Environmental health inequalities refer to health hazards disproportionately or unfairly distributed among the most vulnerable social groups, which are generally the most discriminated, poor populations and minorities affected by environmental risks. Although it has been known for a long time that health and disease are socially determined, only recently has this idea been incorporated into the conceptual and practical framework for the formulation of policies and strategies regarding health. In this Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), “Addressing Environmental Health Inequalities—Proceedings from the ISEE Conference 2015”, we incorporate nine papers that were presented at the 27th Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE), held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2015. This small collection of articles provides a brief overview of the different aspects of this topic. Addressing environmental health inequalities is important for the transformation of our reality and for changing the actual development model towards more just, democratic, and sustainable societies driven by another form of relationship between nature, economy, science, and politics. PMID:27618906
Salmi, Louis-Rachid; Barsanti, Sara; Bourgueil, Yann; Daponte, Antonio; Piznal, Ewelina; Ménival, Solange
Disparities in health between social groups have been documented all over Europe. We summarize the methods and results of the Addressing Inequalities in Regions (AIR) project, which identified illustrative interventions and policies developed in European regions to reduce inequalities at the primary health care level. The first phase was a systematic review of the published literature. The second phase was a survey of European regions, collecting information on policies aiming at reducing health inequalities through primary health care and identifying regional, innovative and evaluated interventions. The third phase assessed interventions through methods defined by a formal consensus, and selected illustrative practices considered good practices for several of nine evaluation criteria. The review included 98 evaluations of interventions and 10 reviews; 80% of interventions were from North-America. Three main pathways to reduce health inequalities were identified: providing health promotion, improving financial access to care and modifying care provision. The first survey identified 90 interventions. Most national strategies included health inequalities issues. Education was the most frequently identified targeted determinant. Most interventions were health promotion general or targeted at specific health determinants, conditions or groups. The second survey assessed 46 interventions. Many involved the population in planning, implementation and evaluation. We also identified the multidisciplinary of interventions, and some who had an impact on empowerment of the targeted population. The AIR project documented that policies and actions can be implemented at the regional level through primary care providers. Policies and interventions are seldom evaluated.
Lopez-Class, Maria; Peprah, Emmanuel; Zhang, Xinzhi; Kaufmann, Peter G.; Engelgau, Michael M.
Achieving health equity requires that every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances. Inequity experienced by populations of lower socioeconomic status is reflected in differences in health status and mortality rates, as well as in the distribution of disease, disability and illness across these population groups. This article gives an overview of the health inequities literature associated with heart, lung, blood and sleep (HLBS) disorders. We present an ecological framework that provides a theoretical foundation to study late-stage T4 translation research that studies implementation strategies for proven effective interventions to address health inequities. PMID:27440979
McCauley, M. P.; Ramanadhan, S.; Viswanath, K.
This study demonstrates a novel approach that those engaged in promoting social change in health can use to analyze community power, mobilize it and enhance community capacity to reduce health inequalities. We used community reconnaissance methods to select and interview 33 participants from six leadership sectors in ‘Milltown’, the New England city where the study was conducted. We used UCINET network analysis software to assess the structure of local leadership and NVivo qualitative software to analyze leaders’ views on public health and health inequalities. Our main analyses showed that community power is distributed unequally in Milltown, with our network of 33 divided into an older, largely male and more powerful group, and a younger, largely female group with many ‘grassroots’ sector leaders who focus on reducing health inequalities. Ancillary network analyses showed that grassroots leaders comprise a self-referential cluster that could benefit from greater affiliation with leaders from other sectors and identified leaders who may serve as leverage points in our overall program of public agenda change to address health inequalities. Our innovative approach provides public health practitioners with a method for assessing community leaders’ views, understanding subgroup divides and mobilizing leaders who may be helpful in reducing health inequalities. PMID:26471919
Blas, Erik; Gilson, Lucy; Kelly, Michael P; Labonté, Ronald; Lapitan, Jostacio; Muntaner, Carles; Ostlin, Piroska; Popay, Jennie; Sadana, Ritu; Sen, Gita; Schrecker, Ted; Vaghri, Ziba
In this Health Policy article, we selected and reviewed evidence synthesised by nine knowledge networks established by WHO to support the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. We have indicated the part that national governments and civil society can play in reducing health inequity. Government action can take three forms: (1) as provider or guarantor of human rights and essential services; (2) as facilitator of policy frameworks that provide the basis for equitable health improvement; and (3) as gatherer and monitor of data about their populations in ways that generate health information about mortality and morbidity and data about health equity. We use examples from the knowledge networks to illustrate some of the options governments have in fulfilling this role. Civil society takes many forms: here, we have used examples of community groups and social movements. Governments and civil society can have important positive roles in addressing health inequity if political will exists.
Collins, Patricia A; Abelson, Julia; Eyles, John D
The objective of this study was to explore the presence of ideological barriers to addressing local health inequalities in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. A survey of active citizens revealed low levels of awareness of the social determinants of health (SDOH) framework, and some incongruence between understanding and attitudes towards the SDOH. Support for addressing health inequalities was associated with awareness of the SDOH framework, liberal value-systems, and a cluster of socio-demographic characteristics. Liberal leaning participants were also more politically active than their conservative counterparts. Ideological barriers included lack of SDOH awareness, narrow understandings of the relative influences of the SDOH, resistance to de-prioritizing healthcare, and conservative values. Advancement of a SDOH policy agenda should incorporate wider dissemination efforts to citizens and local service providers to increase support for this framework, and utilization of existing support and political engagement from liberal-leaning demographics.
Gahagan, Jacqueline; Gray, Kimberly; Whynacht, Ardath
Attention to the concepts of 'sex' and 'gender' is increasingly being recognized as contributing to better science through an augmented understanding of how these factors impact on health inequities and related health outcomes. However, the ongoing lack of conceptual clarity in how sex and gender constructs are used in both the design and reporting of health research studies remains problematic. Conceptual clarity among members of the health research community is central to ensuring the appropriate use of these concepts in a manner that can advance our understanding of the sex- and gender-based health implications of our research findings. During the past twenty-five years much progress has been made in reducing both sex and gender disparities in clinical research and, to a significant albeit lesser extent, in basic science research. Why, then, does there remain a lack of uptake of sex- and gender-specific reporting of health research findings in many health research journals? This question, we argue, has significant health equity implications across all pillars of health research, from biomedical and clinical research, through to health systems and population health.
Holly, Deirdre; Sharp, John
People with learning disabilities are at increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Research suggests this may be due to inequalities in health status and inequities in the way health services respond to need. Little is known about the most effective way to improve health outcomes for people with learning disabilities. A previously developed…
Gilbert, Keon L; Ray, Rashawn; Siddiqi, Arjumand; Shetty, Shivan; Baker, Elizabeth A; Elder, Keith; Griffith, Derek M
Over the past two decades, there has been growing interest in improving black men's health and the health disparities affecting them. Yet, the health of black men consistently ranks lowest across nearly all groups in the United States. Evidence on the health and social causes of morbidity and mortality among black men has been narrowly concentrated on public health problems (e.g., violence, prostate cancer, and HIV/AIDS) and determinants of health (e.g., education and male gender socialization). This limited focus omits age-specific leading causes of death and other social determinants of health, such as discrimination, segregation, access to health care, employment, and income. This review discusses the leading causes of death for black men and the associated risk factors, as well as identifies gaps in the literature and presents a racialized and gendered framework to guide efforts to address the persistent inequities in health affecting black men.
Smith, D B
Large racial inequities in health care use continue to be reported, raising concerns about discrimination. Historically, the health system, with its professionally dominated, autonomous, voluntary organizational structure, has presented special challenges to civil rights efforts. De jure racial segregation in the United States gave way to a period of aggressive litigation and enforcement from 1954 until 1968 and then to the current period of relative inactivity. A combination of factors--declining federal resources and organizational capacity to address more subtle forms of discriminatory practices in health care settings, increasingly restrictive interpretations by the courts, and the lack of any systematic mechanisms for the statistical monitoring of providers--offers little assurance that discrimination does not continue to play a role in accounting for discrepancies in use. The current rapid transformation of health care into integrated delivery systems driven by risk-based financing presents both new opportunities and new threats. Adequate regulation, markets, and management for such systems impose new requirements for comparative systematic statistical assessment of performance. My conclusion illustrates ways that current "report card" approaches to monitoring performance of such systems could be used to monitor, correct, and build trust in equitable treatment.
Boyce, Tammy; Holmes, Alison
address health inequalities in childhood and adolescent vaccination programmes. PMID:23028452
McCauley, M. P.; Ramanadhan, S.; Viswanath, K.
This study demonstrates a novel approach that those engaged in promoting social change in health can use to analyze community power, mobilize it and enhance community capacity to reduce health inequalities. We used community reconnaissance methods to select and interview 33 participants from six leadership sectors in "Milltown", the New…
Simpson, Sarah . E-mail: email@example.com; Mahoney, Mary; Harris, Elizabeth; Aldrich, Rosemary; Stewart-Williams, Jenny
In Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) the use of health impact assessment (HIA) as a tool for improved policy development is comparatively new. The public health workforce do not routinely assess the potential health and equity impacts of proposed policies or programs. The Australasian Collaboration for Health Equity Impact Assessment was funded to develop a strategic framework for equity-focused HIA (EFHIA) with the intent of strengthening the ways in which equity is addressed in each step of HIA. The collaboration developed a draft framework for EFHIA that mirrored, but modified the commonly accepted steps of HIA; tested the draft framework in six different health service delivery settings; analysed the feedback about application of the draft EFHIA framework and modified it accordingly. The strategic framework shows promise in providing a systematic process for identifying potential differential health impacts and assessing the extent to which these are avoidable and unfair. This paper presents the EFHIA framework and discusses some of the issues that arose in the case study sites undertaking equity-focused HIA.
Gender is a key factor operating in the health workforce. Recent research evidence points to systemic gender discrimination and inequalities in health pre-service and in-service education and employment systems. Human resources for health (HRH) leaders’ and researchers’ lack of concerted attention to these inequalities is striking, given the recognition of other forms of discrimination in international labour rights and employment law discourse. If not acted upon, gender discrimination and inequalities result in systems inefficiencies that impede the development of the robust workforces needed to respond to today’s critical health care needs. This commentary makes the case that there is a clear need for sex- and age-disaggregated and qualitative data to more precisely illuminate gender-related trends and dynamics in the health workforce. Because of their importance for measurement, the paper also presents definitions and examples of sex or gender discrimination and offers specific case examples. At a broader level, the commentary argues that gender equality should be an HRH research, leadership, and governance priority, where the aim is to strengthen health pre-service and continuing professional education and employment systems to achieve better health systems outcomes, including better health coverage. Good HRH leadership, governance, and management involve recognizing the diversity of health workforces, acknowledging gender constraints and opportunities, eliminating gender discrimination and equalizing opportunity, making health systems responsive to life course events, and protecting health workers’ labour rights at all levels. A number of global, national and institution-level actions are proposed to move the gender equality and HRH agendas forward. PMID:24885565
Neagu, Oana Maria; Michelsen, Kai; Watson, Jonathan; Dowdeswell, Barrie; Brand, Helmut
Making up a third of the EU budget, Structural and Investment Funds can provide important opportunities for investing in policies that tackle inequalities in health. This article looks back and forward at the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 financial periods in an attempt to inform the development of health equity as a strand of policy intervention under regional development. It combines evidence from health projects funded through Structural Funds and a document analyses that locates interventions for health equity under the new regulations. The map of opportunities has changed considerably since the last programming period, creating more visibility for vulnerable groups, social determinants of health and health systems sustainability. As the current programming period is progressing, this paper contributes to maximizing this potential but also identifying challenges and implementation gaps for prospective health system engagement in pursuing health equity as part of Structural Funds projects. The austerity measures and their impact on public spending, building political support for investments as well as the difficulties around pursuing health gains as an objective of other policy areas are some of the challenges to overcome. European Structural and Investment Funds could be a window of opportunity that triggers engagement for health equity if sectors adopt a transformative approach and overcome barriers, cooperate for common goals and make better use of the availability of these resources.
Introduction Addressing the underrepresentation of indigenous health professionals is recognised internationally as being integral to overcoming indigenous health inequities. This literature review aims to identify 'best practice' for recruitment of indigenous secondary school students into tertiary health programmes with particular relevance to recruitment of Māori within a New Zealand context. Methodology/methods A Kaupapa Māori Research (KMR) methodological approach was utilised to review literature and categorise content via: country; population group; health profession ffocus; research methods; evidence of effectiveness; and discussion of barriers. Recruitment activities are described within five broad contexts associated with the recruitment pipeline: Early Exposure, Transitioning, Retention/Completion, Professional Workforce Development, and Across the total pipeline. Results A total of 70 articles were included. There is a lack of published literature specific to Māori recruitment and a limited, but growing, body of literature focused on other indigenous and underrepresented minority populations. The literature is primarily descriptive in nature with few articles providing evidence of effectiveness. However, the literature clearly frames recruitment activity as occurring across a pipeline that extends from secondary through to tertiary education contexts and in some instances vocational (post-graduate) training. Early exposure activities encourage students to achieve success in appropriate school subjects, address deficiencies in careers advice and offer tertiary enrichment opportunities. Support for students to transition into and within health professional programmes is required including bridging/foundation programmes, admission policies/quotas and institutional mission statements demonstrating a commitment to achieving equity. Retention/completion support includes academic and pastoral interventions and institutional changes to ensure safer
Mathur, Manu Raj; Singh, Ankur; Watt, Richard
Dentistry has always been an under-resourced profession. There are three main issues that dentistry is facing in the modern era. Firstly, how to rectify the widely acknowledged geographical imbalance in the demand and supply of dental personnel, secondly, how to provide access to primary dental care to maximum number of people, and thirdly, how to achieve both of these aims within the financial restraints imposed by the central and state governments. The trends of oral diseases have changed significantly in the last 20 years. The two of the most common oral diseases that affect a majority of the population worldwide, namely dental caries and periodontitis, have been proved to be entirely preventable. Even for life-threatening oral diseases like oral cancer, the best possible available treatment is prevention. There is a growing consensus that appropriate skill mix can prove very beneficial in providing these preventive dental care services to the public and aid in achieving the goal of universal oral health coverage. Professions complementary to dentistry (PCD) have been found to be effective in reducing inequalities in oral health, improving access and spreading the messages of health promotion across entire spectrum of socio-economic hierarchy in various studies conducted globally. This commentary provides a review of the effectiveness of skill mix in dentistry and a reflection on how this can be beneficial in achieving universal oral health care in India.
Friel, Sharon; Hattersley, Libby; Ford, Laura; O'Rourke, Kerryn
What, when, where and how much people eat is influenced by a complex mix of factors at societal, community and individual levels. These influences operate both directly through the food system and indirectly through political, economic, social and cultural pathways that cause social stratification and influence the quality of conditions in which people live their lives. These factors are the social determinants of inequities in healthy eating. This paper provides an overview of the current evidence base for addressing these determinants and for the promotion of equity in healthy eating.
Introduction Globally, women constitute 50% of all persons living with HIV. Gender inequalities are a key driver of women's vulnerabilities to HIV. This paper looks at how these structural factors shape specific behaviours and outcomes related to the sexual and reproductive health of women living with HIV. Discussion There are several pathways by which gender inequalities shape the sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing of women living with HIV. First, gender norms that privilege men's control over women and violence against women inhibit women's ability to practice safer sex, make reproductive decisions based on their own fertility preferences and disclose their HIV status. Second, women's lack of property and inheritance rights and limited access to formal employment makes them disproportionately vulnerable to food insecurity and its consequences. This includes compromising their adherence to antiretroviral therapy and increasing their vulnerability to transactional sex. Third, with respect to stigma and discrimination, women are more likely to be blamed for bringing HIV into the family, as they are often tested before men. In several settings, healthcare providers violate the reproductive rights of women living with HIV in relation to family planning and in denying them care. Lastly, a number of countries have laws that criminalize HIV transmission, which specifically impact women living with HIV who may be reluctant to disclose because of fears of violence and other negative consequences. Conclusions Addressing gender inequalities is central to improving the sexual and reproductive health outcomes and more broadly the wellbeing of women living with HIV. Programmes that go beyond a narrow biomedical/clinical approach and address the social and structural context of women's lives can also maximize the benefits of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. PMID:26643464
Shah, Gulzar H.; Sheahan, John P.
Context: Health disparities are among the critical public health challenges. Objectives: To analyze the extent to which local health departments (LHDs) perform activities for addressing health disparities, changes in proportion of LHDs’ performing those activities since 2005, and factors associated with variation in such engagement. Methods: We used the 2013 National Profile of LHDs Survey to perform Logistic Regression of activities LHDs performed to address health disparities. Results: About 20 percent of LHDs did not perform any activity to address health disparities. Significant decreases occurred since 2005 in the proportion of LHDs that performed health disparity reduction/elimination activities for four activities. LHD characteristics significantly associated (p≤0.05) with the increased likelihood of performing activities to address health disparities were: recent completion of community health assessment, community health improvement plan and agency wide strategic plan. Other significant positive impacts on such activities included per capita expenditures, local governance, having one or more local boards of health, larger population size and metropolitan status of the LHD jurisdiction. Conclusions: Reduced infrastructural capacity of LHDs has resulted in fewer LHDs addressing health disparities in their jurisdictions. LHD characteristics associated with higher performance of activities for health disparity reduction identified by this research have important policy implications. PMID:26703693
Nagler, Rebekah H.; Bigman, Cabral A.; Ramanadhan, Shoba; Ramamurthi, Divya; Viswanath, K.
Background Americans remain under-informed about cancer and other health disparities and the social determinants of health (SDH). The news media may be contributing to this knowledge deficit, whether by discussing these issues narrowly or ignoring them altogether. Because local media are particularly important in influencing public opinion and support for public policies, this study examines the prevalence and framing of disparities/SDH in local mainstream and ethnic print news. Methods We conducted a multi-method content analysis of local mainstream (English-language) and ethnic (Spanish-language) print news in two lower-income cities in New England with substantial racial/ethnic minority populations. After establishing inter-coder reliability (kappa=0.63–0.88), coders reviewed the primary English- and Spanish-language newspaper in each city, identifying both disparities and non-disparities health stories published between February 2010 and January 2011. Results Local print news coverage of cancer and other health disparities was rare. Of 650 health stories published across four newspapers during the one-year study period, only 21 (3.2%) discussed disparities/SDH. Although some stories identified causes of and solutions for disparities, these were often framed in individual (e.g., poor dietary habits) rather than social contextual terms (e.g., lack of food availability/affordability). Cancer and other health stories routinely missed opportunities to discuss disparities/SDH. Conclusion Local mainstream and ethnic media may be ideal targets for multilevel interventions designed to address cancer and other health inequalities. Impact By increasing media attention to and framing of health disparities, we may observe important downstream effects on public opinion and support for structural solutions to disparities, particularly at the local level. PMID:27196094
Muhajarine, Nazeem; Ridalls, Tracy; Abonyi, Sylvia; Vatanparast, Hassan; Whiting, Susan; Walker, Ryan
Background This is a 2-year study to assess the early impacts of a new grocery store intervention in a former food desert. Objective The purpose of the study is to understand the early health effects of the introduction of a large-scale food and nutrition-focused community-based population health intervention, the Good Food Junction (GFJ) Cooperative Store, in a geographically bounded group of socially disadvantaged neighborhoods (the “core neighborhoods”) in a midsized Canadian city. The GFJ grocery store was tasked with improving the access of residents to healthy, affordable food. The 5 research questions are: (1) What is the awareness and perception of the GFJ store among residents of the core neighborhoods? (2) Are there differences in awareness and perception among those who do and do not shop at the GFJ? (3) Will healthy food purchasing at the GFJ by residents of the core neighborhoods change over time, and what purchases are these individuals making at this store? (4) What early impact(s) will the GFJ have on key health-related outcomes (such as household food security status, vegetable and fruit intake, key aspects of self-reported mental health, self-reported health)? and (5) Are the effects of the intervention seen for specific vulnerable population groups, such as Aboriginal people, seniors (65 years old or older) and new immigrants (settled in Saskatoon for less than 5 years)? Methods The research project examined initial impacts of the GFJ on the health of the residents in surrounding neighborhoods through a door-to-door cross-sectional survey of food access and household demographics; an examination of GFJ sales data by location of shoppers' residences; and a 1-year, 3-time-point longitudinal study of self-reported health of GFJ shoppers. Results Analyses are on-going, but preliminary results show that shoppers are using the store for its intended purpose, which is to improve access to healthy food in a former food desert. Conclusions To our
Taukobong, Hannah F G; Kincaid, Mary M; Levy, Jessica K; Bloom, Shelah S; Platt, Jennifer L; Henry, Sarah K; Darmstadt, Gary L
This article presents evidence supporting the hypothesis that promoting gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment (GEWE) leads to better health and development outcomes. We reviewed the literature across six sectors-family planning (FP); maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH); nutrition; agriculture; water, sanitation and hygiene; and financial services for the poor-and found 76 studies from low and middle-income countries that met our inclusion criteria. Across these studies, we identified common GEWE variables that emerged repeatedly as significant predictors of sector outcomes. We grouped these variables into 10 thematic categories, which we termed 'gender-related levers'. These levers were then classified by the strength of evidence into Wedges, Foundations and Facilitators. Wedges are gender-related levers that had strong associations with improved outcomes across multiple sectors. They include: 'control over income/assets/resources', 'decision-making power' and 'education'. Elements of these levers overlap, but combined, they encapsulate agency. Increasing female agency promotes equality and broadly improves health and development for women, their families and their communities. The second classification, Foundations, displayed strong, positive associations across FP, MNCH and nutrition. Foundations have a more proximal relationship with sector outcomes and include: 'equitable interpersonal relationships', 'mobility' and 'personal safety'. Finally, the third group of levers, Facilitators, was associated with improved outcomes in two to three sectors and include: 'access to information', 'community groups', 'paid labour' and 'rights'. These levers make it easier for women and girls to achieve their goals and are more traditional elements of development programmes. Overall, gender-related levers were associated with improvements in a variety of health and development outcomes. Furthermore, these associations were cross-sectoral, suggesting that to
Edmundo, Kátia; Guimarães, Wanda; Vasconcelos, Maria do Socorro; Baptista, Ana Paula; Becker, Daniel
When combined with major social inequities, the AIDS epidemic in Brazil becomes much more complex and requires effective and participatory community-based interventions. This article describes the experience of a civil society organisation, the Centre for Health Promotion (CEDAPS), in the slum communities (favelas) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Using a community-based participatory approach, 55 community organisations were mobilised to develop local actions to address the increasing social vulnerability to HIV/AIDS of people living in squatter communities. This was done through on-going prevention initiatives based on the local culture and developed by a Network of Communities. The community movement has created a sense of "ownership" of social actions. The fight against AIDS has been a mobilising factor in engaging and organising communities and has contributed to raising awareness of health rights. Local actions included targeting the determinants of local vulnerability, as suggested by health promotion workers.
Robertson, Peter J.
Structural explanations of career choice and development are well established. Socioeconomic inequality represents a powerful factor shaping career trajectories and economic outcomes achieved by individuals. However, a robust and growing body of evidence demonstrates a strong link between socioeconomic inequality and health outcomes. Work is a key…
Singh, Rajiv; Pentland, Brian
The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) protects disabled people from discrimination in access to services, facilities and goods as well as in education and employment. All hospitals have an inherent duty to enable access to services but this will now be enshrined in law. As the health sector has most contact with disability, it may be expected that most hospitals would already be in a good position to comply with the Act, especially one treating many patients with disability. However we identified many problems in a rehabilitation hospital setting by means of a simple access audit in March 2004. Recommendations were set out and by March 2005 considerable improvements had been made costing Pound 100,000. Although many necessary changes will be expensive, not all problems identified require costly correction. Many simply involve a change in staff attitudes and practices. We recommend that all hospitals start to identify the changes needed under the Act by means of a simple access audit that can be carried out by hospital staff with no specialist equipment.
Elsey, H; Thomson, D R; Lin, R Y; Maharjan, U; Agarwal, S; Newell, J
Rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation across low and middle-income countries is leading to ever expanding numbers of urban poor, defined here as slum dwellers and the homeless. It is estimated that 828 million people are currently living in slum conditions. If governments, donors and NGOs are to respond to these growing inequities they need data that adequately represents the needs of the urban poorest as well as others across the socio-economic spectrum.We report on the findings of a special session held at the International Conference on Urban Health, Dhaka 2015. We present an overview of the need for data on urban health for planning and allocating resources to address urban inequities. Such data needs to provide information on differences between urban and rural areas nationally, between and within urban communities. We discuss the limitations of data most commonly available to national and municipality level government, donor and NGO staff. In particular we assess, with reference to the WHO's Urban HEART tool, the challenges in the design of household surveys in understanding urban health inequities.We then present two novel approaches aimed at improving the information on the health of the urban poorest. The first uses gridded population sampling techniques within the design and implementation of household surveys and the second adapts Urban HEART into a participatory approach which enables slum residents to assess indicators whilst simultaneously planning the response. We argue that if progress is to be made towards inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities, as articulated in Sustainable Development Goal 11, then understanding urban health inequities is a vital pre-requisite to an effective response by governments, donors, NGOs and communities.
Khang, Young-Ho; Lee, Sang-il
In recent years, health inequalities have become an important public health concern and the subject of both research and policy attention in Korea. Government reports, as well as many epidemiological studies, have provided evidence that a wide range of health outcomes and health-related behaviors are socioeconomically patterned, and that the magnitude of health inequalities is even increasing. However, except for the revised Health Plan 2010 targets for health equity, few government policies have explicitly addressed health inequalities. Although a number of economic and social policies may have had an impact on health inequalities, such impact has scarcely been evaluated. In this review, we describe the current status of research and policy on health inequalities in Korea. We also suggest future challenges of approaches and policies to reduce health inequalities and highlight the active and intensive engagement of many policy sectors and good evidence for interventions that will make meaningful reduction of health inequalities possible.
In recent years, health inequalities have become an important public health concern and the subject of both research and policy attention in Korea. Government reports, as well as many epidemiological studies, have provided evidence that a wide range of health outcomes and health-related behaviors are socioeconomically patterned, and that the magnitude of health inequalities is even increasing. However, except for the revised Health Plan 2010 targets for health equity, few government policies have explicitly addressed health inequalities. Although a number of economic and social policies may have had an impact on health inequalities, such impact has scarcely been evaluated. In this review, we describe the current status of research and policy on health inequalities in Korea. We also suggest future challenges of approaches and policies to reduce health inequalities and highlight the active and intensive engagement of many policy sectors and good evidence for interventions that will make meaningful reduction of health inequalities possible. PMID:22661869
Hart, Angie; Lockey, Rachael; Henwood, Flis; Pankhurst, Francesca; Hall, Valerie; Sommerville, Fiona
This report addresses key questions concerning the effectiveness of midwifery education in preparing midwives to meet the needs of women from minority or disadvantaged groups in England. Chapter 1 sets out the methodological context within which the work was undertaken and provides an overview of data sources and sample sizes. Chapters 3 and 4…
Poverty and ill-health are intertwined. Poor countries tend to have worse health outcomes than better-off countries. Within countries, poor people have worse health outcomes than better-off people. This association reflects causality running in both directions: poverty breeds ill-health, and ill-health keeps poor people poor. The evidence on inequalities in health between the poor and non-poor and on the consequences for impoverishment and income inequality associated with health care expenses is discussed in this article. An outline is given of what is known about the causes of inequalities and about the effectiveness of policies intended to combat them. It is argued that too little is known about the impacts of such policies, notwithstanding a wealth of measurement techniques and considerable evidence on the extent and causes of inequalities. PMID:11953787
Economic and social resources are known to contribute to the unequal distribution of health outcomes. Culture-related factors such as normative beliefs, knowledge and behaviours have also been shown to be associated with health status. The role and function of cultural resources in the unequal distribution of health is addressed. Drawing on the work of French Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, the concept of cultural capital for its contribution to the current understanding of social inequalities in health is explored. It is suggested that class related cultural resources interact with economic and social capital in the social structuring of people's health chances and choices. It is concluded that cultural capital is a key element in the behavioural transformation of social inequality into health inequality. New directions for empirical research on the interplay between economic, social and cultural capital are outlined.
Murray, C. J.; Gakidou, E. E.; Frenk, J.
Both health inequalities and social group health differences are important aspects of measuring population health. Despite widespread recognition of their magnitude in many high- and low-income countries, there is considerable debate about the meaning and measurement of health inequalities, social group health differences and inequities. The lack of standard definitions, measurement strategies and indicators has and will continue to limit comparisons--between and within countries, and over time--of health inequalities, and perhaps more importantly comparative analyses of their determinants. Such comparative work, however, will be essential to find effective policies for governments to reduce health inequalities. This article addresses the question of whether we should be measuring health inequalities or social group health differences. To help clarify the strengths and weaknesses of these two approaches, we review some of the major arguments for and against each of them. PMID:10444876
Marí-Dell'Olmo, Marc; Novoa, Ana M; Camprubí, Lluís; Peralta, Andrés; Vásquez-Vera, Hugo; Bosch, Jordi; Amat, Jordi; Díaz, Fernando; Palència, Laia; Mehdipanah, Roshanak; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Malmusi, Davide; Borrell, Carme
A large body of literature shows the link between inadequate housing conditions and poor physical and mental health. The aim of this paper is to summarize the research on the impact of local housing policies on health inequalities, focusing on the issues of access to housing and fuel poverty as studied in the SOPHIE project. Our case studies in Spain showed that people facing housing insecurity, experienced intense levels of mental distress. We found that access to secure and adequate housing can improve the health of these populations, therefore, public policies that address housing instability and their consequences are urgently needed. Housing conditions related to fuel poverty are associated with poorer health and are unevenly distributed across Europe. We found possible positive effects of façade insulation interventions on cold-related mortality in women living in social housing; but not in men. Policies on housing energy efficiency can reduce the health consequences of fuel poverty, but need to be free to users, target the most vulnerable groups and be adaptable to their needs.
Ruger, J P
Background A world divided by health inequalities poses ethical challenges for global health. International and national responses to health disparities must be rooted in ethical values about health and its distribution; this is because ethical claims have the power to motivate, delineate principles, duties and responsibilities, and hold global and national actors morally responsible for achieving common goals. Theories of justice are necessary to define duties and obligations of institutions and actors in reducing inequalities. The problem is the lack of a moral framework for solving problems of global health justice. Aim To study why global health inequalities are morally troubling, why efforts to reduce them are morally justified, how they should be measured and evaluated; how much priority disadvantaged groups should receive; and to delineate roles and responsibilities of national and international actors and institutions. Discussion and conclusions Duties and obligations of international and state actors in reducing global health inequalities are outlined. The ethical principles endorsed include the intrinsic value of health to well‐being and equal respect for all human life, the importance of health for individual and collective agency, the concept of a shortfall from the health status of a reference group, and the need for a disproportionate effort to help disadvantaged groups. This approach does not seek to find ways in which global and national actors address global health inequalities by virtue of their self‐interest, national interest, collective security or humanitarian assistance. It endorses the more robust concept of “human flourishing” and the desire to live in a world where all people have the capability to be healthy. Unlike cosmopolitan theory, this approach places the role of the nation‐state in the forefront with primary, though not sole, moral responsibility. Rather shared health governance is essential for delivering health equity
Gee, Gilbert C.; Ford, Chandra L.
Racial minorities bear a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality. These inequities might be explained by racism, given the fact that racism has restricted the lives of racial minorities and immigrants throughout history. Recent studies have documented that individuals who report experiencing racism have greater rates of illnesses. While this body of research has been invaluable in advancing knowledge on health inequities, it still locates the experiences of racism at the individual level. Yet, the health of social groups is likely most strongly affected by structural, rather than individual, phenomena. The structural forms of racism and their relationship to health inequities remain under-studied. This article reviews several ways of conceptualizing structural racism, with a focus on social segregation, immigration policy, and intergenerational effects. Studies of disparities should more seriously consider the multiple dimensions of structural racism as fundamental causes of health disparities. PMID:25632292
Is it possible to define criteria by which a political decision on which inequities in health should be addressed can be made? It has been suggested that differences which are unnecessary and avoidable and those which are unfair and unjust are inequalities which should lead to political action. In the article it is argued that it is not possible to make a clear distinction between avoidable and unavoidable differences, and that the extent to which differences are considered unfair depends on political and normative standpoints, and generally acceptable criteria can therefore not be established.
Filho, Alberto Pellegrini
This piece presents evidence that inequities in information are an important determinant of health inequities and that eliminating these inequities in access to information, especially by using new information and communication technologies (ICTs), could represent a significant advance in terms of guaranteeing the right to health for all. The piece reviews the most important international scientific research findings on the determinants of the health of populations, emphasizing the role of socioeconomic inequities and of deteriorating social capital as factors that worsen health conditions. It is noteworthy that Latin America has both socioeconomic inequities and major sectors of the population living in poverty. Among the fundamental strategies for overcoming the inequalities and the poverty are greater participation by the poor in civic life and the strengthening of social capital. The contribution that the new ICTs could make to these strategies is analyzed, and the Virtual Health Library (VHL) is discussed. Coordinated by the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME), the VHL is a contribution by the Pan American Health Organization that takes advantage of the potential of ICTs to democratize information and knowledge and consequently promote equity in health. The "digital gap" is discussed as something that can produce inequity itself and also increase other inequities, including ones in health. Prospects are discussed for overcoming this gap, emphasizing the role that governments and international organizations should play in order to expand access to the global public good that information for social development is.
Auger, Nathalie; Raynault, Marie-France
The association between social determinants and health inequalities is well recognized. What are now needed are tools to assist in disseminating such information. This article describes how the Balanced Scorecard may be used for summarizing data on health inequalities. The process begins by selecting appropriate social groups and indicators, and is followed by the measurement of differences across person, place, or time. The next step is to decide whether to focus on absolute versus relative inequality. The last step is to determine the scoring method, including whether to address issues of depth of inequality.
