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Volume 46; 2024
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COVID-19: Original Article
Worsening of health disparities across COVID-19 pandemic stages in Korea
Hyejin Lee, Hyunwoo Nam, Jae-ryun Lee, Hyemin Jung, Jin Yong Lee
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024038.   Published online March 13, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024038
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
With the end of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the health outcomes of this disease in Korea must be examined. We aimed to investigate health outcomes and disparities linked to socioeconomic status during the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea and to identify risk factors for hospitalization and mortality.
METHODS
This nationwide retrospective study incorporated an analysis of individuals with and without COVID-19 in Korea between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022. The study period was divided into 4 stages. Prevalence, hospitalization, mortality, and case-fatality rates were calculated per 100,000 population. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality.
RESULTS
Overall, the incidence rate was 40,601 per 100,000 population, the mortality rate was 105 per 100,000 population, and the case-fatality rate was 259 per 100,000 cases. A total of 12,577,367 new cases (24.5%) were recorded in stage 3 and 8,979,635 cases (17.5%) in stage 4. Medical Aid recipients displayed the lowest 3-year cumulative incidence rate (32,737 per 100,000) but the highest hospitalization (5,663 cases per 100,000), mortality (498 per 100,000), and case-fatality (1,521 per 100,000) rates. Male sex, older age, lower economic status, non-metropolitan area of residence, high Charlson comorbidity index, and disability were associated with higher risk of hospitalization and death. Vaccination was found to reduce mortality risk.
CONCLUSIONS
As the pandemic progressed, surges were observed in incidence, hospitalization, and mortality, exacerbating disparities associated with economic status and disability. Nevertheless, Korea has maintained a low case-fatality rate across all economic groups.
Summary
Korean summary
국민건강보험공단 자료를 이용하여 2020-2022년 후향적 코호트를 구축하여 시기별 코로나19 유병률, 입원률, 사망률, 치명률과 장애, 소득에 따른 건강격차를 확인하였을 때, 코로나19 대유행이 진행됨에 따라 발병률, 입원률, 사망률이 급증하고 건강 격차가 확대되었다. 그러나 이러한 격차에도 불구하고 한국은 다른 국가들과 비교하여 모든 소득수준에서 낮은 치명률을 유지하였다.
Key Message
Using data from the National Health Insurance Service, a retrospective cohort for the years 2020-2022 was established. By examining the COVID-19 prevalence rate, hospitalisation rate, mortality rate, and case-fatality rate, along with health disparities based on disability and economic status, as the pandemic progressed, there was a surge in incidence, hospitalisation, and mortality, widening disparities related to economic status and disability. Despite these disparities, Korea has maintained a low case-fatality rate across all economic groups.
Original Articles
Association between plant-based diets and the risk of coronary heart disease predicted using the Framingham Risk Score in Korean men: data from the HEXA cohort study
Khongorzul Ganbat, Bayarmaa Nasan Ulzii, Sangah Shin
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024035.   Published online February 28, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024035
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study investigated the potential correlation between 4 plant-based diet indices and the predicted risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in Korean men using the Framingham Risk Score.
METHODS
The study included 12,356 men participants (aged ≥40 years) from the Health Examinees Study. Dietary intake was estimated using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Four plant-based diet indices were measured, including the overall plant-based diet index, the healthy plant-based diet index (hPDI), the unhealthy plant-based diet index (uPDI), and the pro-vegetarian diet index. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the predicted 10-year risk of CHD.
RESULTS
The study found that individuals in the highest hPDI quintile had a 19% lower risk score for CHD based on the Framingham Risk Score (model 3: HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.93; p for trend=0.010). In stratified analyses, the highest pro-vegetarian diet index was associated with a lower risk score for CHD in physically active individuals (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.93; p for interaction=0.020). Conversely, the highest uPDI was associated with the highest risk score for CHD in those with a body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2 and a waist circumference ≥90 cm.
CONCLUSIONS
This prospective cohort study highlights the positive role of adhering to a high hPDI diet in the prevention of CHD in Korean men. Further prospective studies are needed to determine the association between various plant-based diet indices and the risk of CHD in Asian populations with different dietary habits.
