Our programme contributed further evidence on the role of lifestyle and environment in the development and progression of NCDs. Regarding respiratory health, we presented new data on the role of the built environment and air pollution on physical activity and quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (1,2). In a large study with participants from 11 European countries and Australia, we found that adults with asthma are more likely to become obese later in life, suggesting common risk factors for both conditions (3). In children with asthma, we identified a potential biomarker that may be directly involved in disease progression (4).
On cancer risk factors, we found that immune responses and sex hormone production are altered in men working night shifts (5,6), which may increase the risk of cancer. In premenopausal women, a late breakfast was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (7). However, we found no clear association between sleep habits (duration, timing, etc.) and the risk of breast or prostate cancer in a large population study (8). We also organised a workshop on drinking water and health and published insights on estimating disinfection by-products in drinking water (9).
Regarding COVID-19, we found that, in a context of limited resources, non-invasive ventilation led to higher mortality in severe patients than other respiratory support modalities (10). We also assessed the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on health-related behaviours (11) and mental health (12).