Introducing the BMC Series SDG Editorial Board Members: Biplab Kumar Datta


Biplab Kumar Datta is a member of the editorial board of BMC Public Health. He is an applied microeconomist working in the areas of global health and public health economics. After serving the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for nearly three years as a prevention effectiveness researcher, he joined Augusta University as an assistant professor at the Institute public and preventive health.

Welcome to our Members of the SDG drafting committee blog collection. We hear from editorial board members of BMC series journals whose work aligns with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. You can find other articles from this collection here, grouped under the tag “SDG Editorial Board Members”.

I am an applied microeconomist working in the fields of “global health” and “public health economics”. After serving the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for nearly three years as a prevention effectiveness researcher, I joined Augusta University as an assistant professor at the Institute of Public and Preventive Health. I mainly study the burden and determinants/risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the management of health care related to NCDs. The overarching goal of my research is to generate scientific evidence to facilitate the development of policies and strategic interventions for the prevention and control of NCDs.

I am particularly interested in studying the association between early exposure to adverse events and later life health outcomes and health risk behaviors. As such, I study how events like child marriage (i.e. getting married before the age of 18) or teenage pregnancy impact early health outcomes. adulthood and early fifties. Although many aspects of child marriage, such as reproductive health outcomes and women’s empowerment, have been widely studied, there is little evidence on the long-term health outcomes associated with the harmful practice. daughters’ marriage. In my research, I examine whether child brides and teenage mothers in young adulthood are at a different risk of adverse health effects. The results suggest that several chronic diseases such as hypertension, obesity, high blood pressure and the comorbidity of hyperglycemia, etc. are strongly associated with child marriage and subsequent adolescent childbearing.

Link to SDGs

This line of research is directly linked to at least two UN SDG goals, namely Goals 3 and 5. One of the targets of Goal 3 of the SDGs is to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2030 through prevention and prevention. treatment (Target 3.4). My research identifies young brides and teenage mothers as a vulnerable group with an increased risk of hypertension, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) – the leading cause of premature death worldwide. Targeted interventions and tailored health care services will therefore improve the cardiovascular health of this population and facilitate the reduction of premature mortality from NCDs. Given that approximately 650 million child brides are currently living and are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, improving their health will have a substantial impact on the achievement of target 3.4.

Furthermore, the findings imply that preventing child marriage will make it easier to address the risk of chronic downstream health problems in women. This links to another SDG target to end the harmful practice of child marriage (target 5.3). Linking child marriage to downstream chronic disease risk thus illuminates opportunities for coordinated public health interventions to end child marriage and reduce the burden of NCDs.

Challenges and future direction

This is apparently a new line of research with limited existing evidence. The challenge therefore seemed to be to convince the scientific community and the general public that the associations are real and have important implications for public health. I have often received comments that the catastrophic consequences of child marriage are well established and that there is no need for studies like this looking at a specific health impact. In response, my colleagues and I consistently convey the message that effective chronic disease management involves identifying and extending the reach of health services to the at-risk population. As such, girl-wives and adolescent mothers, who suffer from various forms of socio-economic deprivation, need appropriate policy attention to mitigate the risk of adverse health effects later in life.

This research is still in its infancy and there is still a long way to go. My team is working on a series of articles that link various health issues in adulthood with child marriage and teenage pregnancy. In the short term, the success of this research can be seen as effective dissemination of the findings that girl’s marriage is associated with lifelong adverse health outcomes, to appropriate audiences, including the media, policy makers and development practitioners. In the long term, success would be in designing and implementing orchestrated public health interventions to improve the health outcomes of child brides and to eventually eliminate the harmful practice of child marriage.


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