (the difference in slopes: -0.09 [95% CI -0.16 to -0.02] between Stage 1 and baseline, p = 0.014; -0.11 [95% CI -0.20 to -0.02] between Stage 1 and Stage 2, p = 0.017). The CS rate in the remaining population increased during baseline and Stage 1 and subsequently decreased during Stage 2. The sensitivity analysis suggested no immediate impact of the universal two-child policy on the trend of the CS rate. The MMR (Z = -4.368, p < 0.001) and PMR (Z = -13.142, p < 0.001) declined by stage over the intervention period. One of the main limitations of the study is the lack of a parallel control group. Moreover, the influence of temporal changes in the study population on the CS rate was unknown. Given the observational nature of the present study, causality cannot be confirmed. Conclusions Apparent decline in the overall CS rate was observed in Guangzhou, China, after the implementation of a two-stage intervention package. The decline was most evident among nulliparous women who delivered term singletons. Despite some limitations for causal inference, Guangzhou's experience in controlling the CS rate by implementing composite interventions with public health education and perinatal healthcare service improvement could have implications for other similar areas with high rates of CS.
Author summaryWhy was this study done? For those who fail dual therapy of metformin and sulfonylurea (Met-SU) after treatment initiation for 3 months, treatment intensification with a third-line glucose-lowering medication is considered as logical stepwise approach of pharmacotherapy. Current guidelines endorsed the addition of thiazolidinedione (TZD), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP4i's), or basal insulin regimen as third-line options. This study directly compared the risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality among type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients receiving DPP4i, TZD, or insulin as a third-line medication. What did the researchers do and find? We analyzed a population-wide retrospective cohort with data collected from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority database from January 2006 to December 2017. Patients who were free from CVD and on Met-SU dual therapy, and whose drug treatment was intensified with DPP4i ( 8,248), insulin ( 6,395), or TZD ( 2,650), were included. Patients intensified with insulin had higher risk of all-cause mortality than those intensified with TZD and DPP4i, respectively. Insulin users had the greatest risk of severe hypoglycemia (SH) compared with TZD and DPP4i users, respectively, whereas TZD users were associated with a higher risk of SH than DPP4i users. What do these findings mean? In this population-based retrospective cohort study of patients with T2DM after failure of Met-SU dual therapy, TZD was associated with greater risk of SH than DPP4i, whereas insulin was associated with the greatest risks of all-cause mortality and SH. In this cohort, DPP4i had a lower risk of all-cause mortality compared with insulin, and a lower risk of SH compared with TZD and insulin. Caution needs to be exercised when using TZD or insulin because of its high risk for death or SH. Background Although patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) may fail to achieve adequate hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) control despite metformin-sulfonylurea (Met-SU) dual therapy, a third-line glucose-lowering medication-including dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor (DPP4i), insulin, or thiazolidinedione (TZD)-can be added to achieve this. However, treatment effects of intensification with the medications on the risk of severe hypoglycemia (SH), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and all-cause mortality are uncertain. Study aim was to compare the risks of all-cause mortality, CVD, and SH among patients with T2DM on Met-SU dual therapy intensified with DPP4i, insulin, or TZD. Methods and findings We analyzed a retrospective cohort data of 17,293 patients with T2DM who were free from CVD and on Met-SU dual therapy and who were intensified with DPP4i (n = 8,248), insulin (n = 6,395), or TZD (n = 2,650) from 2006 to 2017. Propensity-score weighting was used to balance out baseline covariates across groups. Hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause mortality, CVD, and SH were assessed using Cox proportional hazard models. Mean age of all patients was 58.56 +/- 11.41 years. All baseline covariates achieved a balance across the 3 groups. Over a mean follow-up period of 34 months with 49,299 person-years, cumulative incidences of all-cause mortality, SH, and CVD were 0.061, 0.119, and 0.074, respectively. Patients intensified with insulin had higher risk of all-cause mortality (HR = 2.648, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.367-2.963, p < 0.001; 2.352, 95% CI 2.123-2.605, p < 0.001) than those intensified with TZD and DPP4i, respectively. Insulin users had the greatest risk of SH (HR = 1.198, 95% CI 1.071-1.340, p = 0.002; 1.496, 95% CI 1.342-1.668, p < 0.001) compared with TZD and DPP4i users, respectively. Comparing between TZDs and DPP4i, TZDs were associated with a higher risk of SH (HR = 1.249, 95% CI 1.099-1.419, p < 0.001) but not all-cause mortality (HR = 0.888, 95% CI 0.776-1.016, p = 0.084) or CVD (HR = 1.005, 95% CI 0.915-1.104, p = 0.925). Limitations of this study included the lack of data regarding lifestyle, drug adherence, time-varying factors, patients' motivation, and cost considerations. A limited duration of patients intensifying with TZD might also weaken the strength of study results. Conclusions Our results indicated that, for patients with T2DM who are on Met-SU dual therapy, the addition of DPP4i was a preferred third-line medication among 3 options, with the lowest risks of mortality and SH and posing no increased risk for CVD events when compared to insulin and TZD. Intensification with insulin had the greatest risk of mortality and SH events.