Summary
Korean summary
본 연구는 한국 남성의 관상 동맥 심장 질환(CHD) 위험을 줄이는데 있어서 식이 패턴, 특히 건강한 식물성 식이 지수의 역할이 중요함을 강조한다. 높은 hPDI지수를 가진 사람이 CHD 위험이 유의미하게 19% 감소하는 것은 건강한 식물성 기반 식단 선택이 심혈관 건강에 미칠 수 있는 잠재된 영향력을 강조한다.
Key Message
The study highlights the important role of dietary patterns, especially healthy plant-based diet index (hPDI), in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) among Korean men. A significant 19% reduction in CHD risk associated with the highest hPDI underscores the potential impact of dietary choices on cardiovascular health.
Predictive ability of the Chinese visceral adiposity index for incident hypertension in working-aged Koreans
Ju Young Jung, Chang-Mo Oh, Hyun chul Jo, Sung Keun Park
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024034.   Published online February 27, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024034
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI) was developed to assess visceral adipose tissue in the Asian population. This study evaluated the predictive ability of the CVAI for incident hypertension in Korean adults.
METHODS
The study participants included 128,577 Koreans without hypertension. They were grouped in quartiles according to body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), visceral adipose index (VAI), and CVAI values. The Cox proportional hazard assumption was used to evaluate the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for incident hypertension (adjusted HR [95% CI]) according to quartile level across a follow-up period of 6.9 years. Subgroup analyses were conducted by gender and obesity. The area under the curve was calculated to compare the predictive abilities of all indices (BMI, WC, VAI, and CVAI) for incident hypertension.
RESULTS
The CVAI was proportionally associated with the risk of hypertension in all participants (quartile 1: reference; quartile 2: 1.71 [95% CI, 1.59 to 1.82]; quartile 3: 2.41 [95% CI, 2.25 to 2.58]; and quartile 4: 3.46 [95% CI, 3.23 to 3.71]). Time dependent receiver operating characteristic curve analysis indicated that the CVAI was superior to BMI, WC, and VAI in predicting hypertension at the 2-year, 4-year, 6-year, and 8-year follow-ups. This finding was also observed in the gender and obesity subgroups. The predictive ability of the CVAI was greater in the women and non-obese subgroups than in the men and obese subgroups.
CONCLUSIONS
The CVAI was a stronger predictor of hypertension than BMI, WC, and VAI.
Summary
Korean summary
고혈압은 심혈관 질환의 주요 원인이다. 내장 지방은 비만에서 고혈압의 병태 생리에 중요한 역할을 한다. 최근의 연구는 Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI)가 다른 비만 지표 보다 아시아 인에서 심혈관 질환의 고 위험군을 더욱 잘 구분해 낸다는 것을 보고하였다. 우리는 체질량 지수, 허리 둘레, visceral adiposity index, CVAI의 고혈압에 대한 예측력을 비교 하였다. 우리의 연구는 CVAI가 고혈압을 예측하는데 있어 다른 지표 보다 우월하다는 것을 보여주었다.
Key Message
Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is known that visceral adiposity has an important role in the pathogenesis of hypertension in obesity. Recent studies have demonstrated that Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI) is more discriminative the high risk group for cardiovascular disease in Asians than other obesity indices. We compared the predictive ability for the development hypertension among body mass index, waist circumference, visceral adiposity index, and CVAI. Our study showed that CVAI is superior to predict hypertension than other indices.
Influence of practice location on prescribing, diabetes care, and colorectal cancer screening among Czech general practitioners during the COVID-19 pandemic
Jan Bělobrádek, Luděk Šídlo, Tom Philipp
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024033.   Published online February 23, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024033
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The provision of primary health care was not interrupted during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Czechia, although the capacity and resources of providers changed. We examined how the pandemic affected individual general practices throughout 2017-2021, focusing on differences between urban and rural practices.
METHODS
We analysed data from the largest health insurance company in Czechia, which provides care to 4.5 million people (60% of the population). We evaluated the prescription volume, diabetes care procedures, and faecal immunochemical test (FIT) in preventive care and new pandemic-related procedures (remote consultations, testing, and vaccinations). For the spatial distribution of practices, we adapted the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development typology.
RESULTS
We observed minimal declines in 2020 in the rate of prescribing (-1.0%) and diabetes care (-5.1%), with a rapid resumption in 2021, but a substantial decline in FIT (-17.8% in 2020) with slow resumption. Remote consultations were used by 94% of all practices regardless of location, with testing and vaccinations more commonly performed by rural general practitioners (GPs).