Målqvist, Mats; Hoa, Dinh Thi Phuong; Liem, Nguyen Thanh; Thorson, Anna; Thomsen, Sarah
Background Equity in health is a pressing concern and reaching disadvantaged populations is necessary to close the inequity gap. To date, the discourse has predominately focussed on reaching the poor. At the same time and in addition to wealth, other structural determinants that influence health outcomes exist, one of which is ethnicity. Inequities based on group belongings are recognised as ‘horizontal’, as opposed to the more commonly used notion of ‘vertical’ inequity based on individual characteristics. Objective The aim of the present review is to highlight ethnicity as a source of horizontal inequity in health and to expose mechanisms that cause and maintain this inequity in Vietnam. Design Through a systematic search of available academic and grey literature, 49 publications were selected for review. Information was extracted on: a) quantitative measures of health inequities based on ethnicity and b) qualitative descriptions explaining potential reasons for ethnicity-based health inequities. Results Five main areas were identified: health-care-seeking and utilization, maternal and child health, nutrition, infectious diseases, and oral health and hygiene. Evidence suggests the presence of severe health inequity in health along ethnic lines in all these areas. Research evidence also offers explanations derived from both external and internal group dynamics to this inequity. It is reported that government policies and programs appear to be lacking in culturally adaptation and sensitivity, and examples of bad attitudes and discrimination from health staff toward minority persons were identified. In addition, traditions and patriarchal structures within ethnic minority groups were seen to contribute to the maintenance of harmful health behaviors within these groups. Conclusion Better understandings of the scope and pathways of horizontal inequities are required to address ethnic inequities in health. Awareness of ethnicity as a determinant of health, not
Arosemena, Farah A; Fox, Laila; Lichtveld, Maureen Y
Gulf Coast women are especially vulnerable to the effects of disaster and for many this vulnerability is compounded by existing poor health-related quality of life. Post-Hurricane Isaac, a baseline survey battery utilizing the Reproductive Health Assessment After Disasters (RHAD) Toolkit, the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey, and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were used quantitatively to assess reproductive health risks, services, and outcomes and to explore the psychosocial effects of disaster among pregnant and postpartum women aged 18-45 years (N=300). The pilot study included trained community health workers and patient navigators to implement a community needs assessment in Southeast Louisiana. The community health navigation corps administered RHAD and the brief psychosocial battery to gain a closer understanding of post-disaster reproductive health needs. Findings demonstrate the importance of making a transition from patient navigation into disaster management in order to reduce fragmentation in health care systems and to implement innovative approaches in survey methodology.
Azria, E; Stewart, Z; Gonthier, C; Estellat, C; Deneux-Tharaux, C
Although medical literature on social inequalities in perinatal health is qualitatively heterogeneous, it is quantitatively important and reveals the existence of a social gradient in terms of perinatal risk. However, published data regarding maternal health, if also qualitatively heterogeneous, are relatively less numerous. Nevertheless, it appears that social inequalities also exist concerning severe maternal morbidity as well as maternal mortality. Analyses are still insufficient to understand the mechanisms involved and explain how the various dimensions of the women social condition interact with maternal health indicators. Inadequate prenatal care and suboptimal obstetric care may be intermediary factors, as they are related to both social status and maternal outcomes, in terms of maternal morbidity, its worsening or progression, and maternal mortality.
Garcia, I; Tabak, L A
Despite impressive worldwide improvements in oral health, inequalities in oral health status among and within countries remain a daunting public health challenge. Oral health inequalities arise from a complex web of health determinants, including social, behavioral, economic, genetic, environmental, and health system factors. Eliminating these inequalities cannot be accomplished in isolation of oral health from overall health, or without recognizing that oral health is influenced at multiple individual, family, community, and health systems levels. For several reasons, this is an opportune time for global efforts targeted at reducing oral health inequalities. Global health is increasingly viewed not just as a humanitarian obligation, but also as a vehicle for health diplomacy and part of the broader mission to reduce poverty, build stronger economies, and strengthen global security. Despite the global economic recession, there are trends that portend well for support of global health efforts: increased globalization of research and development, growing investment from private philanthropy, an absolute growth of spending in research and innovation, and an enhanced interest in global health among young people. More systematic and far-reaching efforts will be required to address oral health inequalities through the engagement of oral health funders and sponsors of research, with partners from multiple public and private sectors. The oral health community must be "at the table" with other health disciplines and create opportunities for eliminating inequalities through collaborations that can harness both the intellectual and financial resources of multiple sectors and institutions.
Social work practice in health is shaped by underlying paradigms. To effectively target health inequities, practitioners need to consider appropriate paradigms. In this exploration of how six health paradigms shape theory and practice, the two health paradigms that most attended to health inequalities are social determinants of health and…
Stuart, Kenneth; Soulsby, EJL
This paper summarizes four UK reviews of socially stratified health inequalities that were undertaken during the past five decades. It describes the background of misplaced optimism and false hopes which characterized the UK's own record of health inequalities; the broken promises on debt cancellations which was the experience of developing countries. It describes why the UK's past leadership record in international health provides grounds for optimism for the future and for benefits for both developed and developing countries through the adoption of more collaborative approaches to global health than have characterized international relationships in the past. It recalls the enthusiasm generated in the UK, and internationally, by the establishment of the Global Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. It promotes the perception of health both as a global public good and as a developmental issue and why a focus on poverty is essential to the address of global health issues. It sees the designing of appropriate strategies and partnerships towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as an important first step for achieving successful address to global public health issues. PMID:21816930
Wolfson, M.; Rowe, G.
In a recent series of papers, Murray et al. have put forward a number of important ideas regarding the measurement of inequalities in health. In this paper we agree with some of these ideas but draw attention to one key aspect of their approach--measuring inequalities on the basis of small area data--which is flawed. A numerical example is presented to illustrate the problem. An alternative approach drawing on longitudinal data is outlined, which preserves and enhances the most desirable aspects of their proposal. These include the use of a life course perspective, and the consideration of non-fatal health outcomes as well as the more usual information on mortality patterns. PMID:11436478
Flecha, Ainhoa; Garcia, Rocio; Rudd, Rima
Health literacy has firmly established the links between literacy skills and health outcomes and is subsequently considered a key strategy for improving the health of disadvantaged populations and addressing social inequality. However, current research findings for improving health literacy have primarily focused on adults and actions within…
Nolen, Lexi Bambas; Braveman, Paula; Dachs, J. Norberto W.; Delgado, Iris; Gakidou, Emmanuela; Moser, Kath; Rolfe, Liz; Vega, Jeanette; Zarowsky, Christina
Special studies and isolated initiatives over the past several decades in low-, middle- and high-income countries have consistently shown inequalities in health among socioeconomic groups and by gender, race or ethnicity, geographical area and other measures associated with social advantage. Significant health inequalities linked to social (dis)advantage rather than to inherent biological differences are generally considered unfair or inequitable. Such health inequities are the main object of health development efforts, including global targets such as the Millennium Development Goals, which require monitoring to evaluate progress. However, most national health information systems (HIS) lack key information needed to assess and address health inequities, namely, reliable, longitudinal and representative data linking measures of health with measures of social status or advantage at the individual or small-area level. Without empirical documentation and monitoring of such inequities, as well as country-level capacity to use this information for effective planning and monitoring of progress in response to interventions, movement towards equity is unlikely to occur. This paper reviews core information requirements and potential databases and proposes short-term and longer term strategies for strengthening the capabilities of HIS for the analysis of health equity and discusses HIS-related entry points for supporting a culture of equity-oriented decision-making and policy development. PMID:16184279
Veenstra, Gerry; Patterson, Andrew C
Little is known about Black-White health inequalities in Canada or the applicability of competing explanations for them. To address this gap, we used nine cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey to analyze multiple health outcomes in a sample of 3,127 Black women, 309,720 White women, 2,529 Black men and 250,511 White men. Adjusting for age, marital status, urban/rural residence and immigrant status, Black women and men were more likely than their White counterparts to report diabetes and hypertension, Black women were less likely than White women to report cancer and fair/poor mental health and Black men were less likely than White men to report heart disease. These health inequalities persisted after controlling for education, household income, smoking, physical activity and body-mass index. We conclude that high rates of diabetes and hypertension among Black Canadians may stem from experiences of racism in everyday life, low rates of heart disease and cancer among Black Canadians may reflect survival bias and low rates of fair/poor mental health among Black Canadian women represent a mental health paradox similar to the one that exists for African Americans in the United States.
Introduction This study aimed to measure socioeconomic inequalities in Self Assessed Health (SAH) and evaluate the determinants of such inequalities in terms of their contributions amongst the Turkish population. Methods We used data from the Turkish part of World Health Survey 2003 with 10,287 respondents over 18 years old. Concentration index (CI) of SAH was calculated as a measure of socioeconomic inequalities in health, and contributions of each determinant to inequality were evaluated using a decomposition method. Results In total 952 participants (9.3%) rated their health status as either bad or very bad. The CI for SAH was −0.15, suggesting that suboptimal SAH was reported more by those categorised as poor. The multiple logistic regression results indicated that having secondary, primary or less than primary school education, not being married and being in the lowest wealth quintile, significantly increased the risk of having poor SAH. The largest contributions to inequality were attributed to education level (70.7%), household economic status (9.7%) and geographical area lived in (8.4%). Conclusion The findings indicate that socioeconomic inequalities measured by SAH are apparent amongst the Turkish population. Education and household wealth were the greatest contributing factors to SAH inequality. These inequalities need to be explicitly addressed and vulnerable subgroups should be targeted to reduce the socioeconomic disparities. PMID:23217368
Chou, Win Lin; Wang, Zijun
This paper has two parts. The first part examines the regional health expenditure inequality in China by testing two hypotheses on health expenditure convergence. Cross-section regressions and cluster analysis are used to study the health expenditure convergence and to identify convergence clusters. We find no single nationwide convergence, only convergence by cluster. In the second part of the paper, we investigate the long-run relationship between health expenditure inequality, income inequality, and provincial government budget deficits (BD) by using new panel co-integration tests with health expenditure data in China's urban and rural areas. We find that the income inequality and real provincial government BD are useful in explaining the disparity in health expenditure prevailing between urban and rural areas. In order to reduce health-spending inequality, one long-run policy suggestion from our findings is for the government to implement more rapid economic development and stronger financing schemes in poorer rural areas.
Avni, Shlomit; Filc, Dani; Davidovitch, Nadav
The present paper analyses the emergence and characteristics of Israeli Medical Association (IMA) discourse on health inequality in Israel during the years 1977-2010. The IMA addressed the issue of health inequality at a relatively late stage in time (2000), as compared to other OECD countries such as the UK, and did so in a relatively limited way, focusing primarily on professional or economic interests. The dominant discourses on health inequalities within the IMA are biomedical and behavioral, characterized by a focus on medical and/or cultural and behavioral differences, the predominant use of medical terminology, and an individualistic rather than a structural conceptualization of the social characteristics of health differences. Additionally, IMA discourses emphasize certain aspects of health inequality such as the geographical and material inequities, and in doing so overlook the role played by class, nationality and the unequal structure of citizenship. Paradoxically, by disregarding the latter, the IMA's discourse on health inequality has the potential to reinforce the structural causes of these inequities. Our research is based on a textual critical discourse analysis (CDA) of hundreds of documents from the IMA's scientific medical journal, the IMA's members journal and public IMA documents such as press-releases, Knesset protocols, publications, and public surveys. By providing knowledge on the different ways in which the IMA, a key stakeholder in the health field, de-codifies, understands, explains, and attempts to deal with health inequality, the article illuminates possible implications on health policy and seeks to evaluate the direct interventions carried out by the IMA, or by other actors influenced by it, pertaining to health inequality.
Eckenwiler, Lisa; Straehle, Christine; Chung, Ryoa
The grounds for global solidarity have been theorized and conceptualized in recent years, and many have argued that we need a global concept of solidarity. But the question remains: what can motivate efforts of the international community and nation-states? Our focus is the grounding of solidarity with respect to global inequities in health. We explore what considerations could motivate acts of global solidarity in the specific context of health migration, and sketch briefly what form this kind of solidarity could take. First, we argue that the only plausible conceptualization of persons highlights their interdependence. We draw upon a conception of persons as 'ecological subjects' and from there illustrate what such a conception implies with the example of nurses migrating from low and middle-income countries to more affluent ones. Next, we address potential critics who might counter any such understanding of current international politics with a reference to real-politik and the insights of realist international political theory. We argue that national governments--while not always or even often motivated by moral reasons alone--may nevertheless be motivated to acts of global solidarity by prudential arguments. Solidarity then need not be, as many argue, a function of charitable inclination, or emergent from an acknowledgment of injustice suffered, but may in fact serve national and transnational interests. We conclude on a positive note: global solidarity may be conceptualized to helpfully address global health inequity, to the extent that personal and transnational interdependence are enough to motivate national governments into action.
Sheiham, A; Alexander, D; Cohen, L; Marinho, V; Moysés, S; Petersen, P E; Spencer, J; Watt, R G; Weyant, R
This paper reviews the shortcomings of present approaches to reduce oral diseases and inequalities, details the importance of social determinants, and links that to research needs and policies on implementation of strategies to reduce oral health inequalities. Inequalities in health are not narrowing. Attention is therefore being directed at determinants of major health conditions and the extent to which those common determinants vary within, between, and among groups, because if inequalities in health vary across groups, then so must underlying causes. Tackling inequalities in health requires strategies tailored to determinants and needs of each group along the social gradient. Approaches focusing mainly on downstream lifestyle and behavioral factors have limited success in reducing health inequalities. They fail to address social determinants, for changing people's behaviors requires changing their environment. There is a dearth of oral health research on social determinants that cause health-compromising behaviors and on risk factors common to some chronic diseases. The gap between what is known and implemented by other health disciplines and the dental fraternity needs addressing. To re-orient oral health research, practice, and policy toward a 'social determinants' model, a closer collaboration between and integration of dental and general health research is needed. Here, we suggest a research agenda that should lead to reductions in global inequalities in oral health.
Research on economic inequalities in health has been largely polarized between psychosocial and neomaterial approaches. Examination of symbolic capital—the material display of social status and how it is structurally constrained—is an underutilized way of exploring economic disparities in health and may help to resolve the existing theoretical polarization. In contemporary society, what people do with money and how they consume and display symbols of wealth may be as important as income itself. After tracing the historical rise of consumption in capitalist society and its interrelationship with economic inequality, I discuss evidence for the role of symbolic capital in health inequalities and suggest directions for future research. PMID:21164087
Bennett, Charmian M; Friel, Sharon
This paper addresses an often overlooked aspect of climate change impacts on child health: the amplification of existing child health inequities by climate change. Although the effects of climate change on child health will likely be negative, the distribution of these impacts across populations will be uneven. The burden of climate change-related ill-health will fall heavily on the world's poorest and socially-disadvantaged children, who already have poor survival rates and low life expectancies due to issues including poverty, endemic disease, undernutrition, inadequate living conditions and socio-economic disadvantage. Climate change will exacerbate these existing inequities to disproportionately affect disadvantaged children. We discuss heat stress, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases and undernutrition as exemplars of the complex interactions between climate change and inequities in child health.
Bennett, Charmian M.; Friel, Sharon
This paper addresses an often overlooked aspect of climate change impacts on child health: the amplification of existing child health inequities by climate change. Although the effects of climate change on child health will likely be negative, the distribution of these impacts across populations will be uneven. The burden of climate change-related ill-health will fall heavily on the world’s poorest and socially-disadvantaged children, who already have poor survival rates and low life expectancies due to issues including poverty, endemic disease, undernutrition, inadequate living conditions and socio-economic disadvantage. Climate change will exacerbate these existing inequities to disproportionately affect disadvantaged children. We discuss heat stress, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases and undernutrition as exemplars of the complex interactions between climate change and inequities in child health. PMID:27417491
Arcaya, Mariana C; Arcaya, Alyssa L; Subramanian, S V
Individuals from different backgrounds, social groups, and countries enjoy different levels of health. This article defines and distinguishes between unavoidable health inequalities and unjust and preventable health inequities. We describe the dimensions along which health inequalities are commonly examined, including across the global population, between countries or states, and within geographies, by socially relevant groupings such as race/ethnicity, gender, education, caste, income, occupation, and more. Different theories attempt to explain group-level differences in health, including psychosocial, material deprivation, health behavior, environmental, and selection explanations. Concepts of relative versus absolute; dose-response versus threshold; composition versus context; place versus space; the life course perspective on health; causal pathways to health; conditional health effects; and group-level versus individual differences are vital in understanding health inequalities. We close by reflecting on what conditions make health inequalities unjust, and to consider the merits of policies that prioritize the elimination of health disparities versus those that focus on raising the overall standard of health in a population.
Arcaya, Mariana C.; Arcaya, Alyssa L.; Subramanian, S. V.
Individuals from different backgrounds, social groups, and countries enjoy different levels of health. This article defines and distinguishes between unavoidable health inequalities and unjust and preventable health inequities. We describe the dimensions along which health inequalities are commonly examined, including across the global population, between countries or states, and within geographies, by socially relevant groupings such as race/ethnicity, gender, education, caste, income, occupation, and more. Different theories attempt to explain group-level differences in health, including psychosocial, material deprivation, health behavior, environmental, and selection explanations. Concepts of relative versus absolute; dose–response versus threshold; composition versus context; place versus space; the life course perspective on health; causal pathways to health; conditional health effects; and group-level versus individual differences are vital in understanding health inequalities. We close by reflecting on what conditions make health inequalities unjust, and to consider the merits of policies that prioritize the elimination of health disparities versus those that focus on raising the overall standard of health in a population. PMID:26112142
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Scott, Vera; Stern, Ruth; Sanders, David; Reagon, Gavin; Mathews, Verona
Background While the importance of promoting equity to achieve health is now recognised, the health gap continues to increase globally between and within countries. The description that follows looks at how the Cape Town Equity Gauge initiative, part of the Global Equity Gauge Alliance (GEGA) is endeavouring to tackle this problem. We give an overview of the first phase of our research in which we did an initial assessment of health status and the socio-economic determinants of health across the subdistrict health structures of Cape Town. We then describe two projects from the second phase of our research in which we move from research to action. The first project, the Equity Tools for Managers Project, engages with health managers to develop two tools to address inequity: an Equity Measurement Tool which quantifies inequity in health service provision in financial terms, and a Equity Resource Allocation Tool which advocates for and guides action to rectify inequity in health service provision. The second project, the Water and Sanitation Project, engages with community structures and other sectors to address the problem of diarrhoea in one of the poorest areas in Cape Town through the establishment of a community forum and a pilot study into the acceptability of dry sanitation toilets. Methods A participatory approach was adopted. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The first phase, the collection of measurements across the health subdistricts of Cape Town, used quantitative secondary data to demonstrate the inequities. In the Equity Tools for Managers Project further quantitative work was done, supplemented by qualitative policy analysis to study the constraints to implementing equity. The Water and Sanitation Project was primarily qualitative, using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. These were used to gain an understanding of the impact of the inequities, in this instance, inadequate sanitation provision. Results The studies both
Pickett, Kate E; Wilkinson, Richard G
There is a very large literature examining income inequality in relation to health. Early reviews came to different interpretations of the evidence, though a large majority of studies reported that health tended to be worse in more unequal societies. More recent studies, not included in those reviews, provide substantial new evidence. Our purpose in this paper is to assess whether or not wider income differences play a causal role leading to worse health. We conducted a literature review within an epidemiological causal framework and inferred the likelihood of a causal relationship between income inequality and health (including violence) by considering the evidence as a whole. The body of evidence strongly suggests that income inequality affects population health and wellbeing. The major causal criteria of temporality, biological plausibility, consistency and lack of alternative explanations are well supported. Of the small minority of studies which find no association, most can be explained by income inequality being measured at an inappropriate scale, the inclusion of mediating variables as controls, the use of subjective rather than objective measures of health, or follow up periods which are too short. The evidence that large income differences have damaging health and social consequences is strong and in most countries inequality is increasing. Narrowing the gap will improve the health and wellbeing of populations.
Wehby, George L.; Nyarko, Kwame A.; Lopez-Camelo, Jorge S.
Several studies report socioeconomic inequalities in child health and consequences of early disease. However, not much is known about inequalities in health capital accumulation in the womb in response to fetal health shocks, which is essential for finding the earliest sensitive periods for interventions to reduce inequalities. We identify inequalities in birth weight accumulation as a result of fetal health shocks from the occurrence of one of the most common birth defects, oral clefts, within the first 9 weeks of pregnancy, using quantile regression and two datasets from South America and the US. Infants born at lower birth weight quantiles are significantly more adversely affected by the health shock compared to those born at higher birth weight quantiles, with overall comparable results between the South American and US samples. These results suggest that fetal health shocks increase child health disparities by widening the spread of the birth weight distribution and that health inequalities begin in the womb, requiring interventions before pregnancy. PMID:23339079
Elwell-Sutton, Timothy M; Jiang, Chao Qiang; Zhang, Wei Sen; Cheng, Kar Keung; Lam, Tai H; Leung, Gabriel M; Schooling, C M
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a large and rapidly-growing problem in China and other middle-income countries. Clinical treatment of NCDs is long-term and expensive, so it may present particular problems for equality and horizontal equity (equal treatment for equal need) in access to health care, although little is known about this at present in low- and middle-income countries. To address this gap, and inform policy for a substantial proportion of the global population, we examined inequality and inequity in general health care utilization (doctor consultations and hospital admissions) and in treatment of chronic conditions (hypertension, hyperglycaemia and dyslipidaemia), in 30 499 Chinese adults aged ≥50 years from one of China's richest provinces, using the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study (2003-2008). We used concentration indices to test for inequality and inequity in utilization by household income per head. Inequality was decomposed to show the contributions of income, indicators of 'need for health care' (age, sex, self-rated health, coronary heart disease risk and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and non-need factors (education, occupation, out-of-pocket health care payments and health insurance). We found inequality and inequity in treatment of chronic conditions but not in general health care utilization. Using more objective and specific measures of 'need for health care' increased estimates of inequity for treatment of chronic conditions. Income and non-need factors (especially health insurance, education and occupation) made the largest contributions to inequality. Further work is needed on why access to treatment for chronic conditions in China is restricted for those on low incomes and how these inequities can be mitigated.
Dickman, Samuel L; Himmelstein, David U; Woolhandler, Steffie
Widening economic inequality in the USA has been accompanied by increasing disparities in health outcomes. The life expectancy of the wealthiest Americans now exceeds that of the poorest by 10-15 years. This report, part of a Series on health and inequality in the USA, focuses on how the health-care system, which could reduce income-based disparities in health, instead often exacerbates them. Other articles in this Series address population health inequalities, and the health effects of racism, mass incarceration, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Poor Americans have worse access to care than do wealthy Americans, partly because many remain uninsured despite coverage expansions since 2010 due to the ACA. For individuals with private insurance, rising premiums and cost sharing have undermined wage gains and driven many households into debt and even bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the share of health-care resources devoted to care of the wealthy has risen. Additional reforms that move forward, rather than backward, from the ACA are sorely needed to mitigate health and health-care inequalities and reduce the financial burdens of medical care borne by non-wealthy Americans.
Steele, J; Shen, J; Tsakos, G; Fuller, E; Morris, S; Watt, R; Guarnizo-Herreño, C; Wildman, J
Oral health inequalities associated with socioeconomic status are widely observed but may depend on the way that both oral health and socioeconomic status are measured. Our aim was to investigate inequalities using diverse indicators of oral health and 4 socioeconomic determinants, in the context of age and cohort. Multiple linear or logistic regressions were estimated for 7 oral health measures representing very different outcomes (2 caries prevalence measures, decayed/missing/filled teeth, 6-mm pockets, number of teeth, anterior spaces, and excellent oral health) against 4 socioeconomic measures (income, education, Index of Multiple Deprivation, and occupational social class) for adults aged ≥21 y in the 2009 UK Adult Dental Health Survey data set. Confounders were adjusted and marginal effects calculated. The results showed highly variable relationships for the different combinations of variables and that age group was critical, with different relationships at different ages. There were significant income inequalities in caries prevalence in the youngest age group, marginal effects of 0.10 to 0.18, representing a 10- to 18-percentage point increase in the probability of caries between the wealthiest and every other quintile, but there was not a clear gradient across the quintiles. With number of teeth as an outcome, there were significant income gradients after adjustment in older groups, up to 4.5 teeth (95% confidence interval, 2.2-6.8) between richest and poorest but none for the younger groups. For periodontal disease, income inequalities were mediated by other socioeconomic variables and smoking, while for anterior spaces, the relationships were age dependent and complex. In conclusion, oral health inequalities manifest in different ways in different age groups, representing age and cohort effects. Income sometimes has an independent relationship, but education and area of residence are also contributory. Appropriate choices of measures in relation to age
An increasing body of literature documents considerable inequalities in the health of young children in the United States, though maternal depression is one important, yet often overlooked, determinant of children's health. In this article, the author uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 4,048) and finds that maternal…
Parkinson, Clive; White, Mike
This paper considers how participatory arts informed by thinking in public health can play a significant part internationally in addressing inequalities in health. It looks beyond national overviews of arts and health to consider what would make for meaningful international practice, citing recent initiatives of national networks in English-speaking countries and examples of influential developments in South America and the European Union. In the context of public health thinking on inequalities and social justice, the paper posits what would make for good practice and appropriate research that impacts on policy. As the arts and health movement gathers momentum, the paper urges the arts to describe their potency in the policy-making arena in the most compelling ways to articulate their social, economic and cultural values. In the process, it identifies the reflexive consideration of participatory practice – involving people routinely marginalised from decision-making processes – as a possible avenue into this work. PMID:25729409
This article outlines a researcher's struggles with conducting "ethical" research when her case study reveals racializations faced by a minority teacher in a Canadian ESL program. How might becoming privy to research participants' experiences of inequity in ESL education complicate the notion of research ethics when "doing the right…
Kawachi, I; Kennedy, B P
The relationship between income and health is well established: the higher an individual's income, the better his or her health. However, recent research suggests that health may also be affected by the distribution of income within society. We outline the potential mechanisms underlying the so-called relative income hypothesis, which predicts that an individual's health status is better in societies with a more equal distribution of incomes. The effects of income inequality on health may be mediated by underinvestment in social goods, such as public education and health care; disruption of social cohesion and the erosion of social capital; and the harmful psychosocial effects of invidious social comparisons. PMID:10199670
Hemingway, Ann; Norton, Liz; Aarts, Clara
The purpose of this paper is to consider the role of the lifeworld perspective in reducing inequalities in health and we explain how the public health practitioner can use this perspective to address public health issues with individuals and groups. We offer ideas for public health actions that are based on and deal with the lifeworld context of individual people or families. Each of the dimensions of the lifeworld temporality, spatiality, intersubjectivity, embodiment and mood are outlined and their significance explained in relation to health inequalities. Suggestions for action to reduce health inequalities are made and overall principles of lifeworld led public health practice are proposed by way of conclusion. The principles comprise understanding the community members' lifeworld view, understanding their view of their potential, offering resources and facilitating empowerment, and sharing lifeworld case studies and lobbying to influence local and national policy in relation to both the individual and communities. PMID:25642346
Girard, Gustavo A
Although poverty is not a new phenomenon, currently it has peculiar characteristics: globalization, inequity, new features in education, exclusion, gender inequalities, marginalization of native peoples and migrations, difficulties found by different sectors to have access to technology, and unemployment. These characteristics are seen not only in countries considered to be developing nations, but affect the whole world. The present international financial crisis, this time originating in industrialized countries, represents an aggravating factor, the consequences of which are still difficult to estimate. It has a particular impact on adolescents and young people in terms of health as a whole, mortality rates, violence, nutrition, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health, and disabilities, all being aggravated by the difficulties of access to ap propriate health services. Social capital is seriously affected, and this entails a strong and deleterious impact not only on present generations but also on future ones. It is a challenge that cannot be ignored.
Schulz, Amy J.; Israel, Barbara A.; Coombe, Chris M.; Gaines, Causandra; Reyes, Angela G.; Rowe, Zachary; Sand, Sharon; Strong, Larkin L.; Weir, Sheryl
The elimination of persistent health inequities requires the engagement of multiple perspectives, resources and skills. Community-based participatory research is one approach to developing action strategies that promote health equity by addressing contextual as well as individual level factors, and that can contribute to addressing more fundamental factors linked to health inequity. Yet many questions remain about how to implement participatory processes that engage local insights and expertise, are informed by the existing public health knowledge base, and build support across multiple sectors to implement solutions. We describe a CBPR approach used to conduct a community assessment and action planning process, culminating in development of a multilevel intervention to address inequalities in cardiovascular disease in Detroit, Michigan. We consider implications for future efforts to engage communities in developing strategies toward eliminating health inequities. PMID:21873580
Health financing is a core necessity for sustainable healthcare delivery. Access inequalities due to financial restrictions in low-middle income countries, and in Africa especially, significantly affect disease rates and health statistics in these regions. This paper focuses on the role of a national health insurance cover as a funding medium in Nigeria, highlighting the theoretical premise of health insurance, its driving forces, key benefits and key limitations particular to the country under scrutiny. Emphasis is laid on its overall effect on the pressing public health issue of health inequality. PMID:28299138
Whitehead, M; Judge, K; Hunter, D J; Maxwell, R; Scheuer, M A
Federal and state governments in Australia have embarked on a series of national initiatives which show a firm commitment to tackling social inequalities in health. The development of national goals and targets for health, for example, covers social and environmental conditions and sets differential targets for specific social groups with very poor health status. In a complementary initiative, a wide ranging analysis of the health care system--the National Health Strategy--has as one of its main objectives to improve the equitable impact of the health system. Where problems of access to and quality of services have been exposed, policies have been devised to deal with them. The exceptionally poor health of the Aboriginal community has elicited cross party support for action. Resources have been allocated to implement the National Aboriginal Health Strategy: to improve living and working conditions, education, and employment opportunities. Britain can glean much from the Australian experience. Images p783-a p787-a PMID:8490345
Income inequality is very topical—in both political and economic circles—but although income and socioeconomic status are known determinants of health status, income inequality has garnered scant attention with respect to the health of US workers. By several measures, income inequality in the United States has risen since 1960. In addition to pressures from an increasingly competitive labor market, with cash wages losing out to benefits, workers face pressures from changes in work organization. We explored these factors and the mounting evidence of income inequality as a contributing factor to poorer health for the workforce. Although political differences may divide the policy approaches undertaken, addressing income inequality is likely to improve the overall social and health conditions for those affected. PMID:25713936
Social and economic policies of governments directly influence the health of the people. These policies, in turn, are determined by the national and foreign controllers of power. Economic and social factors in Turkey during the late 1970s led to a new modelling of the economic system, from a Keynesian to a market-oriented and monetarist model. The state mechanism was also altered to form a centralized, authoritarian regime in order to enforce the requirements of the economy. As a result, the middle class diminished in size, inequalities in income distribution increased, unemployment climbed, the purchasing power of wage earners decreased, government spending for education and health was cut and new oppressive laws were enacted. Health services were already urban-biased and hospital-oriented, but new free-market measures were instituted which promoted private health institutions and attempted to transform state-owned and financed hospitals into self-supporting, independent business enterprises. The only school of public health was closed down; preventive medicine expenditures were lowered while hospital rates and drug prices were increased. All these changes affected the health status of the population. Mortality and morbidity inequalities had already existed between the rich and the poor, men and women, urban and rural settlements, educated and illiterate, West and East, always in favour of the former. However, the new policies exacerbated the inequities. Infectious diseases including tuberculosis increased, nutrition worsened, occupational diseases and work accidents rose to be the highest in Europe. The power-holding minority is not interested in the health of populations and is committed to pursue its social and economic policies. Ad hoc research, especially cross-sectional mortality studies repeated at regular intervals can provide data on the most vulnerable groups as no other valid information exists. There is little hope of these data being used for
The impact of inequality on health is gaining more attention as public and political concern grows over increasing inequality. The income inequality hypothesis, which holds that inequality is detrimental to overall population health, is especially pertinent. However the emphasis on inequality can be challenged on both empirical and theoretical grounds. Empirically, the evidence is contradictory and contested; theoretically, it is inconsistent with our understanding of human societies as complex systems. Research and discussion, both scientific and political, need to reflect better this complexity, and give greater recognition to other social determinants of health.
This paper focuses on poverty and inequality in the world today. First, it points out how this topic is a main concern for the IAB. Second, it proposes 'new' theoretical tools in order to analyze global justice and our obligations towards the needy. I present John Rawls's denial that the egalitarian principle can be applied to the global sphere, his proposed weak duty of assistance, and his consideration of endemic poverty as essentially homegrown. In opposition, I focus on Thomas Pogge as representative of a cosmopolitan view who also holds a critical position towards the international systems which allow and cause poverty. I endorse the general normative proposal that defends every human being as an ultimate unit of moral concern, as well as the strategy of moving away from the charity model of bilateral aid to the realm of rights and duties. These ideas should redesign and broaden the normative and practical roles of institutions, and should also help provide a new approach on bioethical issues such as drug patenting or the imbalance in global research and neglected diseases.
Neri, Marcelo; Soares, Wagner
This paper studies the relationship between social inequality and health in Brazil. The strategy adopted by the authors was to analyze needs and uses of medical care as well as access to health insurance plans according to income distribution. Determinants of health care consumption were also studied by means of logistic regression. The main source of data was the 1998 National Sample Household Survey of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (PNAD-IBGE). In general, individuals in the lowest income distribution deciles had less access to health insurance, greater need for medical care, and lower consumption of such services. Other determinants of health care consumption were heavily associated with the most privileged social strata (greater access to schooling, water supply, sewerage, electricity, garbage collection, and health insurance) and with factors pointing to the capacity to supply these services in country.
Elgar, Frank J; Gariépy, Geneviève; Torsheim, Torbjørn; Currie, Candace
A prevailing hypothesis about the association between income inequality and poor health is that inequality intensifies social hierarchies, increases stress, erodes social and material resources that support health, and subsequently harms health. However, the evidence in support of this hypothesis is limited by cross-sectional, ecological studies and a scarcity of developmental studies. To address this limitation, we used pooled, multilevel data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study to examine lagged, cumulative, and trajectory associations between early-life income inequality and adolescent health and well-being. Psychosomatic symptoms and life satisfaction were assessed in surveys of 11- to 15-year-olds in 40 countries between 1994 and 2014. We linked these data to national Gini indices of income inequality for every life year from 1979 to 2014. The results showed that exposure to income inequality from 0 to 4 years predicted psychosomatic symptoms and lower life satisfaction in females after controlling lifetime mean income inequality, national per capita income, family affluence, age, and cohort and period effects. The cumulative income inequality exposure in infancy and childhood (i.e., average Gini index from birth to age 10) related to lower life satisfaction in female adolescents but not to symptoms. Finally, individual trajectories in early-life inequality (i.e., linear slopes in Gini indices from birth to 10 years) related to fewer symptoms and higher life satisfaction in females, indicating that earlier exposures mattered more to predicting health and wellbeing. No such associations with early-life income inequality were found in males. These results help to establish the antecedent-consequence conditions in the association between income inequality and health and suggest that both the magnitude and timing of income inequality in early life have developmental consequences that manifest in reduced health and well-being in adolescent girls.
Cohen, Benita E; Marshall, Shelley G
The public health (PH) sector is ideally situated to take a lead advocacy role in catalysing and guiding multi-sectoral action to address social determinants of health inequities, but evidence suggests that PH's advocacy role has not been fully realised. The purpose of this review was to determine the extent to which the PH advocacy literature addresses the goal of reducing health and social inequities, and to increase understanding of contextual factors shaping the discourse and practice of PH advocacy. We employed scoping review methods to systematically examine and chart peer-reviewed and grey literature on PH advocacy published from January 1, 2000 to June 30, 2015. Databases and search engines used included: PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Sciences Citation Index, Google Scholar, Google, Google Books, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Grey Literature Report. A total of 183 documents were charted, and included in the final analysis. Thematic analysis was both inductive and deductive according to the objectives. Although PH advocacy to address root causes of health inequities is supported theoretically and through professional practice standards, the empirical literature does not reflect that this is occurring widely in PH practice. Tensions within the discourse were noted and multiple barriers to engaging in PH advocacy for health equity were identified, including a preoccupation with individual responsibilities for healthy lifestyles and behaviours, consistent with the emergence of neoliberal governance. If the PH sector is to fulfil its advocacy role in catalysing action to reduce health inequities, it will be necessary to address advocacy barriers at multiple levels, promote multi-sectoral efforts that implicate the state and corporations in the production of health inequities, and rally state involvement to redress these injustices.
