Silvia Regina Dias Medici Saldiva from the Instituto de Saúde in Brazil will determine whether and which physical, social and cultural aspects of urban environments can increase the incidence of preterm birth. Prematurity is a major cause of childhood mortality and disability, and levels are high in Brazil. Preterm birth is likely caused by combinations of factors that, particularly in urban locales, might include environmental factors such as the quality of housing, proximity to health facilities and pollution levels, which then interact with social and cultural factors. They will identify spatial clusters of premature births from 2012 in the city of São Paulo to define suitable regions for performing case-control studies. The studies will involve face-to-face interviews at selected households by trained interviewers to assess environmental and social factors such as income, education, health and sanitation. These data will be supplemented with available or modeled meterological and pollutant data, and data from tree rings, which can provide climate information as well as levels of toxins. They will then perform hierarchical modeling to identify environmental factors associated with preterm births.
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