BioMed Central has recently returned from APHA 2012, the 140th meeting of the American Public Health Association and the oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world. Held in San Francisco, this year’s theme – prevention and wellness across the life span – highlighted the importance of shifting approaches to health towards ones that focus on wellness across all stages of life. Featured plenary sessions explored issues relating to the climate crisis, environmental disasters, health department accreditation, health equity and healthcare reform. One of 600 exhibitors, BioMed Central had the opportunity to boast its wide range of public health, international health and health services research journals including BMC Public Health, BMC International Health and Human Rights and BMC Health Services Research.
We were delighted to see a broad range of talks and sessions, including those presented by some of our Editorial Board Members, including Carl Latkin (Section Editor, BMC Public Health), Sanjay Basu (Associate Editor, BMC Public Health), Sudha Xirasagar (Associate Editor, BMC Health Services Research) and Ruoling Chen (Associate Editor, BMC Public Health). Dr Basu gave an interesting talk entitled ‘Manufacturing Epidemics: The role of global food producers in global cardiovascular disease and diabetes epidemics’ where he pointed out that, within a decade, low and middle income countries (LMICs) have achieved the same penetration of packaged foods as that in high income countries; that there has been an entrance of unhealthy products in LMICs and an emergence of diabetes in these countries. He also discussed how research shows that type 2 diabetes exists without obesity in LMICs whereas, in high income countries, diabetes is almost always present in obesity. There is a growing burden of non-communicable diseases in the developing world which now exceeds that in high-income countries. Non communicable diseases are still widely perceived as diseases of affluence and not therefore public health priorities for LMICs but this is now changing.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my utmost appreciation to Omar Khan, Section Editor of BMC Public Health’s Global Health section who is currently featured on the journal’s homepage, for his advocacy work for the journal at the conference.