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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jun 26;12(7):7220-34. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120707220.

The Construction and Validation of the Heat Vulnerability Index, a Review.

Bao J1, Li X2, Yu C3,4.

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School of Public Health, Wuhan University, 115 Donghu Road, Wuhan 430071, China.
Office of Epidemiology, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 155 Changbai Road, Changping District, Beijing 102206, China.
School of Public Health, Wuhan University, 115 Donghu Road, Wuhan 430071, China.
Global Health Institute, Wuhan University, 115 Donghu Road, Wuhan 430071, China.


The occurrence of extreme heat and its adverse effects will be exacerbated with the trend of global warming. An increasing number of researchers have been working on aggregating multiple heat-related indicators to create composite indices for heat vulnerability assessments and have visualized the vulnerability through geographic information systems to provide references for reducing the adverse effects of extreme heat more effectively. This review includes 15 studies concerning heat vulnerability assessment. We have studied the indicators utilized and the methods adopted in these studies for the construction of the heat vulnerability index (HVI) and then further reviewed some of the studies that validated the HVI. We concluded that the HVI is useful for targeting the intervention of heat risk, and that heat-related health outcomes could be used to validate and optimize the HVI. In the future, more studies should be conducted to provide references for the selection of heat-related indicators and the determination of weight values of these indicators in the development of the HVI. Studies concerning the application of the HVI are also needed.


extreme heat; heat vulnerability index; validation of HVI; vulnerability map

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