Author summaryWhy was this study done? Epidemiological studies have reported associations between short-term exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) pollution and the risk of pneumonia. Previous studies have been primarily conducted in high-income countries, and the findings remain inconclusive. Few scientific data on a national scale have been generated in low- or middle-income countries, despite their much higher PM concentrations. What did the researchers do and find? We conducted a nationwide time series analysis using data on more than 4.2 million hospital admissions for pneumonia in 184 cities in China between 2014 and 2017 to estimate city-specific, national, and regional average associations between ambient PM pollution and pneumonia hospitalizations. Our results suggested that short-term increases in PM2.5 and PM10 were associated with increased hospital admissions for pneumonia. The effects of PM10 were stronger in cities with higher temperatures and relative humidity, as well as in the elderly. What do these findings mean? To our knowledge, this is the first study in China to investigate the short-term associations of PM levels with hospital admissions for pneumonia on a national scale. Our findings support the rationale for further limiting PM concentrations in low- and middle-income countries. Background The effects of ambient particulate matter (PM) pollution on pneumonia in adults are inconclusive, and few scientific data on a national scale have been generated in low- or middle-income countries, despite their much higher PM concentrations. We aimed to examine the association between PM levels and hospital admissions for pneumonia in Chinese adults. Methods and findings A nationwide time series study was conducted in China between 2014 and 2017. Information on daily hospital admissions for pneumonia for 2014-2017 was collected from the database of Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI), which covers 282.93 million adults. Associations of PM concentrations and hospital admissions for pneumonia were estimated for each city using a quasi-Poisson regression model controlling for time trend, temperature, relative humidity, day of the week, and public holiday and then pooled by random-effects meta-analysis. Meta-regression models were used to investigate potential effect modifiers, including cities' annual-average air pollutants concentrations, temperature, relative humidity, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and coverage rates by the UEBMI. More than 4.2 million pneumonia admissions were identified in 184 Chinese cities during the study period. Short-term elevations in PM concentrations were associated with increased pneumonia admissions. At the national level, a 10-mu g/m(3) increase in 3-day moving average (lag 0-2) concentrations of PM2.5 (PM <= 2.5 mu m in aerodynamic diameter) and PM10 (PM <= 10 mu m in aerodynamic diameter) was associated with 0.31% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.15%-0.46%, P < 0.001) and 0.19% (0.11%-0.30%, P < 0.001) increases in hospital admissions for pneumonia, respectively. The effects of PM10 were stronger in cities with higher temperatures (percentage increase, 0.031%; 95% CI 0.003%-0.058%; P = 0.026) and relative humidity (percentage increase, 0.011%; 95% CI 0%-0.022%; P = 0.045), as well as in the elderly (percentage increase, 0.10% [95% CI 0.02%-0.19%] for people aged 18-64 years versus 0.32% [95% CI 0.22%-0.39%] for people aged >= 75 years; P < 0.001). The main limitation of the present study was the unavailability of data on individual exposure to PM pollution. Conclusions Our findings suggest that there are significant short-term associations between ambient PM levels and increased hospital admissions for pneumonia in Chinese adults. These findings support the rationale that further limiting PM concentrations in China may be an effective strategy to reduce pneumonia-related hospital admissions.
Background Global warming is predicted to indirectly result in more undernutrition by threatening crop production. Whether temperature rise could affect undernutrition directly is unknown. We aim to quantify the relationship between short-term heat exposure and risk of hospitalization due to undernutrition in Brazil. Methods and findings We collected hospitalization and weather data for the hot season (the 4 adjacent hottest months for each city) from 1,814 Brazilian cities during 1 January 2000-31 December 2015. We used a time-stratified case-crossover design to quantify the association between heat exposure and hospitalization due to undernutrition. Region-specific odds ratios (ORs) were used to calculate the attributable fractions (AFs). A total of 238,320 hospitalizations for undernutrition were recorded during the 2000-2015 hot seasons. Every 1 degrees C increase in daily mean temperature was associated with a 2.5% (OR 1.025, 95% CI 1.020-1.030, p < 0.001) increase in hospitalizations for undernutrition across lag 0-7 days. The association was greatest for individuals aged >= 80 years (OR 1.046, 95% CI 1.034-1.059, p < 0.001), 0-4 years (OR 1.039, 95% CI 1.024-1.055, p < 0.001), and 5-19 years (OR 1.042, 95% CI 1.015-1.069, p = 0.002). Assuming a causal relationship, we estimate that 15.6% of undernutrition hospitalizations could be attributed to heat exposure during the study period. The AF grew from 14.1% to 17.5% with a 1.1 degrees C increase in mean temperature from 2000 to 2015. The main limitations of this study are misclassification of different types of undernutrition, lack of individual temperature exposure data, and being unable to adjust for relative humidity. Conclusions Our study suggests that global warming might directly increase undernutrition morbidity, by a route other than by threatening food security. This short-term effect is increasingly important with global warming. Global strategies addressing the syndemic of climate change and undernutrition should focus not only on food systems, but also on the prevention of heat exposure. Author summaryWhy was this study done? It has been well documented that global warming will indirectly result in more undernourished people by threatening crop production in the long term. However, no study has yet evaluated the short-term and direct effect of heat exposure on morbidity related to undernutrition. What did the researchers do and find? With daily hospitalization data covering nearly 80% of the Brazilian population during 2000-2015, we used a time-stratified case-crossover design to quantify the association between heat exposure and hospitalization for undernutrition. We also estimated the heat-related hospitalization burden. There was a 2.5% increase in undernutrition hospitalizations following every 1 degrees C increase in daily mean temperature during the hot season. The young (0-19 years) and elderly people (>= 80 years) with undernutrition were more vulnerable to heat exposure than other age groups. Heat exposure was responsible for 15.6% of the undernutrition hospitalizations during the study period, corresponding to 37,129 cases. The attributable fraction increased from 14.1% in 2000 to 17.5% in 2015, paralleling a 1.1 degrees C increase in average temperature. What do these findings mean? Rising temperature might impact undernutrition morbidity directly and more rapidly than through threatening food security alone. The possible pathways of this direct impact of heat might include reducing undernourished people's food intake, impairing their digestion and absorption function, and causing fluid and electrolyte disturbances. This direct, short-term effect will be increasingly important with global warming, as illustrated by what happened in Brazil over 2000-2015. Global strategies addressing the syndemic of climate change and undernutrition should focus not only on food systems, but also on the prevention of heat exposure, especially among the young and elderly.
