Research Output

Is Population Density Associated with Non-Communicable Disease in Western Developed Countries? A Systematic Review

  Over the last three decades, researchers have investigated population density and health outcomes at differing scale. There has not been a systematic review conducted in order to synthesise this evidence. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) guidelines, we systematically reviewed quantitative evidence published since 1990 on population density and non-communicable disease (NCD) within Westernised countries. Fifty-four studies met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated utilising a quality assessment tool for ecological studies. High population density appears to be associated with higher mortality rates of a range of cancers, cardiovascular disease and COPD, and a higher incidence of a range of cancers, asthma and club foot. In contrast, diabetes incidence was found to be associated with low population density. High and low population density are therefore risk markers for a range of NCDs, indicating that there are unidentified factors and mechanisms underlying aetiology. On closer examination, our synthesis revealed important and complex relationships between population density, the built environment, the nature of greenspace and man-made exposures. In light of increasing rates of morbidity and mortality, future research is required to investigate these associations in order to establish causative agents for each NCD.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    24 February 2022

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • Publisher

    MDPI AG

  • DOI:

    10.3390/ijerph19052638

  • Cross Ref:

    10.3390/ijerph19052638

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

Carnegie, E. R., Inglis, G., Taylor, A., Bak-Klimek, A., & Okoye, O. (2022). Is Population Density Associated with Non-Communicable Disease in Western Developed Countries? A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(5), https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052638

Authors

Keywords

population density; environmental health; non-communicable disease; health inequalities; built environment and social environments; urban; rural environments; environmental pollution

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