Earth Observation: Investigating Noncommunicable Diseases from Space

Peng Jia, Alfred Stein, Peter James, Ross C. Brownson, Tong Wu, Qian Xiao, Limin Wang, Clive E. Sabel, Youfa Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations has called on all nations to take immediate actions to fight noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which have become an increasingly significant burden to public health systems around the world. NCDs tend to be more common in developed countries but are also becoming of growing concern in low- and middle-income countries. Earth observation (EO) technologies have been used in many infectious disease studies but have been less commonly employed in NCD studies. This review discusses the roles that EO data and technologies can play in NCD research, including (a) integrating natural and built environment factors into NCD research, (b) explaining individual-environment interactions, (c) scaling up local studies and interventions, (d) providing repeated measurements for longitudinal studies including cohorts, and (e) advancing methodologies in NCD research. Such extensions hold great potential for overcoming the challenges of inaccurate and infrequent measurements of environmental exposure at the level of both the individual and the population, which is of great importance to NCD research, practice, and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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