Author summaryWhy was this study done? We found that diabetes mellitus (DM) was associated with increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and that optimization of glycemic control during pregnancy can help mitigate risks associated with diabetes. The data of DM among reproductive-aged women planning to conceive remain scarce, particularly in rural China, though they represent about 50% of the Chinese population. To our knowledge, this is the first and largest population-based cohort study focusing on the adverse effects of preconception impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or DM on pregnancy outcomes in the population in China. What did the researchers do and find? The awareness rate of DM status among reproductive-age women is extremely low in China, and the management of pregestational DM remains unsatisfactory, even in patients who are aware of their DM status. Preconception IFG or DM can increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including spontaneous abortion, preterm birth (PTB), macrosomia, small for gestational age infant (SGA), and perinatal infant death. What do these findings mean? Increased screening for DM integrated into primary care should be provided to women who are planning to conceive to improve pregnancy outcomes and promote maternal and neonatal health in future in China. It is important to strengthen DM management in Chinese reproductive-aged women. Preconception glycemic control through appropriate methods, such as promotion education, hyperglycemia screening and intervening, and high-risk population management, is one of the most important aspects of preconception care and, to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes, should not be ignored by policy makers. Background Diabetes mellitus (DM) increases the risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, and optimization of glycemic control during pregnancy can help mitigate risks associated with diabetes. However, studies seldom focus precisely on maternal blood glucose level prior to pregnancy. We aimed to evaluate the associations between preconception blood fasting plasma glucose (FPG) level and subsequent pregnancy outcomes. Methods and findings We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study among 6,447,339 women aged 20-49 years old who participated in National Free Pre-Pregnancy Checkups Project and completed pregnancy outcomes follow-up between 2010 and 2016 in China. During the preconception health examination, serum FPG concentration was measured, and self-reported history of DM was collected. Women were classified into three groups (normal FPG group: FPG < 5.6 mmol/L and no self-reported history of DM; impaired fasting glucose [IFG]: FPG 5.6-6.9 mmol/L and no self-reported history of DM; and DM: FPG >= 7.0 mmol/L or self-reported history of DM). The primary outcomes were adverse pregnancy outcomes, including spontaneous abortion, preterm birth (PTB), macrosomia, small for gestational age infant (SGA), birth defect, and perinatal infant death. Logistic regression model was used to calculate odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) after adjusting for confounding variables. The mean age of women was 25.24 years, 91.47% were of Han nationality, and 92.85% were from rural areas. The incidence of DM and IFG was 1.18% (76,297) and 13.15% (847,737), respectively. Only 917 (1.20%) women reported a history of DM (awareness of their DM status), of whom 37.28% (337) had an elevated preconception FPG level (>= 5.6 mmol/L), regarded as noncontrolled DM. A total of 1,005,568 (15.60%) women had adverse pregnancy outcomes. Compared with women with normal FPG, women with IFG had higher risks of spontaneous abortion (OR 1.08; 95% CI 1.06-1.09; P < 0.001), PTB (1.02; 1.01-1.03; P < 0.001), macrosomia (1.07; 1.06-1.08; P < 0.001), SGA (1.06; 1.02-1.10; P = 0.007), and perinatal infant death (1.08; 1.03-1.12; P < 0.001); the corresponding ORs for women with DM were 1.11 (95% CI 1.07-1.15; P < 0.001), 1.17 (1.14-1.20; P < 0.001), 1.13 (1.09-1.16; P < 0.001), 1.17 (1.04-1.32; P = 0.008), and 1.59 (1.44-1.76; P < 0.001). Women with DM also had a higher risk of birth defect (OR 1.42; 95% CI 1.15-1.91; P = 0.002). Among women without self-reported history of DM, there was a positive linear association between FPG levels and spontaneous abortion, PTB, macrosomia, SGA, and perinatal infant death (P for trend <0.001, <0.001, <0.001, 0.001, <0.001). Information about hypoglycemic medication before or during pregnancy was not collected, and we cannot adjust it in the analysis, which could result in underestimation of risks. Data on 2-hour plasma glucose level and HbA1c concentration were not available, and the glycemic control status was evaluated according to FPG value in women with DM. Conclusions Women with preconception IFG or DM had higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including spontaneous abortion, PTB, macrosomia, SGA, and perinatal infant death. Preconception glycemic control through appropriate methods is one of the most important aspects of preconception care and should not be ignored by policy makers.