CONCLUSIONS
Primary care in Czechia rose to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, as shown by the finding that the volume of healthcare services provided through primary care did not decrease across most of the monitored parameters. This study also confirmed that rural GPs provide more care in-house, both in terms of prescribing and procedures performed in their practices. Future studies will need to focus on preventive care, which the pandemic has dampened in GP practices in Czechia.
Summary
Key Message
Primary care in Czechia has effectively adapted to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minimal impact was observed in prescribtions and diabetic patient care. There was a significant decline in colorectal cancer screening, with a slow restitution after the pandemic subsided. Rural GPs consistently provided in-house treatment and have higher shares of both prescribing and diabetes care, as well as performing more COVID-19 specific procedures.
Brief Communication
Assessing the impact and implications of the revised Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Crimes in preventing child traffic injuries in school zones in Korea: an interrupted time series analysis
Hong Jin Ku, Jin-Hwan Kim, Young June Choe, Seung Ah Choe, Mark R. Zonfrillo
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024032.   Published online February 21, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024032
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
In 2019, a child’s death in Korea led to legislation that imposed stricter penalties for school zone traffic violations. We assessed the impact of that legislation using 2017-2022 Traffic Accident Analysis System data. Adjusted analyses revealed a significant decline in severe injuries in school zones, decreasing from 11 cases to 8 cases per month (p=0.017). The legislation correlated with a reduced risk of all child traffic injuries (risk ratio, 0.987; 95% confidence interval, 0.977 to 0.997; p=0.002), indicating its efficacy in curbing accidents.
Summary
Korean summary
2019년 민식이법 도입 후 소아 교통사고에 미치는 영향을 평가하고자 하였다. 2017-2022 교통사고 분석 시스템 데이터를 통해 그 효과를 평가했고, 학군지역에서 심각한 부상이 월 평균 11건에서 8건으로 감소했다(p=0.017). 또한, 모든 어린이 교통사고 위험 비율도 감소했고(risk ratio, 0.987, 95% CI, 0.977-0.997; p=0.002), 사고 예방에 효과적임을 입증했다. 이 연구는 학군지역 어린이 안전에 법 조치의 긍정적 영향을 강조하며, 지속적인 도로 안전 강화의 중요성을 강조한다.
Key Message
Revised legislation in Korea, following a child’s tragic death, enforced stricter penalties for school zone traffic violations. Analysis of 2017-2022 data showed a significant decrease in severe injuries from 11 to 8 cases monthly (p=0.017). The legislation also reduced the risk of all child traffic injuries (risk ratio, 0.987; 95% CI, 0.977 to 0.997; p=0.002), demonstrating its effectiveness in preventing accidents. This study underscores the legislation’s positive impact on child safety in school zones, emphasizing the importance of ongoing enforcement efforts for road safety.
Original Articles
Association of insomnia and daytime napping with metabolic syndrome and its components in a Korean population: an analysis of data from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study
Da-Been Lee, Dae-Wui Yoon, Inkyung Baik
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024031.   Published online February 20, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024031
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
We investigated the association between metabolic syndrome (MetS) and the coexistence of insomnia and daytime napping, because limited data have been reported regarding this association.
METHODS
The study population was 8,440 participants aged 40-65 years, who were from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. Self-reported information on insomnia symptoms and nap duration was used to define exposure variables. Data on waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP), and fasting blood glucose (FBG), triglyceride (TG), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in blood were used to define MetS. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to obtain odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI).
RESULTS
In multivariate logistic regression analysis, the coexistence of insomnia and napping was not significantly associated with MetS. However, the insomnia and non-napping group showed higher ORs of high TG (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.02 to 1.39) and high BP (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.49) than the non-insomnia and non-napping group. The combination of non-insomnia and napping and that of insomnia and napping showed higher ORs of high TG (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.29) and high FBG (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.14 to 2.21), respectively. In analyses of insomnia symptoms, only the combination of difficulty in maintaining sleep (DMS) and non-napping showed a higher OR for MetS (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.52) than the non-DMS and non-napping group.