Blane, David N; Hesselgreaves, Hannah; McLean, Gary; Lough, Murray; Watt, Graham C M
WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN IN THIS AREA: Recent government policy has emphasised the important role that GPs have to play in addressing health inequalities. The RCGP curriculum asserts the importance of gaining a better understanding of health inequalities during GP training. GP training in Scotland continues to take place in disproportionately affluent areas. WHAT THIS WORK ADDS: This is the first study to look at attitudes of GP trainers towards health inequalities and to explore their ideas for changes in training that may address health inequalities. There were noticeable differences in the views of GP trainers--both in terms of the causes of health inequalities and the role of primary care in tackling inequalities--depending on whether they were based in more affluent or more deprived practices. Practice rotations were suggested by all groups as a means to give GP trainees exposure to the particular challenges of both affluent and deprived practice populations. SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH: Pilot studies of practice rotations between deprived and affluent areas would be of value. Evaluation of nMRCGP assessments (particularly the Clinical Skills Assessment, CSA) with regard to representativeness of general practice in deprived areas should be considered. Further qualitative research into the attitudes of GP trainees towards health inequalities, and GP trainers from different--less deprived--practice areas, would also be of interest. [corrected].
Muntaner, C; Nagoshi, C; Diala, C
Middle-class whites' explanations for racial inequalities in health can have a profound impact on the type of questions addressed in epidemiology and public health research. These explanations also constitute a subset of white racial ideology (i.e., racism) that in itself powerfully affects the health of non-whites. This study begins to examine the nature of attributions for racial inequalities in health among university students who by definition are likely to be involved in the research, policy, and service professions (the upper middle class). Investigation of the degree to which middle-class whites attribute racial inequalities in cardiovascular health (between themselves and African Americans, American Indians, or Asian Americans) to biological, social, or lifestyle factors reveals that whites tend to attribute their own health to lifestyle choice and to biology rather than to social factors. These results suggest that contemporary middle-class whites' "self-serving" explanations for racial inequalities in health are comprised of two beliefs: implicit biologism (race is an attribute of organisms rather than a social relation) and liberal belief in self-determination, choice, and individual responsibility--some of the core lay beliefs of the worldview that sustains neoliberal capitalism. Contemporary white middle-class explanations for racial inequalities in health appear to include assumptions that justify class inequality. Liberal approaches to racism in public health are bound to miss a key component of racial ideology that is currently used to justify racial and class inequalities.
Ataguba, John Ele-Ojo; Day, Candy; McIntyre, Di
Background Action on the social determinants of health (SDH) is relevant for reducing health inequalities. This is particularly the case for South Africa (SA) with its very high level of income inequality and inequalities in health and health outcomes. This paper provides evidence on the key SDH for reducing health inequalities in the country using a framework initially developed by the World Health Organization. Objective This paper assesses health inequalities in SA and explains the factors (i.e. SDH and other individual level factors) that account for large disparities in health. The relative contribution of different SDH to health inequality is also assessed. Design A cross-sectional design is used. Data come from the third wave of the nationally representative National Income Dynamics Study. A subsample of adults (18 years and older) is used. The main variable of interest is dichotomised good versus bad self-assessed health (SAH). Income-related health inequality is assessed using the standard concentration index (CI). A positive CI means that the rich report better health than the poor. A negative value signifies the opposite. The paper also decomposes the CI to assess its contributing factors. Results Good SAH is significantly concentrated among the rich rather than the poor (CI=0.008; p<0.01). Decomposition of this result shows that social protection and employment (contribution=0.012; p<0.01), knowledge and education (0.005; p<0.01), and housing and infrastructure (−0.003; p<0.01) contribute significantly to the disparities in good SAH in SA. After accounting for these other variables, the contribution of income and poverty is negligible. Conclusions Addressing health inequalities inter alia requires an increased government commitment in terms of budgetary allocations to key sectors (i.e. employment, social protection, education, housing, and other appropriate infrastructure). Attention should also be paid to equity in benefits from government
This paper describes and critiques the income inequality approach to health inequalities. It then presents an alternative class-based model through a focus on the causes and not only the consequences of income inequalities. In this model, the relationship between income inequality and health appears as a special case within a broader causal chain. It is argued that global and national socio-political-economic trends have increased the power of business classes and lowered that of working classes. The neo-liberal policies accompanying these trends led to increased income inequality but also poverty and unequal access to many other health-relevant resources. But international pressures towards neo-liberal doctrines and policies are differentially resisted by various nations because of historically embedded variation in class and institutional structures. Data presented indicates that neo-liberalism is associated with greater poverty and income inequalities, and greater health inequalities within nations. Furthermore, countries with Social Democratic forms of welfare regimes (i.e., those that are less neo-liberal) have better health than do those that are more neo-liberal. The paper concludes with discussion of what further steps are needed to "go beyond" the income inequality hypothesis towards consideration of a broader set of the social determinants of health.
Smith, Katherine E.; Kandlik Eltanani, Mor
Background Despite a wealth of research and policy initiatives, progress in tackling the UK's health inequalities has been limited. This article explores whether there appears to be consensus among researchers about the kinds of policies likely to reduce health inequalities. Methods Ninety-nine proposals for addressing health inequalities were identified from multiple sources. Forty-one researchers participated in a survey assessing the extent to which they believed each proposal would reduce health inequalities, based on three criteria. The 20 proposals generating most support were employed in a second stage, in which 92 researchers indicated which proposals they felt would have the greatest impact on reducing health inequalities. Results Some consensus exists among researchers about the policy approaches likely to reduce UK health inequalities: a more progressive distribution of income/wealth, greater investment in services for deprived communities, plus regulatory policies to limit the impact of lifestyle-behavioural risks. However, researchers' support for proposals varies depending whether they are asked to express their expert opinion or to comment on the strength of the available evidence. Conclusions When consulting researchers about health inequalities, policymakers need to consider whether they are seeking research-informed expertise or assessments of the available evidence; these questions are likely to yield different responses. PMID:25174045
Meyer, Pamela A; Yoon, Paula W; Kaufmann, Rachel B
This supplement is the second CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report (CHDIR). The 2011 CHDIR was the first CDC report to assess disparities across a wide range of diseases, behavioral risk factors, environmental exposures, social determinants, and health-care access (CDC. CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report-United States, 2011. MMWR 2011;60[Suppl; January 14, 2011]). The 2013 CHDIR provides new data for 19 of the topics published in 2011 and 10 new topics. When data were available and suitable analyses were possible for the topic area, disparities were examined for population characteristics that included race and ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. The purpose of this supplement is to raise awareness of differences among groups regarding selected health outcomes and health determinants and to prompt actions to reduce disparities. The findings in this supplement can be used by practitioners in public health, academia and clinical medicine; the media; the general public; policymakers; program managers; and researchers to address disparities and help all persons in the United States live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.
Robson, Matthew; Asaria, Miqdad; Cookson, Richard; Tsuchiya, Aki; Ali, Shehzad
Health inequality aversion parameters can be used to represent alternative value judgements about policy concern for reducing health inequality versus improving total health. In this study, we use data from an online survey of the general public in England (n = 244) to elicit health inequality aversion parameters for both Atkinson and Kolm social welfare functions. We find median inequality aversion parameters of 10.95 for Atkinson and 0.15 for Kolm. These values suggest substantial concern for health inequality among the English general public which, at current levels of quality adjusted life expectancy, implies weighting health gains to the poorest fifth of people in society six to seven times as highly as health gains to the richest fifth. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This paper examines the relationship between the inequality in workplace conditions and health-related outcomes in Japan. It analyzes the effect of changes in the work conditions and work arrangements on the subjective health, activity restriction, and depression symptoms, using the Japanese Life Course Panel Survey (JLPS). The 2007 JLPS consists of nationally representative sample of the youth (20 to 34 yr old) and the middle-aged (35 to 40 yr old). The original respondents were followed up in 2008, and 2,719 respondents for the youth panel and 1,246 for the middle-aged panel returned the questionnaires. The first major conclusion is that there are substantial changes in health conditions between the two waves even though the distributions of health-related outcomes are very similar at two time points. The second major conclusion is that the effects of work conditions depend on different health-related outcomes. Self-reported health and depression symptoms are affected by a variety of job-related factors. The atmosphere of helping each other and the control over the pace of work are two important factors which affect both depression and self-reported health. All these findings suggest that the workplace conditions and job characteristics have profound influence on the workers' health.
Hagen, Susanne; Torp, Steffen; Helgesen, Marit; Fosse, Elisabeth
Worldwide, inequalities in health are increasing, even in well-developed welfare states such as Norway, which in 2012, saw a new public health act take effect that enshrined equity in health as national policy and devolved to municipalities' responsibility to act on the social determinants of health. The act deems governance structures and "Health in All Policies" approaches as important steering mechanisms for local health promotion. The aim of this study is to investigate whether Norway's municipalities address living conditions - economic circumstances, housing, employment and educational factors - in local health promotion, and what factors are associated with doing so. All Norway's municipalities (n= 428) were included in this cross-sectional study, and both register and survey data were used and were subjected to descriptive and bi- and multivariate regression analyses. Eighty-two percent of the municipalities reported that they were capable of reducing inequalities in health. Forty percent of the municipalities defined living conditions as a main challenge in their local public health promotion, while 48% cited it as a main health promotion priority. Our study shows that defining living conditions as a main challenge is positively associated with size of municipality, and also its assessment of its own capability in reducing inequalities in health. The latter factor was also associated with actually prioritizing living conditions in health promotion, as was having established cross-sectorial working groups or inter-municipal collaboration related to local health promotion. This study underlines the importance of inter-sectoral collaboration to promote health and well-being.
In today's global society, infectious disease outbreaks can spread quickly across the world, fueled by the rapidity with which we travel across borders and continents. Historical accounts of influenza pandemics and contemporary reports on infectious diseases clearly demonstrate that poverty, inequality, and social determinants of health create conditions for the transmission of infectious diseases, and existing health disparities or inequalities can further contribute to unequal burdens of morbidity and mortality. Yet, to date, studies of influenza pandemic plans across multiple countries find little to no recognition of health inequalities or attempts to engage disadvantaged populations to explicitly address the differential impact of a pandemic on them. To meet the goals and objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda, we argue that international partners, from WHO to individual countries, must grapple with the social determinants of health and existing health inequalities and extend their vision to include these factors so that disease that may start among socially disadvantaged subpopulations does not go unnoticed and spread across borders. These efforts will require rethinking surveillance systems to include sociodemographic data; training local teams of researchers and community health workers who are able to not only analyze data to recognize risk factors for disease, but also use simulation methods to assess the impact of alternative policies on reducing disease; integrating social science disciplines to understand local context; and proactively anticipating shortfalls in availability of adequate healthcare resources, including vaccines. Without explicit attention to existing health inequalities and underlying social determinants of health, the Global Health Security Agenda is unlikely to succeed in its goals and objectives. PMID:25254915
Pratt, Gregory C; Vadali, Monika L; Kvale, Dorian L; Ellickson, Kristie M
Higher levels of nearby traffic increase exposure to air pollution and adversely affect health outcomes. Populations with lower socio-economic status (SES) are particularly vulnerable to stressors like air pollution. We investigated cumulative exposures and risks from traffic and from MNRiskS-modeled air pollution in multiple source categories across demographic groups. Exposures and risks, especially from on-road sources, were higher than the mean for minorities and low SES populations and lower than the mean for white and high SES populations. Owning multiple vehicles and driving alone were linked to lower household exposures and risks. Those not owning a vehicle and walking or using transit had higher household exposures and risks. These results confirm for our study location that populations on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum and minorities are disproportionately exposed to traffic and air pollution and at higher risk for adverse health outcomes. A major source of disparities appears to be the transportation infrastructure. Those outside the urban core had lower risks but drove more, while those living nearer the urban core tended to drive less but had higher exposures and risks from on-road sources. We suggest policy considerations for addressing these inequities.
The provocative hypothesis that income inequality harms population health has sparked a large body of research, some of which has reported strong associations between income inequality and population health. Cross-national evidence is frequently cited in support of this important hypothesis, but the hypothesis remains controversial, and the…
Oshio, Takashi; Kobayashi, Miki
In this study we conduct a multilevel analysis to investigate the association between regional income inequality and self-rated health in Japan, based on two nationwide surveys. We confirm that there is a significant association between area-level income inequality and individual-level health assessment. We also find that health assessment tends to be more sensitive to income inequality among lower income individuals, and to degree of area-level poverty, than income inequality for the society as a whole. In addition, we examine how individuals are averse to inequality, based on the observed association between inequality and self-rated health.
Burns, J K
The relationship between poverty and mental health is indisputable. However, to have an influence on the next set of sustainable global development goals, we need to understand the causal relationships between social determinants such as poverty, inequality, lack of education and unemployment; thereby clarifying which aspects of poverty are the key drivers of mental illness. Some of the major challenges identified by Lund (2014) in understanding the poverty-mental health relationship are discussed including: the need for appropriate poverty indicators; extending this research agenda to a broader range of mental health outcomes; the need to engage with theoretical concepts such as Amartya Sen's capability framework; and the need to integrate the concept of income/economic inequality into studies of poverty and mental health. Although income inequality is a powerful driver of poor physical and mental health outcomes, it features rarely in research and discourse on social determinants of mental health. This paper interrogates in detail the relationships between poverty, income inequality and mental health, specifically: the role of income inequality as a mediator of the poverty-mental health relationship; the relative utility of commonly used income inequality metrics; and the likely mechanisms underlying the impact of inequality on mental health, including direct stress due to the setting up of social comparisons as well as the erosion of social capital leading to social fragmentation. Finally, we need to interrogate the upstream political, social and economic causes of inequality itself, since these should also become potential targets in efforts to promote sustainable development goals and improve population (mental) health. In particular, neoliberal (market-oriented) political doctrines lead to both increased income inequality and reduced social cohesion. In conclusion, understanding the relationships between politics, poverty, inequality and mental health
Over the past three decades, an array of legislation with attendant regulations has been implemented to enhance the quality of the environment and thereby improve the public's health. Despite the many beneficial changes that have followed, there remains a disproportionately higher prevalence of harmful environmental exposures, particularly air pollution, for certain populations. These populations most often reside in urban settings, have low socioeconomic status, and include a large proportion of ethnic minorities. The disparities between racial/ethnic minority and/or low-income populations in cities and the general population in terms of environmental exposures and related health risks have prompted the "environmental justice" or "environmental equity" movement, which strives to create cleaner environments for the most polluted communities. Achieving cleaner environments will require interventions based on scientific data specific to the populations at risk; however, research in this area has been relatively limited. To assess the current scientific information on urban air pollution and its health impacts and to help set the agenda for immediate intervention and future research, the American Lung Association organized an invited workshop on Urban Air Pollution and Health Inequities held 22-24 October 1999 in Washington, DC. This report builds on literature reviews and summarizes the discussions of working groups charged with addressing key areas relevant to air pollution and health effects in urban environments. An overview was provided of the state of the science for health impacts of air pollution and technologies available for air quality monitoring and exposure assessment. The working groups then prioritized research needs to address the knowledge gaps and developed recommendations for community interventions and public policy to begin to remedy the exposure and health inequities. PMID:11427385
Lahelma, E; Lundberg, O; Manderbacka, K; Roos, E
The Nordic countries, referring here to Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, have often been viewed as a group of countries with many features in common, such as geographical location, history, culture, religion, language, and economic and political structures. It has also been habitual to refer to a "Nordic model" of welfare states comprising a large public sector, active labour market policies, high costs for social welfare as well as high taxes, and a general commitment to social equality. Recent research suggests that much of this "Nordicness" appears to remain despite the fact that the Nordic countries have experienced quite different changes during the 1980s and 1990s. How this relates to changes in health inequalities is in the focus of this supplement.
Abstract This paper outlines how the quality and outcomes framework (QOF) has done little to close the health inequality gap, and proposes possible ways in which future iterations of QOF could do more to address this crucial public health problem. PMID:28250839
Blosnich, John R.; Farmer, Grant W.; Lee, Joseph G. L.; Silenzio, Vincent M. B.; Bowen, Deborah J.
Background Improving the health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals is a Healthy People 2020 goal; however, the IOM highlighted the paucity of information currently available about LGB populations. Purpose To compare health indicators by gender and sexual orientation statuses. Methods Data are from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys conducted January–December of 2010 with population-based samples of non-institutionalized U.S. adults aged over 18 years (N=93,414) in ten states that asked about respondents’ sexual orientation (response rates=41.1%–65.6%). Analyses were stratified by gender and sexual orientation to compare indicators of mental health, physical health, risk behaviors, preventive health behaviors, screening tests, health care utilization, and medical diagnoses. Analyses were conducted in March 2013. Results Overall, 2.4% (95% CI=2.2, 2.7) of the sample identified as LGB. All sexual minority groups were more likely to be current smokers than their heterosexual peers. Compared with heterosexual women, lesbian women had over 30% decreased odds of having an annual routine physical exam, and bisexual women had over 2.5 times the odds of not seeking medical care owing to cost. Compared with heterosexual men, gay men were less likely to be overweight or obese, and bisexual men were twice as likely to report a lifetime asthma diagnosis. Conclusions This study represents one of the largest samples of LGB adults and finds important health inequalities, including that bisexual women bear particularly high burdens of health disparities. Further work is needed to identify causes of and intervention for these disparities. PMID:24650836
Blakely, T A; Kennedy, B P; Kawachi, I
OBJECTIVES: This study tested the hypothesis that disparities in political participation across socioeconomic status affect health. Specifically, the association of voting inequality at the state level with individual self-rated health was examined. METHODS: A multilevel study of 279,066 respondents to the Current Population Survey (CPS) was conducted. State-level inequality in voting turnout by socioeconomic status (family income and educational attainment) was derived from November CPS data for 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996. RESULTS: Individuals living in the states with the highest voting inequality had an odds ratio of fair/poor self-rated health of 1.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22, 1.68) compared with individuals living in the states with the lowest voting inequality. This odds ratio decreased to 1.34 (95% CI = 1.14, 1.56) when state income inequality was added and to 1.27 (95% CI = 1.10, 1.45) when state median income was included. The deleterious effect of low individual household income on self-rated health was most pronounced among states with the greatest voting and income inequality. CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic inequality in political participation (as measured by voter turnout) is associated with poor self-rated health, independently of both income inequality and state median household income. PMID:11189832
Andress, Lauri; Fitch, Cindy
Health inequities affect communities through adverse health outcomes, lost productivity, and increased health care costs. They arise from unequal distribution of social determinants of health--the conditions in which people are born and live. Health outcomes, tied to behaviors and health care, also are rooted in location and social status.…
Anitua, C.; Esnaola, S.
STUDY OBJECTIVE—To determine the extent of the inequalities in self reported health between socioeconomic groups and its changes over time in the Basque Country (Spain). DESIGN—Cross sectional data on the association between occupation, education and income and three health indicators was obtained from the Basque Health Surveys of 1986 and 1992. Representative population samples were analysed. In 1986 the number of respondents was 24 657 and in 1992, 13 277. SETTING—Basque Country, Spain. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES—The effect of socioeconomic position on health and the magnitude of social inequalities in health were quantified using the odds ratios based on logistic regression analysis, and the Relative Index of Inequality. RESULTS—As was expected, social inequalities in self reported health existed in both surveys, but the social gradient was greater in 1992. Social differences varied according to gender and health indicator. According to education an increase in social inequalities was observed consistently in all the health indicators except long term conditions in women. A consistent increase in inequalities in limiting longstanding illness was also observed according to all socioeconomic indicators. CONCLUSIONS—These results agree to a large extent with those of previous studies in other countries. In this context the unequal distribution of material circumstances and working conditions between socioeconomic groups seem to play a major part in health inequalities. The worsening of the labour market during this period and the onset of a new economic recession may explain the increase in social inequalities over time. Keywords: health inequalities; trends; social class; Spain PMID:10818119
A new set of 11 global health studies calls attention to the burden of tobacco-related inequalities in low- and middle-income countries and finds that socioeconomic inequalities are associated with increased tobacco use, second-hand smoke exposure and tob
Although the health sciences have investigated economic and social inequalities in morbidity and mortality for hundreds of years, health inequalities persist and are, by some measures, increasing. This is not simply a situation in which the knowledge exists but is not implemented. Rather, science in general and epidemiology in particular have focused on quantifying the effects of specific agents considered in isolation. This approach is powerful, but, in the absence of ecological concepts that connect parts and wholes, contributes to maintaining health inequalities. By joining movements for human rights and social justice, health scientists can identify research questions that are relevant to public health, develop methods that are appropriate to answering those questions, and contribute to efforts to reduce health inequalities.
Cookson, Richard; Mirelman, Andrew J; Griffin, Susan; Asaria, Miqdad; Dawkins, Bryony; Norheim, Ole Frithjof; Verguet, Stéphane; J Culyer, Anthony
This articles serves as a guide to using cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) to address health equity concerns. We first introduce the "equity impact plane," a tool for considering trade-offs between improving total health-the objective underpinning conventional CEA-and equity objectives, such as reducing social inequality in health or prioritizing the severely ill. Improving total health may clash with reducing social inequality in health, for example, when effective delivery of services to disadvantaged communities requires additional costs. Who gains and who loses from a cost-increasing health program depends on differences among people in terms of health risks, uptake, quality, adherence, capacity to benefit, and-crucially-who bears the opportunity costs of diverting scarce resources from other uses. We describe two main ways of using CEA to address health equity concerns: 1) equity impact analysis, which quantifies the distribution of costs and effects by equity-relevant variables, such as socioeconomic status, location, ethnicity, sex, and severity of illness; and 2) equity trade-off analysis, which quantifies trade-offs between improving total health and other equity objectives. One way to analyze equity trade-offs is to count the cost of fairer but less cost-effective options in terms of health forgone. Another method is to explore how much concern for equity is required to choose fairer but less cost-effective options using equity weights or parameters. We hope this article will help the health technology assessment community navigate the practical options now available for conducting equity-informative CEA that gives policymakers a better understanding of equity impacts and trade-offs.
Muchukuri, Esther; Grenier, Francis R
Background Dramatic inequalities dominate global health today. The rapid urban growth sustained by Kenya in the last decades has created many difficulties that also led to worsening inequalities in health care. The continuous decline in its Human Development Index since the 1990s highlights the hardship that continues to worsen in the country, against the general trend of Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper examines the health status of residents in a major urban centre in Kenya and reviews the effects of selected social determinants on local health. Methods Through field surveys, focus group discussions and a literature review, this study canvasses past and current initiatives and recommends priority actions. Results Areas identified which unevenly affect the health of the most vulnerable segments of the population were: water supply, sanitation, solid waste management, food environments, housing, the organization of health care services and transportation. Conclusion The use of a participatory method proved to be a useful approach that could benefit other urban centres in their analysis of social determinants of health. PMID:19439105
Exworthy, Mark; Blane, David; Marmot, Michael
Goal Assess the progress and pitfalls of current United Kingdom (U.K.) policies to reduce health inequalities. Objectives (1) Describe the context enabling health inequalities to get onto the policy agenda in the United Kingdom. (2) Categorize and assess selected current U.K. policies that may affect health inequalities. (3) Apply the “policy windows” model to understand the issues faced in formulating and implementing such policies. (4) Examine the emerging policy challenges in the U.K. and elsewhere. Data Sources Official documents, secondary analyses, and interviews with policymakers. Study Design Qualitative, policy analysis. Data Collection 2001–2002. The methods were divided into two stages. The first identified policies which were connected with individual inquiry recommendations. The second involved case-studies of three policies areas which were thought to be crucial in tackling health inequalities. Both stages involved interviews with policy-makers and documentary analysis. Principal Findings (1) The current U.K. government stated a commitment to reducing health inequalities. (2) The government has begun to implement policies that address the wider determinants. (3) Some progress is evident but many indicators remain stubborn. (4) Difficulties remain in terms of coordinating policies across government and measuring progress. (5) The “policy windows” model explains the limited extent of progress and highlights current and possible future pitfalls. (6) The U.K.'s experience has lessons for other governments involved in tackling health inequalities. Conclusions Health inequalities are on the agenda of U.K. government policy and steps have been made to address them. There are some signs of progress but much remains to be done including overcoming some of the perverse incentives at the national level, improving joint working, ensuring appropriate measures of performance/progress, and improving monitoring arrangements. A conceptual policy model aids
Kruize, Hanneke; Droomers, Mariël; van Kamp, Irene; Ruijsbroek, Annemarie
Early environmental justice studies were exposure-oriented, lacked an integrated approach, and did not address the health impact of environmental inequalities. A coherent conceptual framework, needed to understand and tackle environmental inequalities and the related health effects, was lacking. We analyzed the more recent environmental justice literature to find out how conceptual insights have evolved. The conceptual framework of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) was analyzed for additional explanations for environmental inequalities and the related health effects. This paper points out that recent environmental justice studies have broadened their scope by incorporating a broader set of physical and social environmental indicators, and by focusing on different geographic levels and on health impacts of environmental inequalities. The CSDH framework provided additional elements such as the role of structural determinants, the role of health-related behavior in relation to the physical and social environment, access to health care, as well as the life course perspective. Incorporating elements of the CSDH framework into existing environmental justice concepts, and performing more empirical research on the interactions between the different determinants at different geographical levels would further improve our understanding of environmental inequalities and their health effects and offer new opportunities for policy action. PMID:24886752
Mansyur, Carol Leler; Amick, Benjamin C; Franzini, Luisa; Roberts, Robert E
There is a great deal of recent interest and debate concerning the linkages between inequality and health cross-nationally. The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommended in 2001 that any new research on health disparities should include social and cultural systems as units of analysis. Nevertheless, many public health interventions and policies continue to decontextualize risk factors from the social environment. Exposures to social and health inequalities probably vary as a consequence of different cultural contexts. To identify the processes that cause social and health inequalities, it is important to understand culture's influence. Navarro's research on political institutions and inequality illustrates the role of cultural context, although indirectly. Policies reflect cultural values because politicians typically translate their constituents' dominant values into policy. Political systems and structural inequality are institutionalized manifestations of cultural differences that intervene between dominant cultural dimensions at the societal level and health. The authors present a theoretical framework that combines constructs from sociological theory and cross-cultural psychology to identify potential pathways leading from culture and social structure to social and health inequalities. Only when all levels are taken into consideration is it possible to come up with effective, sustainable policies and interventions.
Jin, L J; Armitage, G C; Klinge, B; Lang, N P; Tonetti, M; Williams, R C
Periodontal diseases constitute one of the major global oral health burdens, and periodontitis remains a major cause of tooth loss in adults worldwide. The World Health Organization recently reported that severe periodontitis exists in 5-20% of adult populations, and most children and adolescents exhibit signs of gingivitis. Likely reasons to account for these prevalent diseases include genetic, epigenetic, and environmental risk factors, as well as individual and socio-economic determinants. Currently, there are fundamental gaps in knowledge of such fundamental issues as the mechanisms of initiation and progression of periodontal diseases, which are undefined; inability to identify high-risk forms of gingivitis that progress to periodontitis; lack of evidence on how to prevent the diseases effectively; inability to detect disease activity and predict treatment efficacy; and limited information on the effects of integration of periodontal health as a part of the health care program designed to promote general health and prevent chronic diseases. In the present report, 12 basic, translational, and applied research areas have been proposed to address the issue of global periodontal health inequality. We believe that the oral health burden caused by periodontal diseases could be relieved significantly in the near future through an effective global collaboration.
Background The public health system in England is currently facing dramatic change. Renewed attention has recently been paid to the best approaches for tackling the health inequalities which remain entrenched within British society and across the globe. In order to consider the opportunities and challenges facing the new public health system in England, we explored the current experiences of those involved in decision making to reduce health inequalities, taking cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a case study. Methods We conducted an in-depth qualitative study employing 40 semi-structured interviews and three focus group discussions. Participants were public health policy makers and planners in CVD in the UK, including: Primary Care Trust and Local Authority staff (in various roles); General Practice commissioners; public health academics; consultant cardiologists; national guideline managers; members of guideline development groups, civil servants; and CVD third sector staff. Results The short term target- and outcome-led culture of the NHS and the drive to achieve "more for less", combined with the need to address public demand for acute services often lead to investment in "downstream" public health intervention, rather than the "upstream" approaches that are most effective at reducing inequalities. Despite most public health decision makers wishing to redress this imbalance, they felt constrained due to difficulties in partnership working and the over-riding influence of other stakeholders in decision making processes. The proposed public health reforms in England present an opportunity for public health to move away from the medical paradigm of the NHS. However, they also reveal a reluctance of central government to contribute to shifting social norms. Conclusions It is vital that the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of all new and existing policies and services affecting public health are measured in terms of their impact on the social determinants of health
Background This paper reports on a qualitative study of lay knowledge about health inequalities and solutions to address them. Social determinants of health are responsible for a large proportion of health inequalities (unequal levels of health status) and inequities (unfair access to health services and resources) within and between countries. Despite an expanding evidence base supporting action on social determinants, understanding of the impact of these determinants is not widespread and political will appears to be lacking. A small but growing body of research has explored how ordinary people theorise health inequalities and the implications for taking action. The findings are variable, however, in terms of an emphasis on structure versus individual agency and the relationship between being 'at risk' and acceptance of social/structural explanations. Methods This paper draws on findings from a qualitative study conducted in Adelaide, South Australia, to examine these questions. The study was an integral part of mixed-methods research on the links between urban location, social capital and health. It comprised 80 in-depth interviews with residents in four locations with contrasting socio-economic status. The respondents were asked about the cause of inequalities and actions that could be taken by governments to address them. Results Although generally willing to discuss health inequalities, many study participants tended to explain the latter in terms of individual behaviours and attitudes rather than social/structural conditions. Moreover, those who identified social/structural causes tended to emphasise individualized factors when describing typical pathways to health outcomes. This pattern appeared largely independent of participants' own experience of advantage or disadvantage, and was reinforced in discussion of strategies to address health inequalities. Conclusions Despite the explicit emphasis on social/structural issues expressed in the study focus and
Nowatzki, Nadine R
Despite a plethora of studies on income inequality and health, researchers have been unable to make any firm conclusions as a result of methodological and theoretical limitations. Within this body of research, there has been a call for studies of wealth inequality and health. Wealth is far more unequally distributed than income and is conceptually unique from income. This paper discusses the results of bivariate cross-sectional analyses of the relationship between wealth inequality (Gini coefficient) and population health (life expectancy and infant mortality) in 14 wealthy countries. The results confirm that wealth inequality is associated with poor population health. Both unweighted and weighted correlations between wealth inequality and health are strong and significant, even after controlling for a variety of potential aggregate-level confounders, including gross domestic product per capita, and after excluding the United States, the most unequal country. The results are strongest for female life expectancy and infant mortality. The author outlines potential pathways through which wealth inequality might affect health, using specific countries to illustrate. The article concludes with policy recommendations that could contribute to a more equitable distribution of wealth and, ultimately, decreased health disparities.
Conceptual models are crucial for theorising, depicting and explaining population distributions of health inequities. This is because a visual conceptual model, like a map, can simultaneously organise and spur ideas and observations. Incorporating both imagery and metaphor, visual models not only illustrate key constructs and causal relationships specified by scientific theories but also provide an important tool for integrating and evaluating rapidly emerging findings and for guiding new research. It therefore is instructive to consider and contrast different sets of images appearing in the public health, policy and popular literature pertaining to (1) social stratification, (2) determinants of population health and (3) determinants of health inequities. At issue is how different types of images illuminate, or obscure, the relevant causal processes that need to be altered to improve population health and reduce health inequities. Of particular concern are conceptual confusions created when (a) models inaccurately depict the distribution of population and resources and (b) models of determinants of population health, rather than of determinants of health inequities, are used in discussions about social inequalities in health. Although perhaps a pragmatic argument can be made for use of less politically controversial imagery in policy-oriented documents, I would argue that the public's health will be better served by an iconoclastic iconography, one that clearly and unequivocally delineates the social facts of skewed distributions of power and resources and depicts the societal processes that generate and maintain these distributions and their embodiment in population levels and distributions of health, disease and well-being.
Fosse, Elisabeth; Bull, Torill; Burström, Bo; Fritzell, Sara
This article focuses on differences in health and welfare outcomes for families with children in three European countries, discussed in relation to national policies for child and family welfare. Data consist of policy documents and cross-national surveys. The document analysis was based on policy documents that described government policies. The statistical analyses utilize data from the European Social Survey. For the analyses in this article, a sub-sample of child families was selected from the countries Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Data showed that England's policy has mainly addressed socially disadvantaged groups and areas. Sweden and Slovenia are mainly developing universal policies. The United Kingdom has high scores for subjective general health, but a steep income gradient in the population. Parents in England experience the highest level of at-risk-of-poverty. Sweden generally scores well on health outcomes and on level of at-risk-of-poverty, and the gradient in self-rated general health is the mildest. Slovenia has the weakest economy, but low levels of inequality and low child at-risk-for-poverty scores. The Slovenian example suggests that not only the level of economic wealth, but also its distribution in the population, has bearings on health and life satisfaction, not least on the health of children.
Das-Munshi, Jayati; Stewart, Robert; Morgan, Craig; Nazroo, James; Thornicroft, Graham; Prince, Martin
People with severe mental illness (SMI) experience a reduction in life expectancy of 15-20 years. Physical health and mortality experience may be even worse for ethnic minority groups with SMI, but evidence is limited. We suggest clinical, policy and research recommendations to address this inequality.
Pega, Frank; Veale, Jaimie F
We analyzed the case of the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health, which did not address gender identity in their final report. We argue that gender identity is increasingly being recognized as an important social determinant of health (SDH) that results in health inequities. We identify right to health mechanisms, such as established human rights instruments, as suitable policy tools for addressing gender identity as an SDH to improve health equity. We urge the World Health Organization to add gender identity as an SDH in its conceptual framework for action on the SDHs and to develop and implement specific recommendations for addressing gender identity as an SDH.
Health inequities are determined by multiple factors within the health sector and beyond. While gaps in social health protection coverage and effective access to health care are among the most prominent causes of health inequities, social and economic inequalities existing beyond the health sector contribute greatly to barriers to access affordable and acceptable health care.