Background The role of urate in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) has been extensively investigated in observational studies; however, the extent of any causal effect remains unclear, making it difficult to evaluate its clinical relevance. Methods and findings A phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) together with a Bayesian analysis of tree-structured phenotypic model (TreeWAS) was performed to examine disease outcomes related to genetically determined serum urate levels in 339,256 unrelated White British individuals (54% female) in the UK Biobank who were aged 40-69 years (mean age, 56.87; SD, 7.99) when recruited from 2006 to 2010. Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses were performed to replicate significant findings using various genome-wide association study (GWAS) consortia data. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine possible pleiotropic effects on metabolic traits of the genetic variants used as instruments for urate. PheWAS analysis, examining the association with 1,431 disease outcomes, identified 13 distinct phecodes representing 4 disease groups (inflammatory polyarthropathies, hypertensive disease, circulatory disease, and metabolic disorders) and 9 disease outcomes (gout, gouty arthropathy, pyogenic arthritis, essential hypertension, coronary atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, chronic ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and hypercholesterolemia) that were associated with genetically determined serum urate levels after multiple testing correction (p < 3.35 x 10(-4)). TreeWAS analysis, examining 10,750 ICD-10 diagnostic terms, identified more sub-phenotypes of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (e.g., angina pectoris, heart failure, cerebral infarction). MR analysis successfully replicated the association with gout, hypertension, heart diseases, and blood lipid levels but indicated the existence of genetic pleiotropy. Sensitivity analyses support an inference that pleiotropic effects of genetic variants on urate and metabolic traits contribute to the observational associations with CVDs. The main limitations of this study relate to possible bias from pleiotropic effects of the considered genetic variants and possible misclassification of cases for mild disease that did not require hospitalization. Conclusion In this study, high serum urate levels were found to be associated with increased risk of different types of cardiac events. The finding of genetic pleiotropy indicates the existence of common upstream pathological elements influencing both urate and metabolic traits, and this may suggest new opportunities and challenges for developing drugs targeting a common mediator that would be beneficial for both the treatment of gout and the prevention of cardiovascular comorbidities. Author summaryWhy was this study done? Serum urate level has been extensively studied in epidemiological studies in relation to various diseases, but the extent of any causal effect is still unclear, making it difficult to evaluate the clinical importance of urate. Mendelian randomization (MR) uses naturally occurring genetic variants as instruments to infer the causal role of a risk factor in a disease or outcome of interest. Previous MR studies were typically hypothesis driven, and few studies have comprehensively investigated how serum urate level might influence overall health. What did the researchers do and find? We implemented a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) followed by a Bayesian analysis of tree-structured phenotypic model (TreeWAS) and MR analyses to explore the association between urate and a broad range of disease outcomes in the UK Biobank. We identified gout, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and a multitude of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (e.g., coronary atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, and cerebral infarction) that were associated with serum urate levels. MR analysis using various GWAS consortia data successfully replicated these associations but indicated the existence of genetic pleiotropy. Sensitivity analyses examining the pleiotropic effects of urate genetic risk loci on a set of metabolic traits support an inference that genetic pleiotropy contributes to observational association between urate and different types of cardiac events. What do these findings mean? There was little evidence of causality; instead, the pleiotropy of genetic variants on urate and metabolic traits is indicated for the observed associations with cardiovascular/metabolic diseases. The linked biological pathways between urate and metabolic traits indicated that the frequent coexistence of gout with hypertension, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and hyperlipidemia is a range of interrelated disease outcomes due to linked pathogenic components, rather than isolated events. These findings support the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) recommendation of systematic screening and assessment of cardiovascular/metabolic comorbidities in gout patients. These findings may suggest new opportunities and challenges for developing drugs targeting a more distal mediator that would be beneficial for both the treatment of gout and the prevention of cardiovascular/metabolic comorbidities.