CONCLUSIONS
Individuals with insomnia, particularly those who do not take naps, were disproportionately likely to have MetS components, especially TG or BP. Information on these variables may help predict individuals’ vulnerability to specific MetS components.
Summary
Korean summary
- 불면증과 대사증후군 구성요소와의 유의한 연관성은 낮잠의 유무에 따라 달라진다. - 낮잠을 자지 않는 불면증 환자는 대사증후군의 구성요소 중 특히 고중성지방이나 고혈압의 위험성이 높아진다.
Key Message
• The significant association of insomnia with MetS components varies with the presence or absence of napping. • Individuals with insomnia who do not take naps were likely to have MetS components, especially TG or BP.
Impact of electronic cigarette use on the increased risk of diabetes: the Korean Community Health Survey
Wonseok Jeong, Seungju Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024029.   Published online February 13, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024029
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Only a few studies have solely investigated the health impacts of electronic cigarettes on diabetes while considering the impact of conventional cigarettes. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the effect of electronic cigarette smoking on diabetes in Korean dual smokers, electronic cigarette smokers, conventional cigarette smokers, and non-smokers.
METHODS
Data were obtained from the 2021 and 2022 Korean Community Health Surveys of 460,603 Korean adults. The main independent variable was smoking behavior. Participants were categorized according to their smoking behavior, as dual smokers, electronic cigarette smokers, conventional cigarette smokers, and non-smokers. The dependent variable, the presence of diabetes, was defined by a doctor’s diagnosis. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between smoking behavior and diabetes. Subgroup analyses were also performed to investigate the associations among different socioeconomic groups.
RESULTS
Conventional cigarette smokers had a higher risk of diabetes than did non-smokers (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19 to 1.26). More importantly, those who only vaped electronic cigarettes were at high risk of diabetes (aOR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.31). Lastly, dual smokers had the highest aOR for diabetes among other smoking behavior groups (aOR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.22 to 1.58). Dual smoking was associated with the highest risk of diabetes in most subgroups.
CONCLUSIONS
This study suggests that conventional cigarette use and smoking electronic cigarettes negatively impact diabetes, and using both types leads to worse health outcomes. Therefore, cessation of all types of smoking is necessary for a healthy life.
Summary
Korean summary
이 연구는 한국의 이중 흡연자, 전자담배 흡연자, 일반 담배 흡연자 및 비흡연자들 사이에서 전자담배가 당뇨병에 미치는 영향을 조사하였다. 데이터는 460,603명의 한국 성인을 대상으로 한 2021년과 2022년 한국 지역사회 건강 조사를 사용하였다. 우리는 일반 담배나 전자담배 사용이 당뇨병에 부정적인 영향을 미친다는 것을 발견했으며, 두 가지를 함께 사용하면 건강 상태가 더욱 악화될 수 있다. 이에, 건강한 삶을 유지하기 위해서는 모든 형태의 흡연을 중단하는 것이 필수적이다.
Key Message
This study investigated how smoking electronic cigarettes affects diabetes among Korean dual smokers, electronic cigarette smokers, conventional cigarette smokers, and non-smokers. Data were obtained from the 2021 and 2022 Korean Community Health Surveys of 460,603 Korean adults. We found that using traditional cigarettes or electronic cigarettes adversely affects diabetes, and the combined use of both can lead to worse health outcomes. Therefore, quitting all forms of smoking is essential for maintaining a healthy life.
Associations of active and passive tobacco exposure with elevated blood pressure in Korean adolescents
Hyerin Park, Hyunsuk Jeong, Hyeon Woo Yim, Sanghyuk Bae
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024028.   Published online February 13, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024028
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
To test the hypothesis that tobacco exposure is associated with elevated blood pressure (EBP) in Korean adolescents, and that the association is dose dependent.
METHODS
This cross-sectional study used data from the 2011-2020 Korea National Health and Nutrition Survey (KNHANES). Subjects were eligible if they were 13-18 years at the time of participation in KNHANES. Tobacco exposure was defined by urine cotinine level. The main outcomes were EBP and hypertension. Statistical analyses were conducted using SAS version 9.4 with appropriate sampling weights to account for the complex survey design, stratification, and cluster variable.