King, Nicholas B; Harper, Sam; Young, Meredith E
Reduction of health inequalities within and between countries is a global health priority, but little is known about the determinants of popular support for this goal. We used data from the World Health Survey to assess individual preferences for prioritizing reductions in health and health care inequalities. We used descriptive tables and regression analysis to study the determinants of preferences for reducing health inequalities as the primary health system goal. Determinants included individual socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, urban residence, education, marital status, household income, self-rated health, health care use, satisfaction with health care system) and country-level characteristics [gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, disability-free life expectancy, equality in child mortality, income inequality, health and public health expenditures]. We used logistic regression to assess the likelihood that individuals ranked minimizing inequalities first, and rank-ordered logistic regression to compare the ranking of other priorities against minimizing health inequalities. Individuals tended to prioritize health system goals related to overall improvement (improving population health and health care responsiveness) over those related to equality and fairness (minimizing inequalities in health and responsiveness, and promoting fairness of financial contribution). Individuals in countries with higher GDP per capita, life expectancy, and equality in child mortality were more likely to prioritize minimizing health inequalities.
Shavers, Vickie L.; Shavers, Brenda S.
Research reports often cite socioeconomic status as an underlying factor in the pervasive disparities in health observed for racial/ethnic minority populations. However, often little information or consideration is given to the social history and prevailing social climate that is responsible for racial/ethnic socioeconomic disparities, namely, the role of racism/racial discrimination. Much of the epidemiologic research on health disparities has focused on the relationship between demographic/clinical characteristics and health outcomes in main-effects multivariate models. This approach, however, does not examine the relationship between covariate levels and the processes that create them. It is important to understand the synergistic nature of these relationships to fully understand the impact they have on health status. PURPOSE: A review of the literature was conducted on the role that discrimination in education, housing, employment, the judicial system and the healthcare system plays in the origination, maintenance and perpetuation of racial/ethnic health disparities to serve as background information for funding Program Announcement, PA-05-006, The Effect of Racial/ Ethnic Discrimination/Bias on Healthcare Delivery (http:// grants.nih.gov/grants/ guide/pa-files/PA-05-006.html). The effect of targeted marketing of harmful products and environmental justice are also discussed as they relate to racial/ethnic disparities in health. CONCLUSION: Racial/ethnic disparities in health are the result of a combination of social factors that influence exposure to risk factors, health behavior and access to and receipt of appropriate care. Addressing these disparities will require a system that promotes equity and mandates accountability both in the social environment and within health delivery systems. PMID:16573303
This paper explores current conceptual understanding of urban social, environmental, and health inequality and inequity, and looks at the impact of these processes on urban children and young people in the 21st century. This conceptual analysis was commissioned for a discussion paper for UNICEF's flagship publication: State of the World's Children 2012: Children in an Urban World. The aim of the paper is to examine evidence on the meaning of urban inequality and inequity for urban children and young people. It further looks at the controversial policies of targeting "vulnerable" young people, and policies to achieve the urban MDGs. Finally, the paper looks briefly at the potential of concepts such as environment justice and rights to change our understanding of urban inequality and inequity.
Kawachi, I.; Kennedy, B. P.
Throughout the world, wealth and income are becoming more concentrated. Growing evidence suggests that the distribution of income-in addition to the absolute standard of living enjoyed by the poor-is a key determinant of population health. A large gap between rich people and poor people leads to higher mortality through the breakdown of social cohesion. The recent surge in income inequality in many countries has been accompanied by a marked increase in the residential concentration of poverty and affluence. Residential segregation diminishes the opportunities for social cohesion. Income inequality has spillover effects on society at large, including increased rates of crime and violence, impeded productivity and economic growth, and the impaired functioning of representative democracy. The extent of inequality in society is often a consequence of explicit policies and public choice. Reducing income inequality offers the prospect of greater social cohesiveness and better population health. PMID:9112854
García-Gómez, Pilar; Schokkaert, Erik; Van Ourti, Tom
Most politicians and ethical observers are not interested in pure health inequalities, as they want to distinguish between different causes of health differences. Measures of “unfair” inequality - direct unfairness and the fairness gap, but also the popular standardized concentration index - therefore neutralize the effects of what are considered to be “legitimate” causes of inequality. This neutralization is performed by putting a subset of the explanatory variables at reference values, e.g. their means. We analyze how the inequality ranking of different policies depends on the specific choice of reference values. We show with mortality data from the Netherlands that the problem is empirically relevant and we suggest a statistical method for fixing the reference values. PMID:24954998
Hosseinpoor, Ahmad Reza; Bergen, Nicole; Schlotheuber, Anne
Background Health equity is a priority in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and other major health initiatives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a history of promoting actions to achieve equity in health, including efforts to encourage the practice of health inequality monitoring. Health inequality monitoring systems use disaggregated data to identify disadvantaged subgroups within populations and inform equity-oriented health policies, programs, and practices. Objective This paper provides an overview of a number of recent and current WHO initiatives related to health inequality monitoring at the global and/or national level. Design We outline the scope, content, and intended uses/application of the following: Health Equity Monitor database and theme page; State of inequality: reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health report; Handbook on health inequality monitoring: with a focus on low- and middle-income countries; Health inequality monitoring eLearning module; Monitoring health inequality: an essential step for achieving health equity advocacy booklet and accompanying video series; and capacity building workshops conducted in WHO Member States and Regions. Conclusions The paper concludes by considering how the work of the WHO can be expanded upon to promote the establishment of sustainable and robust inequality monitoring systems across a variety of health topics among Member States and at the global level. PMID:26387506
Hosseinpoor, Ahmad Reza; Bergen, Nicole; Schlotheuber, Anne
Background Health equity is a priority in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and other major health initiatives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a history of promoting actions to achieve equity in health, including efforts to encourage the practice of health inequality monitoring. Health inequality monitoring systems use disaggregated data to identify disadvantaged subgroups within populations and inform equity-oriented health policies, programs, and practices. Objective This paper provides an overview of a number of recent and current WHO initiatives related to health inequality monitoring at the global and/or national level. Design We outline the scope, content, and intended uses/application of the following: Health Equity Monitor database and theme page; State of inequality: reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health report; Handbook on health inequality monitoring: with a focus on low- and middle-income countries; Health inequality monitoring eLearning module; Monitoring health inequality: an essential step for achieving health equity advocacy booklet and accompanying video series; and capacity building workshops conducted in WHO Member States and Regions. Conclusions The paper concludes by considering how the work of the WHO can be expanded upon to promote the establishment of sustainable and robust inequality monitoring systems across a variety of health topics among Member States and at the global level.
McCartney, Gerry; Collins, Chik; Mackenzie, Mhairi
Health inequalities are the unjust differences in health between groups of people occupying different positions in society. Since the Black Report of 1980 there has been considerable effort to understand what causes them, so as to be able to identify actions to reduce them. This paper revisits and updates the proposed theories, evaluates the evidence in light of subsequent epidemiological research, and underlines the political and policy ramifications. The Black Report suggested four theories (artefact, selection, behavioural/cultural and structural) as to the root causes of health inequalities and suggested that structural theory provided the best explanation. These theories have since been elaborated to include intelligence and meritocracy as part of selection theory. However, the epidemiological evidence relating to the proposed causal pathways does not support these newer elaborations. They may provide partial explanations or insights into the mechanisms between cause and effect, but structural theory remains the best explanation as to the fundamental causes of health inequalities. The paper draws out the vitally important political and policy implications of this assessment. Health inequalities cannot be expected to reduce substantially as a result of policy aimed at changing health behaviours, particularly in the face of wider public policy that militates against reducing underlying social inequalities. Furthermore, political rhetoric about the need for 'cultural change', without the required changes in the distribution of power, income, wealth, or in the regulatory frameworks in society, is likely to divert from necessary action.
Ishikawa, Yoshiki; Nishiuchi, Hiromu; Hayashi, Hana; Viswanath, Kasisomayajula
Background Considerable evidence suggests that communication inequality is one potential mechanism linking social determinants, particularly socioeconomic status, and health inequalities. This study aimed to examine how dimensions of health communication outcomes (health information seeking, self-efficacy, exposure, and trust) are patterned by socioeconomic status in Japan. Methods Data of a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of 2,455 people aged 15–75 years in Japan were used for secondary analysis. Measures included socio-demographic characteristics, subjective health, recent health information seeking, self-efficacy in seeking health information, and exposure to and trust in health information from different media. Results A total of 1,311 participants completed the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 53.6%. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that education and household income, but not employment, were significantly associated with health information seeking and self-efficacy. Socioeconomic status was not associated with exposure to and trust in health information from mass media, but was significantly associated with health information from healthcare providers and the Internet. Conclusion Health communication outcomes were patterned by socioeconomic status in Japan thus demonstrating the prevalence of health communication inequalities. Providing customized exposure to and enhancing the quality of health information by considering social determinants may contribute to addressing social disparities in health in Japan. PMID:22808229
Hernández-Aguado, Ildefonso; Santaolaya Cesteros, María; Campos Esteban, Pilar
The health system is a social determinant of health. Although not the most important determinant of health, the health system's potential contribution to reducing social inequalities in health should not be underestimated. Due to its characteristics, primary health care is well placed to attain equity in health. To make progress in achieving this goal, the main measures to be considered are the removal of barriers to access to services, the provision of care proportionate to need, and engagement in intersectoral work. This article reviews the background and framework for action to tackle social inequalities in health and provides a summary of the primary health care actions that could help to reduce social inequalities in health and are mentioned in the most important national and international documents on health policy. We hope to stimulate debate, promote research in the field and encourage implementation. The proposals are grouped in the following five intervention lines: information systems; participation; training; intersectoral work; and reorientation of health care. Each intervention is ordered according to its targets (population and civil society; primary health team; health center and health area management; and health policy decision-makers).
Camprubí, Lluís; Díez, Èlia; Morrison, Joana; Borrell, Carme
The Ineq-Cities project analyzed inequalities in mortality in small areas and described interventions to reduce inequalities in health in 16 European cities. This field note describes the dissemination of the project in Spain. In accordance with the recommendations of the project, the objective was to translate relevant results to key stakeholders - mainly technical staff, municipal officers and local social agents - and to provide an introduction to urban inequalities in health and strategies to address them. Twenty-four workshops were given, attended by more than 350 professionals from 92 municipalities. Knowledge dissemination consisted of the publication of a short book on inequalities in health and the approach to this problem in cities and three articles in nonspecialized media, a proposal for a municipal motion, and knowledge dissemination activities in social networks. Users rated these activities highly and stressed the need to systematize these products. This process may have contributed to the inclusion of health inequalities in the political agenda and to the training of officers to correct them.
Zaboli, Rouhollah; Seyedin, Seyed Hesam; Malmoon, Zainab
Background: Health is a complex phenomenon that can be studied from different approaches. Despite a growing research in the areas of Social Determinants of Health (SDH) and health equity, effects of macroeconomic policies on the social aspect of health are unknown in developing countries. This study aimed to determine the effect of macroeconomic policies on increasing of the social-health inequality in Iran. Methods: This study was a mixed method research. The study population consisted of experts dealing with social determinants of health. A purposive, stratified and non-random sampling method was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect the data along with a multiple attribute decision-making method for the quantitative phase of the research in which the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) was employed for prioritization. The NVivo and MATLAB softwares were used for data analysis. Results: Seven main themes for the effect of macroeconomic policies on increasing the social-health inequality were identified. The result of TOPSIS approved that the inflation and economic instability exert the greatest impact on social-health inequality, with an index of 0.710 and the government policy in paying the subsidies with a 0.291 index has the lowest impact on social-health inequality in the country. Discussion: It is required to invest on the social determinants of health as a priority to reduce health inequality. Also, evaluating the extent to which the future macroeconomic policies impact the health of population is necessary. PMID:25197677
Background Effective use of a patient decision aid (PtDA) can be affected by the user’s health literacy and the PtDA’s characteristics. Systematic reviews of the relevant literature can guide PtDA developers to attend to the health literacy needs of patients. The reviews reported here aimed to assess: 1. a) the effects of health literacy / numeracy on selected decision-making outcomes, and b) the effects of interventions designed to mitigate the influence of lower health literacy on decision-making outcomes, and 2. the extent to which existing PtDAs a) account for health literacy, and b) are tested in lower health literacy populations. Methods We reviewed literature for evidence relevant to these two aims. When high-quality systematic reviews existed, we summarized their evidence. When reviews were unavailable, we conducted our own systematic reviews. Results Aim 1: In an existing systematic review of PtDA trials, lower health literacy was associated with lower patient health knowledge (14 of 16 eligible studies). Fourteen studies reported practical design strategies to improve knowledge for lower health literacy patients. In our own systematic review, no studies reported on values clarity per se, but in 2 lower health literacy was related to higher decisional uncertainty and regret. Lower health literacy was associated with less desire for involvement in 3 studies, less question-asking in 2, and less patient-centered communication in 4 studies; its effects on other measures of patient involvement were mixed. Only one study assessed the effects of a health literacy intervention on outcomes; it showed that using video to improve the salience of health states reduced decisional uncertainty. Aim 2: In our review of 97 trials, only 3 PtDAs overtly addressed the needs of lower health literacy users. In 90% of trials, user health literacy and readability of the PtDA were not reported. However, increases in knowledge and informed choice were reported in those studies
Gakidou, E. E.; Murray, C. J.; Frenk, J.
This paper proposes an approach to conceptualizing and operationalizing the measurement of health inequality, defined as differences in health across individuals in the population. We propose that health is an intrinsic component of well-being and thus we should be concerned with inequality in health, whether or not it is correlated with inequality in other dimensions of well-being. In the measurement of health inequality, the complete range of fatal and non-fatal health outcomes should be incorporated. This notion is operationalized through the concept of healthy lifespan. Individual health expectancy is preferable, as a measurement, to individual healthy lifespan, since health expectancy excludes those differences in healthy lifespan that are simply due to chance. In other words, the quantity of interest for studying health inequality is the distribution of health expectancy across individuals in the population. The inequality of the distribution of health expectancy can be summarized by measures of individual/mean differences (differences between the individual and the mean of the population) or inter-individual differences. The exact form of the measure to summarize inequality depends on three normative choices. A firmer understanding of people's views on these normative choices will provide a basis for deliberating on a standard WHO measure of health inequality. PMID:10686732
Peacock, Marian; Bissell, Paul; Owen, Jenny
The ways in which inequality generates particular population health outcomes remains a major source of dispute within social epidemiology and medical sociology. Wilkinson and Pickett's The Spirit Level (2009), undoubtedly galvanised thinking across the disciplines, with its emphasis on how income inequality shapes the distribution of health and social problems. In this paper, we argue that their focus on income inequality, whilst important, understates the role of neoliberal discourses and practises in making sense of contemporary inequality and its health-related consequences. Many quantitative studies have demonstrated that more neoliberal countries have poorer health compared to less neoliberal countries, but there are few qualitative studies which explore how neoliberal discourses shape accounts and experiences and what protections and resources might be available to people. This article uses findings from a qualitative psycho-social study employing biographical-narrative interviews with women in Salford (England) to understand experiences of inequality as posited in The Spirit Level. We found evidence for the sorts of damages resulting from inequality as proposed in The Spirit Level. However, in addition to these, the most striking finding was the repeated articulation of a discourse which we have termed "no legitimate dependency". This was something both painful and damaging, where dependency of almost any sort was disavowed and responsibility was assumed by the self or "othered" in various ways. No legitimate dependency, we propose, is a partial (and problematic) internalisation of neoliberal discourses which becomes naturalised and unquestioned at the individual level. We speculate that these sorts of discourses in conjunction with a destruction of protective resources (both material and discursive), lead to an increase in strain and account in part for well-known damages consequent on life in an unequal society. We conclude that integrating understandings
Bouchard, Louise; Albertini, Marcelo; Batista, Ricardo; de Montigny, Joanne
The objective of this study is to report on research production and publications on health inequalities through a bibliometric analysis covering publications from 1966 to 2014 and a content analysis of the 25 most-cited papers. A database of 49,294 references was compiled from the search engine Web of Science. The first article appears in 1966 and deals with equality and civil rights in the United States and the elimination of racial discrimination in access to medical care. By 2003, the term disparity has gained in prominence relative to the term inequality which was initially elected by the researchers. Marmot's 1991 article is one of the five papers with the largest number of citations and contributes to the central perspective of social determinants of health and the British influence on the international status of research on social inequalities of health.
Smith, Brendan T; Smith, Peter M; Harper, Sam; Manuel, Douglas G; Mustard, Cameron A
Reducing health inequalities has become a major public health priority internationally. However, how best to achieve this goal is not well understood. Population health intervention research has the potential to address some of this knowledge gap. This review argues that simulation studies can produce unique evidence to build the population health intervention research evidence base on reducing social inequalities in health. To this effect, the advantages of using simulation models over other population health intervention research methods are discussed. Key questions regarding the potential challenges of developing simulation models to investigate population health intervention research on reducing social inequalities in health and the types of population health intervention research questions that can be answered using this methodology are reviewed. We use the example of social inequalities in coronary heart disease to illustrate how simulation models can elucidate the effectiveness of a number of 'what-if' counterfactual population health interventions on reducing social inequalities in coronary heart disease. Simulation models are a flexible, cost-effective, evidence-based research method with the capacity to inform public health policy-makers regarding the implementation of population health interventions to reduce social inequalities in health.
Williams, David R.
Large, pervasive and persistent racial inequalities exist in the onset, course and outcomes of illness. A comprehensive understanding of the patterning of racial disparities indicates that racism in both its institutional and individual forms remains an important determinant. Despite our extensive knowledge of the magnitude, trends and determinants of these social inequalities in health, there is still much that we need to learn about the forces that drive them. There is also an even greater opportunity to build the science base that would identify how to trigger the conditions that would facilitate needed societal change, and identify the optimal interventions that would confront and dismantle the societal conditions that create and sustain health inequalities. PMID:22940811
Burns, Jonathan Kenneth
Mental disability and mental health care have been neglected in the discourse around health, human rights, and equality. This is perplexing as mental disabilities are pervasive, affecting approximately 8% of the world population. Furthermore, the experience of persons with mental disability is one characterized by multiple interlinked levels of inequality and discrimination within society. Efforts directed toward achieving formal equality should not stand alone without similar efforts to achieve substantive equality for persons with mental disabilities. Structural factors such as poverty, inequality, homelessness, and discrimination contribute to risk for mental disability and impact negatively on the course and outcome of such disabilities. A human rights approach to mental disability means affirming the full personhood of those with mental disabilities by respecting their inherent dignity, their individual autonomy and independence, and their freedom to make their own choices. A rights-based approach requires us to examine and transform the language, terminology, and models of mental disability that have previously prevailed especially within health discourse. Such an approach also requires us to examine the multiple ways in which inequality and discrimination characterize the lives of persons with mental disabilities and to formulate a response based on a human rights framework. In this article, I examine issues of terminology, models of understanding mental disability, and the implications of international treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for our response to the inequalities and discrimination that exist within society--both within and outside the health care system. Finally, while acknowledging that health care professionals have a role to play as advocates for equality, non-discrimination, and justice, I argue that it is persons with mental disabilities themselves who have the right to exercise agency
Rudra, Shalini; Subramanian, S V
Against the backdrop of population aging, this paper presents the analysis of need-standardised health care utilization among elderly in India. Based on nationally representative morbidity and health care survey 2004, we demonstrate that the need for health care utilization is indeed pro-poor in nature. However, the actual health care utilization is concentrated among richer sections of the population. Further, the decomposition analysis reveals that income has a very strong role in shifting the distribution of health care away from the poor elderly. The impact of income on utilization is well-demonstrated even at the ecological-level as states with higher per capita incomes have higher elderly health care utilization even as the levels of need-predicted distribution across these states are similar. We also find that the distribution of elderly across social groups and their educational achievements favours the rich and significantly contributes to overall inequality. Nevertheless, contribution of need-related self-assessed health clearly favours pro-poor inequality. In concluding, we argue that to reduce such inequities in health care utilization it is necessary to increase public investments in health care infrastructure including geriatric care particularly in rural areas and underdeveloped regions to enhance access and quality of health care for the elderly. PMID:26617450
Marchman Andersen, M; Oksbjerg Dalton, S; Lynch, J; Johansen, C; Holtug, N
Are social inequalities in health unjust when brought about by differences in lifestyle? A widespread idea, luck egalitarianism, is that inequality stemming from individuals' free choices is not to be considered unjust, since individuals, presumably, are themselves responsible for such choices. Thus, to the extent that lifestyles are in fact results of free choices, social inequality in health brought about by these choices is not in tension with egalitarian justice. If this is so, then it may put in question the justification of free and equal access to health care and existing medical research priorities. However, personal responsibility is a highly contested issue and in this article we first consider the case for, and second the case against, personal responsibility for health in light of recent developments in philosophical accounts of responsibility and equality. We suggest-but do not fully establish-that at the most fundamental level people are never responsible in such a way that appeals to individuals' own responsibility can justify inequalities in health.
Kennedy, Bernice Roberts
Social inequalities in the United States resulted in negative health outcomes for the African Americans. Their stressful living conditions of poverty, discrimination, racism, abuse and rejection from American society contribute to their negative health outcomes. The lifestyles of African Americans have been influenced by poverty and prior injustices, which have molded their worldview of health and illness. Dr. Martin Luther King, national civil rights leader, brought about social change with much prayer; however, he went a step further with collective gatherings to include the power of non-violence massive public demonstrations. This paper is an analytical review of the literature addressing social inequalities impacting on health inequalities of African Americans resulting in health disparities. Policy changes are propose by implementing transformation development and community empowerment models as frameworks for community/public health nurses in guiding African American communities with addressing health disparities. These models empower members of the community to participate in a collaborative effort in making political and social changes to improve their overall health outcomes.
Nolte, Ellen; McKee, Martin
The unification of Germany in 1990 brought about substantial social and economic changes in its eastern part, with new uncertainties and, despite increasing overall income, rising inequality. This paper explores the potential impact on health of these changes during the 1990s, looking specifically at income-related health inequalities in east and west Germany and its modulation by psychosocial factors. We used data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) for the years 1992 and 1997, including individuals aged 25+. We investigated changes in self-perceived health in the two parts of Germany and its socio-economic and psychosocial determinants. Analyses estimated odds ratios of less than good health using logistic regression. In 1992, 47% of east Germans rated their health worse than good compared with 54% in the west. By 1997, the east-west gap in self-rated health had disappeared, with the prevalence of poor health increasing to 56% in both parts. Income and education were important determinants of health in east and west, with, in the age-sex-adjusted model, those having available less than 60% of median equivalent income being at increased risk of poor health in 1992 (OR(east) 2.39, 1.45-3.94; OR(west) 2.04, 1.65-2.52). Addition of education reduced the strength of this relationship only slightly. In the west, income-related health inequalities widened between 1992 and 1997 yet the initially stronger gradient declined in the east, despite an overall increase in income inequality (OR(east) 1.63, 1.04-2.56; OR(west) 2.65, 2.19-3.21). The impact of education remained stable. Psychosocial variables were important determinants, mediating the effects of income, with leisure-cultural social involvement exerting the strongest effect in both east and west.The results show that, unlike in the west, the overall increase in income inequality in east Germany between 1992 and 1997 was not accompanied by a simultaneous increase in income-related health inequalities. This
Loría, Kattia Rojas; Rosado, Teresa Gutiérrez; Espinosa, Leonor María Cantera; Marrochi, Leda María Marenco; Sánchez, Anna Fernández
OBJECTIVE To analyze the content of policies and action plans within the public healthcare system that addresses the issue of violence against women. METHODS A descriptive and comparative study was conducted on the health policies and plans in Catalonia and Costa Rica from 2005 to 2011. It uses a qualitative methodology with documentary analysis. It is classified by topics that describe and interpret the contents. We considered dimensions, such as principles, strategies, concepts concerning violence against women, health trends, and evaluations. RESULTS Thirteen public policy documents were analyzed. In both countries’ contexts, we have provided an overview of violence against women as a problem whose roots are in gender inequality. The strategies of gender policies that address violence against women are cultural exchange and institutional action within the public healthcare system. The actions of the healthcare sector are expanded into specific plans. The priorities and specificity of actions in healthcare plans were the distinguishing features between the two countries. CONCLUSIONS The common features of the healthcare plans in both the counties include violence against women, use of protocols, detection tasks, care and recovery for women, and professional self-care. Catalonia does not consider healthcare actions with aggressors. Costa Rica has a lower specificity in conceptualization and protocol patterns, as well as a lack of updates concerning health standards in Catalonia. PMID:25210820
Canino, Glorisa; McQuaid, Elizabeth L.; Rand, Cynthia S.
Substantial research has documented pervasive disparities in the prevalence, severity, and morbidity of asthma among minority populations compared to non-Latino whites. The underlying causes of these disparities are not well understood, and as a result, the leverage points to address them remain unclear. A multilevel framework for integrating research in asthma health disparities is proposed in order to advance both future research and clinical practice. The components of the proposed model include health care policies and regulations, operation of the health care system, provider/clinician-level factors, social/environmental factors, and individual/family attitudes and behaviors. The body of research suggests that asthma disparities have multiple, complex and inter-related sources. Disparities occur when individual, environmental, health system, and provider factors interact with one another over time. Given that the causes of asthma disparities are complex and multilevel, clinical strategies to address these disparities must therefore be comparably multilevel and target many aspects of asthma care. Clinical Implications: Several strategies that could be applied in clinical settings to reduce asthma disparities are described including the need for routine assessment of the patient’s beliefs, financial barriers to disease management, and health literacy, and the provision of cultural competence training and communication skills to health care provider groups. PMID:19447484
Ferdinand, Angeline S; Paradies, Yin; Perry, Ryan; Kelaher, Margaret
The Localities Embracing and Accepting Diversity (LEAD) program aimed to improve the mental health of Aboriginal Victorians by addressing racial discrimination and facilitating social and economic participation. As part of LEAD, Whittlesea Council adopted the Aboriginal Employment Pathways Strategy (AEPS) to increase Aboriginal employment and retention within the organisation. The Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training Program was developed to build internal cultural competency and skills in recruiting and retaining Aboriginal staff. Analysis of surveys conducted before (pre; n=124) and after (post; n=107) the training program indicated a significant increase in participant understanding across all program objectives and in support of organisational policies to improve Aboriginal recruitment and retention. Participants ended the training with concrete ideas about intended changes, as well as how these changes could be supported by their supervisors and the wider organisation. Significant resources have since been allocated to implementing the AEPS over 5 years. In line with principles underpinning the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-23, particularly the focus on addressing racism as a determinant of health, this paper explores the AEPS and training program as promising approaches to health promotion through addressing barriers to Aboriginal employment. Possible implications for other large organisations are also considered.
Guillemin, Francis; Carruthers, Erin; Li, Linda C
Even in most egalitarian societies, disparities in care exist to the disadvantage of some people with chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and related disability. These situations translate into inequality in health and health outcomes. The goal of this chapter is to review concepts and determinants associated with health inequity, and the effect of interventions to minimize their impact. Health inequities are avoidable, unnecessary, unfair and unjust. Inequities can occur across the health care continuum, from primary and secondary prevention to diagnosis and treatment. There are many ways to define and identify inequities, according for instance to ethical, philosophical, epidemiological, sociological, economic, or public health points of view. These complementary views can be applied to set a framework of analysis, identify determinants and suggest targets of action against inequity. Most determinants of inequity in MSK disorders are similar to those in the general population and other chronic diseases. People may be exposed to inequity as a result of policies and rules set by the health care system, individuals' demographic characteristics (e.g., education level), or some behavior of health professionals and of patients. Osteoarthritis (OA) represents a typical chronic MSK condition. The PROGRESS-Plus framework is useful for identifying the important role that place of residence, race and ethnicity, occupation, gender, education, socioeconomic status, social capital and networks, age, disability and sexual orientation may have in creating or maintaining inequities in this disease. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a consideration of international data led to the conclusion that not all RA patients who needed biologic therapy had access to it. The disparity in care was due partly to policies of a country and a health care system, or economic conditions. We conclude this chapter by discussing examples of interventions designed for reducing health inequity.
Kuo, Dennis; Goudie, Anthony; Cohen, Eyal; Houtrow, Amy; Agrawal, Rishi; Carle, Adam C.; Wells, Nora
Children with special health care needs are believed to be susceptible to inequities in health and health care access. Within the group with special needs, there is a smaller group of children with medical complexity: children who require medical services beyond what is typically required by children with special health care needs. We describe health care inequities for the children with medical complexity compared to children with special health care needs but without medical complexity, based on a secondary analysis of the 2005–06 and 2009–10 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. The survey examines the prevalence, health care service use, and needs of children and youth with special care needs, as reported by their families. The inequities we examined were those based on race or ethnicity, primary language in the household, insurance type, and poverty status. We found that children with medical complexity were twice as likely to have at least one unmet need, compared to children without medical complexity. Among the children with medical complexity, uninsured status was associated with more unmet needs than privately insured status. We conclude that medical complexity itself can be a primary determinant of unmet needs. PMID:25489038
Kuo, Dennis Z; Goudie, Anthony; Cohen, Eyal; Houtrow, Amy; Agrawal, Rishi; Carle, Adam C; Wells, Nora
Children with special health care needs are believed to be susceptible to inequities in health and health care access. Within the group with special needs, there is a smaller group of children with medical complexity: children who require medical services beyond what is typically required by children with special health care needs. We describe health care inequities for the children with medical complexity compared to children with special health care needs but without medical complexity, based on a secondary analysis of data from the 2005-06 and 2009-10 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. The survey examines the prevalence, health care service use, and needs of children and youth with special care needs, as reported by their families. The inequities we examined were those based on race/ethnicity, primary language in the household, insurance type, and poverty status. We found that children with medical complexity were twice as likely to have at least one unmet need, compared to children without medical complexity. Among the children with medical complexity, unmet need was not associated with primary language, income level, or having Medicaid. We conclude that medical complexity itself can be a primary determinant of unmet needs.
Siegrist, Johannes; Marmot, Michael
As social inequalities in health continue to be a key public health problem, scientific advances in explaining these inequalities are needed. It is unlikely that there will be a single explanation of social inequalities in health. This introductory paper sets out one explanatory framework, exposure to adverse psychosocial environments during midlife, and particularly at work. We argue that exposure to an adverse psychosocial environment, in terms of job tasks, defined by high demands and low control and/or by effort-reward imbalance, elicits sustained stress reactions with negative long-term consequences for health. These exposures may be implicated in the association of socioeconomic status with health in two ways. First, these exposures are likely to be experienced more frequently among lower socioeconomic groups. Second, the size of the effects on health produced by adverse working conditions may be higher in lower status groups, due to their increased vulnerability. In this special issue, these arguments are illustrated by a collection of original contributions from collaborative research across Europe. The papers, in our view, advance the case for the robust associations between measures of adverse psychosocial environment and ill health, as they are based on comparative studies across several European countries and as they combine different types of study designs. This collaboration was enabled and supported by a European Science Foundation scientific programme on 'Social Variations in Health Expectancy in Europe'.
Niedzwiedz, Claire L.; Popham, Frank
We assessed whether educational inequalities in mental health may be mediated by employment status and household income. Poor mental health was assessed using General Health Questionnaire ‘caseness’ in working age adult participants (N = 48 654) of the Health Survey for England (2001–10). Relative indices of inequality by education level were calculated. Substantial inequalities were apparent, with adjustment for employment status and household income markedly reducing their magnitude. Educational inequalities in mental health were attenuated by employment status. Policy responses to economic recession (such as active labour market interventions) might reduce mental health inequalities but longitudinal research is needed to exclude reverse causation. PMID:27593454
Banda, Pamela C; Odimegwu, Clifford O; Ntoimo, Lorretta F C; Muchiri, Evans
Gender inequality has been documented as a key driver of negative health outcomes, especially among women. However, studies have not clearly examined the role of gender inequality in maternal health in an African setting. Therefore, the authors of this study examined the role of gender inequality, indicated by lack of female autonomy, in exposing women to maternal health risk. Data were obtained from the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey on a weighted sample of 3,906 married or partnered women aged 15-49 years. Multivariable analyses revealed that low autonomy in household decision power was associated with maternal health risk (Odds Ratio (OR) = 1.52, p < .001). Autonomy interacted with household wealth showed that respondents who were in the wealthier households and had low autonomy in household decision power (OR = 2.03, p < .05) were more likely to be exposed to maternal health risk than their counterparts who had more autonomy. Efforts to lower women's exposure to maternal mortality and morbidity in Zambia should involve interventions to alter prevailing gender norms that limit women's active participation in decisions about their own health during pregnancy and delivery.
Whitelaw, S.; Smart, E.; Kopela, J.; Gibson, T.; King, V.
Purpose: Social marketing is increasingly being seen as a potentially effective means of pursuing health education practice generally and within various specific areas such as mental health and wellbeing and more broadly in tackling health inequalities. This paper aims to report and reflect on the authors' experiences of undertaking a health…
In this study I explored the perceptions and responses of Jewish Israeli social workers to the health inequalities facing their Arab clients. Findings drawn from face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 26 Jewish Israeli social workers employed in the health field show that they were highly aware of the health inequalities. Although they uniformly insisted that there was no discrimination in the hospitals where they were employed, they observed extensive structural and individual discrimination outside the hospital and linguistic and sociocultural impediments to health equality within it. The discrimination provoked feelings of anger and moral outrage, guilt, and shame. Both the discrimination and the linguistic and sociocultural impediments filled them with frustration and led them, both individually and in concert with colleagues, to try to alleviate, circumvent, correct, or compensate for the impediments. Suggestions are made for practice and further research.
Iltis, Ana S.; Misra, Sahana; Dunn, Laura B.; Brown, Gregory K.; Campbell, Amy; Earll, Sarah A.; Glowinski, Anne; Hadley, Whitney B.; Pies, Ronald; DuBois, James M.