Background The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all United Nations (UN) member states in 2015, established a set of bold and ambitious health-related targets to achieve by 2030. Understanding China's progress toward these targets is critical to improving population health for its 1.4 billion people. Methods and findings We used estimates from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2016, national surveys and surveillance data from China, and qualitative data. Twenty-eight of the 37 indicators included in the GBD Study 2016 were analyzed. We developed an attainment index of health-related SDGs, a scale of 0-100 based on the values of indicators. The projection model is adjusted based on the one developed by the GBD Study 2016 SDG collaborators. We found that China has achieved several health-related SDG targets, including decreasing neonatal and under-5 mortality rates and the maternal mortality ratios and reducing wasting and stunting for children. However, China may only achieve 12 out of the 28 health-related SDG targets by 2030. The number of target indicators achieved varies among provinces and municipalities. In 2016, among the seven measured health domains, China performed best in child nutrition and maternal and child health and reproductive health, with the attainment index scores of 93.0 and 91.8, respectively, followed by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) (69.4), road injuries (63.6), infectious diseases (63.0), environmental health (62.9), and universal health coverage (UHC) (54.4). There are daunting challenges to achieve the targets for child overweight, infectious diseases, NCD risk factors, and environmental exposure factors. China will also have a formidable challenge in achieving UHC, particularly in ensuring access to essential healthcare for all and providing adequate financial protection. The attainment index of child nutrition is projected to drop to 80.5 by 2025 because of worsening child overweight. The index of NCD risk factors is projected to drop to 38.8 by 2025. Regional disparities are substantial, with eastern provinces generally performing better than central and western provinces. Sex disparities are clear, with men at higher risk of excess mortality than women. The primary limitations of this study are the limited data availability and quality for several indicators and the adoption of "business-as-usual" projection methods. Conclusion The study found that China has made good progress in improving population health, but challenges lie ahead. China has substantially improved the health of children and women and will continue to make good progress, although geographic disparities remain a great challenge. Meanwhile, China faced challenges in NCDs, mental health, and some infectious diseases. Poor control of health risk factors and worsening environmental threats have posed difficulties in further health improvement. Meanwhile, an inefficient health system is a barrier to tackling these challenges among such a rapidly aging population. The eastern provinces are predicted to perform better than the central and western provinces, and women are predicted to be more likely than men to achieve these targets by 2030. In order to make good progress, China must take a series of concerted actions, including more investments in public goods and services for health and redressing the intracountry inequities. Author summaryWhy was the study done? China has made impressive progress in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era, which ended in 2015. Despite China's success in achieving the MDGs, it faces formidable challenges in achieving many targets in the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have a 2030 target date. Understanding China's current situation and progress toward achieving these goals is critical to the development of practical solutions for improving population health for its 1.4 billion people in the SDG era. What did the researchers do and find? We conducted an analysis of progress toward the health-related SDGs using data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2016, national surveys, surveillance data from China, and qualitative study results. We developed an index of the attainment of the health-related SDGs, using a scale of 0-100 based on the absolute values of indicators. We adjusted the projection model developed by the GBD 2016 SDG collaborators to produce sex-specific estimates, stratified by province, and explore sex and regional disparities. Around 120 key informants were purposively approached for thematic interviews. This research found that China has achieved several health-related SDG targets, especially on child nutrition and maternal and child health and reproductive health. Nevertheless, China may only achieve 12 out of the 28 selected health-related SDG targets by 2030. There are daunting challenges ahead for China in achieving the targets for child overweight, infectious diseases, noncommunicable disease risk factors, environmental exposure factors, and universal health coverage. Regional disparities were substantial, with eastern coastal provinces generally performing better than central and western provinces in most of the indicators. Sex disparities were clear, with men at higher risk of excess mortality than women. What do these findings mean? To achieve the targets of the health-related SDGs, China must take a series of concerted actions, including increased investment in public goods and services for health, addressing the regional inequities, and tackling the emerging new health challenges to ensure that no one is left behind. In those areas where China has already achieved the SDG targets, the government should synthesize the experiences and good practices that can be applied to the regions/provinces that need to catch up to the level of health development witnessed in developed regions/provinces. The Chinese government needs to examine the root causes of the challenges in achieving the health-related SDGs and develop an action plan to address these causes. The plan should prioritize key policy interventions for target populations and mobilize adequate resources to tackle these health challenges. It is important to address common problems by tackling cross-cutting issues in advancing the health-related SDGs, such as strengthening the enforcement of laws and regulations, establishing effective organizational structures, and human resources development.