RESULTS
A total of 2,518 adolescents was included in the analysis, representing 2.5 million Korean adolescents. The mean± standard deviation participant age was 15.3±1.7 years, and 55.3% were male. The number of participants with active tobacco smoke exposure was 283 (11.2%), passive tobacco smoke exposure was 145 (5.8%), and no smoke exposure was 2,090 (83.0%). Analysis of the 2,518 urine-cotinine-verified participants showed that tobacco smoke exposure had a significant effect on EBP: with an odds of elevated blood pressure of 3.00 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 7.89). The odds of hypertension were 3.61 (95% CI, 1.13 to 11.49) in the active smoking group compared with the no tobacco exposure group after adjustment for potential confounders.
CONCLUSIONS
It is necessary to present a range of public health plans to reduce tobacco exposure that affects adolescents’ blood pressure, and further research with a larger number of participants using urine cotinine as a biomarker is needed.
Summary
Korean summary
청소년기의 고혈압은 성인기의 다양한 질병을 초래할 수 있는 주요 원인이다. 흡연과 고혈압의 관계에 관한 다수의 연구들이 있으나 상반된 결과들이 보고되었고 국내 청소년의 직 간접적 담배 연기 노출과 혈압과의 연관성은 명확하게 밝혀지지 않았다. 따라서 본 연구에서는 한국 청소년에서 담배 연기 노출과 혈압 상승과의 연관성을 확인해 보고자 하였다. 연구 결과 직접 흡연을 하는 청소년들은 비흡연군에 비하여 3배 이상 혈압이 증가하는 것으로 나타났다.
Key Message
Hypertension during adolescence is a leading cause of disease in adults. The relationship between smoking and hypertension has been studied, but findings between studies are conflicting. Nicotine is a known toxin, but the relationship between active and passive smoking and blood pressure in adolescents is not clear. So that we tested and found adolescents in Korea who were active smokers showed over 3-fold increased risk of elevated blood pressure.
Mediating effect of lower extremity muscle on the relationship between obesity and osteoarthritis in middle-aged and elderly women in Korea: based on the 2009-2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Minjun Kim, Joonwoong Kim, Inhwan Lee
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024027.   Published online February 2, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024027
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study investigated whether the lower extremity muscle mass index (LMI) mediates the relationship between general obesity, central obesity, and knee osteoarthritis in middle-aged and elderly women in Korea.
METHODS
Data of 2,843 women aged ≥50 years were collected from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between 2009 and 2011. General obesity and central obesity were evaluated based on body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), calculated through anthropometric measurements and body composition assessments. LMI was calculated by dividing the muscle mass in both legs—measured using the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry—by body weight. Knee osteoarthritis was defined as a Kellgren-Lawrence scale (KL) grade of ≥2 as assessed through radiographic images.
RESULTS
Knee osteoarthritis prevalence, indicated by KL grades, was significantly higher in the general obesity and central obesity groups compared to the normal group, and conversely, lower with varying LMI levels. Using mediation analysis with bootstrapping and adjusting for covariates, we found that LMI mediated the relationship between BMI and KL (β, 0.005; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.000 to 0.010) and WC and KL grade (β, 0.002; 95% CI, 0.001 to 0.003), explaining 4.8% and 6.7% of the total effects of BMI and WC on KL grade, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS
The study suggested that LMI partially mediates the link between general obesity and/or central obesity and knee osteoarthritis, proposing that a higher proportion of lower limb muscle mass relative to body weight can alleviate the increased risk of knee osteoarthritis caused by obesity.
Summary
Korean summary
본 연구는 한국의 50세 이상 여성들을 대상으로 비만 및 복부비만과 무릎골관절염의 관계에 대한 다리근육비율의 매개 효과를 분석한 결과, 다리근육비율은 비만의 진단하는 사용되는 체질량지수, 복부비만의 진단에 사용되는 허리둘레와 무릎 골관절염의 진단에 사용되는 KL등급의 관계를 부분적으로 매개하는 것으로 나타났다. 이러한 결과는 다리근육의 강화가 비만 및 복부비만으로 인한 무릎골관절염의 위험을 완화할 수 있음을 시사하며, 건강한 생활습관과 규칙적인 근력운동의 병행을 통해 다리 근육을 강화하는 것이 무릎 골관절염의 예방을 위한 전략으로 권장되어야 함을 시사한다.