Objective Risk communication and management are essential to the ethical conduct of research, yet addressing risks may be time consuming for investigators and institutional review boards (IRBs) may reject study designs that appear too risky. This can discourage needed research, particularly in higher risk protocols or those enrolling potentially vulnerable individuals, such as those with some level of suicidality. Improved mechanisms for addressing research risks may facilitate much needed psychiatric research. This article provides mental health researchers with practical approaches to: 1) identify and define various intrinsic research risks; 2) communicate these risks to others (e.g., potential participants, regulatory bodies, society); 3) manage these risks during the course of a study; and 4) justify the risks. Methods As part of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded scientific meeting series, a public conference and a closed-session expert panel meeting were held on managing and disclosing risks in mental health clinical trials. The expert panel reviewed the literature with a focus on empirical studies and developed recommendations for best practices and further research on managing and disclosing risks in mental health clinical trials. IRB review was not required because there were no human subjects. The NIMH played no role in developing or reviewing the manuscript. Results Challenges, current data, practical strategies, and topics for future research are addressed for each of four key areas pertaining to management and disclosure of risks in clinical trials: identifying and defining risks, communicating risks, managing risks during studies, and justifying research risks. Conclusions Empirical data on risk communication, managing risks, and the benefits of research can support the ethical conduct of mental health research and may help investigators better conceptualize and confront risks and to gain IRB approval. PMID:24173618
Richmond, Georgia; Kenny, Conor; Ahmed, Jabed; Stephenson, Lucy; lindsay, jamie; Earls, Patrick; Mullin, Donncha; Ryland, Howard
Patients suffering from mental health illness have considerably more physical health disease burden than the rest of the population and are more likely to die 10 to 20 years younger compared with their peers. Diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease have been recognised as contributing factors to premature death. Furthermore patients with severe mental illness undertake lower levels of physical activity. The aim of the project was therefore to address the inequalities in physical health that affect patients with mental health illness through designing and implementing a sustainable, transferable, patient-centred education and activity intervention. The objective of the project was to increase patient motivation to change behaviour as a result of physical health interventions by increasing patients' physical health understanding, motivation to change their physical health behaviour, motivation to do exercise and by reducing their anxiety. The method used was a prospective cohort study in four eighteen bed psychosis inpatient units. The units were across two large London hospitals in one Hospital Trust involving male and female inpatients with a range of mental health issues. The intervention was comprised of two components. The first component was a weekly 45 minute teaching group designed in collaboration with patients focusing on the key domains that affect the physical health of mental health patients. Four discussion domains (heart health, diabetes and weight, smoking and lung disease, cancer screening and substance misuse) were undertaken, with each cycle lasting four weeks. The second component was a weekly 45 minute exercise group (‘normalisation activity’) in collaboration with patients and the multidisciplinary team. The intervention was evaluated at the end of each cycle and four cycles in total took place. Weekly pre and post intervention measures were undertaken comprising of a self reported change in understanding, motivation to change
Richmond, Georgia; Kenny, Conor; Ahmed, Jabed; Stephenson, Lucy; Lindsay, Jamie; Earls, Patrick; Mullin, Donncha; Ryland, Howard
Patients suffering from mental health illness have considerably more physical health disease burden than the rest of the population and are more likely to die 10 to 20 years younger compared with their peers. Diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory disease have been recognised as contributing factors to premature death. Furthermore patients with severe mental illness undertake lower levels of physical activity. The aim of the project was therefore to address the inequalities in physical health that affect patients with mental health illness through designing and implementing a sustainable, transferable, patient-centred education and activity intervention. The objective of the project was to increase patient motivation to change behaviour as a result of physical health interventions by increasing patients' physical health understanding, motivation to change their physical health behaviour, motivation to do exercise and by reducing their anxiety. The method used was a prospective cohort study in four eighteen bed psychosis inpatient units. The units were across two large London hospitals in one Hospital Trust involving male and female inpatients with a range of mental health issues. The intervention was comprised of two components. The first component was a weekly 45 minute teaching group designed in collaboration with patients focusing on the key domains that affect the physical health of mental health patients. Four discussion domains (heart health, diabetes and weight, smoking and lung disease, cancer screening and substance misuse) were undertaken, with each cycle lasting four weeks. The second component was a weekly 45 minute exercise group ('normalisation activity') in collaboration with patients and the multidisciplinary team. The intervention was evaluated at the end of each cycle and four cycles in total took place. Weekly pre and post intervention measures were undertaken comprising of a self reported change in understanding, motivation to change physical
Borrell, Carme; Morrison, Joana; Burstrom, Bo; Pons-Vigués, Mariona; Hoffmann, Rasmus; Gandarillas, Ana; Martikainen, Pekka; Domínguez-Berjón, M Felicitas; Tarkiainen, Lasse; Díez, Elia
Health policies are specified in documents that contain values, objectives, strategies, and interventions to be implemented. The objective of our study was to analyse health policy documents of six European cities and one county council published around 2010 to determine (i) how cities conceptualize health inequalities, and (ii) what strategies are proposed to reduce them. We performed a qualitative document analysis. We selected Health or Health Inequalities policy documents and analysed the following aspects: general characteristics of the document, inclusion and definition of health inequalities, promotion of good governance and participation, number of objectives, and evaluation. We also described specific objectives. Rotterdam, London, and Stockholm use a conceptual framework. Two of them define health inequalities as a social gradient. Intersectoral action, participation, and evaluation are included in most documents. Interventions focus mainly on the socioeconomic context.
Welfare states are important determinants of health. Comparative social epidemiology has almost invariably concluded that population health is enhanced by the relatively generous and universal welfare provision of the Scandinavian countries. However, most international studies of socioeconomic inequalities in health have thrown up something of a public health 'puzzle' as the Scandinavian welfare states do not, as would generally be expected, have the smallest health inequalities. This essay outlines and interrogates this puzzle by drawing upon existing theories of health inequalities--artefact, selection, cultural--behavioural, materialist, psychosocial and life course--to generate some theoretical insights. It discusses the limits of these theories in respect to cross-national research; it questions the focus and normative paradigm underpinning contemporary comparative health inequalities research; and it considers the future of comparative social epidemiology.
Raphael, Dennis; Brassolotto, Julia; Baldeo, Navindra
Despite a history of conceptual contributions to reducing health inequalities by addressing the social determinants of health (SDH), Canadian governmental authorities have struggled to put these concepts into action. Ontario's-Canada's most populous province-public health scene shows a similar pattern. In statements and reports, governmental ministries, professional associations and local public health units (PHUs) recognize the importance of these issues, yet there has been varying implementation of these concepts into public health activity. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the key features responsible for differences in SDH-related activities among local PHUs. We interviewed Medical Officers of Health (MOH) and key staff members from nine local PHUs in Ontario varying in SDH activity as to their understandings of the SDH, public health's role in addressing the SDH, and their units' SDH-related activities. We also reviewed their unit's documents and their organizational structures in relation to acting on the SDH. Three clusters of PHUs are identified based on their SDH-related activities: service-delivery-oriented; intersectoral and community-based; and public policy/public education-focused. The two key factors that differentiate PHUs are specific ideological commitments held by MOHs and staff and the organizational structures established to carry out SDH-related activities. The ideological commitments and the organizational structures of the most active PHUs showed congruence with frameworks adopted by national jurisdictions known for addressing health inequalities. These include a structural analysis of the SDH and a centralized organizational structure that coordinates SDH-related activities.
Davidson, Rosemary; Kitzinger, Jenny; Hunt, Kate
Research repeatedly identifies an association between health and socio-economic status-richer people are healthier than poorer people. Richard Wilkinson has posited that socio-psychological mechanisms may be part of the explanation for the fact that socio-economic inequalities run right across the social spectrum in wealthy societies. He argues that polarised income distributions within countries have a negative impact on stress, self-esteem and social relations which, in turn, impact on physical well-being. How people experience and perceive inequalities is central to his thesis. However, relatively little empirical work has explored such lay perceptions. We attempt to address this gap by exploring how people see inequality, how they theorise its impact on health, and the extent to which they make personal and social comparisons, by drawing on 14 focus group discussions in Scotland and the north of England. Contrary to other research which suggests that people from more deprived backgrounds are more reluctant to acknowledge the effects of socio-economic deprivation, our findings demonstrate that, in some contexts at least, people from less favourable circumstances converse in a way to suggest that inequalities deeply affect their health and well-being. We discuss these findings in the light of the methodological challenges presented for pursuing such research.
The Atkinson index of income inequality is based on a comparison of the average income with the equivalent income, where the equivalent income is defined as the level of income that, if given to everyone, would generate the same social welfare as the existing distribution of income. This paper explores the possibility of extending this approach to the measurement of socioeconomic inequality of health. It assumes a social evaluation function that depends upon two variables: socioeconomic status as well as health status. With a general form of this function, an Atkinson measure is derived, which gives exactly the same result when applied to the socioeconomic variable and when applied to the health variable. The paper examines the properties of the index and suggests various extensions.
Allensworth, Diane D
The determinants of youth health disparities include poverty, unequal access to health care, poor environmental conditions, and educational inequities. Poor and minority children have more health problems and less access to health care than their higher socioeconomic status cohorts. Having more health problems leads to more absenteeism in school, which, in turn, can affect achievement. The educational level that one attains is a significant determinant of one's earning potential and health. Those who learn more earn more money and have a better health status. Those who do not attain a high school diploma on average live 6 to 9 years less than those who do graduate from high school. Furthermore, their children also experience poorer health and the cycle is repeated. Achieving a high school diploma and a college degree is an acknowledged route out of poverty. However, that route is blocked for many poor and minority students. SOPHE is in a prime position to be the organization linking the health care, public health and education sectors in addressing the reduction of both health disparities and educational inequities. This article describes what SOPHE members can do both individually and collectively to reduce the health and educational inequities facing our most vulnerable children.
Dahl, Carol A.; Yamada, Tadataka
Advances in science and technology have transformed the health of the populations of the developed world, with substantial increases in life expectancy and reductions in morbidity. These advances have not, however, touched the lives of the poorest people of the world — the billions living in developing countries. This Review Series on global health highlights the key factors contributing to inequity in health across the globe and the scientific questions that remain unanswered but are critical to creating effective and appropriate health solutions. The gaps in knowledge identified in this series point the way for scientists to contribute to a changed world. PMID:18382736
Wetle, Terrie Fox; Scanlan, Karen
Health disparities are a public health concern in Rhode Island and around the world. Faculty members and students in the Brown University School of Public Health are working to understand, address, and ultimately eliminate disparities in health and health care affecting diverse populations. Our educational offerings and research efforts are directed toward understanding and addressing the social, cultural, and environmental factors that contribute to these health disparities. Research methods to carry out this work include implementing interdisciplinary, community-based, quantitative and qualitative research with the goal of preventing, reducing, and eliminating health disparities. This article focuses on some of the School's work with vulnerable communities confronting issues around the following: HIV/AIDS, obesity, nutrition, physical activity and delivery of health services.
Boing, Alexandra Crispim; Bertoldi, Andréa Dâmaso; de Barros, Aluísio Jardim Dornellas; Posenato, Leila Garcia; Peres, Karen Glazer
OBJECTIVE To analyze the evolution of catastrophic health expenditure and the inequalities in such expenses, according to the socioeconomic characteristics of Brazilian families. METHODS Data from the National Household Budget 2002-2003 (48,470 households) and 2008-2009 (55,970 households) were analyzed. Catastrophic health expenditure was defined as excess expenditure, considering different methods of calculation: 10.0% and 20.0% of total consumption and 40.0% of the family’s capacity to pay. The National Economic Indicator and schooling were considered as socioeconomic characteristics. Inequality measures utilized were the relative difference between rates, the rates ratio, and concentration index. RESULTS The catastrophic health expenditure varied between 0.7% and 21.0%, depending on the calculation method. The lowest prevalences were noted in relation to the capacity to pay, while the highest, in relation to total consumption. The prevalence of catastrophic health expenditure increased by 25.0% from 2002-2003 to 2008-2009 when the cutoff point of 20.0% relating to the total consumption was considered and by 100% when 40.0% or more of the capacity to pay was applied as the cut-off point. Socioeconomic inequalities in the catastrophic health expenditure in Brazil between 2002-2003 and 2008-2009 increased significantly, becoming 5.20 times higher among the poorest and 4.17 times higher among the least educated. CONCLUSIONS There was an increase in catastrophic health expenditure among Brazilian families, principally among the poorest and those headed by the least-educated individuals, contributing to an increase in social inequality. PMID:25210822
Background: There is an increasing interest in the notion of health disparities, inequities and inequalities in Canada and elsewhere. In Canada, individuals with disabilities represent one of six groups identified as particularly vulnerable to health disparities. Method: This paper combines the literature related to the concepts of inequity and…
Undurraga, Eduardo A; Behrman, Jere R; Leonard, William R; Godoy, Ricardo A
Research suggests that poorer people have worse health than the better-off and, more controversially, that income inequality harms health. But causal interpretations suffer from endogeneity. We addressed the gap by using a randomized control trial among a society of forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon. Treatments included one-time unconditional income transfers (T1) to all households and (T2) only to the poorest 20% of households, with other villages as controls. We assessed the effects of income inequality, absolute income, and spillovers within villages on self-reported health, objective indicators of health and nutrition, and adults' substance consumption. Most effects came from relative income. Targeted transfers increased the perceived stress of participants in better-off households. Evidence suggests increased work efforts among better-off households when the lot of the poor improved, possibly due to a preference for rank preservation. The study points to new paths by which inequality might affect health.
Undurraga, Eduardo A.; Behrman, Jere R.; Leonard, William R.; Godoy, Ricardo A.
Research suggests that poorer people have worse health than the better-off and, more controversially, that income inequality harms health. But causal interpretations suffer from endogeneity. We addressed the gap by using a randomized control trial among a society of forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon. Treatments included one-time unconditional income transfers (T1) to all households and (T2) only to the poorest 20% of households, with other villages as controls. We assessed the effects of income inequality, absolute income, and spillovers within villages on self-reported health, objective indicators of health and nutrition, and adults’ substance consumption. Most effects came from relative income. Targeted transfers increased the perceived stress of participants in better-off households. Evidence suggests increased work efforts among better-off households when the lot of the poor improved, possibly due to a preference for rank preservation. The study points to new paths by which inequality might affect health. PMID:26706403
Frohlich, Katherine L; Abel, Thomas
While empirical evidence continues to show that people living in low socio-economic status neighbourhoods are less likely to engage in health-enhancing behaviour, our understanding of why this is so remains less than clear. We suggest that two changes could take place to move from description to understanding in this field; (i) a move away from the established concept of individual health behaviour to a contextualised understanding of health practices; and (ii) a switch from focusing on health inequalities in outcomes to health inequities in conditions. We apply Pierre Bourdieu's theory on capital interaction but find it insufficient with regard to the role of agency for structural change. We therefore introduce Amartya Sen's capability approach as a useful link between capital interaction theory and action to reduce social inequities in health-related practices. Sen's capability theory also elucidates the importance of discussing unequal chances in terms of inequity, rather than inequality, in order to underscore the moral nature of inequalities. We draw on the discussion in social geography on environmental injustice, which also underscores the moral nature of the spatial distribution of opportunities. The article ends by applying this approach to the 'Interdisciplinary study of inequalities in smoking' framework.
Vallejo-Torres, Laura; Hale, Daniel; Morris, Stephen; Viner, Russell M
Background Previous studies have found the socioeconomic gradient in health among adolescents to be lower than that observed during childhood and adulthood. The aim of this study was to examine income-related inequalities in health and health-related behaviour across the lifespan in England to explore ‘equalisation’ in adolescence. Methods We used five years of data (2006–2010) from the Health Survey for England to explore inequalities in six indicators: self-assessed general health, longstanding illness, limiting longstanding illness, psychosocial wellbeing, obesity and smoking status. We ran separate analyses by age/gender groups. Inequality was measured using concentration indices. Results Our findings for longstanding illnesses, psychosocial wellbeing and obesity were consistent with the equalisation hypothesis. For these indicators, the extent of income-related inequality was lower among late adolescents (16–19 years) and young adults (20–24 years) compared to children and young adolescents (under 15 years), mid- and late-adults (25–44 and 45–64 years) and the elderly (65+ years). The remaining indicators showed lower inequality among adolescents compared to adults, but higher inequality when compared with children. Conclusions Our work shows that inequalities occur across the life-course but that for some health issues there may be a period of equalisation in late adolescence and early adulthood. PMID:24619989
Wu, Qunhong; Hao, Yanhua; Ning, Ning; Xu, Ling; Liu, Chaojie; Li, Ye; Kang, Zheng; Liu, Guoxiang
Background People with chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) are particularly vulnerable to socioeconomic inequality due to their long-term expensive health needs. This study aimed to assess socioeconomic-related inequality in health service utilization among NCD patients in China and to analyze factors associated with this disparity. Methods Data were taken from the 2008 Chinese National Health Survey, in which a multiple stage stratified random sampling method was employed to survey 56,456 households. We analyzed the distribution of actual use, need-expected use, and need-standardized usage of outpatient services (over a two-week period) and inpatient services (over one-year) across different income groups in 27,233 adult respondents who reported as having a NCD. We used a concentration index to measure inequality in the distribution of health services, which was expressed as HI (Horizontal Inequity Index) for need-standardized use of services. A non-linear probit regression model was employed to detect inequality across socio-economic groups. Results Pro-rich inequity in health services among NCD patients was more substantial than the average population. A higher degree of pro-rich inequity (HI = 0.253) was found in inpatient services compared to outpatient services (HI = 0.089). Despite a greater need for health services amongst those of lower socio-economic status, their actual use is much less than their more affluent counterparts. Health service underuse by the poor and overuse by the affluent are evident. Household income disparity was the greatest inequality factor in NCD service use for both outpatients (71.3%) and inpatients (108%), more so than health insurance policies. Some medical insurance schemes, such as the MIUE, actually made a pro-rich contribution to health service inequality (16.1% for outpatient and 12.1% for inpatient). Conclusions Inequality in health services amongst NCD patients in China remains largely determined by patient
Sampson, Uchechukwu K A; Kaplan, Robert M; Cooper, Richard S; Diez Roux, Ana V; Marks, James S; Engelgau, Michael M; Peprah, Emmanuel; Mishoe, Helena; Boulware, L Ebony; Felix, Kaytura L; Califf, Robert M; Flack, John M; Cooper, Lisa A; Gracia, J Nadine; Henderson, Jeffrey A; Davidson, Karina W; Krishnan, Jerry A; Lewis, Tené T; Sanchez, Eduardo; Luban, Naomi L; Vaccarino, Viola; Wong, Winston F; Wright, Jackson T; Meyers, David; Ogedegbe, Olugbenga G; Presley-Cantrell, Letitia; Chambers, David A; Belis, Deshirée; Bennett, Glen C; Boyington, Josephine E; Creazzo, Tony L; de Jesus, Janet M; Krishnamurti, Chitra; Lowden, Mia R; Punturieri, Antonello; Shero, Susan T; Young, Neal S; Zou, Shimian; Mensah, George A
The National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a Think Tank meeting to obtain insight and recommendations regarding the objectives and design of the next generation of research aimed at reducing health inequities in the United States. The panel recommended several specific actions, including: 1) embrace broad and inclusive research themes; 2) develop research platforms that optimize the ability to conduct informative and innovative research, and promote systems science approaches; 3) develop networks of collaborators and stakeholders, and launch transformative studies that can serve as benchmarks; 4) optimize the use of new data sources, platforms, and natural experiments; and 5) develop unique transdisciplinary training programs to build research capacity. Confronting health inequities will require engaging multiple disciplines and sectors (including communities), using systems science, and intervening through combinations of individual, family, provider, health system, and community-targeted approaches. Details of the panel's remarks and recommendations are provided in this report.
Haro-García, Luis; Aguilar-Madrid, Guadalupe; Juárez-Pérez, Cuauhtémoc A; Aguilar-Rodríguez, Sara D; Flores-Carbajal, Guillermo; Gea-Izquierdo, Enrique; Sánchez-Román, Francisco R
Work, under fair employment and decent work, reduces inequities in health. Nowadays it seems, however, that obtaining and carrying out a job and worker performance take precedence over the aforementioned attributes. Workers are not only exposed to accidents, diseases caused by various agents, ergonomic and psychosocial risks but also affected by work modes imposed by the "wildmarket", such as the lack of social security benefits. Member countries of the International Labour Organization (ILO) should institute occupational health and safety policies in order to reduce the above mentioned inequities. Nonetheless, governments, which would guarantee such policies, seem to have become intermediaries in favor of large corporations. It is essential to define and strengthen actions that create jobs in decent and appropriate conditions with a view to generating equity, equality, and social well-being.
The point of departure for this article was the concept of health as a set of comprehensive and collective living conditions, influenced by the political, socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental context. The work thus shows that studies on health inequalities, disparities, or iniquities should extend beyond statistical data, since racism is not always explicit and measurable in social interactions. It is necessary to analyze the various life experiences of blacks and non-blacks in a given social condition, considering gender, age, place of residence, schooling, family origin, occupation, income, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, capacities and incapacities, social network, and possibilities for accessing social goods and services. Finally, the article lists guidelines that can assist in the major challenge of drafting public policies to combat and eradicate the immense inequalities between whites and blacks.
Sanneving, Linda; Trygg, Nadja; Saxena, Deepak; Mavalankar, Dileep; Thomsen, Sarah
Background Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 is focused on reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health care. India has made extensive efforts to achieve MDG 5 and in some regions much progress has been achieved. Progress has been uneven and inequitable however, and many women still lack access to maternal and reproductive health care. Objective In this review, a framework developed by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) is used to categorize and explain determinants of inequity in maternal and reproductive health in India. Design A review of peer-reviewed, published literature was conducted using the electronic databases PubMed and Popline. The search was performed using a carefully developed list of search terms designed to capture published papers from India on: 1) maternal and reproductive health, and 2) equity, including disadvantaged populations. A matrix was developed to sort the relevant information, which was extracted and categorized based on the CSDH framework. In this way, the main sources of inequity in maternal and reproductive health in India and their inter-relationships were determined. Results Five main structural determinants emerged from the analysis as important in understanding equity in India: economic status, gender, education, social status (registered caste or tribe), and age (adolescents). These five determinants were found to be closely interrelated, a feature which was reflected in the literature. Conclusion In India, economic status, gender, and social status are all closely interrelated when influencing use of and access to maternal and reproductive health care. Appropriate attention should be given to how these social determinants interplay in generating and sustaining inequity when designing policies and programs to reach equitable progress toward improved maternal and reproductive health. PMID:23561028
Murtaza, Fowad; Mustafa, Tajammal; Awan, Rabia
Background and Objective: Poverty and inequality in health is pervasive in Pakistan. The provisions and conditions of health are very dismal. A significant proportion of the population (16.34%) of Pakistan is under 5 years, but Pakistan is in the bottom 5% of countries in the world in terms of spending on health and education. It is ranked the lowest in the world with sub-Sahara Africa in terms of child health equality. The objective of this study was to examine child health inequalities in Pakistan. Materials and Methods: We analyzed data from Pakistan Integrated Household Survey/Household Integrated Economic Survey 2001–2002, collected by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Government of Pakistan. Coverage of diarrhea and immunization were used as indicators of child health. Stata 11.0 was used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics including frequency distribution and proportions for categorical variables and mean for continuous variables were computed. Results: Children under 5 years of age account for about 16.34% of the total population, 11.76% (2.5 million) of whom suffered from diarrhea in 1-month. The average duration of a diarrheal episode was 7 days. About 72% of the children who had diarrhea lived in a house without pipe-borne water supply. Around 22% children who had diarrhea had no advice or treatment. More than one-third of the households had no toilet in the house, and only 29% of the households were connected with pipe-borne drinking water. About 7.73% (1.6 million) children had never been immunized. The main reason for nonimmunization was parents’ lack of knowledge and of immunization. Conclusion: Child health inequalities in Pakistan are linked with several factors such as severe poverty, illiteracy, lack of knowledge, and awareness of child healthcare, singularly inadequate provision of health services, and poor infrastructure. PMID:26392798
Bortz, Martin; Kano, Megumi; Ramroth, Heribert; Barcellos, Christovam; Weaver, Scott R.; Rothenberg, Richard; Magalhães, Monica
An urban health index (UHI) was used to quantify health inequalities within Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the years 2002-2010. Eight main health indicators were generated at the ward level using mortality data. The indicators were combined to form the index. The distribution of the rank ordered UHI-values provides information on inequality among wards, using the ratio of the extremes and the gradient of the middle values. Over the decade the ratio of extremes in 2010 declined relative to 2002 (1.57 vs. 1.32) as did the slope of the middle values (0.23 vs. 0.16). A spatial division between the affluent south and the deprived north and east is still visible. The UHI correlated on an ecological ward-level with socioeconomic and urban environment indicators like square meter price of apartments (0.54, p < 0.01), low education of mother (-0.61, p < 0.01), low income (-0.62, p < 0.01) and proportion of black ethnicity (-0.55, p < 0.01). The results suggest that population health and equity have improved in Rio de Janeiro in the last decade though some familiar patterns of spatial inequality remain. PMID:26648367
Veale, Jaimie F.
We analyzed the case of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health, which did not address gender identity in their final report. We argue that gender identity is increasingly being recognized as an important social determinant of health (SDH) that results in health inequities. We identify right to health mechanisms, such as established human rights instruments, as suitable policy tools for addressing gender identity as an SDH to improve health equity. We urge the World Health Organization to add gender identity as an SDH in its conceptual framework for action on the SDHs and to develop and implement specific recommendations for addressing gender identity as an SDH. PMID:25602894
Dias, Elizabeth Costa; Oliveira, Roberval Passos de; Machado, Jorge H; Minayo-Gomez, Carlos; Perez, Marco Antonio Gomes; Hoefel, Maria da Graça L; Santana, Vilma Sousa
This paper was prepared for the Employment Conditions and Health Inequalities Knowledge Network (EMCONET), part of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. We describe the Brazilian context of employment conditions, labor conditions and health, their characteristics and causal relationships. The social, political and economic factors that influence these relationships are also presented with an emphasis on social inequalities, and how they are reproduced within the labor market and thereby affect the health and wellbeing of workers. A literature review was conducted in SciELO, LILACS, Google and Google Scholar, MEDLINE and the CAPES Brazilian thesis database. We observed that there are more workers operating in the informal sector than in the formal sector and these former have no social insurance or any other social benefits. Work conditions and health are poor in both informal and formal enterprises since health and safety labor norms are not effective. The involvement of social movements and labor unions in the elaboration and management of workers' health polices and programs with universal coverage, is a promising initiative that is underway nationwide.
Moonesinghe, Ramal; Bouye, Karen; Penman-Aguilar, Ana
The World Health Organization defines social determinants of health as "complex, integrated, and overlapping social structures and economic systems" that are responsible for most health inequities. Similar to the individual-level risk factors such as behavioral and biological risk factors that influence disease, we consider social determinants of health such as the distribution of income, wealth, influence and power as risk factors for risk of disease. We operationally define health inequity in a disease within a population due to a risk factor that is unfair and avoidable as the difference between the disease outcome with and without the risk factor in the population. We derive expressions for difference in health inequity between two populations due to a risk factor that is unfair and avoidable for a given disease. The difference in heath inequity between two population groups due to a risk factor increases with increasing difference in relative risks and the difference in prevalence of the risk factor in the two populations. The difference in health inequity could be larger than the difference in health outcomes between the two populations in some situations. Compared to health disparities which are typically measured and monitored using absolute or relative disparities of health outcomes, the methods presented in this manuscript provide a different, yet complementary, picture because they parse out the contributions of unfair and avoidable risk factors.
This paper contributes to the debate over the effectiveness of education policies in reducing overall health inequalities as compared to public health actions directed at the less-educated. Recentered Influence Function (RIF) regressions are used to decompose the contribution of education to the changing distribution of Body Mass Index (BMI) in France, between 1981 and 2003, into a composition effect (the shift in population education due to a massive educational expansion), and a structure effect (a changing educational gradient in BMI). Educational expansion has reduced overall BMI inequality by 3.4% for women and 2.3% for men. However, the structure effect on its own has produced a 10.9% increase in overall inequality for women, due to a steeper education gradient starting from the second quartile of the distribution. This structure effect on overall inequality is also large (7.6%) for men, albeit insignificant as it remains concentrated in the last decile. Educational expansion policies can thus reduce overall BMI inequalities; but attention must still be paid to the BMI gradient in education even for policies addressing overall rather than socioeconomic health inequalities.
Introduction Recent research on health inequalities moves beyond illustrating the importance of psychosocial factors for health to a more in-depth study of the specific psychosocial pathways involved. Social capital is a concept that captures both a buffer function of the social environment on health, as well as potential negative effects arising from social inequality and exclusion. This systematic review assesses the current evidence, and identifies gaps in knowledge, on the associations and interactions between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health. Methods Through this systematic review we identified studies on the interactions between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health published before July 2012. Results The literature search resulted in 618 studies after removal of duplicates, of which 60 studies were eligible for analysis. Self-reported measures of health were most frequently used, together with different bonding, bridging and linking components of social capital. A large majority, 56 studies, confirmed a correlation between social capital and socioeconomic inequalities in health. Twelve studies reported that social capital might buffer negative health effects of low socioeconomic status and five studies concluded that social capital has a stronger positive effect on health for people with a lower socioeconomic status. Conclusions There is evidence for both a buffer effect and a dependency effect of social capital on socioeconomic inequalities in health, although the studies that assess these interactions are limited in number. More evidence is needed, as identified hypotheses have implications for community action and for action on the structural causes of social inequalities. PMID:23870068
Kim, Daniel; Griffin, Beth Ann; Kabeto, Mohammed; Escarce, José; Langa, Kenneth M.; Shih, Regina A.
Purpose Much variation in individual-level cognitive function in late life remains unexplained, with little exploration of area-level/contextual factors to date. Income inequality is a contextual factor that may plausibly influence cognitive function. Methods In a nationally-representative cohort of older Americans from the Health and Retirement Study, we examined state- and metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level income inequality as predictors of individual-level cognitive function measured by the 27-point Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) scale. We modeled latency periods of 8–20 years, and controlled for state-/metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level and individual-level factors. Results Higher MSA-level income inequality predicted lower cognitive function 16–18 years later. Using a 16-year lag, living in a MSA in the highest income inequality quartile predicted a 0.9-point lower TICS-m score (β = -0.86; 95% CI = -1.41, -0.31), roughly equivalent to the magnitude associated with five years of aging. We observed no associations for state-level income inequality. The findings were robust to sensitivity analyses using propensity score methods. Conclusions Among older Americans, MSA-level income inequality appears to influence cognitive function nearly two decades later. Policies reducing income inequality levels within cities may help address the growing burden of declining cognitive function among older populations within the United States. PMID:27332986
Gore, Dana M; Kothari, Anita R
Although extensive research shows that the social determinants of health influence the distribution and course of chronic diseases, there is little programming in public health that addresses the social determinants as a disease prevention strategy. This paper discusses different types of health promotion initiatives and differentiates them based on whether they attempt to impact intermediate (environmental) determinants of health or structural determinants of health. We argue for the importance of programming targeted at the structural determinants as opposed to programming targeted solely at the immediate environment. Specifically, the former has more potential to create significant improvements in health, contribute to long-term social change and increase health equity. We urge public health leaders to take this distinction into consideration during public health program planning, and to build capacity in the public health workforce to tackle structural mechanisms that lead to poor health and health inequities.
Evandrou, Maria; Falkingham, Jane; Feng, Zhixin; Vlachantoni, Athina
Background It is well established that there are ethnic inequalities in health in the UK; however, such inequalities in later life remain a relatively under-researched area. This paper explores ethnic inequalities in health among older people in the UK, controlling for social and economic disadvantages. Methods This paper analyses the first wave (2009–2011) of Understanding Society to examine differentials in the health of older persons aged 60 years and over. 2 health outcomes are explored: the extent to which one's health limits the ability to undertake typical activities and self-rated health. Logistic regression models are used to control for a range of other factors, including income and deprivation. Results After controlling for social and economic disadvantage, black and minority ethnic (BME) elders are still more likely than white British elders to report limiting health and poor self-rated health. The ‘health disadvantage’ appears most marked among BME elders of South Asian origin, with Pakistani elders exhibiting the poorest health outcomes. Length of time resident in the UK does not have a direct impact on health in models for both genders, but is marginally significant for women. Conclusions Older people from ethnic minorities report poorer health outcomes even after controlling for social and economic disadvantages. This result reflects the complexity of health inequalities among different ethnic groups in the UK, and the need to develop health policies which take into account differences in social and economic resources between different ethnic groups. PMID:26787199
Palència, Laia; Malmusi, Davide; De Moortel, Deborah; Artazcoz, Lucía; Backhans, Mona; Vanroelen, Christophe; Borrell, Carme
Few studies have addressed the effect of gender policies on women's health and gender inequalities in health. This study aims to analyse the relationship between the orientation of public gender equality policies and gender inequalities in health in European countries, and whether this relationship is mediated by gender equality at country level or by other individual social determinants of health. A multilevel cross-sectional study was performed using individual-level data extracted from the European Social Survey 2010. The study sample consisted of 23,782 men and 28,655 women from 26 European countries. The dependent variable was self-perceived health. Individual independent variables were gender, age, immigrant status, educational level, partner status and employment status. The main contextual independent variable was a modification of Korpi's typology of family policy models (Dual-earner, Traditional-Central, Traditional-Southern, Market-oriented and Contradictory). Other contextual variables were the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), to measure country-level gender equality, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For each country and country typology the prevalence of fair/poor health by gender was calculated and prevalence ratios (PR, women compared to men) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed. Multilevel robust Poisson regression models were fitted. Women had poorer self-perceived health than men in countries with traditional family policies (PR = 1.13, 95%CI: 1.07-1.21 in Traditional-Central and PR = 1.27, 95%CI: 1.19-1.35 in Traditional-Southern) and in Contradictory countries (PR = 1.08, 95%CI: 1.05-1.11). In multilevel models, only gender inequalities in Traditional-Southern countries were significantly higher than those in Dual-earner countries. Gender inequalities in self-perceived health were higher, women reporting worse self-perceived health than men, in countries with family policies that were less oriented to gender equality
Background Despite free healthcare to pregnant women and children under the age of six, access to healthcare has failed to secure better child health outcomes amongst all children of the country. There is growing evidence of socioeconomic gradient on child health outcomes Methods The objectives of this study were to measure inequalities in child mortality, HIV transmission and vaccination coverage within a cohort of infants in South Africa. We also used the decomposition technique to identify the factors that contribute to the inequalities in these three child health outcomes. We used data from a prospective cohort study of mother-child pairs in three sites in South African. A relative index of household socio-economic status was developed using principal component analysis. This paper uses the concentration index to summarise inequalities in child mortality, HIV transmission and vaccination coverage. Results We observed disparities in the availability of infrastructure between least poor and most poor families, and inequalities in all measured child health outcomes. Overall, 75 (8.5%) infants died between birth and 36 weeks. Infant mortality and HIV transmission was higher among the poorest families within the sample. Immunisation coverage was higher among the least poor. The inequalities were mainly due to the area of residence and socio-economic position. Conclusion This study provides evidence that socio-economic inequalities are highly prevalent within the relatively poor black population. Poor socio-economic position exposes infants to ill health. In addition, the use of immunisation services was lower in the poor households. These inequalities need to be explicitly addressed in future programme planning to improve child health for all South Africans. PMID:21463530
Gupta, E; Robinson, P G; Marya, C M; Baker, S R
Recent research has emphasized the relationships between environmental and individual factors that may influence population oral health and lead to health inequalities. However, little is known about the effect of interactions between environmental and individual factors on inequalities in clinical (e.g., decayed teeth) and subjective oral health outcomes (e.g., oral health-related quality of life [OHQoL]). This cohort study aimed to explore the direct and mediated longitudinal interrelationships between key environmental and individual factors on clinical and subjective oral health outcomes in adults. Self-reported measures of OHQoL and individual (sense of coherence [SOC], social support, stress, oral health beliefs, dental behaviors, and subjective socioeconomic status [SES]) and environmental factors (SES and social network) were collected at baseline and 3-mo follow-up, together with a baseline clinical examination of 495 adult employees of an automobile parts manufacturer in India. Lagged structural equation modeling was guided by the adapted Wilson and Cleary/Brunner and Marmot model linking clinical, individual, and environmental variables to quality of life. The study provides tentative evidence that SES may influence levels of resources such as social support and SOC, which mediate stress and in turn may influence subjective oral health outcomes. Accordingly, the present findings and the adapted Wilson and Cleary/Brunner and Marmot model on which they are predicted provide support for the psychosocial pathway being key in the SES-oral health relationship. The pathways through which environmental factors interact with individual factors to impact subjective oral health outcomes identified here may bring opportunities for more targeted oral health promotion strategies.