Background Schizophrenia is a leading cause of disability, and a shift from facility- to community-based care has been proposed to meet the resource challenges of mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries. We hypothesized that the addition of mobile texting would improve schizophrenia care in a resource-poor community setting compared with a community-based free-medicine program alone. Methods and findings In this 2-arm randomized controlled trial, 278 community-dwelling villagers (patient participants) were randomly selected from people with schizophrenia from 9 townships of Hunan, China, and were randomized 1:1 into 2 groups. The program participants were recruited between May 1, 2015, and August 31, 2015, and the intervention and follow-up took place between December 15, 2015, and July 1, 2016. Baseline characteristics of the 2 groups were similar. The patients were on average 46 years of age, had 7 years of education, had a duration of schizophrenia of 18 years with minimal to mild symptoms and nearly one-fifth loss of functioning, and were mostly living with family (95%) and had low incomes. Both the intervention and the control groups received a nationwide community-based mental health program that provided free antipsychotic medications. The patient participants in the intervention group also received LEAN (Lay health supporters, E-platform, Award, and iNtegration), a program that featured recruitment of a lay health supporter and text messages for medication reminders, health education, monitoring of early signs of relapses, and facilitated linkage to primary healthcare. The primary outcome was medication adherence (proportion of dosages taken) assessed by 2 unannounced home-based pill counts 30 days apart at the 6-month endpoint. The secondary and other outcomes included patient symptoms, functioning, relapses, re-hospitalizations, death for any reason, wandering away without notifying anyone, violence against others, damaging goods, and suicide. Intent-to-treat analysis was used. Missing data were handled with multiple imputations. In total, 271 out of 278 patient participants were successfully followed up for outcome assessment. Medication adherence was 0.48 in the control group and 0.61 in the intervention group (adjusted mean difference [AMD] 0.12 [95% CI 0.03 to 0.22]; p = 0.013; effect size 0.38). Among secondary and other outcomes we noted substantial reduction in the risk of relapse (26 [21.7%] of 120 interventional participants versus 40 [34.2%] of 117 controls; relative risk 0.63 [95% CI 0.42 to 0.97]; number needed to treat [NNT] 8.0) and re-hospitalization (9 [7.3%] of 123 interventional participants versus 25 [20.5%] of 122 controls; relative risk 0.36 [95% CI 0.17 to 0.73]; NNT 7.6). The program showed no statistical difference in all other outcomes. During the course of the program, 2 participants in the intervention group and 1 in the control group died. The limitations of the study include its lack of a full economic analysis, lack of individual tailoring of the text messages, the relatively short 6-month follow-up, and the generalizability constraint of the Chinese context. Conclusions The addition of texting to patients and their lay health supporters in a resource-poor community setting was more effective than a free-medicine program alone in improving medication adherence and reducing relapses and re-hospitalizations. Future studies may test the effectiveness of customization of the texting to individual patients.
Background Gonorrhea remains one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. Successful treatment has been hampered by emerging resistance to each of the antibiotics recommended as first-line therapies. We retrospectively analyzed the susceptibility of gonorrhea to azithromycin and ceftriaxone using data from the China Gonococcal Resistance Surveillance Programme (China-GRSP) in order to provide evidence for updating the treatment recommendations in China. Methods and findings In this study, we included 3,849 isolates collected from patients with a confirmed positive Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae) culture at clinic visits during the period of 1 January 2013 through 31 December 2016 in 7 provinces. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of gonorrhea isolates using agar dilution was conducted to determine minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). Resistance to azithromycin (RTA) was defined as MIC >= 1.0 mg/l, and decreased susceptibility to ceftriaxone (DSC) was defined as MIC >= 0.125 mg/l. The prevalence of isolates with RTA was 18.6% (710/3,827; 95% CI 17.4% +/- 19.8%). The percentage of patients with DSC fluctuated between 9.7% and 12.2% over this period. The overall prevalence of isolates with both RTA and DSC was 2.3% (87/3,827; 95% CI 1.9% +/- 2.8%) and it increased from 1.9% in 2013 to 3.3% in 2016 (chi-squared test for trend, P = 0.03). Study limitations include the retrospective study design and potential biases in the sample, which may overrepresent men with symptomatic infection, coastal residents, and people reporting as heterosexual. Conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first national study on susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae to azithromycin and ceftriaxone in China. Our findings indicate high rates of RTA and DSC from 2013 to 2016. Although dual therapy with azithromycin and ceftriaxone has been recommended by WHO and many countries to treat gonorrhea, reevaluation of this therapy is needed prior to its introduction in China.
Background Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes mellitus (DM) and has been found to occur more frequently with extreme temperatures. With the increasing prevalence of DM and the rising global mean temperature, the number of heat-related AMI cases among DM patients may increase. This study compares excess risk of AMI during periods of extreme temperatures between patients with DM and without DM. Methods Distributed lag nonlinear models (DLNMs) were used to estimate the short-term association between daily mean temperature and AMI admissions (International Classification of Diseases 9th revision [ICD-9] code: 410.00-410.99), stratified by DM status (ICD-9: 250.00-250.99), to all public hospitals in Hong Kong from 2002 to 2011, adjusting for other meteorological variables and air pollutants. Analyses were also stratified by season, age group, gender, and admission type (first admissions and readmissions). The admissions data and meteorological data were obtained from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HA) and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO). Findings A total of 53,769 AMI admissions were included in the study. AMI admissions among DM patients were linearly and negatively associated with temperature in the cold season (cumulative relative risk [cumRR] [95% confidence interval] in lag 0-22 days (12 degrees C versus 24 degrees C) = 2.10 [1.62-2.72]), while those among patients without DM only started increasing when temperatures dropped below 22 degrees C with a weaker association (cumRR = 1.43 [1.21-1.69]). In the hot season, AMI hospitalizations among DM patients started increasing when the temperature dropped below or rose above 28.8 degrees C (cumRR in lag 0-4 days [30.4 versus 28.8 degrees C] = 1.14 [1.00-1.31]), while those among patients without DM showed no association with temperature. The differences in sensitivity to temperature between patients with DM and without DM were most apparent in the group < 75 years old and among first-admission cases in the cold season. The main limitation of this study was the unavailability of data on individual exposure to ambient temperature. Conclusions DM patients had a higher increased risk of AMI admissions than non-DM patients during extreme temperatures. AMI admissions risks among DM patients rise sharply in both high and low temperatures, with a stronger effect in low temperatures, while AMI risk among non-DM patients only increased mildly in low temperatures. Targeted health protection guidelines should be provided to warn DM patients and physicians about the dangers of extreme temperatures. Further studies to project the impacts of AMI risks on DM patients by climate change are warranted.