Key Message
Research examining the mediating effect of lower extremity muscle mass on the relationships of knee osteoarthritis to general and central obesity is scarce. Herein, we demonstrate the mediating effect of lean mass index on the relationships of knee osteoarthritis with body mass index and waist circumference in Korean women aged 50 years or older. We propose that strengthening leg muscles may mitigate, to some extent, the risk of knee osteoarthritis associated with general and central obesity. We recommend a regimen for strengthening leg muscles through healthy lifestyle habits and regular strength training, in conjunction with weight and abdominal fat management.
Adherence to the American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer survivors and biomarkers of inflammation among breast cancer survivors
Minji Kang, Sihan Song, Hyun Jeong Cho, Zisun Kim, Hyun Jo Youn, Jihyoung Cho, Jun Won Min, Yoo Seok Kim, Sang-Woon Choi, Jung Eun Lee
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024026.   Published online January 25, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024026
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study investigated whether adherence to the overall lifestyle recommendations in the American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer survivors was associated with inflammation in breast cancer survivors.
METHODS
The study included 409 women who had undergone breast cancer surgery at least 1 year before enrollment. A generalized linear model was used to estimate the least square means and 95% confidence intervals of plasma levels of inflammatory markers according to lifestyle factors defined in terms of adherence to the ACS guidelines.
RESULTS
Higher overall adherence scores were associated with lower levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) (p for trend=0.015) and higher levels of adiponectin (p for trend=0.009). Similar significant associations of hs-CRP (p for trend= 0.004) and adiponectin (p for trend=0.010) levels were observed with the score for the body mass index (BMI) component of the adherence score. A higher diet component score was associated with a higher adiponectin level (p for trend=0.020), but there was no significant association for the physical activity component score.
CONCLUSIONS
The present study’s findings suggest that maintaining a healthy lifestyle according to the ACS guidelines was associated with beneficial effects on inflammatory marker levels, especially hs-CRP and adiponectin, among breast cancer survivors. Among the 3 components of lifestyle guidelines, the BMI component exhibited the most similar tendency to the overall adherence score in relation to inflammatory indicators. Further prospective and intervention studies are needed to investigate longitudinal associations between lifestyle factors and inflammatory markers among breast cancer survivors.
Summary
Korean summary
- 한국인 유방암 생존자를 대상으로 한 연구에서, 암 생존자를 위한 영양 및 신체 활동에 관한 미국암협회 (American Cancer Society, ACS) 지침을 따라 건강한 생활 습관을 유지하는 것이 혈중 염증 마커 수준, 특히 낮은 hs-CRP와 높은 adiponectin 수준과 관련이 있었습니다. - 체질량지수 (Body Mass Index, BMI)를 적절한 수준 (18.5-23 kg/m²)으로 유지하는 것은 낮은 hs- CRP 수준과 높은 adiponectin 수준과 관련이 있는 것으로 나타났습니다. - 또한, 과일, 야채 및 통곡물이 풍부하고 적색육 및 가공육을 적게 섭취하는 건강한 식단은 혈중 adiponectin 수치가 높은 것과 관련이 있었습니다.
Public holidays increased the transmission of COVID-19 in Japan, 2020-2021: a mathematical modelling study
Jiaying Qiao, Hiroshi Nishiura
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024025.   Published online January 22, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024025
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Although the role of specific holidays in modifying transmission dynamics of infectious diseases has received some research attention, the epidemiological impact of public holidays on the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains unclear.
METHODS
To assess the extent of increased transmission frequency during public holidays, we collected COVID-19 incidence and mobility data in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi, and Osaka from February 15, 2020 to September 30, 2021. Models linking the estimated effective reproduction number (Rt) with raw or adjusted mobility, public holidays, and the state of emergency declaration were developed. The best-fit model included public holidays as an essential input variable, and was used to calculate counterfactuals of Rt in the absence of holidays.
RESULTS
During public holidays, on average, Rt increased by 5.71%, 3.19%, 4.84%, and 24.82% in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi, and Osaka, respectively, resulting in a total increase of 580 (95% confidence interval [CI], 213 to 954), 2,209 (95% CI, 1,230 to 3,201), 1,086 (95% CI, 478 to 1,686), and 5,211 (95% CI, 4,554 to 5,867) cases that were attributable to the impact of public holidays.
