The Critical Role of Compliance in Delivering Health Gains from Environmental Health Interventions

Joe Brown Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

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Michael A. L. Hayashi University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan;

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Joseph N. S. Eisenberg University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan;

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Gains in reducing childhood disease burden rely heavily on effective means of preventing environmental exposures. For many environmental health interventions, such as point-of-use water treatment, sanitation, or cookstoves, exposures are strongly influenced by user behaviors and the degree to which participants adhere to the prescribed preventive measures. In this commentary, we articulate the need for increased attention on user behaviors—critically, the careful measurement and inclusion of compliance—to strengthen exposure assessment and health impact trials in environmental health intervention research. We focus here on water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions to illustrate the problem with the understanding that this issue extends to other environmental health interventions.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Joseph N. S. Eisenberg, University of Michigan School of Public Health, SPH I, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail: jnse@umich.edu

Authors’ addresses: Joseph N. S. Eisenberg, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, E-mail: jnse@umich.edu. Michael A. L. Hayashi, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI, E-mail: mhayash@umich.edu. Joseph Brown, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: joe.brown@ce.gatech.edu.

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