Background Evidence of the short-term effects of ambient air pollution on the risk of ischemic stroke in low-and middle-income countries is limited and inconsistent. We aimed to examine the associations between air pollution and daily hospital admissions for ischemic stroke in China. Methods and findings We identified hospital admissions for ischemic stroke in 2014-2016 from the national database covering up to 0.28 billion people who received Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) in China. We examined the associations between air pollution and daily ischemic stroke admission using a two-stage method. Poisson time-series regression models were firstly fitted to estimate the effects of air pollution in each city. Random-effects meta-analyses were then conducted to combine the estimates. Meta-regression models were applied to explore potential effect modifiers. More than 2 million hospital admissions for ischemic stroke were identified in 172 cities in China. In single-pollutant models, increases of 10 mu g/m(3) in particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 mu m (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and ozone (O-3) and 1 mg/m(3) in carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were associated with 0.34% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.20%-0.48%), 1.37% (1.05%-1.70%), 1.82% (1.45%-2.19%), 0.01% (-0.14%-0.16%), and 3.24% (2.05%-4.43%) increases in hospital admissions for ischemic stroke on the same day, respectively. SO2 and NO2 associations remained significant in two-pollutant models, but not PM2.5 and CO associations. The effect estimates were greater in cities with lower air pollutant levels and higher air temperatures, as well as in elderly subgroups. The main limitation of the present study was the unavailability of data on individual exposure to ambient air pollution. Conclusions As the first national study in China to systematically examine the associations between short-term exposure to ambient air pollution and ischemic stroke, our findings indicate that transient increase in air pollution levels may increase the risk of ischemic stroke, which may have significant public health implications for the reduction of ischemic stroke burden in China.
Background Climate change is likely to further worsen ozone pollution in already heavily polluted areas, leading to increased ozone-related health burdens. However, little evidence exists in China, the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter and most populated country. As China is embracing an aging population with changing population size and falling age-standardized mortality rates, the potential impact of population change on ozone-related health burdens is unclear. Moreover, little is known about the seasonal variation of ozone-related health burdens under climate change. We aimed to assess near-term (mid-21st century) future annual and seasonal excess mortality from short-term exposure to ambient ozone in 104 Chinese cities under 2 climate and emission change scenarios and 6 population change scenarios. Methods and findings We collected historical ambient ozone observations, population change projections, and baseline mortality rates in 104 cities across China during April 27, 2013, to October 31, 2015 (2013-2015), which included approximately 13% of the total population of mainland China. Using historical ozone monitoring data, we performed bias correction and spatially down-scaled future ozone projections at a coarse spatial resolution (2.0 degrees x 2.5 degrees) for the period April 27, 2053, to October 31, 2055 (2053-2055), from a global chemistry-climate model to a fine spatial resolution (0.25 degrees x 0.25 degrees) under 2 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs): RCP4.5, a moderate global warming and emission scenario where global warming is between 1.5 degrees C and 2.0 degrees C, and RCP8.5, a high global warming and emission scenario where global warming exceeds 2.0 degrees C. We then estimated the future annual and seasonal ozone-related acute excess mortality attributable to both climate and population changes using cause-specific, age-group-specific, and season-specific concentration-response functions (CRFs). We used Monte Carlo simulations to obtain empirical confidence intervals (eCIs), quantifying the uncertainty in CRFs and the variability across ensemble members (i.e., 3 predictions of future climate and air quality from slightly different starting conditions) of the global model. Estimates of future changes in annual ozone-related mortality are sensitive to the choice of global warming and emission scenario, decreasing under RCP4.5 (-24.0%) due to declining ozone precursor emissions but increasing under RCP8.5 (10.7%) due to warming climate in 2053-2055 relative to 2013-2015. Higher ambient ozone occurs under the high global warming and emission scenario (RCP8.5), leading to an excess 1,476 (95% eCI: 898 to 2,977) non-accidental deaths per year in 2053-2055 relative to 2013-2015. Future ozone-related acute excess mortality from cardiovascular diseases was 5-8 times greater than that from respiratory diseases. Ozone concentrations increase by 15.1 parts per billion (10(-9)) in colder months (November to April), contributing to a net yearly increase of 22.3% (95% eCI: 7.7% to 35.4%) in ozone-related mortality under RCP8.5. An aging population, with the proportion of the population aged 65 years and above increased from 8% in 2010 to 24%-33% in 2050, will substantially amplify future ozone-related mortality, leading to a net increase of 23,838 to 78,560 deaths (110% to 363%). Our analysis was mainly limited by using a single global chemistry-climate model and the statistical downscaling approach to project ozone changes under climate change. Conclusions Our analysis shows increased future ozone-related acute excess mortality under the high global warming and emission scenario RCP8.5 for an aging population in China. Comparison with the lower global warming and emission scenario RCP4.5 suggests that climate change mitigation measures are needed to prevent a rising health burden from exposure to ambient ozone pollution in China.