CONCLUSIONS
Public holidays intensified the transmission of COVID-19, highlighting the importance of considering public holidays in designing appropriate public health and social measures in the future.
Summary
Key Message
• The number of COVID-19 cases increased during public holidays in Japan. • The increase may have occurred because of elevated mobility rate and altered contact behaviours. • The effect of holidays varied by prefecture in Japan.
Comparison of all-cause mortality associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease in Taiwan MJ cohort
Wei-Chun Cheng, Hua-Fen Chen, Hsiu-Chi Cheng, Chung-Yi Li
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024024.   Published online January 21, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024024
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The global burden of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rising. An alternative term, metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), instead highlights the associated metabolic risks. This cohort study examined patient classifications under NAFLD and MAFLD criteria and their associations with all-cause mortality.
METHODS
Participants who attended a paid health check-up (2012-2015) were included. Hepatic steatosis (HS) was diagnosed ultrasonographically. NAFLD was defined as HS without secondary causes, while MAFLD involved HS with overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, or ≥2 metabolic dysfunctions. Mortality was tracked via the Taiwan Death Registry until November 30, 2022.
RESULTS
Of 118,915 participants, 36.9% had NAFLD, 40.2% had MAFLD, and 32.9% met both definitions. Participants with NAFLD alone had lower mortality, and those with MAFLD alone had higher mortality, than individuals with both conditions. After adjustment for potential confounders, the hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause mortality were 1.08 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 to 1.48) for NAFLD alone and 1.26 (95% CI, 1.09 to 1.47) for MAFLD alone, relative to both conditions. Advanced fibrosis conferred greater mortality risk, with HRs of 1.93 (95% CI, 1.44 to 2.58) and 2.08 (95% CI, 1.61 to 2.70) for advanced fibrotic NAFLD and MAFLD, respectively. Key mortality risk factors for NAFLD and MAFLD included older age, unmarried status, higher body mass index, smoking, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and advanced fibrosis.
CONCLUSIONS
All-cause mortality in NAFLD and/or MAFLD was linked to cardiometabolic covariates, with risk attenuated after multivariable adjustment. A high fibrosis-4 index score, indicating fibrosis, could identify fatty liver disease cases involving elevated mortality risk.
Summary
Association between dietary and behavioral-based oxidative balance score and phenotypic age acceleration: a cross-sectional study of Americans
Dongzhe Wu, Yulin Shen, Chaoyi Qu, Peng Huang, Xue Geng, Jianhong Zhang, Zhijian Rao, Qiangman Wei, Shijie Liu, Jiexiu Zhao
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024023.   Published online January 18, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024023
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
In light of the rise in the global aging population, this study investigated the potential of the oxidative balance score (OBS) as an indicator of phenotypic age acceleration (PhenoAgeAccel) to better understand and potentially slow down aging.
METHODS
Utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected between 2001 and 2010, including 13,142 United States adults (48.7% female and 51.2% male) aged 20 and above, OBS and PhenoAgeAccel were calculated. Weighted generalized linear regression models were employed to explore the associations between OBS and PhenoAgeAccel, including a sex-specific analysis.
RESULTS
The OBS demonstrated significant variability across various demographic and health-related factors. There was a clear negative correlation observed between the higher OBS quartiles and PhenoAgeAccel, which presented sex-specific results: the negative association between OBS and PhenoAgeAccel was more pronounced in male than in female. An analysis using restricted cubic splines revealed no significant non-linear relationships. Interaction effects were noted solely in the context of sex and hyperlipidemia.
CONCLUSIONS
A higher OBS was significantly associated with a slower aging process, as measured by lower PhenoAgeAccel. These findings underscore the importance of OBS as a biomarker in the study of aging and point to sex and hyperlipidemia as variables that may affect this association. Additional research is required to confirm these results and to investigate the biological underpinnings of this relationship.
Summary
Key Message
• The study found a significant negative correlation between the oxidative balance score (OBS) and phenotypic age acceleration (PhenoAgeAccel), with higher OBS associated with slower biological aging. This association was more pronounced in males, and significant in individuals with high cholesterol. • OBS can serve as an effective biomarker for studying the aging process and its association with lifestyle and dietary factors.