Anwar, Iqbal; Nababan, Herfina Y.; Mostari, Shabnam; Rahman, Aminur; Khan, Jahangir A. M.
Background and Methods Monitoring use-inequity is important to measure progress in efforts to address health-inequities. Using data from six Bangladesh Demographic and Health Surveys (BDHS), we examine trends, inequities and socio-demographic determinants of use of maternal health care services in Bangladesh between 1991 and 2011. Findings Access to maternal health care services has improved in the last two decades. The adjusted yearly trend was 9.0% (8.6%-9.5%) for any antenatal care (ANC), 11.9% (11.1%-12.7%) for institutional delivery, and 18.9% (17.3%-20.5%) for C-section delivery which is above the WHO recommended rate of 5-15%. Use-inequity was significant for all three indicators but is reducing over time. Between 1991-1994 and 2007-2011 the rich:poor ratio reduced from 3.65 to 1.65 for ANC and from 15.80 to 6.77 for institutional delivery. Between 1995-1998 and 2007-2011, the concentration index reduced from 0.27 (0.25-0.29) to 0.15 (0.14-0.16) for ANC, and from 0.65 (0.60-0.71) to 0.39 (0.37-0.41) for institutional delivery during that period. For use of c-section, the rich:poor ratio reduced from 18.17 to 13.39 and the concentration index from 0.66 (0.57-0.75) to 0.47 (0.45-0.49). In terms of rich:poor differences, there was equity-gain for ANC but not for facility delivery or C-section delivery. All socio-demographic variables were significant predictors of use; of them, maternal education was the most powerful. In addition, the contribution of for-profit private sector is increasingly growing in maternal health. Conclusion Both access and equity are improving in maternal health. We recommend strengthening ongoing health and non-health interventions for the poor. Use-inequity should be monitored using multiple indicators which are incorporated into routine health information systems. Rising C-section rate is alarming and indication of C-sections should be monitored both in private and public sector facilities. PMID:25799500
Background Colombia is one of the countries with the widest levels of socioeconomic and health inequalities. Bogotá, its capital, faces serious problems of poverty, social disparities and access to health services. A Primary Health Care (PHC) strategy was implemented in 2004 to improve health care and to address the social determinants of such inequalities. This study aimed to evaluate the contribution of the PHC strategy to reducing inequalities in child health outcomes in Bogotá. Methods An ecological analysis with localities as the unit of analysis was carried out. The variable used to capture the socioeconomic status and living standards was the Quality of Life Index (QLI). Concentration curves and concentration indices for four child health outcomes (infant mortality rate (IMR), under-5 mortality rate, prevalence of acute malnutrition in children under-5, and vaccination coverage for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) were calculated to measure socioeconomic inequality. Two periods were used to describe possible changes in the magnitude of the inequalities related with the PHC implementation (2003 year before - 2007 year after implementation). The contribution of the PHC intervention was computed by a decomposition analysis carried out on data from 2007. Results In both 2003 and 2007, concentration curves and indexes of IMR, under-5 mortality rate and acute malnutrition showed inequalities to the disadvantage of localities with lower QLI. Diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccinations were more prevalent among localities with higher QLI in 2003 but were higher in localities with lower QLI in 2007. The variation of the concentration index between 2003 and 2007 indicated reductions in inequality for all of the indicators in the period after the PHC implementation. In 2007, PHC was associated with a reduction in the effect of the inequality that affected disadvantaged localities in under-5 mortality (24%), IMR (19%) and acute malnutrition (7%). PHC also
Within the analysis of the socio-economic context and the data from hospital discharges, the themes of social inequalities, health disparities, determinants of health care are discussed. Regular immigrants versus irregular, wealthy people versus those in poverty, they have access to and receive different health treatments, besides presenting risk conditions significantly different in relation to their social situation. Through the analysis of hospital discharge records as well as data from injuries at work, besides underestimations in foreign people and the greater risk of injuries for immigrants, it is evident how the aspects of inequalities connected to socioeconomic determinants and the different access to health services are pivotal for our health and welfare and that a profound change is required to tackle them properly, focusing on intervention on health care system, according to models which take into account not only evidence based medicine, but also narrative medicine, not only health protection, but also health promotion, so that equity and quality of health care is warranted for everyone.
Pérez-Lu, José E; Iguiñiz Romero, Ruth; Bayer, Angela M; García, Patricia J
In developing countries, there are no high quality data to support decision-making and governance due to inadequate information collection and transmission processes. Our project WawaRed-Peru: "Reducing health inequities and improving maternal health by improving health information systems" aims to improve maternal health processes and indicators through the implementation of interoperability standards for maternal health information systems in order for decision makers to have timely, high quality information. Through this project, we hope to support the development of better health policies and to also contribute to reducing problems of health equity among Peruvian women and potentially women in other developing countries. The aim of this article is to present the current state of information systems for maternal health in Peru.
Prasad, Amit Mohan; Chakraborty, Gautam; Yadav, Sajjan Singh; Bhatia, Salima
Background At the turn of the 21st century, India was plagued by significant rural–urban, inter-state and inter-district inequities in health. For example, in 2004, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 24 points higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. To address these inequities, to strengthen the rural health system (a major determinant of health in itself) and to facilitate action on other determinants of health, India launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in April 2005. Methods Under the NRHM, Rs. 666 billion (US$12.1 billion) was invested in rural areas from April 2005 to March 2012. There was also a substantially higher allocation for 18 high-focus states and 264 high-focus districts, identified on the basis of poor health and demographic indicators. Other determinants of health, especially nutrition and decentralized action, were addressed through mechanisms like State/District Health Missions, Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committees, and Village Health and Nutrition Days. Results Consequently, in bigger high-focus states, rural IMR fell by 15.6 points between 2004 and 2011, as compared to 9 points in urban areas. Similarly, the maternal mortality rate in high-focus states declined by 17.9% between 2004–2006 and 2007–2009 compared to 14.6% in other states. Conclusion The article, on the basis of the above approaches employed under NRHM, proposes the NRHM model to ‘reduce health inequities and initiate action on SDH’. PMID:23458089
There has been a recent upsurge of interest in the relationship between income inequality and health within nations and between nations. On the latter topic Wilkinson and others believe that, in the advanced capitalist countries, higher income inequality leads to lowered social cohesion which in turn produces poorer health status. I argue that, despite a by-now voluminous literature, not enough attention has been paid to the social context of income inequality--health relationships or to the causes of income inequality itself. In this paper I contend that there is a particular affinity between neo-liberal (market-oriented) political doctrines, income inequality and lowered social cohesion. Neo-liberalism, it is argued, produces both higher income inequality and lowered social cohesion. Part of the negative effect of neo-liberalism on health status is due to its undermining of the welfare state. The welfare state may have direct effects on health as well as being one of the underlying structural causes of social cohesion. The rise of neo-liberalism and the decline of the welfare state are themselves tied to globalization and the changing class structures of the advanced capitalist societies. More attention should be paid to understanding the causes of income inequalities and not just to its effects because income inequalities are neither necessary nor inevitable. Moreover, understanding the contextual causes of inequality may also influence our notion of the causal pathways involved in inequality-health status relationships (and vice versa).
Bargerhuff, Mary Ellen; Cole, Donna J.; Teeters, Laura
This paper examines the contradiction between articulated university policy on diversity/inclusion and actual practice with regard to field placements for teacher candidates with disabilities. Analysis of a unique case study involving a teacher candidate with traumatic brain injury illustrates the inequities of the traditional concern conference…
We propose an innovative method for the decomposition of factors associated with inequalities in the use of health care. We analyze individual data and make use of micro-simulations to evaluate the effect of heterogeneity of individual behaviors on inequality in access to care. Our study employs methods that, unlike earlier work, permits evaluation of heterogeneity of individual behaviors. We provide an application of this method by decomposing inequality of health care use in France in 1998. We show that half of the inequity in access to care is due to the heterogeneity of behaviors relative to the rank of individuals in the income distribution. This approach reconciles Oaxaca-like decompositions of inequality, focused on outcome gaps, with analyses involving decompositions of inequality by factors, focused on inequity indices.
Lang, Thierry; Kelly-Irving, Michelle; Lamy, Sébastien; Lepage, Benoit; Delpierre, Cyrille
The cover of a recent issue of Science et Santé, the INSERM magazine, asked the following question concerning epigenetics: “What is the exact role played by the genome?”. Strangely, the first page of this same issue raised another question: “How to fight health inequalities?”. We will try to answer these two questions and determine the links between them by examining public health challenges and the questions raised by recent progress in biology, especially epigenetics. The results of this analysis support those of epidemiological studies highlighting the importance of examining the construction of health during life. These studies may throw new light on the issue of social inequalities in health and how to reduce these inequalities.
Gwede, Clement K.; Ashley, Atalie A.; McGinnis, Kara; Montiel-Ishino, F. Alejandro; Standifer, Maisha; Baldwin, Julie; Williams, Coni; Sneed, Kevin B.; Wathington, Deanna; Dash-Pitts, Lolita; Green, B. Lee
Introduction Racial and ethnic minorities have disproportionately higher cancer incidence and mortality than their White counterparts. In response to this inequity in cancer prevention and care, community-based lay health advisors (LHAs) may be suited to deliver effective, culturally relevant, quality cancer education, prevention/screening, and early detection services for underserved populations. Approach and Strategies Consistent with key tenets of community-based participatory research (CBPR), this project engaged community partners to develop and implement a unique LHA training curriculum to address cancer health disparities among medically underserved communities in a tricounty area. Seven phases of curriculum development went into designing a final seven-module LHA curriculum. In keeping with principles of CBPR and community engagement, academic–community partners and LHAs themselves were involved at all phases to ensure the needs of academic and community partners were mutually addressed in development and implementation of the LHA program. Discussion and Conclusions Community-based LHA programs for outreach, education, and promotion of cancer screening and early detection, are ideal for addressing cancer health disparities in access and quality care. When community-based LHAs are appropriately recruited, trained, and located in communities, they provide unique opportunities to link, bridge, and facilitate quality cancer education, services, and research. PMID:22982709
Mackenbach, Johan P
The persistence of socioeconomic inequalities in health, even in the highly developed 'welfare states' of Western Europe, is one of the great disappointments of public health. Health inequalities have not only persisted while welfare states were being built up, but on some measures have even widened, and are not smaller in European countries with more generous welfare arrangements. This paper attempts to identify potential explanations for this paradox, by reviewing nine modern 'theories' of the explanation of health inequalities. The theories reviewed are: mathematical artifact, fundamental causes, life course perspective, social selection, personal characteristics, neo-materialism, psychosocial factors, diffusion of innovations, and cultural capital. Based on these theories it is hypothesized that three circumstances may help to explain the persistence of health inequalities despite attenuation of inequalities in material conditions by the welfare state: (1) inequalities in access to material and immaterial resources have not been eliminated by the welfare state, and are still substantial; (2) due to greater intergenerational mobility, the composition of lower socioeconomic groups has become more homogeneous with regard to personal characteristics associated with ill-health; and (3) due to a change in epidemiological regime, in which consumption behavior became the most important determinant of ill-health, the marginal benefits of the immaterial resources to which a higher social position gives access have increased. Further research is necessary to test these hypotheses. If they are correct, the persistence of health inequalities in modern European welfare states can partly be seen as a failure of these welfare states to implement more radical redistribution measures, and partly as a form of 'bad luck' related to concurrent developments that have changed the composition of socioeconomic groups and made health inequalities more sensitive to immaterial factors. It
The effect of population growth is not limited to national boundaries. Indeed the inability of people in developing countries to control their own fertility has repercussions on global security and on the balance between population and environment as well a on their health and welfare. All nations need to take steps to slow down rapid population growth now, otherwise we will suffer serious consequences. The different between 2 UN projections of world population equals current world population size. Almost 90% of the increase of the larger projection would occur in developing countries, yet they are the least capable of managing big populations. Further major inequalities in reproductive health between developed and developing countries, as well as between men and women exist. The infant mortality rate in developed regions is around 6 times lower than it is in developing regions, child mortality is 7 times lower, and maternal mortality is 15 times lower. International collaboration to rid the world of these inequalities is need to improve reproductive health. Specifically, political and health leaders should mobilize necessary international and national resources. Even though there is more than US $50,000 million in official development assistance funds available annually, the level of population related funding has decreased to less than 1.1% of these funds for 1993-1994. Developed countries could reduce the debt burden to free funds for population activities and to reverse the flow from the poor countries in the Southern Hemisphere to the rich countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Besides developing countries spend much of their money on the military (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa spends US$ 10,000 million). International cooperation leading to peace would make significantly more money available for the social and health sectors, especially reproductive health care.
Background The 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion coincided with a preponderance of research, worldwide, on the social determinants of health and health inequities. Despite the establishment of a 'health inequities knowledge base', the precise roles for municipal governments in reducing health inequities at the local level remain poorly defined. The objective of this study was to monitor thematic trends in this knowledge base over time, and to track scholarly prescriptions for municipal government intervention on local health inequities. Methods Using meta-narrative mapping, four bodies of scholarly literature - 'health promotion', 'Healthy Cities', 'population health' and 'urban health' - that have made substantial contributions to the health inequities knowledge base were analyzed over the 1986-2006 timeframe. Article abstracts were retrieved from the four literature bodies using three electronic databases (PubMed, Sociological Abstracts, Web of Science), and coded for bibliographic characteristics, article themes and determinants of health profiles, and prescriptions for municipal government interventions on health inequities. Results 1004 journal abstracts pertaining to health inequities were analyzed. The overall quantity of abstracts increased considerably over the 20 year timeframe, and emerged primarily from the 'health promotion' and 'population health' literatures. 'Healthy lifestyles' and 'healthcare' were the most commonly emphasized themes in the abstracts. Only 17% of the abstracts articulated prescriptions for municipal government interventions on local health inequities. Such interventions included public health campaigns, partnering with other governments and non-governmental organizations for health interventions, and delivering effectively on existing responsibilities to improve health outcomes and reduce inequities. Abstracts originating from Europe, and from the 'Healthy Cities' and 'urban health' literatures, were most vocal regarding
The role of personal social networks on health inequalities is little understood. Theoretically, the characteristics of social network features can contribute to, both, increase and attenuate health inequalities. Few empirical studies that focus on the interaction between socioeconomic position and social networks provide little insight on the topic. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, this study analyses the moderation role of personal social networks on health inequalities in later life among northern, central, and southern European regions. Social advantages of higher socioeconomic individuals are re-enforced by the quality of social connections and the provision of social support. In turn, health inequality is attenuated by marital partnership and participation on social activities that benefits more the health of people at lower socioeconomic positions. Furthermore, results suggest that the influence of social network features on health inequalities is shaped by regions' different policy commitments to familiarization/defamilialization pressures.
Baptiste-Roberts, Kesha; Oranuba, Ebele; Werts, Niya; Edwards, Lorece V
There is evidence of health disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual populations. Although the focus of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health research has been human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and sexually transmitted infection among men who have sex with men, there are health disparities among sexual minority women. Using the minority stress framework, these disparities may in part be caused by individual prejudice, social stigma, and discrimination. To ensure equitable health for all, there is urgent need for targeted culturally sensitive health promotion, cultural sensitivity training for health care providers, and intervention-focused research.
Simon, Dan; Simon, Donald L.
Kalman filters are often used to estimate the state variables of a dynamic system. However, in the application of Kalman filters some known signal information is often either ignored or dealt with heuristically. For instance, state variable constraints (which may be based on physical considerations) are often neglected because they do not fit easily into the structure of the Kalman filter. This paper develops two analytic methods of incorporating state variable inequality constraints in the Kalman filter. The first method is a general technique of using hard constraints to enforce inequalities on the state variable estimates. The resultant filter is a combination of a standard Kalman filter and a quadratic programming problem. The second method uses soft constraints to estimate state variables that are known to vary slowly with time. (Soft constraints are constraints that are required to be approximately satisfied rather than exactly satisfied.) The incorporation of state variable constraints increases the computational effort of the filter but significantly improves its estimation accuracy. The improvement is proven theoretically and shown via simulation results. The use of the algorithm is demonstrated on a linearized simulation of a turbofan engine to estimate health parameters. The turbofan engine model contains 16 state variables, 12 measurements, and 8 component health parameters. It is shown that the new algorithms provide improved performance in this example over unconstrained Kalman filtering.
Michel, Jean-Pierre; Herrmann, François; Zekry, Dina
Analysis of prospective data collected between 1984 and 2008 by the CERN medical team (European Centre of Nuclear Research, Geneva) concerning 2040 former employees who were retired or had died stimulated our interest on the impact of inequalities in socioeconomic conditions, employment, lifestyle and classical risk factors on health and life expectancy. Such inequalities explain differences in life expectancy, potentially reaching several decades, between rich and poor countries (France vs Swaziland), but also within a given country (USA), a given city (Glasgow) or even a given enterprise (CERN) where all employees have the same level of healthcare insurance and access to treatment. Classical cardiovascular and neurovascular risk factors (smoking, arterial hypertension and lipid disorders) interact with socioeconomic status, intelligence, education, emotions and job responsibility/complexity, precipitating or preventing cardiovascular events. The same is true of dementia, for which midlife risk factors (obesity, arterial hypertension and hypercholesterolemia) should be considered in the psychosocioeconomic context, which influences cognitive reserves and thus affects the risk and severity of dementia in old age. Thus, in addition to lifestyle and classical risk factors, socioeconomic status appears as a major health determinant, by imposing behaviors and habits and by determining access to healthcare.
Krieger, N; Chen, J T; Ebel, G
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the potential for and obstacles to routine monitoring of socioeconomic inequalities in health using U.S. vital statistics and disease registry data, the authors surveyed current data collection and reporting practices for specific socioeconomic variables. METHODS: In 1996 the authors mailed a self-administered survey to all of the 55 health department vital statistics offices reporting data to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to determine what kinds of socioeconomic data they collected on birth and death certificates and in cancer, AIDS, and tuberculosis (TB) registries and what kinds of socioeconomic data were routinely reported in health department publications. RESULTS: Health departments routinely obtained data on occupation on death certificates and in most cancer registries. They collected data on educational level for both birth and death certificates. None of the databases collected information on income, and few obtained data on employment status, health insurance carrier, or receipt of public assistance. When socioeconomic data were collected, they were usually not included in published reports (except for mothers educational level in birth certificate data). Obstacles cited to collecting and reporting socioeconomic data included lack of resources and concerns about the confidentiality and accuracy of data. All databases, however, included residential addresses, suggesting records could be geocoded and linked to Census-based socioeconomic data. CONCLUSIONS: U.S. state and Federal vital statistics and disease registries should routinely collect and publish socioeconomic data to improve efforts to monitor trends in and reduce social inequalities in health. PMID:10822475
Bikmen, Nida; Durkin, Kristine
White Americans' willingness to engage in dialogues about intergroup commonalities and power inequalities with Asian and African Americans were examined in two experiments. Because Whites perceive that African Americans experience greater discrimination than do Asian Americans, we predicted that they would be more willing to engage in dialogues that would interrogate injustice and inequality with them. We also explored the role of common in-group identity (as Americans) on willingness for dialogue about inequality. In both studies, Whites were less interested in engaging in power talk with Asian Americans than with African Americans, but the difference in willingness for commonality talk was smaller. Asian Americans were perceived as experiencing lower levels of discrimination (Studies 1 and 2) and identify less with America (Study 2) both of which predicted lower willingness for power talk with them. Common in-group identity manipulations had marginal effects on willingness for power talk with African Americans and no effect on power talk with Asian Americans. Implications for improving social disparities between various groups were discussed.
Bórquez Polloni, B
Contrary to what one may think health and equity are not issues that have always gone hand in hand following the formal recognition of the former by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). It was not until the Alma Ata Declaration in 1978 when the close ties between both began to be seriously considered, and in 2000 this led to several international organizations formalizing their concern for the factors that determine whether a health system is fair or not. Since then, the term «equity in health» has taken on a special meaning when weighing up the strength or weaknesses of certain health systems. However, over the years, equity in health has gradually been identified almost exclusively with a financial issue that focuses on distributing health resources. As a result, one often forgets to provide the necessary care for those in other unfair situations, which, as regards access to and providing health care, leads to unfair situations that are not directly related to financial reasons and do not require investments, but consensus and the honest determination to make changes. This leads the Bioethics of the 21st century to face two challenges: to warn of these inequities and to promote initiatives that are able to make effective changes.
Hodgetts, Darrin; Chamberlain, Kerry; Tankel, Yadena; Groot, Shiloh
Urban poverty and health inequalities are inextricably intertwined. By working in partnership with service providers and communities to address urban poverty, we can enhance the wellness of people in need. This article reflects on lessons learned from the Family100 project that explores the everyday lives, frustrations and dilemmas faced by 100 families living in poverty in Auckland. Lessons learned support the need to bring the experiences and lived realities of families to the fore in public deliberations about community and societal responses to urban poverty and health inequality.
Background Health inequalities can be tackled with appropriate health and social policies, involving all community groups and governments, from local to global. The objective of this study was to carry out a scoping review on social and health policies or interventions to tackle health inequalities in European cities published in scientific journals. Methods Scoping review. The search was done in “PubMed” and the “Sociological Abstracts” database and was limited to articles published between 1995 and 2011. The inclusion criteria were: interventions had to take place in European cities and they had to state the reduction of health inequalities among their objectives. Results A total of 54 papers were included, of which 35.2% used an experimental design, and 74.1% were carried out in the United Kingdom. The whole city was the setting in 27.8% of them and 44.4% were based on promoting healthy behaviours. Adults and children were the most frequent target population and half of the interventions had a universal approach and the other half a selective one. Half of the interventions were evaluated and showed positive results. Conclusions Although health behaviours are not the main determinants of health inequalities, the majority of the selected documents were based on evaluations of interventions focusing on them. PMID:24564851
Background Many speak of the digital divide, but variation in the opportunity of patients to use the Internet for health (patient eHealth readiness) is not a binary difference, rather a distribution influenced by personal capability, provision of services, support, and cost. Digital divisions in health have been addressed by various initiatives, but there was no comprehensive validated measure to know if they are effective that could be used in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) covering both non-Internet-users and the range of Internet-users. Objective The aim of this study was to develop and validate a self-completed questionnaire and scoring system to assess patient eHealth readiness by examining the spread of scores and eHealth inequalities. The intended use of this questionnaire and scores is in RCTs of interventions aiming to improve patient eHealth readiness and reduce eHealth inequalities. Methods Based on four factors identified from the literature, a self-completed questionnaire, using a pragmatic combination of factual and attitude questions, was drafted and piloted in three stages. This was followed by a final population-based, cross-sectional household survey of 344 people used to refine the scoring system. Results The Patient eHealth Readiness Questionnaire (PERQ) includes questions used to calculate four subscores: patients’ perception of (1) provision, (2) their personal ability and confidence, (3) their interpersonal support, and (4) relative costs in using the Internet for health. These were combined into an overall PERQ score (0-9) which could be used in intervention studies. Reduction in standard deviation of the scores represents reduction in eHealth inequalities. Conclusions PERQ appears acceptable for participants in British studies. The scores produced appear valid and will enable assessment of the effectiveness of interventions to improve patient eHealth readiness and reduce eHealth inequalities. Such methods need continued evolution and
Chang, E-Shien; Simon, Melissa A; Dong, XinQi
Although community-based participatory research (CBPR) has been recognized as a useful approach for eliminating health disparities, less attention is given to how CBPR projects may address gender inequalities in health for immigrant older women. The goal of this article is to share culturally sensitive strategies and lessons learned from the PINE study-a population-based study of U.S. Chinese older adults that was strictly guided by the CBPR approach. Working with Chinese older women requires trust, respect, and understanding of their unique historical, social, and cultural positions. We also discuss implications for developing impact-driven research partnerships that meet the needs of this vulnerable population.
Suk, William A; Davis, E Ann
While each region of the world faces unique public health challenges, environmental threats to vulnerable populations in Asia constitute a significant global public health challenge. Environmental threats to health are widespread and are increasing as nations in the region undergo rapid industrial development. One of the major predictors of ill health is poverty. Regional poverty puts large populations at risk for ill health, which exacerbates poverty and increases the exposure risk to environmental factors, such as pollution and disease. Patterns of illness have changed dramatically in the last century, and will continue to change in this century. Chemical toxicants in the environment, poverty, and little or no access to health care are all factors contributing to life-threatening diseases. Therefore, it is vital that we develop a better understanding of the mechanisms and interactions between nutrition, infectious disease, environmental exposures, and genetic predisposition in order to develop better prevention methods.
Morel, Carlos M; Acharya, Tara; Broun, Denis; Dangi, Ajit; Elias, Christopher; Ganguly, N K; Gardner, Charles A; Gupta, R K; Haycock, Jane; Heher, Anthony D; Hotez, Peter J; Kettler, Hannah E; Keusch, Gerald T; Krattiger, Anatole F; Kreutz, Fernando T; Lall, Sanjaya; Lee, Keun; Mahoney, Richard; Martinez-Palomo, Adolfo; Mashelkar, R A; Matlin, Stephen A; Mzimba, Mandi; Oehler, Joachim; Ridley, Robert G; Senanayake, Pramilla; Singer, Peter; Yun, Mikyung
Gross inequities in disease burden between developed and developing countries are now the subject of intense global attention. Public and private donors have marshaled resources and created organizational structures to accelerate the development of new health products and to procure and distribute drugs and vaccines for the poor. Despite these encouraging efforts directed primarily from and funded by industrialized countries, sufficiency and sustainability remain enormous challenges because of the sheer magnitude of the problem. Here we highlight a complementary and increasingly important means to improve health equity: the growing ability of some developing countries to undertake health innovation.
Ward, Rolanda L.; Nichols, Amanda D.; Freedman, Ruth I.
Even as attention is drawn to the increasing number of individuals who experience health inequalities in the United States, little is known about the health inequalities experienced by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Current disability research mainly focuses on physical disabilities. This article discusses the health…
Killoran, Amanda; Kelly, Michael
This short paper considers the development of an evidence-based approach to tackling health inequalities. Inequalities in health in England at the beginning of the 21st century have widened and are stark. Despite overall improvements in death rates, the growing gap between social groups means that now some parts of England have the same levels of…
Galama, Titus J.; van Kippersluis, Hans
We explore what health-capital theory has to offer in terms of informing and directing research into health inequality. We argue that economic theory can help in identifying mechanisms through which specific socioeconomic indicators and health interact. Our reading of the literature, and our own work, leads us to conclude that non-degenerate versions of the Grossman model (1972a;b) and its extensions can explain many salient stylized facts on health inequalities. Yet, further development is required in at least two directions. First, a childhood phase needs to be incorporated, in recognition of the importance of childhood endowments and investments in the determination of later-life socioeconomic and health outcomes. Second, a unified theory of joint investment in skill (or human) capital and in health capital could provide a basis for a theory of the relationship between education and health. PMID:24570580
De Vogli, Roberto
In 2009, Europe was hit by one of the worst debt crises in history. Although the Eurozone crisis is often depicted as an effect of government mismanagement and corruption, it was a consequence of the 2008 U.S. banking crisis which was caused by more than three decades of neoliberal policies, financial deregulation and widening economic inequities.Evidence indicates that the Eurozone crisis disproportionately affected vulnerable populations in society and caused sharp increases of suicides and deaths due to mental and behavioral disorders especially among those who lost their jobs, houses and economic activities because of the crisis. Although little research has, so far, studied the effects of the crisis on health inequities, evidence showed that the 2009 economic downturn increased the number of people living in poverty and widened income inequality especially in European countries severely hit by the debt crisis. Data, however, also suggest favorable health trends and a reduction of traffic deaths fatalities in the general population during the economic recession. Moreover, egalitarian policies protecting the most disadvantaged populations with strong social protections proved to be effective in decoupling the link between job losses and suicides.Unfortunately, policy responses after the crisis in most European countries have mainly consisted in bank bailouts and austerity programs. These reforms have not only exacerbated the debt crisis and widened inequities in wealth but also failed to address the root causes of the crisis. In order to prevent a future financial downturn and promote a more equitable and sustainable society, European governments and international institutions need to adopt new regulations of banking and finance as well as policies of economic redistribution and investment in social protection. These policy changes, however, require the abandonment of the neoliberal ideology to craft a new global political economy where markets and gross
In 2009, Europe was hit by one of the worst debt crises in history. Although the Eurozone crisis is often depicted as an effect of government mismanagement and corruption, it was a consequence of the 2008 U.S. banking crisis which was caused by more than three decades of neoliberal policies, financial deregulation and widening economic inequities. Evidence indicates that the Eurozone crisis disproportionately affected vulnerable populations in society and caused sharp increases of suicides and deaths due to mental and behavioral disorders especially among those who lost their jobs, houses and economic activities because of the crisis. Although little research has, so far, studied the effects of the crisis on health inequities, evidence showed that the 2009 economic downturn increased the number of people living in poverty and widened income inequality especially in European countries severely hit by the debt crisis. Data, however, also suggest favorable health trends and a reduction of traffic deaths fatalities in the general population during the economic recession. Moreover, egalitarian policies protecting the most disadvantaged populations with strong social protections proved to be effective in decoupling the link between job losses and suicides. Unfortunately, policy responses after the crisis in most European countries have mainly consisted in bank bailouts and austerity programs. These reforms have not only exacerbated the debt crisis and widened inequities in wealth but also failed to address the root causes of the crisis. In order to prevent a future financial downturn and promote a more equitable and sustainable society, European governments and international institutions need to adopt new regulations of banking and finance as well as policies of economic redistribution and investment in social protection. These policy changes, however, require the abandonment of the neoliberal ideology to craft a new global political economy where markets and gross
Jones, Camara Phyllis; Jones, Clara Yvonne; Perry, Geraldine S; Barclay, Gillian; Jones, Camille Arnel
This paper presents a "Cliff Analogy" illustrating three dimensions of health intervention to help people who are falling off of the cliff of good health: providing health services, addressing the social determinants of health, and addressing the social determinants of equity. In the terms of the analogy, health services include an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, a net or trampoline halfway down, and a fence at the top of the cliff. Addressing the social determinants of health involves the deliberate movement of the population away from the edge of the cliff. Addressing the social determinants of equity acknowledges that the cliff is three-dimensional and involves interventions on the structures, policies, practices, norms, and values that differentially distribute resources and risks along the cliff face. The authors affirm that we need to address both the social determinants of health, including poverty, and the social determinants of equity, including racism, if we are to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities.
Palloni, Alberto; Milesi, Carolina; White, Robert G; Turner, Alyn
The persistence of adult health and mortality socioeconomic inequalities and the equally stubborn reproduction of social class inequalities are salient features in modern societies that puzzle researchers in seemingly unconnected research fields. Neither can be satisfactorily explained with standard theoretical frameworks. In the domain of health and mortality, it is unclear if and to what an extent adult health and mortality disparities across socioeconomic status (SES) are the product of attributes of the positions themselves, the partial result of health conditions established earlier in life that influence both adult health and economic success, or the outcome of the reverse impact of health status on SES. In the domain of social stratification, the transmission of inequalities across generations has been remarkably resistant to satisfactory explanations. Although the literature on social stratification is by and large silent about the role played by early health status in shaping adult socioeconomic opportunities, new research on human capital formation suggests this is a serious error of omission. In this paper we propose to investigate the connections between these two domains. We use data from male respondents of the 1958 British Cohort to estimate (a) the influence of early health conditions on adult SES and (b) the contribution of early health status to observed adult health differentials. The model incorporates early conditions as determinants of traits that enhance (inhibit) social mobility and also conventional and unconventional factors that affect adult health and socioeconomic status. Our findings reveal that early childhood health plays a small, but non-trivial role as a determinant of adult SES and the adult socioeconomic gradient in health. These findings enrich current explanations of SES inequalities and of adult health and mortality disparities. PMID:19269728
Borrell, C.; Dominguez-Berjon, F.; Pasarin, M; Ferrando, J.; Rohlfs, I.; Nebot, M.
OBJECTIVE—This study describes social class inequalities in health related behaviours (tobacco and alcohol consumption, physical activity) among a sample of general population over 14 years old in Barcelona. DESIGN—Cross sectional study (Barcelona Health Interview Survey). SETTING—Barcelona city (Spain). PARTICIPANTS—A representative stratified sample of the non-institutionalised population resident in Barcelona was obtained. This study refers to the 4171 respondents aged over 14. DATA—Social class was obtained from a Spanish adaptation of the British Registrar General classification. In addition, sociodemographic variables such as family structure and employment status were used. As health related behaviours tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption, usual physical activity and leisure time physical activity were analysed. Age adjusted percentages were compared by social class. Multivariate analysis was performed using logistic regression models. MAIN RESULTS—Women in the upper social classes were more likely to smoke, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for social class V in reference to social class I was 0.36 (95% confidence intervals (95%CI): 0.19, 0.67), while the opposite occurred among men although it was not statistically significant in multivariate analysis. Smoking cessation was more likely among men in the higher classes (OR for class V 0.41, 95%CI: 0.18, 0.90). Excessive alcohol consumption among men showed no differences between classes, while among women it was greater in the upper classes. Engaging in usual physical activity classified as "light or none" in men decreased with lowering social class (OR class IVa: 0.55 and OR class IVb: 0.47). Women of social classes IV and V were less likely to have two or more health risk behaviours (OR for class V 0.33, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.62). CONCLUSION—Health damaging behaviours are differentially distributed among social classes in Barcelona. Health policies should take into account these
Ridde, Valéry; Guichard, Anne; Houéto, David
The authors set out to show that the Ottawa Charter of 1986 has not been sufficiently accepted over the past twenty years, even by those who use it as a strategic tool to guide interventions for reducing social inequalities in health. Although some public health policies do emphasize the reduction of social inequalities in health, only the Ottawa Charter appears to possess the status of an international declaration on the matter. Social inequalities in health are the systematic, avoidable, and unjust differences in health that persist between individuals and sub-groups of a population. Four examples from the field of health promotion serve to show that forgetting to combat social inequalities in health is not exclusive to the domain of public health. However, taking action against social inequalities in health does not equal tackling poverty. Moreover, intervening on the principle of equality of opportunity, on the basis of an ideology of meritocracy, or for the benefit of the population as a whole, without regard to sub-groups, only tends, at best, to reproduce inequalities. Although evidence is insufficient, there are studies that show that reducing social inequalities in health is not an aporia. Three explanations are advanced as to why social inequalities in health have been ignored by health promotion professionals. The Ottawa Charter had the merit of highlighting the struggle against social inequalities in health. Now, moving beyond the declarations, from the strategic framework provided by the Ottawa Charter and in accordance with the Bangkok Charter, it is time to show proof of voluntarism. Several priorities for the future are suggested and the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) should be responsible for advocating for them.
