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Am J Public Health. 1999 Aug;89(8):1206-11.

Frequency of policy recommendations in epidemiologic publications.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. 21205-2179, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and character of policy statements in epidemiologic reports.


The first author followed a standardized protocol and reviewed a random sample of articles selected from the American Journal of Epidemiology, Annals of Epidemiology, and Epidemiology. The second author reviewed all articles with policy statements and a 10% sample without such statements.


Overall, 23.8% of the articles contained policy statements. Annals of Epidemiology and the American Journal of Epidemiology had similar frequencies of articles with policy statements (30% and 26.7%, respectively), while Epidemiology evidenced the lowest frequency (8.3%). The majority of policy statements (55%) pertained to public health practice; 27.5% involved clinical practice, and the remainder (17.5%) focused on corporate policies, regulatory actions, or undefined arenas. The frequency of policy statements differed according to first author's affiliation, type of publication, area of research, research design, and study population.


Although a minority of publications included policy statements, the inclusion of a statement seemed to be influenced by specific study characteristics.

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