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  • Association of oxidative balance score with chronic kidney disease: NHANES 1999-2018
    Haibin Wen, Xianhua Li, Jiangming Chen, Yi Li, Nailong Yang, Ning Tan
    Frontiers in Endocrinology.2024;[Epub]     CrossRef
The effect of public hospital closure on the death of long-term inpatients in Korea
Taeuk Kang, Minsung Sohn, Changwoo Shon
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024022.   Published online January 17, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024022
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study aimed to examine the changes in health outcomes and the patterns of medical institution utilization among patients with long-term stays in public hospitals following the closure of a public medical center. It also sought to present a proposal regarding the role of public hospitals in countries with healthcare systems predominantly driven by private entities, such as Korea.
METHODS
To assess the impact of a public healthcare institution closure on health outcomes in a specific region, we utilized nationally representative health insurance claims data. A retrospective cohort study was conducted for this analysis.
RESULTS
An analysis of the medical utilization patterns of patients after the closure of Jinju Medical Center showed that 67.4% of the total medical usage was redirected to long-term care hospitals. This figure is notably high in comparison to the 20% utilization rate of nursing hospitals observed among patients from other medical facilities. These results indicate that former patients of Jinju Medical Center may have experienced limitations in accessing necessary medical services beyond nursing care. After accounting for relevant mortality factors, the analysis showed that the mortality rate in closed public hospitals was 2.47 (95% confidence interval, 0.85 to 0.96) times higher than in private hospitals.
CONCLUSIONS
The closure of public medical institutions has resulted in unmet healthcare needs, and an observed association was observed with increased mortality rates. It is essential to define the role and objectives of public medical institutions, taking into account the distribution of healthcare resources and the conditions of the population.
Summary
Korean summary
본 연구는 사회보험제도를 기반으로 하고 있는 한국의 상황에서 지방의 공공의료기관 폐쇄가 환자들의 건강에 어떠한 영향을 미쳤는지를 확인하고자 국민건강보험 청구자료를 기반으로 후향적코호트 자료를 구축하여 분석을 시행하였다. 연구결과 장기 입원 환자의 67.4%가 장기요양병원을 의료를 이용하였고, 이는 비교집단의 장기요양 이용비율인 20% 수준보다 3배 가량 높은 수치로, 의료이용에 일부 제약이 발생하였을 가능성을 시사하는 것이다. 폐업 후 1년 이내 사망률을 비교한 결과, 인근지역 내 민간병원 환자와 비교하여 공공의료기관 입원환자의 사망확률은 2.67배였고, 의료급여 수급권자들의 사망확률은 고소득 5분위에 비해 2.24배 높은 것으로 나타났다.
Key Message
Even in Korea's healthcare system with high medical accessibility, adverse health impacts have been observed due to the closure of public healthcare institutions. Systematic policy development is necessary to evaluate essential medical service provision and allocate medical resources comprehensively.
Associations of depressive symptoms with lower extremity function and balance in Korean older adults
Bong Jo Kim, Kyupin Ha, Hyun Soo Kim, Hye Ran Bae, Minkook Son
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024021.   Published online January 15, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024021
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The relationship of depressive symptoms to lower extremity function and balance, especially in older adults without a depression diagnosis, remains unclear. Therefore, our study analyzed this relationship using a large sample of Korean older adults.
METHODS
We used data from the Korean National Health Insurance Service’s Health Screening Program database. Individuals aged 66 years who had undergone the National Screening Program for Transitional Ages in Korea and were without a diagnosis of depressive disorder were included. The lower extremity function and balance were evaluated using 2 physical tests, while depressive symptoms were assessed using a 3-question survey. Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between depressive symptoms and lower extremity function and balance.
RESULTS
Among 66,041 individuals, those with depressive symptoms showed significantly higher rates of abnormal lower extremity function and abnormal balance. The adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of depressive symptoms to abnormal lower extremity function and abnormal balance were (aOR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.25 to 1.44) and (aOR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.29 to 1.48), respectively. Assessment of the relationship based on depressive symptom scores revealed that higher scores were associated with higher aORs (p for trend <0.001). Subgroup analyses further confirmed this relationship, especially among patients with cerebrovascular disease or dementia.
CONCLUSIONS
This study revealed an association between depressive symptoms and the abnormal lower extremity function and balance of 66-year-old individuals without a diagnosis of depressive disorder.
Summary

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health