Starfield, Barbara; Birn, Anne-Emanuelle
Income inequality is widely assumed to be a major contributor to poorer health at national and subnational levels. According to this assumption, the most appropriate policy strategy to improve equity in health is income redistribution. This paper considers reasons why tackling income inequality alone could be an inadequate approach to reducing differences in health across social classes and other population subgroups, and makes the case that universal social programs are critical to reducing inequities in health. A health system oriented around a strong primary care base is an example of such a strategy.
Tamez-González, Silvia; Pérez-Domínguez, Josué F
This is a reflection on the current health situation of workers, as well as a reflection on the characteristics of their care system in the context of a globalized world. In order to present this reflection, the first part is focused on the discussion of the main concepts of globalization and risk society. On the second part, and according to the conceptual framework established on the first part, a statistical perspective of workers' health around the world is suggested, emphasizing on the existing inequity between thought-to-be developed world and the developing or poor countries. On the next part, a discussion related to health insurance systems and their incompetence to tackle efficiently workers' health outcomes is established. On the final part, a reflection on the need to reframe the approach and action strategies for improving health status of workers and their families is suggested; this part of the reflection is focused on the recovery of "good life" and human sense of life.
Rivers, Brian M; Bernhardt, Jay M; Fleisher, Linda; Green, Bernard Lee
During a panel presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research Cancer Health Disparities Conference titled 'Opportunities and challenges of using technology to address health disparities', the latest scientific advances in the application and utilization of mobile technology and/or mobile-health (mHealth) interventions to address cancer health disparities were discussed. The session included: an examination of overall population trends in the uptake of technology and the potential of addressing health disparities through such media; an exploration of the conceptual issues and challenges in the construction of mHealth interventions to address disparate and underserved populations; and a presentation of pilot study findings on the acceptability and feasibility of using mHealth interventions to address prostate cancer disparities among African-American men.
Few sociologists dissent from the notion that the mid- to late 1970s witnessed a shift in capitalism's modus operandi. Its association with a rapid increase of social and material inequality is beyond dispute. This article opens with a brief summation of contemporary British trends in economic inequalities, and finds an echo of these trends in health inequalities. It is suggested that the sociology of health inequalities in Britain lacks an analysis of agency, and that such an analysis is crucial. A case is made that the recent critical realist contribution of Margaret Archer on 'internal conversations' lends itself to an understanding of agency that is salient here. The article develops her typology of internal conversations to present characterizations of the 'focused autonomous reflexives' whose mind-sets are causally efficacious for producing and reproducing inequalities, and the 'dedicated meta-reflexives' whose casts of mind might yet predispose them to mobilize resistance to inequalities.
Mutch, W. Alan C.
Life support with a mechanical ventilator is used to manage patients with a variety of lung diseases including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Recently, management of ARDS has concentrated on ventilating at lower airway pressure using lower tidal volume. A large international study demonstrated a 22% reduction in mortality with the low tidal volume approach. The potential advantages of adding physiologic noise with fractal characteristics to the respiratory rate and tidal volume as delivered by a mechanical ventilator are discussed. A so-called biologically variable ventilator (BVV), incorporating such noise, has been developed. Here we show that the benefits of noisy ventilation - at lower tidal volumes - can be deduced from a simple probabilistic result known as Jensen"s Inequality. Using the local convexity of the pressure-volume relationship in the lung we demonstrate that the addition of noise results in higher mean tidal volume or lower mean airway pressure. The consequence is enhanced gas exchange or less stress on the lungs, both clinically desirable. Jensen"s Inequality has important considerations in engineering, information theory and thermodynamics. Here is an example of the concept applied to medicine that may have important considerations for the clinical management of critically ill patients. Life support devices, such as mechanical ventilators, are of vital use in critical care units and operating rooms. These devices usually have monotonous output. Improving mechanical ventilators and other life support devices may be as simple as adding noise to their output signals.
Background There is growing evidence of the impact of overweight and obesity on short- and long-term functioning, health and well-being. Internationally, childhood obesity rates continue to rise in some countries (for example, Mexico, India, China and Canada), although there is emerging evidence of a slowing of this increase or a plateauing in some age groups. In most European countries, the United States and Australia, however, socioeconomic inequalities in relation to obesity and risk factors for obesity are widening. Addressing inequalities in obesity, therefore, has a very high profile on the public health and health services agendas. However, there is a lack of accessible policy-ready evidence on what works in terms of interventions to reduce inequalities in obesity. Methods and design This article describes the protocol for a National Health Service Trust (NHS) National Institute for Health Research-funded systematic review of public health interventions at the individual, community and societal levels which might reduce socioeconomic inequalities in relation to obesity amongst children ages 0 to 18 years. The studies will be selected only if (1) they included a primary outcome that is a proxy for body fatness and (2) examined differential effects with regard to socioeconomic status (education, income, occupation, social class, deprivation and poverty) or the intervention was targeted specifically at disadvantaged groups (for example, children of the unemployed, lone parents, low income and so on) or at people who live in deprived areas. A rigorous and inclusive international literature search will be conducted for randomised and nonrandomised controlled trials, prospective and retrospective cohort studies (with and/or without control groups) and prospective repeat cross-sectional studies (with and/or without control groups). The following electronic databases will be searched: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Science Citation Index, ASSIA, IBSS
Several Latin American countries are implementing a suite of so-called "postneoliberal" social and political economic policies to counter neoliberal models that emerged in the 1980s. This article considers the influence of postneoliberalism on public health discourses, policies, institutions, and practices in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Social medicine and neoliberal public health models are antecedents of postneoliberal public health care models. Postneoliberal public health governance models neither fully incorporate social medicine nor completely reject neoliberal models. Postneoliberal reforms may provide an alternative means of reducing health inequalities and improving population health.
Introduction Gendered practices of working life create gender inequalities through horizontal and vertical gender segregation in work, which may lead to inequalities in health between women and men. Gender equality could therefore be a key element of health equity in working life. Our aim was to analyze what gender (in)equality means for the employees at a woman-dominated workplace and discuss possible implications for health experiences. Methods All caregiving staff at two workplaces in elder care within a municipality in the north of Sweden were invited to participate in the study. Forty-five employees participated, 38 women and 7 men. Seven focus group discussions were performed and led by a moderator. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the focus groups. Results We identified two themes. "Advocating gender equality in principle" showed how gender (in)equality was seen as a structural issue not connected to the individual health experiences. "Justifying inequality with individualism" showed how the caregivers focused on personalities and interests as a justification of gender inequalities in work division. The justification of gender inequality resulted in a gendered work division which may be related to health inequalities between women and men. Gender inequalities in work division were primarily understood in terms of personality and interests and not in terms of gender. Conclusion The health experience of the participants was affected by gender (in)equality in terms of a gendered work division. However, the participants did not see the gendered work division as a gender equality issue. Gender perspectives are needed to improve the health of the employees at the workplaces through shifting from individual to structural solutions. A healthy-setting approach considering gender relations is needed to achieve gender equality and fairness in health status between women and men. PMID:22217427
Rispel, Laetitia C; de Sousa, César A D Palha; Molomo, Boitumelo G
implementation capacity problems. The key messages to sub-Saharan African governments include: health inequalities must be measured; social policies must be carefully designed and effectively implemented addressing the constraints identified; monitoring and evaluation systems need improvement; and participation of the community needs to be encouraged through conducive and enabling environments. There is a need for a strong movement by civil society to address health inequalities and to hold governments accountable for improved health and reduced health inequalities.
Palha de Sousa, César A.D; Molomo, Boitumelo G
implementation capacity problems. The key messages to sub-Saharan African governments include: health inequalities must be measured; social policies must be carefully designed and effectively implemented addressing the constraints identified; monitoring and evaluation systems need improvement; and participation of the community needs to be encouraged through conducive and enabling environments. There is a need for a strong movement by civil society to address health inequalities and to hold governments accountable for improved health and reduced health inequalities. PMID:19761083
Smith, Moira B; Signal, Louise
Background Economic changes and policy reforms, consistent with economic globalization, in New Zealand in the mid-1980s, combined with the recent global demand for dairy products, particularly from countries undergoing a 'nutrition transition', have created an environment where a proportion of the New Zealand population is now experiencing financial difficulty purchasing milk. This situation has the potential to adversely affect health. Discussion Similar to other developed nations, widening income disparities and health inequalities have resulted from economic globalization in New Zealand; with regard to nutrition, a proportion of the population now faces food poverty. Further, rates of overweight/obesity and chronic diseases have increased in recent decades, primarily affecting indigenous people and lower socio-economic groups. Economic globalization in New Zealand has changed the domestic milk supply with regard to the consumer and may shed light on the link between globalization, nutrition and health outcomes. This paper describes the economic changes in New Zealand, specifically in the dairy market and discusses how these changes have the potential to create inequalities and adverse health outcomes. The implications for the success of current policy addressing chronic health outcomes is discussed, alternative policy options such as subsidies, price controls or alteration of taxation of recommended foods relative to 'unhealthy' foods are presented and the need for further research is considered. Summary Changes in economic ideology in New Zealand have altered the focus of policy development, from social to commercial. To achieve equity in health and improve access to social determinants of health, such as healthy nutrition, policy-makers must give consideration to health outcomes when developing and implementing economic policy, both national and global. PMID:19152688
Aida, Jun; Kondo, Katsunori; Kondo, Naoki; Watt, Richard G; Sheiham, Aubrey; Tsakos, Georgios
The erosion of social capital in more unequal societies is one mechanism for the association between income inequality and health. However, there are relatively few multi-level studies on the relation between income inequality, social capital and health outcomes. Existing studies have not used different types of health outcomes, such as dental status, a life-course measure of dental disease reflecting physical function in older adults, and self-rated health, which reflects current health status. The objective of this study was to assess whether individual and community social capital attenuated the associations between income inequality and two disparate health outcomes, self-rated health and dental status in Japan. Self-administered questionnaires were mailed to subjects in an ongoing Japanese prospective cohort study, the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study Project in 2003. Responses in Aichi, Japan, obtained from 5715 subjects and 3451 were included in the final analysis. The Gini coefficient was used as a measure of income inequality. Trust and volunteering were used as cognitive and structural individual-level social capital measures. Rates of subjects reporting mistrust and non-volunteering in each local district were used as cognitive and structural community-level social capital variables respectively. The covariates were sex, age, marital status, education, individual- and community-level equivalent income and smoking status. Dichotomized responses of self-rated health and number of remaining teeth were used as outcomes in multi-level logistic regression models. Income inequality was significantly associated with poor dental status and marginally significantly associated with poor self-rated health. Community-level structural social capital attenuated the covariate-adjusted odds ratio of income inequality for self-rated health by 16% whereas the association between income inequality and dental status was not substantially changed by any social capital
Zaboli, Rouhollah; Tourani, Sogand; Seyedin, Seyed Hesam; Oliaie Manesh, Alireza
Background: One of the main challenges of healthcare systems of developing countries is health inequality. Health inequality means inequality in individuals’ ability and proper functioning, resulting in inequality in social status and living conditions, which thwarts social interventions implemented by the government. Objectives: This study aimed to determine and prioritize the social determinants of health inequality in Iran. Materials and Methods: This was a mixed method study with two phases of qualitative and quantitative research. The study population consisted of experts dealing with social determinants of health. A purposive, stratified and non-random sampling method was used. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect qualitative data along with a multiple attribute decision making method for the quantitative phase of the research in which the TOPSIS technique was employed for prioritization. The qualitative findings were entered into NVivo for analysis, as were the quantitative data entered into MATLAB software. Results: The results approved the suitability of the conceptual framework of social determinants of health suggested by the WHO (world health organization) for studying social determinants of health inequality; however, this framework general and theoretical rather than a guideline for practice. Thus, in this study, 15 themes and 31 sub-themes were determined as social determinants of social health inequality in Iran. Based on the findings of the quantitative phase of our research, socioeconomic status, living facilities such as housing, and social integrity had the greatest effect on decreasing health inequality. Conclusions: A major part of the inequality in health distribution is avoidable because they are mostly caused by adjustable factors like economic conditions, educational conditions, employment, living facilities, etc. As in the majority of developing countries the living and health conditions are the same as Iran, the
Rao, Mala; Singh, Prabal Vikram; Katyal, Anuradha; Samarth, Amit; Bergkvist, Sofi; Renton, Adrian; Netuveli, Gopalakrishnan
Background Equity of access to healthcare remains a major challenge with families continuing to face financial and non-financial barriers to services. Lack of education has been shown to be a key risk factor for 'catastrophic' health expenditure (CHE), in many countries including India. Consequently, ways to address the education divide need to be explored. We aimed to assess whether the innovative state-funded Rajiv Aarogyasri Community Health Insurance Scheme of Andhra Pradesh state launched in 2007, has achieved equity of access to hospital inpatient care among households with varying levels of education. Methods We used the National Sample Survey Organization 2004 survey as our baseline and the same survey design to collect post-intervention data from 8623 households in the state in 2012. Two outcomes, hospitalisation and CHE for inpatient care, were estimated using education as a measure of socio-economic status and transforming levels of education into ridit scores. We derived relative indices of inequality by regressing the outcome measures on education, transformed as a ridit score, using logistic regression models with appropriate weights and accounting for the complex survey design. Findings Between 2004 and 2012, there was a 39% reduction in the likelihood of the most educated person being hospitalised compared to the least educated, with reductions observed in all households as well as those that had used the Aarogyasri. For CHE the inequality disappeared in 2012 in both groups. Sub-group analyses by economic status, social groups and rural-urban residence showed a decrease in relative indices of inequality in most groups. Nevertheless, inequalities in hospitalisation and CHE persisted across most groups. Conclusion During the time of the Aarogyasri scheme implementation inequalities in access to hospital care were substantially reduced but not eliminated across the education divide. Universal access to education and schemes such as Aarogyasri have the
Book, Eric L
A health plan chief medical officer comments on several trends underscoring the conclusion reached by Robert Hurley and colleagues that disparities in health care are widening. Growing use of new technology is driving up premiums, increasing the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured. Cost shifting by hospitals because of inadequate public program reimbursements drives premiums even higher. Although disparities in health care can never be eliminated, access to essential services can-and must-be made universal. That goal can be accomplished if insurance coverage is mandated and responsibility for its cost is spread broadly.
In a recent paper in this journal Abasolo and Tsuchiya [Abasolo, I., Tsuchiya, A., 2004. Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health. Journal of Health Economics 23, 313-329] have strongly argued for the use of a non-monotonic health related social welfare function. This note discusses both the limitations of the measure proposed by Abasolo and Tsuchiya [Abasolo, I., Tsuchiya, A., 2004. Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health. Journal of Health Economics 23, 313-329] and the problems associated with their empirics. We are able to show how non-monotonicity may lead to paradoxical results and policies. Further we examine the empirics of Abasolo and Tsuchiya [Abasolo, I., Tsuchiya, A., 2004. Exploring social welfare functions and violation of monotonicity: an example from inequalities in health. Journal of Health Economics 23, 313-329] and provide an alternative explanation to the observed patterns in the data that do not violate monotonicity. Finally we briefly mention why the Atkinson-Sen framework may be more appropriate as a way forward.
Christie, Amy M.; Barling, Julian
Status structures in organizations are ubiquitous yet largely ignored in organizational research. We offer a conceptualization of team status inequality, or the extent to which status positions on a team are dispersed. Status inequality is hypothesized to be negatively related to individual performance and physical health for low-status…
Hurrelmann, K; Richter, M; Rathmann, K
In all highly developed countries, the overall health status of the population has significantly improved within the past 30 years. The most important reason for this is the increase in economic prosperity. Economic wealth, however, today is much more unequally distributed than it was 3 decades ago. Countries with relatively small disparities in the availability of material resources between socioeconomic groups, such as the Scandinavian countries, have better health outcomes on the population level. Health inequalities, however, have also reached a higher level than 30 years ago. As of today, we do not have convincing explanations for the interrelation of economic and health inequality. This paper gives an overview of existing research on a comparative basis. The research results are ambivalent. They show the puzzling result that the Scandinavian countries with their highly distributive welfare policy manage to achieve the comparatively highest level of economic, but not health, equity. Based on these results, we develop proposals for future research approaches. A central assumption is that in rich societies no longer only material, but more and more immaterial determinants are crucial for the formation of health inequality. The promotion of "salutogenic" self-management capabilities in socially disadvantaged groups is considered to be the central element in effective intervention strategies.
Vallet, Fanny; Guillaume, Elodie; Dejardin, Olivier; Guittet, Lydia; Bouvier, Véronique; Mignon, Astrid; Berchi, Célia; Salinas, Agnès; Launoy, Guy; Christophe, Véronique
The aim of the study was to test whether a screening navigation program leads to more favorable health beliefs and decreases social inequalities in them. The selected 261 noncompliant participants in a screening navigation versus a usual screening program arm had to respond to health belief measures inspired by the Protection Motivation Theory. Regression analyses showed that social inequalities in perceived efficacy of screening, favorable attitude, and perceived facility were reduced in the screening navigation compared to the usual screening program. These results highlight the importance of health beliefs to understand the mechanism of screening navigation programs in reducing social inequalities.
Richter, Matthias; Rathman, Katharina; Nic Gabhainn, Saoirse; Zambon, Alessio; Boyce, William; Hurrelmann, Klaus
Comparative research on health and health inequalities has recently started to establish a welfare regime perspective. The objective of this study was to determine whether different welfare regimes are associated with health and health inequalities among adolescents. Data were collected from the 'Health Behaviour in School-aged Children' study in 2006, including 11- to 15-year-old students from 32 countries (N = 141,091). Prevalence rates and multilevel logistic regression models were calculated for self-rated health (SRH) and health complaints. The results show that between 4 per cent and 7 per cent of the variation in both health outcomes is attributable to differences between countries. Compared to the Scandinavian regime, the Southern regime had lower odds ratios for SRH, while for health complaints the Southern and Eastern regime showed high odds ratios. The association between subjective health and welfare regime was largely unaffected by adjusting for individual socioeconomic position. After adjustment for the welfare regime typology, the country-level variations were reduced to 4.6 per cent for SRH and to 2.9 per cent for health complaints. Regarding cross-level interaction effects between welfare regimes and socioeconomic position, no clear regime-specific pattern was found. Consistent with research on adults this study shows that welfare regimes are important in explaining variations in adolescent health across countries.
Gwatkin, D. R.
The contents of this theme section of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization on "Inequalities in health" have two objectives: to present the initial findings from a new generation of research that has been undertaken in response to renewed concern for health inequalities; and to stimulate movement for action in order to correct the problems identified by this research. The research findings are presented in the five articles which follow. This Critical Reflection proposes two initial steps for the action needed to alleviate the problem; other suggestions are given by the participants in a Round Table discussion which is published after these articles. The theme section concludes with extracts from the classic writings of the nineteenth-century public health pioneer, William Farr, who is widely credited as one of the founders of the scientific study of health inequalities, together with a commentary. This Critical Reflection contributes to the discussion of the action needed by proposing two initial steps for action. That professionals who give very high priority to the distinct but related objectives of poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, and equity enhancement recognize that their shared concern for the distributional aspects of health policy is far more important than any differences that may divide them. That health policy goals, currently expressed as societal averages, be reformulated so that they point specifically to conditions among the poor and to poor-rich differences. For example, infant mortality rates among the poor or the differences in infant mortality between rich and poor sectors would be more useful indicators than the average infant mortality rates for the whole population. PMID:10686729
Background Inequities in health are a major challenge for health care planners and policymakers globally. In Vietnam, rapid societal development presents a considerable risk for disadvantaged populations to be left behind. The aim of this review is to map the known causes and determinants of inequity in maternal and child health in Vietnam in order to promote policy action. Methods A review was performed through systematic searches of Pubmed and Proquest and manual searches of “grey literature.” A thematic content analysis guided by the conceptual framework suggested by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health was performed. Results More than thirty different causes and determinants of inequity in maternal and child health were identified. Some determinants worth highlighting were the influence of informal fees and the many testimonies of discrimination and negative attitudes from health staff towards women in general and ethnic minorities in particular. Research gaps were identified, such as a lack of studies investigating the influence of education on health care utilization, informal costs of care, and how psychosocial factors mediate inequity. Conclusions The evidence of corruption and discrimination as mediators of health inequity in Vietnam calls for attention and indicates a need for more structural interventions such as better governance and anti-discriminatory laws. More research is needed in order to fully understand the pathways of inequities in health in Vietnam and suggest areas for intervention for policy action to reach disadvantaged populations. PMID:22883138
Introduction Social factors have been proved to be main determinants of individuals’ health. Recent studies have also analyzed the contribution of some of those factors, such as education and job status, to socioeconomic inequalities in health. The aim of this paper is to provide new evidence about the factors driving socioeconomic inequalities in health for the Spanish population by including housing deprivation and social interactions as health determinants. Methods Cross-sectional study based on the Spanish sample of European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) for 2006. The concentration index measuring income-related inequality in health is decomposed into the contribution of each determinant. Several models are estimated to test the influence of different regressors for three proxies of ill-health. Results Health inequality favouring the better-off is observed in the distribution of self-assessed health, presence of chronic diseases and presence of limiting conditions. Inequality is mainly explained, besides age, by social factors such as labour status and financial deprivation. Housing deprivation contributes to pro-rich inequality in a percentage ranging from 7.17% to 13.85%, and social interactions from 6.16% to 10.19%. The contribution of some groups of determinants significantly differs depending on the ill-health variable used. Conclusions Health inequalities can be mostly reduced or shaped by policy, as they are mainly explained by social determinants such as labour status, education and other socioeconomic conditions. The major role played on health inequality by variables taking part in social exclusion points to the need to focus on the most vulnerable groups. JEL Codes H51, I14, I18 PMID:23241384
Social inequalities in mortality are generally less pronounced for women than for men. Are women's health risks and behaviours more homogeneous, or does this pattern arise from a measurement issue inducing an under-estimation of these inequalities? This article reviews a number of studies covering different dimensions of health and different dimensions of social status. Their findings show that there are large social inequalities in health among women. The focus on the working careers, family histories and conciliation of multiple activities provides evidence of major social determinants of health to which women are widely exposed. This article highlights the need to broaden the notion of social inequality and to redefine the social categories, notably by considering the distinct trajectories of men and women and their different spheres of activity. It highlights that gender differences in health are themselves partly socially constructed, as suggested by the gender approaches in the social sciences.
Valle, Adolfo Martinez
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) have gradually become important and regular components of the policy-making process in Mexico since, and even before, the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) called for interventions and policies aimed at tackling the social determinants of health (SDH). This paper presents two case studies to show how public policies addressing the SDH have been monitored and evaluated in Mexico using reliable, valid, and complete information, which is not regularly available. Prospera, for example, evaluated programs seeking to improve the living conditions of families in extreme poverty in terms of direct effects on health, nutrition, education and income. Monitoring of Prospera's implementation has also helped policy-makers identify windows of opportunity to improve the design and operation of the program. Seguro Popular has monitored the reduction of health inequalities and inequities evaluated the positive effects of providing financial protection to its target population. Useful and sound evidence of the impact of programs such as Progresa and Seguro Popular plus legal mandates, and a regulatory evaluation agency, the National Council for Social Development Policy Evaluation, have been fundamental to institutionalizing M&E in Mexico. The Mexican experience may provide useful lessons for other countries facing the challenge of institutionalizing the M&E of public policy processes to assess the effects of SDH as recommended by the WHO CSDH. PMID:26928215
Valle, Adolfo Martinez
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) have gradually become important and regular components of the policy-making process in Mexico since, and even before, the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) called for interventions and policies aimed at tackling the social determinants of health (SDH). This paper presents two case studies to show how public policies addressing the SDH have been monitored and evaluated in Mexico using reliable, valid, and complete information, which is not regularly available. Prospera, for example, evaluated programs seeking to improve the living conditions of families in extreme poverty in terms of direct effects on health, nutrition, education and income. Monitoring of Prospera's implementation has also helped policy-makers identify windows of opportunity to improve the design and operation of the program. Seguro Popular has monitored the reduction of health inequalities and inequities evaluated the positive effects of providing financial protection to its target population. Useful and sound evidence of the impact of programs such as Progresa and Seguro Popular plus legal mandates, and a regulatory evaluation agency, the National Council for Social Development Policy Evaluation, have been fundamental to institutionalizing M&E in Mexico. The Mexican experience may provide useful lessons for other countries facing the challenge of institutionalizing the M&E of public policy processes to assess the effects of SDH as recommended by the WHO CSDH.
Barros, Marilisa Berti de Azevedo
ABSTRACT This study describes the frequency and types of articles on social inequalities in health published in 50 years of the Revista de Saúde Pública, taking as reference some milestones that were used as guidelines to develop the research on this theme. Checking titles, keywords and abstracts or full texts, we identified 288 articles whose central or secondary focus was social inequalities in health. Corresponding to just 1.8% in the initial years, articles on social inequalities in health have represent 10.1% of the articles published in the last decade. The designs used were mainly cross-sectional (58.0%) and ecological (18.1%). The most analyzed themes were: food/nutrition (20.8%), mortality (13.5%), infectious diseases (10.1%), oral health (9.0%), and health services (8.7%). Articles focused on the analysis of racial inequalities in health amounted to 6.9%. Few articles monitored the trends of social inequalities in health, essential enterprise to assess and support interventions, and an even smaller number evaluated the impact of policies and programs on the reduction of social inequalities in health. PMID:28355334
DeMatthews, David; Mawhinney, Hanne
Research Approach: This cross case study describes the challenges that two principals working in one urban school district addressed while attempting to transform their school cultures to embrace an inclusion model. Analysis of interviews and observations in each school revealed the actions, values, and orientations of the individual leaders and…
This article reasserts the centrality of reasoning as the focus for moral education. Attention to moral cognition must be extended to incorporate sociogenetic processes in moral growth. Moral education is not simply growth within the moral domain, but addresses capacities of students to engage in cross-domain coordination. Development beyond…
Sullivan, Amanda L.; Artiles, Alfredo J.; Hernandez-Saca, David I.
Since the inception of special education, scholars and practitioners have been concerned about the disproportionate representation of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds among students identified with disabilities. Professional efforts to address this disproportionality have encompassed a range of targets, but scholars…
Health related behaviours, especially smoking and tobacco use, are major determinants of health and lead to health inequities. Smoking leads to acute respiratory diseases, tuberculosis and asthma in younger age groups and non communicable diseases such as chronic lung disease, cardiovascular diseases and cancer in middle and older age. We observed an inverse association of educational status with tobacco use (smoking and other forms) in western Indian State of Rajasthan. In successive cross-sectional epidemiological studies- the Jaipur Heart Watch (JHW)- in rural (JHWR; n=3148, men=1982), and urban subjects: JHW-1 (n=2212, men=1415), JHW-2 (n=1124, men=550) and JHW-3 (n=458, men=226), we evaluated various cardiovascular risk factors. The greatest tobacco consumption was observed among the illiterate and low educational status subjects (nil, 1-5, 6-10, >10 yr of formal education) as compared to more literate in men (JHW-R 60, 51, 46 and 36% respectively; JHW-1 44, 52, 30 and 18% JHW-2 54, 43, 29 and 24%; and JHW-3 50, 27, 25 and 25%) as well as women (Mantel Haenzel test, P for trend <0.05). In the illiterate subjects the odds ratios (OR) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (CI) for smoking or tobacco use as compared to the highest educational groups in rural (men OR 2.68, CI 2.02, 3.57; women OR 3.13, CI 1.22, 8.08) as well as larger urban studies- JHW-1 (men OR 2.47, CI 1.70, 3.60; women OR 13.78, CI 3.35, 56.75) and JHW-2 (men OR 3.81; CI 1.90, 7.66; women OR 13.73, CI 1.84, 102.45) were significantly greater (P<0.01). Smoking significantly correlated with prevalence of coronary heart disease and hypertension. Other recent Indian studies and national surveys report similar associations. Health ethicists argue that good education and health lead to true development in an underprivileged society. We propose that improving educational status, a major social determinant of health, can lead to appropriate health related behaviours and prevent the epidemics of non
Freire, Maria do Carmo Matias; Jordão, Lidia Moraes Ribeiro; Malta, Deborah Carvalho; Andrade, Silvânia Suely Caribé de Araújo; Peres, Marco Aurelio
OBJECTIVE To analyze oral health behaviors changes over time in Brazilian adolescents concerning maternal educational inequalities. METHODS Data from the Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar (Brazilian National School Health Survey) were analyzed. The sample was composed of 60,973 and 61,145 students from 26 Brazilian state capitals and the Federal District in 2009 and 2012, respectively. The analyzed factors were oral health behaviors (toothbrushing frequency, sweets consumption, soft drink consumption, and cigarette experimentation) and sociodemographics (age, sex, race, type of school and maternal schooling). Oral health behaviors and sociodemographic factors in the two years were compared (Rao-Scott test) and relative and absolute measures of socioeconomic inequalities in health were estimated (slope index of inequality and relative concentration index), using maternal education as a socioeconomic indicator, expressed in number of years of study (> 11; 9-11; ≤ 8). RESULTS Results from 2012, when compared with those from 2009, for all maternal education categories, showed that the proportion of people with low toothbrushing frequency increased, and that consumption of sweets and soft drinks and cigarette experimentation decreased. In private schools, positive slope index of inequality and relative concentration index indicated higher soft drink consumption in 2012 and higher cigarette experimentation in both years among students who reported greater maternal schooling, with no significant change in inequalities. In public schools, negative slope index of inequality and relative concentration index indicated higher soft drink consumption among students who reported lower maternal schooling in both years, with no significant change overtime. The positive relative concentration index indicated inequality in 2009 for cigarette experimentation, with a higher prevalence among students who reported greater maternal schooling. There were no inequalities for
Calvete Oliva, Antonio; Campos Esteban, Pilar; Catalán Matamoros, Daniel; Fernández de la Hoz, Karoline; Herrador Ortiz, Zaida; Merino Merino, Begoña; Ramírez Fernández, Rosa; Santaolaya Cesteros, María; Hernández Aguado, Ildefonso
Tackling health inequalities to achieve health equity is currently one of the main challenges for developed and developing countries. Aware of this reality, and knowing how relevant for economic and social growth the inequalities in health are, the Spanish Ministry of Health and Social Policy has established "Innovation in Public Health: monitoring social determinants of health and reduction of health inequalities" as one of the priorities for the Spanish presidency of the European Union in the first semester of 2010. Furthermore, a national strategy to tackle health inequalities is being developed in the current political term. By choosing this priority, the Spanish Ministry of Health an Social Policy aims to contribute to move forward a coherent and effective agenda at both European and national level, in a new world stage more aware of the social and economic expenditure of inequity in health and its repercussions on countries welfare and development.
Bolam, Bruce; Murphy, Simon; Gleeson, Kate
It has been argued that social class, if not dead, is at least a 'zombie category' in contemporary Western society. However, epidemiological evidence shows that class-based inequalities have either persisted or widened, despite overall improvements in the health of Western populations. This article presents an exploratory qualitative study of the individualization of class identity and health conducted in a southern English city. Findings are presented in consideration of two competing argumentative positions around which participants worked to negotiate class identity and health. The first of these positions denied the significance of class for identity and health and was associated with the individualised heroic and stoic narratives of working class identity. The second position acknowledged the reality of class relations and their implications for health and identity, being associated with structurally and politically orientated narratives of middle class identity. In sum, resistance to class was associated with talk about individual, private experience whereas the acceptance of class was linked to discussion of health as a wider social or political phenomenon. This evidence lends qualified support to the individualization thesis: inequalities in health existing on structural or material levels are not simply reproduced, and indeed in some contexts may even juxtapose, accounts of social identity in interview and focus group contexts. Class identity and health are negotiated in lay talk as participants shift argumentatively back and forth between competing positions, and public and private realms, in the attempt to make sense of health and illness. The promotion of greater awareness and interest in health inequalities within wider public discourse may well help support attempts to tackle these injustices.
This paper's objective is to show how diabetes is the place of polarization of new uncertainties in Senegal and also to highlight how this "disease of modernity" is the source of pronounced health inequalities in urban and rural Senegalese areas.
Alonso Salcines, Alicia; Paz Zulueta, María
The current situation in Spain has led to increase social inequalities in health in the population. Immigrants without economic resources are the most vulnerable group with high rates of morbidity and mortality. For this reason, the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) was created by developing a conceptual framework to classify the inequality factors, and thus, politically designing actions in order to reduce this problem. The nursing professional collaboration in developing effective policies to reduce health inequalities would be a new framework, because this profession possesses unique knowledge of people who are cared with social problem. One of the main problems identified by nurses in the immigrant population is social isolation, being developed in this text one of the nursing diagnoses included in a immigrant person care plan with social inequality in health.
Ebi, Kristie L; Fawcett, Stephen B; Spiegel, Jerry; Tovalin, Horacio
Climate change is a social justice as well as an environmental issue. The magnitude and pattern of changes in weather and climate variables are creating differential exposures, vulnerabilities, and health risks that increase stress on health systems while exacerbating existing and creating new health inequities. Examples from national and local health adaptation projects highlight that developing partnerships across sectors and levels are critical for building climate-resilient health systems and communities. Strengthening current and implementing new health interventions, such as using environmental information to develop early warning systems, can be effective in protecting the most vulnerable. However, not all projected risks of climate change can be avoided by climate policies and programs, so health system strengthening is also critical. Applying a health inequity lens can reduce current vulnerabilities while building resilience to longer-term climate change. Taking inequities into account is critical if societies are to effectively prepare for and manage the challenges ahead.
This article focuses on the health of women and girls, and the role of addressing gender inequalities experienced by women and girls. The health of both males and females is influenced by sex, or biological factors, and gender, or socially constructed influences, including gender differences in the distribution and impact of social determinants of health, access to health promoting resources, health behaviors and gender discourse, and the ways in which health systems are organized and financed, and how they deliver care. Various strategies to address the health of women and girls have been developed at intergovernmental, regional, and national level, and by international nongovernmental organizations. These include vertical programs which aim to target specific health risks and deliver services to meet women and girl's needs, and more cross-cutting approaches which aim at "gender" policy making. Much of this work has developed following the adoption of gender mainstreaming principles across different policy arenas and scales of policy making, and this article reviews some of these strategies and the evidence for their success, before concluding with a consideration of future directions in global policy.
Naaldenberg, Jenneken; Banks, Roger; Lennox, Nick; Ouellette-Kunz, Hélène; Meijer, Marijke; Lantman-de Valk, Henny van Schrojenstein
Background: The current understanding of health inequities in people with intellectual disabilities does not readily translate into improvements in health status or health care. To identify opportunities for action, the 2013 IASSIDD health SIRG conference organized ten intensive workshops. Materials and methods: The workshops each addressed…
Schaff, Katherine; Desautels, Alexandra; Flournoy, Rebecca; Carson, Keith; Drenick, Teresa; Fujii, Darlene; Lee, Anna; Luginbuhl, Jessica; Mena, Mona; Shrago, Amy; Siegel, Anita; Stahl, Robert; Watkins-Tartt, Kimi; Willow, Pam; Witt, Sandra; Woloshin, Diane; Yamashita, Brenda
In Alameda County, California, significant health inequities by race/ethnicity, income, and place persist. Many of the county's low-income residents and residents of color live in communities that have faced historical and current disinvestment through public policies. This disinvestment affects community conditions such as access to economic opportunities, well-maintained and affordable housing, high-quality schools, healthy food, safe parks, and clean water and air. These community conditions greatly affect health. At the invitation of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' national Place Matters initiative, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson's Office and the Alameda County Public Health Department launched Alameda County Place Matters, an initiative that addresses community conditions through local policy change. We describe the initiative's creation, activities, policy successes, and best practices.
