Predicting trend of early childhood caries in mainland China: a combined meta-analytic and mathematical modelling approach based on epidemiological surveys

Xiaonan Zhang, Lei Zhang, Yonghong Zhang, Zhaoying Liao, Jinlin Song

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Early childhood caries (ECC) is the most common chronic disease in young children. A reliable predictive model for ECC prevalence is needed in China as a decision supportive tool for planning health resources. In this study, we first established the autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model and grey predictive model (GM) based on the estimated national prevalence of ECC with meta-analysis from the published articles. The pooled data from 1988 to 2010 were used to establish the model, while the data from 2011 to 2013 were used to validate the models. The fitting and prediction accuracy of the two models were evaluated by mean absolute error (MAE) and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE). Then, we forecasted the annual prevalence from 2014 to 2018, which was 55.8%, 53.5%, 54.0%, 52.9%, 51.2% by ARIMA model and 52.8%, 52.0%, 51.2%, 50.4%, 49.6% by GM. The declining trend in ECC prevalence may be attributed to the socioeconomic developments and improved public health service in China. In conclusion, both ARIMA and GM models can be well applied to forecast and analyze the trend of ECC; the fitting and testing errors generated by the ARIMA model were lower than those obtained from GM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6507
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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