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Doody ReviewsReviewer: Jennifer G Robinson, MD, MPH (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
Description: This is a much needed new edition of a book on chronic disease epidemiology, prevention, and control that was last updated 12 years ago.
Purpose: Chronic diseases are common in our wealthy, sedentary, and aging society and the leading driver of rising healthcare costs in the U.S. This book provides up-to-date information about the leading causes of chronic diseases, conditions, and risk factors, with a focus on the U.S. It is intended to support a broad range of chronic disease control activities, and serve as a quick reference guide for students or practicing health professionals who need to locate critical background information and/or develop intervention. The book fulfills the authors' objectives of providing a concise overview of the current knowledge and evidence-based practices for chronic disease prevention and control.
Audience: The authors intend the book for two main audiences: professionals involved in the practice and teaching of chronic disease epidemiology and prevention, and students in beginning and advanced public health courses. Although aimed primarily at North American audiences, much of the information is intended to be applicable to those in other developed or developing countries. The book does an excellent job of meeting the needs of these audiences. The three editors are leading experts in chronic disease epidemiology, and both Drs. Remington and Brownson were editors of the second edition. They have invited authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and leading schools of public health across the U.S. to contribute to this edition.
Features: Section 1 is an overview of current issues, challenges, and methods in chronic disease prevention and control. Section 2 addresses the four main lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease: tobacco, diet, physical activity, and alcohol use. Section 3 discusses the four main biological risk factors for chronic disease: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Finally, section 4 describes the significance, pathophysiology, epidemiology, and risk factors for the major chronic diseases, and each chapter includes a discussion of prevention and control measures specific to that disease as well as examples of evidence-based interventions and areas for future research. Pertinent figures and tables enhance main points, illustrating important concepts such as time trends, geographic distributions, and differences in the various subgroups of the population including sex, age, and race/ethnicity. References are extensive. The most notable shortcoming of this book is a lack of a comparison of the impact of the various chronic diseases as causes of mortality as well as burden of disease in terms of incidence, prevalence, disability, and healthcare costs. As an expert in cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention, I found the discussion of nontraditional cardiovascular risk factors out of date, and was surprised that there is no mention of currently recommended methods for cardiovascular risk stratification, including Framingham risk scoring. There is almost no discussion of evidence-based recommendations for primary and secondary prevention treatments, which is concerning since these treatments are responsible for a 25% reduction in cardiovascular mortality over the past five years.
Assessment: An updated edition of this book has been needed for many years. Much of the information in the second edition was very out of date, precluding its use as a chronic disease epidemiology textbook. No other book is available for use as a reference on basic epidemiology and risk factors for chronic disease. Given the scope of the material and space limitations for addressing chronic diseases in detail, this book fulfills its mission. I look forward to using most of its chapters as foundation readings for my course in Chronic Disease Epidemiology.