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Schneider, Alexandra; Rueckerl, Regina; Standl, Marie; Markevych, Iana; Hoffmann, Barbara; Moebus, Susanne; Joeckel, Karl-Heinz; Weber, Alisa; Herr, Caroline; Heissenhuber, Annette; Nennstiel-Ratzel, Uta; Heinze, Stefanie; Schulz, Christine; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike; Niemann, Hildegard; Goesswald, Antje; Schikowski, Tamara; Huels, Anke; Sugiri, Dorothee; Peters, Annette (2018): Epidemiologische Studien mit Umweltbezug in Deutschland. In: Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz, Vol. 61, No. 6: pp. 697-709
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Abstract

Our environment is a major factor in determining health and well-being throughout life, from conception into old age. This overview illustrates the most important epidemiological studies and health monitoring systems in Germany, which investigate environmental influences in various population subgroups and estimate related health effects. Environmental factors examined in each study are described. The mentioned studies in children and adults build the basis for predictions and preventive measures. The number of the assessed environmental factors, the depth of the examinations as well as the (phenotypical) characterization of the study participants differ. Still, the obtained data build a base for important future research. However, for this, a permanent and Germany-wide assessment of environmental factors is necessary. The proportion of the European population living in urban areas is projected to increase in the future. Therefore, environmental factors such as air pollution, air temperature, and noise, but also social inequality, are likely to have a negative effect on health and quality of life of the population. The challenge of the aging population as well as potential adaptation processes to the diverse environmental stimuli requires multidisciplinary approaches. From an environmental epidemiology view, the collected data from the described studies are of immense value because only with this data can associations between environment and health be investigated and public health-relevant preventive measures be identified. The NAKO health study will be the largest resource of health data and should therefore be included in future activities related to the investigation of environmental health effects in Germany.