Background HIV testing rates are suboptimal among at-risk men. Crowdsourcing may be a useful tool for designing innovative, community-based HIV testing strategies to increase HIV testing. The purpose of this study was to use a stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effect of a crowdsourced HIV intervention on HIV testing uptake among men who have sex with men (MSM) in eight Chinese cities. Methods and findings An HIV testing intervention was developed through a national image contest, a regional strategy designathon, and local message contests. The final intervention included a multimedia HIV testing campaign, an online HIV testing service, and local testing promotion campaigns tailored for MSM. This intervention was evaluated using a closed cohort stepped wedge cluster RCT in eight Chinese cities (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Jiangmen in Guangdong province; Jinan, Qingdao, Yantai, and Jining in Shandong province) from August 2016 to August 2017. MSM were recruited through Blued, a social networking mobile application for MSM, from July 29 to August 21 of 2016. The primary outcome was self-reported HIV testing in the past 3 months. Secondary outcomes included HIV self-testing, facility-based HIV testing, condom use, and syphilis testing. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were used to analyze primary and secondary outcomes. We enrolled a total of 1,381 MSM. Most were <= 30 years old (82%), unmarried (86%), and had a college degree or higher (65%). The proportion of individuals receiving an HIV test during the intervention periods within a city was 8.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.2-15.5) greater than during the control periods. In addition, the intention-to-treat analysis showed a higher probability of receiving an HIV test during the intervention periods as compared to the control periods (estimated risk ratio [RR] = 1.43, 95% CI 1.19-1.73). The intervention also increased HIV self-testing (RR = 1.89, 95% CI 1.50-2.38). There was no effect on facility-based HIV testing (RR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.79-1.26), condom use (RR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.86-1.17), or syphilis testing (RR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.70-1.21). A total of 48.6% (593/1,219) of participants reported that they received HIV self-testing. Among men who received two HIV tests, 32 individuals seroconverted during the 1-year study period. Study limitations include the use of self-reported HIV testing data among a subset of men and non-completion of the final survey by 23% of participants. Our study population was a young online group in urban China and the relevance of our findings to other populations will require further investigation. Conclusions In this setting, crowdsourcing was effective for developing and strengthening community-based HIV testing services for MSM. Crowdsourced interventions may be an important tool for the scale-up of HIV testing services among MSM in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
Background China has the highest global prevalence of cigarette smokers, accounting for more than 40% of the total cigarette consumption in the world. Considering the shortage of smoking cessation services in China, and the acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy of mobile-phonebased text messaging interventions for quitting smoking in other countries, we conducted a mobile-phone-based smoking cessation study in China. Methods and findings We conducted a randomized controlled trial in China across 30 cities and provinces from August 17, 2016, to May 27, 2017. Adult smokers aged 18 years and older with the intention to quit smoking were recruited and randomized to a 12-weekhigh-frequency messaging (HFM) or low-frequency messaging (LFM) intervention ("Happy Quit") or to a control group in a 5:2:3 ratio. The control group received only text messages unrelated to quitting. The primary outcome was biochemically verified continuous smoking abstinence at 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes included (1) self-reported 7-day point prevalence of abstinence (i.e., not even a puff of smoke, for the last 7 days) at 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks; (2) self-reported continuous abstinence at 4, 12, and 24 weeks; and (3) self-reported average number of cigarettes smoked per day. A total of 1,369 participants received 12 weeks of intervention or control text messages with continued follow-up for 12 weeks. The baseline characteristics of participants among the HFM (n = 674), LFM (n = 284), and control (n = 411) groups were similar. The study sample included 1,295 (94.6%) men; participants had a mean age of 38.1 (SD 9.79) years and smoked an average of 20.1 (SD 9.19) cigarettes per day. We included the participants in an intention-to-treat analysis. Biochemically verified continuous smoking abstinence at 24 weeks occurred in 44/674 participants in the HFM group (6.5%), 17/284 participants in the LFM group (6.0%), and 8/411 participants (1.9%) in the control group; participants in both the HFM (odds ratio [OR] = 3.51, 95% CI 1.64-7.55, p < 0.001) and the LFM (OR = 3.21, 95% CI 1.36-7.54], p = 0.002) intervention groups were more likely to quit smoking than those in the control group. However, there was no difference in quit rate between the HFM and LFM interventions. We also found that the 7-day point quit rate from week 1 to week 24 ranged from approximately 10% to more than 26% with the intervention and from less than 4% to nearly 12% without the intervention. Those who continued as smokers in the HFM group smoked 1 to 3 fewer cigarettes per day than those in the LFM group over the 24 weeks of trial. Among study limitations, the participants were able to use other smoking cessation services (although very few participants reported using them), cotinine tests can only detect smoking status for a few days, and the proportion of quitters was small. Conclusions Our findings demonstrate that a mobile-phone-based text messaging intervention (Happy Quit), with either high-or low-frequency messaging, led to smoking cessation in the present study, albeit in a low proportion of smokers, and can therefore be considered for use in large-scale intervention efforts in China. Mobile-phone-based interventions could be paired with other smoking cessation services for treatment-seeking smokers in China.