Macinko, James A; Shi, Leiyu; Starfield, Barbara
This pooled, cross-sectional, time-series study assesses the impact of health system variables on the relationship between wage inequality and infant mortality in 19 OECD countries over the period 1970-1996. Data are derived from the OECD, World Value Surveys, Luxembourg Income Study, and political economy databases. Analyses include Pearson correlation and fixed-effects multivariate regression. In year-specific and time-series analyses, the Theil measure of wage inequality (based on industrial sector wages) is positively and statistically significantly associated with infant mortality rates--even while controlling for GDP per capita. Health system variables--in particular the method of healthcare financing and the supply of physicians--significantly attenuated the effect of wage inequality on infant mortality. In fixed effects multivariate regression models controlling for GDP per capita and wage inequality, variables generally associated with better health include income per capita, the method of healthcare financing, and physicians per 1000 population. Alcohol consumption, the proportion of the population in unions, and government expenditures on health were associated with poorer health outcomes. Ambiguous effects were seen for the consumer price index, unemployment rates, the openness of the economy, and voting rates. This study provides international evidence for the impact of wage inequalities on infant mortality. Results suggest that improving aspects of the healthcare system may be one way to partially compensate for the negative effects of social inequalities on population health.
Kontos, Emily Z; Emmons, Karen M; Puleo, Elaine; Viswanath, K
Social media, and specifically social networking sites (SNSs), are emerging as an important platform for communication and health information exchange. Yet, despite the increase in popularity and use, only a limited number of empirical studies document which segments of the adult population are and are not using social networking sites and with what, if any, affect on health. The purpose of this study is to identify potential communication inequalities in social networking site use among a representative sample of U.S. adults and to examine the association between SNS use and psychological well-being. We analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute's 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Thirty-five percent of online adults reported SNS use within the past 12 months, and there were no significant differences in SNS use by race/ethnicity or socioeconomic position. Younger age (p = .00) was the most significant predictor of SNS use, while being married (p = .02) and having a history of cancer (p = .02) were associated with a decreased odds of SNS use. SNS use was significantly associated with a 0.80 (p = .00) increment in psychological distress score after controlling for other factors. The absence of inequalities in adult SNS use across race/ethnicity and class offers some support for the continued use of social media to promote public health efforts; however, issues such as the persisting digital divide and potential deleterious effects of SNS use on psychological well-being need to be addressed.
Kontos, Emily Z.; Emmons, Karen M.; Puleo, Elaine; Viswanath, K.
Background Social media, and specifically social networking sites (SNS), are emerging as an important platform for communication and health information exchange. Yet, despite the increase in popularity and use, only a limited number of empirical studies document which segments of the adult population are and are not using social networking sites and with what, if any, affect on health. Methods The purpose of this study is to identify potential communication inequalities in social networking site use among a representative sample of US adults and to examine the association between SNS-use and psychological well-being. We analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Results Thirty-five percent of online adults reported SNS-use within the past 12 months, and; there were no significant differences in SNS-use by race/ethnicity or socio-economic position. Younger age (p=.00) was the most significant predictor of SNS-use while being married (p=.02) and having a history of cancer (p=.02) were associated with a decreased odds of SNS-use. Social networking site use was significantly associated with a 0.80 (p=.00) increment in psychological distress score after controlling for other factors. Conclusion The absence of inequalities in adult SNS-use across race/ethnicity and class offers some support for the continued use of social media to promote public health efforts; however, issues such as the persisting Digital Divide and potential deleterious effects of SNS-use on psychological well-being need to be addressed. PMID:21154095
Lauster, Nathanael; Tester, Frank
Two problems are noted in the process of measuring material inequality and linking it to health across cultural boundaries. First, comparative measurements may be used as the basis for policy making, which ends up disciplining cultural minorities. In this way, policies intended to relieve disparities can actually have the effect of extending the power of the dominant group to define appropriate cultural understanding of the world for the minority group. Second, comparative measurements may inaccurately inform theories of how inequality works to influence health and well-being. To the extent that culture mediates the relationship between inequality and outcomes of interest to researchers, those ignoring cultural differences will fail to adequately assess the impact and significance of material inequality. In this paper we discuss and illustrate these problems with reference to the study and measurement of overcrowding and its effects on health and well-being for Inuit communities in Nunavut, Canada.
Schroeder, Steven A
The gap in health status between the United States and other (OECD) developed countries not only persists but has widened over the past decade. This has occurred despite major declines in smoking prevalence. But as with other health problems, such as obesity, gun violence, and teenage pregnancy, progress against smoking has disproportionately benefitted the better off segments of the American population. Thus smoking, as well as other problems, is now concentrated among the vulnerable members of our society: the poor and less educated, as well as disadvantaged groups such as those with mental illness and substance use disorders, the homeless, those who are incarcerated, and the LGBT community. Although this is a national issue, these problems, as well as overall poverty, are especially concentrated in the Southeastern part of the country. Compared with the other OECD countries, the U.S. has much greater inequality of income and wealth. Furthermore, we are unique in leaving substantial portions of our population not covered by health insurance, again most prominently in the southeastern region. This national health disparity is not simply a factor of the multicultural nature of American society, because it persists when the health of the whites only is compared with the more racially homogeneous OECD nations. The complexity of our poor health performance rules out a single intervention. But it is clear that without focusing on the less fortunate members of our society, especially those in the Southeast, our performance will continue to lag, and possibly deteriorate further.
This commentary focuses on the notion of "what works" to reduce health inequalities. It begins by noting the need for and presence of a wide range of methodologies and approaches internationally. It then argues that it is useful to map out these contributions and those in the present Supplement against a set of principles (Macintyre, 2007) to guide the selection and implementation of public health interventions explicitly aiming to reduce health inequalities. The chosen principles derive largely from efforts to reduce steep and persistent Scottish health inequalities by social class. The commentary summarizes Macintyre's analysis of the main characteristics of public health interventions. It then notes that the present Supplement provides clear examples of population-health interventions and their health impacts that are inequality-reducing. The suggested approach and principles align with calls for the use of structural changes in the environment, early-life interventions, reductions in preventive-care barriers, and a harm-reduction philosophy. The commentary concludes that there remains much to learn and to do in order for public health intervention research to clearly demonstrate how to effectively reduce health inequalities in a lasting manner.
Bell, Erica; Crocombe, Leonard; Campbell, Steven; Goldberg, Lynette R.; Seidel, Bastian M.
Background: No studies exist of the congruence of research in oral health to policy. This study aimed to examine the broad congruence of oral health research to policy, and implications for developing oral health research that is more policy relevant, particularly for the wider challenge of addressing unequal oral health outcomes, rather than specific policy translation issues. Methods: Bayesian-based software was used in a multi-layered method to compare the conceptual content of 127,193 oral health research abstracts published between 2000–2012 with eight current oral health policy documents from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Findings: Fifty-five concepts defined the research abstracts, of which only eight were policy-relevant, and six of which were minor research concepts. Conclusions The degree of disconnection between clinical concepts and healthcare system and workforce development concepts was striking. This study shows that, far from being “lost in translation,” oral health research and policy are so different as to raise doubts about the extent to which research is policy-relevant and policy is research-based. The notion of policy relevance encompasses the lack of willingness of policy makers to embrace research, and the need for researchers to develop research that is, and is seen to be, policy-relevant. PMID:25617516
Undurraga, Eduardo A; Nica, Veronica; Zhang, Rebecca; Mensah, Irene C; Godoy, Ricardo A
Mounting evidence suggests that income inequality is associated with worse individual health. But does the visibility of inequality matter? Using data from a horticultural-foraging society of native Amazonians in Bolivia (Tsimane'), we examined whether village inequality in resources and behaviors with greater cultural visibility is more likely to bear a negative association with health than village inequality in less conspicuous resources. We draw on a nine-year annual panel (2002-2010) from 13 Tsimane' villages for our main analysis, and an additional survey to gauge the cultural visibility of resources. We measured inequality using the Gini coefficient. We tested the robustness of our results using a shorter two-year annual panel (2008-2009) in another 40 Tsimane' villages and an additional measure of inequality (coefficient of variation, CV). Behaviors with low cultural visibility (e.g., household farm area planted with staples) were less likely to be associated with individual health, compared to more conspicuous behaviors (e.g., expenditures in durable goods, consumption of domesticated animals). We find some evidence that property rights and access to resources matter, with inequality of privately-owned resources showing a larger effect on health. More inequality was associated with improved perceived health - maybe due to improved health prospects from increasing wealth - and worse anthropometric indicators. For example, a unit increase in the Gini coefficient of expenditures in durable goods was associated with 0.24 fewer episodes of stress and a six percentage-point lower probability of reporting illness. A one-point increase in the CV of village inequality in meat consumption was associated with a 4 and 3 percentage-point lower probability of reporting illness and being in bed due to illness, and a 0.05 SD decrease in age-sex standardized arm-muscle area. In small-scale, rural societies at the periphery of market economies, nominal economic inequality in
Bor, Jacob; Cohen, Gregory H; Galea, Sandro
Income inequality in the USA has increased over the past four decades. Socioeconomic gaps in survival have also increased. Life expectancy has risen among middle-income and high-income Americans whereas it has stagnated among poor Americans and even declined in some demographic groups. Although the increase in income inequality since 1980 has been driven largely by soaring top incomes, the widening of survival inequalities has occurred lower in the distribution-ie, between the poor and upper-middle class. Growing survival gaps across income percentiles since 2001 reflect falling real incomes among poor Americans as well as an increasingly strong association between low income and poor health. Changes in individual risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and substance abuse play a part but do not fully explain the steeper gradient. Distal factors correlated with rising inequality including unequal access to technological innovations, increased geographical segregation by income, reduced economic mobility, mass incarceration, and increased exposure to the costs of medical care might have reduced access to salutary determinants of health among low-income Americans. Having missed out on decades of income growth and longevity gains, low-income Americans are increasingly left behind. Without interventions to decouple income and health, or to reduce inequalities in income, we might see the emergence of a 21st century health-poverty trap and the further widening and hardening of socioeconomic inequalities in health.
Ásgeirsdóttir, Tinna Laufey; Jóhannsdóttir, Hildur Margrét
How business cycles affect income-related distribution of diseases and health disorders is largely unknown. We examine how the prevalence of thirty diseases and health conditions is distributed across the income spectrum using survey data collected in Iceland in 2007, 2009 and 2012. Thus, we are able to take advantage of the unusually sharp changes in economic conditions in Iceland during the Great Recession initiated in 2008 and the partial recovery that had already taken place by 2012 to analyze how income-related health inequality changed across time periods that can be described as a boom, crisis and recovery. The concentration curve and the concentration index are calculated for each disease, both overall and by gender. In all cases, we find a considerable income-related health inequality favoring higher income individuals, with a slight increase over the study period. Between 2007 and 2009, our results indicate increased inequality for women but decreased inequality for men. Between 2009 and 2012 on the contrary, men's inequality increases but women's decreases. The overarching result is thus that the economic hardship of the crisis temporarily increased female income-related health inequality, but decreased that of men.
Cohen, Benita E; Gregory, David
Recently, several Canadian professional nursing associations have highlighted the expectations that community health nurses (CHNs) should address the social determinants of health and promote social justice and equity. These developments have important implications for (pre-licensure) CHN clinical education. This article reports the findings of a qualitative descriptive study that explored how baccalaureate nursing programs in Canada address the development of competencies related to social justice, equity, and the social determinants of health in their community health clinical courses. Focus group interviews were held with community health clinical course leaders in selected Canadian baccalaureate nursing programs. The findings foster understanding of key enablers and challenges when providing students with clinical opportunities to develop the CHN role related to social injustice, inequity, and the social determinants of health. The findings may also have implications for nursing programs internationally that are addressing these concepts in their community health clinical courses.
Pardosi, Jerico Franciscus; Parr, Nick; Muhidin, Salut
Since 2001 a decentralization policy has increased the responsibility placed on local government for improving child health in Indonesia. This paper explores local government and community leaders' perspectives on child health in a rural district in Indonesia, using a qualitative approach. Focus group discussions were held in May 2013. The issues probed relate to health personnel skills and motivation, service availability, the influence of traditional beliefs, and health care and gender inequity. The participants identify weak leadership, inefficient health management and inadequate child health budgets as important issues. The lack of health staff in rural areas is seen as the reason for promoting the use of traditional birth attendants. Midwifery graduates and village midwives are perceived as lacking motivation to work in rural areas. Some local traditions are seen as detrimental to child health. Husbands provide little support to their wives. These results highlight the need for a harmonization and alignment of the efforts of local government agencies and local community leaders to address child health care and gender inequity issues.
Farrants, Kristin; Bambra, Clare; Nylen, Lotta; Kasim, Adetayo; Burstrom, Bo; Hunter, David
Recommodification, the withdrawal of social welfare, has been going on for some decades in both Sweden and England. Recommodification disproportionately affects the unemployed because of their weak market position. We investigated the impact recommodification has had on health inequalities between the employed and unemployed in Sweden and England. Using national surveys, odds ratios for the likelihood of reporting less than good health between the employed and unemployed were computed annually between 1991 and 2011. The correlation between these odds ratios and net replacement rates was then examined. Health inequalities between the employed and unemployed were greater in 2011 than in 1991 in both countries. Sweden began with smaller health inequalities, but by 2011, they were in line with those in England. Sweden experienced more recommodification than England during this period, although it started from a much less commodified position. Correspondingly, correlation between unemployment benefit generosity and health inequalities was stronger in Sweden than in England. Recommodification is linked to ill health among the unemployed and to the health gap between the employed and unemployed. We propose that further recommodification will be associated with increased health inequalities between the employed and unemployed.
Background Mental health is of special importance regarding socioeconomic inequalities in health. On the one hand, mental health status mediates the relationship between economic inequality and health; on the other hand, mental health as an "end state" is affected by social factors and socioeconomic inequality. In spite of this, in examining socioeconomic inequalities in health, mental health has attracted less attention than physical health. As a first attempt in Iran, the objectives of this paper were to measure socioeconomic inequality in mental health, and then to untangle and quantify the contributions of potential determinants of mental health to the measured socioeconomic inequality. Methods In a cross-sectional observational study, mental health data were taken from an Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (Urban HEART) survey, conducted on 22 300 Tehran households in 2007 and covering people aged 15 and above. Principal component analysis was used to measure the economic status of households. As a measure of socioeconomic inequality, a concentration index of mental health was applied and decomposed into its determinants. Results The overall concentration index of mental health in Tehran was -0.0673 (95% CI = -0.070 - -0.057). Decomposition of the concentration index revealed that economic status made the largest contribution (44.7%) to socioeconomic inequality in mental health. Educational status (13.4%), age group (13.1%), district of residence (12.5%) and employment status (6.5%) also proved further important contributors to the inequality. Conclusions Socioeconomic inequalities exist in mental health status in Iran's capital, Tehran. Since the root of this avoidable inequality is in sectors outside the health system, a holistic mental health policy approach which includes social and economic determinants should be adopted to redress the inequitable distribution of mental health. PMID:22449237
Lin, Danhua; Wang, Bo; Hong, Yan; Qin, Xiong; Stanton, Bonita
Status-based discrimination and inequity have been associated with the process of migration, especially with economics-driven internal migration. However, their association with mental health among economy-driven internal migrants in developing countries is rarely assessed. This study examines discriminatory experiences and perceived social inequity in relation to mental health status among rural-to-urban migrants in China. Cross-sectional data were collected from 1,006 rural-to-urban migrants in 2004–2005 in Beijing, China. Participants reported their perceptions and experiences of being discriminated in daily life in urban destination and perceived social inequity. Mental health was measured using the symptom checklist-90 (SCL-90). Multivariate analyses using general linear model were performed to test the effect of discriminatory experience and perceived social inequity on mental health. Experience of discrimination was positively associated with male gender, being married at least once, poorer health status, shorter duration of migration, and middle range of personal income. Likewise, perceived social inequity was associated with poorer health status, higher education attainment, and lower personal income. Multivariate analyses indicate that both experience of discrimination and perceived social inequity were strongly associated with mental health problems of rural-to-urban migrants. Experience of discrimination in daily life and perceived social inequity have a significant influence on mental health among rural-to-urban migrants. The findings underscore the needs to reduce public or societal discrimination against rural-to-urban migrants, to eliminate structural barriers (i.e., dual household registrations) for migrants to fully benefit from the urban economic development, and to create a positive atmosphere to improve migrant's psychological well-being. PMID:20033772
Campbell, Martin; Martin, Mike
Reducing health inequalities is a key priority for the Scottish Government. Health authorities are expected to meet quality targets. The involvement of people with learning disabilities in health service review teams has been one of the initiatives used in by National Health Service Quality Improvement Scotland to empower patients and improve…
Palència, Laia; De Moortel, Deborah; Artazcoz, Lucía; Salvador-Piedrafita, María; Puig-Barrachina, Vanessa; Hagqvist, Emma; Pérez, Glòria; Ruiz, Marisol E; Trujillo-Alemán, Sara; Vanroelen, Christophe; Malmusi, Davide; Borrell, Carme
The aim of this article is to explain the results of the SOPHIE project regarding the effect of gender policies on gender inequalities in health in Europe. We start with the results of a systematic review on how gender regimes and gender equality policies at the country level impact women's health and gender inequalities in health. Then, we report on three empirical analyses on the relationship between different family policy models existing in Europe and gender inequalities in health. Finally we present four case studies on specific examples of gender policies or determinants of gender inequalities in health. The results show that policies that support women's participation in the labor force and decrease their burden of care, such as public services and support for families and entitlements for fathers, are related to lower levels of gender inequality in terms of health. In addition, public services and benefits for disabled and dependent people can reduce the burden placed on family caregivers and hence improve their health. In the context of the current economic crisis, gender equality policies should be maintained or improved.
Ferraz, Octavio Luiz Motta
This article analyzes the recent and growing phenomenon of right-to-health litigation in Brazil from the perspective of health equity. It argues that the prevailing model of litigation is likely worsening the country's already pronounced health inequities. The model is characterized by a prevalence of individualized claims demanding curative medical treatment (most often drugs) and by a high success rate for the litigant. Both elements are largely a consequence of the way Brazilian judges have interpreted the scope of the right to health recognized in Article 6 and Article 196 of the Brazilian constitution, that is, as an entitlement of individuals to the satiSfaction of all their health needs with the most advanced treatment available, irrespective of its costs. Given that resources are always scarce in relation to the health needs of the population as a whole, this interpretation can only be sustained at the expense of universality, that is, so long as only a part of the population is granted this unlimited right at any given time. The individuals and (less often) groups who manage to access the judiciary and realize this right are therefore privileged over the rest of the population. This is potentially detrimental to health equity because the criterion for privileging litigants over the rest of the population is not based on any conception of need or justice but purely on their ability to access the judiciary, something that only a minority of citizens possess. This paper examines studies that are beginning to confirm that a majority of right-to-health litigants come from social groups that are already considerably advantaged in terms of all socioeconomic indicators, including health conditions. It is a plausible assumption that the model of right-to-health litigation currently prevalent in Brazil is likely worsening health inequities.
Raittio, Eero; Lahti, Satu; Kiiskinen, Urpo; Helminen, Sari; Aromaa, Arpo; Suominen, Anna L
In Finland, a dental subsidization reform, implemented in 2001-2002, abolished age restrictions on subsidized dental care. We investigated income-related inequality in oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) and its determinants among adult Finns before and after the reform. Three cross-sectional postal surveys, focusing on perceived oral health and the use of dental services among people born before 1971, were conducted in 2001 (n = 2,046), 2004 (n = 1,728), and 2007 (n = 1,560). Five measures, based on the Oral Health Impact Profile-14, were used as indicators of OHRQoL. Income-related inequality and associated factors were analysed using the concentration index and its decomposition. Prevalence, extent, and severity of oral health impacts were slightly lower in 2007 than in 2001. The oral health impacts were concentrated, at all study time points, among individuals with lower income. Most of the inequality was related to self-perceived general health, tooth loss, and income. Contributions of time since the last dental visit and satisfaction with the last treatment period to the inequality decreased from 2001 to 2007. However, the contributions of these factors were already small (10-20%) in 2001. In general, OHRQoL improved slightly; however, no clear or dramatic change in inequality in OHRQoL was seen after the reform.
Kjellsson, Gustav; Gerdtham, Ulf-G; Petrie, Dennis
Measuring and monitoring socioeconomic health inequalities are critical for understanding the impact of policy decisions. However, the measurement of health inequality is far from value neutral, and one can easily present the measure that best supports one's chosen conclusion or selectively exclude measures. Improving people's understanding of the often implicit value judgments is therefore important to reduce the risk that researchers mislead or policymakers are misled. While the choice between relative and absolute inequality is already value laden, further complexities arise when, as is often the case, health variables have both a lower and upper bound, and thus can be expressed in terms of either attainments or shortfalls, such as for mortality/survival.We bring together the recent parallel discussions from epidemiology and health economics regarding health inequality measurement and provide a deeper understanding of the different value judgments within absolute and relative measures expressed both in attainments and shortfalls, by graphically illustrating both hypothetical and real examples. We show that relative measures in terms of attainments and shortfalls have distinct value judgments, highlighting that for health variables with two bounds the choice is no longer only between an absolute and a relative measure but between an absolute, an attainment- relative and a shortfall-relative one. We illustrate how these three value judgments can be combined onto a single graph which shows the rankings according to all three measures, and illustrates how the three measures provide ethical benchmarks against which to judge the difference in inequality between populations.
Mirshekar-Syahkal, B; Summers, D; Bradbury, L L; Aly, M; Bardsley, V; Berry, M; Norris, J M; Torpey, N; Clatworthy, M R; Bradley, J A; Pettigrew, G J
In the United Kingdom, donation after circulatory death (DCD) kidney transplant activity has increased rapidly, but marked regional variation persists. We report how increased DCD kidney transplant activity influenced waitlisted outcomes for a single center. Between 2002-2003 and 2011-2012, 430 (54%) DCD and 361 (46%) donation after brain death (DBD) kidney-only transplants were performed at the Cambridge Transplant Centre, with a higher proportion of DCD donors fulfilling expanded criteria status (41% DCD vs. 32% DBD; p = 0.01). Compared with U.K. outcomes, for which the proportion of DCD:DBD kidney transplants performed is lower (25%; p < 0.0001), listed patients at our center waited less time for transplantation (645 vs. 1045 days; p < 0.0001), and our center had higher transplantation rates and lower numbers of waiting list deaths. This was most apparent for older patients (aged >65 years; waiting time 730 vs. 1357 days nationally; p < 0.001), who received predominantly DCD kidneys from older donors (mean donor age 64 years), whereas younger recipients received equal proportions of living donor, DBD and DCD kidney transplants. Death-censored kidney graft survival was nevertheless comparable for younger and older recipients, although transplantation conferred a survival benefit from listing for only younger recipients. Local expansion in DCD kidney transplant activity improves survival outcomes for younger patients and addresses inequity of access to transplantation for older recipients.
Hernández, Alison; Ruano, Ana Lorena; Marchal, Bruno; San Sebastián, Miguel; Flores, Walter
The 400 million indigenous people worldwide represent a wealth of linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as traditional knowledge and sustainable practices that are invaluable resources for human development. However, indigenous people remain on the margins of society in high, middle and low-income countries, and they bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, disease, and mortality compared to the general population. These inequalities have persisted, and in some countries have even worsened, despite the overall improvements in health indicators in relation to the 15-year push to meet the Millennium Development Goals. As we enter the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era, there is growing consensus that efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and promote sustainable development should be guided by the moral imperative to improve equity. To achieve this, we need to move beyond the reductionist tendency to frame indigenous health as a problem of poor health indicators to be solved through targeted service delivery tactics and move towards holistic, integrated approaches that address the causes of inequalities both inside and outside the health sector. To meet the challenge of engaging with the conditions underlying inequalities and promoting transformational change, equity-oriented research and practice in the field of indigenous health requires: engaging power, context-adapted strategies to improve service delivery, and mobilizing networks of collective action. The application of systems thinking approaches offers a pathway for the evolution of equity-oriented research and practice in collaborative, politically informed and mutually enhancing efforts to understand and transform the systems that generate and reproduce inequities in indigenous health. These approaches hold the potential to strengthen practice through the development of more nuanced, context-sensitive strategies for redressing power imbalances, reshaping the service delivery
Benfer, Emily A
Every aspect of society is dependent upon the health of its members. Health is essential to an individual’s well-being, quality of life, and ability to participate in society. Yet the healthcare industry, even at its optimal level of functioning, cannot improve the health of the population without addressing the root causes of poor health. The health of approximately 46.7 million individuals, most of whom are low-income and racial minorities, is threatened by economic, societal, cultural, environmental, and social conditions. Poor health in any population group affects everyone, leading to higher crime rates, negative economic impacts, decreased residential home values, increased healthcare costs, and other devastating consequences. Despite this fact, efforts to improve health among low-income and minority communities are impeded by inequitable social structures, stereotypes, legal systems, and regulatory schemes that are not designed to take into account the social determinants of health in decision making models and legal interpretation. As a result, a large segment of the population is continually denied the opportunity to live long, productive lives and to exercise their rights under democratic principles. Health, equity, and justice make up the keystone of a functional, thriving society. These principles are unsatisfied when they do not apply equally to all members of society. This Article describes the social and legal roots of poor health and how health inequity, social injustice, and poverty are inextricably linked. For example, it provides an in depth overview of the social determinants of health, including poverty, institutional discrimination and segregation, implicit bias, residential environmental hazards, adverse childhood experiences, and food insecurity. It then discusses how the law is a determinant of health due to court systems that do not evaluate individual circumstances, the enactment of laws that perpetuate poor health, and the lack of
Brown, Tyson H.; Richardson, Liana J.; Hargrove, Taylor W.; Thomas, Courtney S.
This study examines how the intersecting consequences of race-ethnicity, gender, socioeconomics status (SES), and age influence health inequality. We draw on multiple-hierarchy stratification and life course perspectives to address two main research questions. First, does racial-ethnic stratification of health vary by gender and/or SES? More specifically, are the joint health consequences of racial-ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic stratification additive or multiplicative? Second, does this combined inequality in health decrease, remain stable, or increase between middle and late life? We use panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (N = 12,976) to investigate between- and within-group differences in in self-rated health among whites, blacks, and Mexican Americans. Findings indicate that the effects of racial-ethnic, gender, and SES stratification are interactive, resulting in the greatest racial-ethnic inequalities in health among women and those with higher levels of SES. Furthermore, racial-ethnic/gender/SES inequalities in health tend to decline with age. These results are broadly consistent with intersectionality and aging-as-leveler hypotheses. PMID:27284076
Brown, Tyson H; Richardson, Liana J; Hargrove, Taylor W; Thomas, Courtney S
This study examines how the intersecting consequences of race-ethnicity, gender, socioeconomics status (SES), and age influence health inequality. We draw on multiple-hierarchy stratification and life course perspectives to address two main research questions. First, does racial-ethnic stratification of health vary by gender and/or SES? More specifically, are the joint health consequences of racial-ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic stratification additive or multiplicative? Second, does this combined inequality in health decrease, remain stable, or increase between middle and late life? We use panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (N = 12,976) to investigate between- and within-group differences in in self-rated health among whites, blacks, and Mexican Americans. Findings indicate that the effects of racial-ethnic, gender, and SES stratification are interactive, resulting in the greatest racial-ethnic inequalities in health among women and those with higher levels of SES. Furthermore, racial-ethnic/gender/SES inequalities in health tend to decline with age. These results are broadly consistent with intersectionality and aging-as-leveler hypotheses.
In this study, state-level US data for the years 2000 and 1990 are used to provide additional evidence on the roles of income inequality and poverty in population health. Five main points are noted. First, contrary to the suggestion made in several recent studies, the income inequality parameter is observed to be quite robust and carries statistical significance in mortality equations estimated from several observation sets and a fairly wide variety of specificational choices. Second, the evidence does not indicate that significance of income inequality is lost when education variables are included. Third, similarly, the income inequality parameter shows significance when a race variable is added, and also when both race and urbanization terms are entered. Fourth, while poverty is seen to have some mortality-increasing consequence, the role of income inequality appears stronger. Fifth, income inequality retains statistical significance when a quadratic income term is added and also if the log-log version of a fairly inclusive model is estimated. I therefore suggest that the recent skepticism articulated by several scholars in regard to the robustness of the income inequality parameters in mortality equations estimated from the US data should be reconsidered.
Mújica, Oscar J
As the conceptual components of the most important contemporary public health agendas at the global and regional levels are brought into alignment and as it becomes more clearly understood that equity is a constitutive principle of these agendas, there is also a growing awareness of the strategic value of monitoring social inequalities in health. This is the health intelligence tool par excellence, not only for objectively assessing progress towards achieving health equity, but also for reporting action on the social determinants of health, progress towards the attainment of health for all, and the success of intersectoral efforts that take a "health in all policies" approach. These transformations are taking place in the context of an increasingly evident paradigm shift in public health. This essay presents four axiological considerations inherent to-and essential for -conceptualizing and implementing ways to measure and monitor health inequalities: ecoepidemiology as an emerging field in contemporary public health; the determinants of health as the causal model and core of the new paradigm; the relationship between the social hierarchy and health to understand the health gradient; and the practical need for a socioeconomic classification system that captures the social dimension in the determinants of health. The essay argues that these four axiological considerations lend epidemiologic coherence and rationality to the process of measuring and monitoring health inequalities and, by extension, to the development of pro-equity health policy proposals.
Tamez González, Silvia; Eibenschutz, Catalina
This work is aimed at presenting an analysis of the Mexican health systems current situation resulting from successive reforms which have been carried out since the 1980s. Special interest is placed on the role which the Seguro Popular de Salud (SPS--a 'popular', meaning universal, health insurance plan) has played, being a key piece in commercializing medical attention. The first part of this work thus presents the main antecedents for the changes made during the last two decades of the last century and analyses the current situation since the start of the new millennium. Such analysis is centred on an initial evaluation of the Seguro Popular de Saluds scope and limitations from the perspective of equity in gaining access to medical attention. The analysis concludes that due to a medical perspective not having been present in the structural reforms, then this insurance policy represents a discretional, presidential and focalised programme taking funds away from the large social security institutions, obligating them (in many cases) to make budgetary adaptations to the detriment of providing quality attention. This situation will constitute (in the immediate future) a segmentation of the National Health System which will determine new conditions regarding the populations differential access to medical services, increase inequity in health and contribute towards increasing the great social inequality prevailing in México.
Williams, David R.
Large, pervasive, and persistent racial inequalities exist in the onset, courses, and outcomes of illness. A comprehensive understanding of the patterning of racial disparities indicates that racism in both its institutional and individual forms remains an important determinant. There is an urgent need to build the science base that would identify…
Allensworth, Diane D.
The determinants of youth health disparities include poverty, unequal access to health care, poor environmental conditions, and educational inequities. Poor and minority children have more health problems and less access to health care than their higher socioeconomic status cohorts. Having more health problems leads to more absenteeism in school,…
Pérez, Glòria; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Domínguez-Berjón, Felicitas; Cabeza, Elena; Borrell, Carme
The economic crisis has adverse effects on determinants of health and health inequalities. The aim of this article was to present a set of indicators of health and its determinants to monitor the effects of the crisis in Spain. On the basis of the conceptual framework proposed by the Commission for the Reduction of Social Health Inequalities in Spain, we searched for indicators of social, economic, and political (structural and intermediate) determinants of health, as well as for health indicators, bearing in mind the axes of social inequality (gender, age, socioeconomic status, and country of origin). The indicators were mainly obtained from official data sources published on the internet. The selected indicators are periodically updated and are comparable over time and among territories (among autonomous communities and in some cases among European Union countries), and are available for age groups, gender, socio-economic status, and country of origin. However, many of these indicators are not sufficiently reactive to rapid change, which occurs in the economic crisis, and consequently require monitoring over time. Another limitation is the lack of availability of indicators for the various axes of social inequality. In conclusion, the proposed indicators allow for progress in monitoring the effects of the economic crisis on health and health inequalities in Spain.
This article reveals the presence of inequalities in access to health care that may be considered unfair and avoidable. These inequalities are related to coverage of clinical needs, to the financial problems faced by families in completing medical treatments, or to disparities in waiting times and the use of services for equal need. A substantial proportion of inequalities appears to have increased as a result of the measures adopted to face the economic crisis. The recommendations aimed at improving equity affect different pillars of the taxpayer-funded health system, including, among others, the definition of the right to public health care coverage, the formulas of cost-sharing, the distribution of powers between primary and specialty care, the reforms of clinical management, and the production and dissemination of information to facilitate the decision-making processes of health authorities, professionals and citizens. Moreover, it is recommended to focus on particularly vulnerable population groups.
Rezaei, S; Karyani, A K; Fallah, R; Matin, B K
This study aimed to evaluate inequalities in the geographical distribution of human and physical resources in the health sector of Kermanshah province, Islamic Republic of Iran. In a retrospective, cross-sectional study, data from the Statistical Centre of Iran were used to calculate inequality measures (Gini coefficient and index of dissimilarity) over the years 2005-11. The highest Gini coefficient for human resources was observed for pharmacists in 2005 (0.75) and the lowest for paramedics in 2010 and 2011 (0.10). The highest indices of dissimilarity were also for pharmacists in 2005 (29%) and paramedics in 2011 (3%). For physical resources, the highest and lowest Gini coefficients were for rehabilitation centres in 2010 (0.59) and health houses in 2011 (0.12) respectively. Generally, inequalities in the distribution of health care resources were lower at the end of the study period, although there was potential for more equitable distribution of pharmacists, specialists, health houses and beds.
Lurie, Nicole; Somers, Stephen A; Fremont, Allen; Angeles, January; Murphy, Erin K; Hamblin, Allison
The authors consider the challenges to quantifying both the business case and the social case for addressing disparities, which is central to achieving equity in the U.S. health care system. They describe the practical and methodological challenges faced by health plans exploring the business and social cases for undertaking disparity-reducing interventions. Despite these challenges, sound business and quality improvement principles can guide health care organizations seeking to reduce disparities. Place-based interventions may help focus resources and engage health care and community partners who can share in the costs of-and gains from-such efforts.
Mobaraki, A E H; Söderfeldt, B
In Saudi Arabia, local interpretations of Islamic laws and social norms have a negative impact on the health and well-being of women. The objective of this literature review was to discuss gender inequity in Saudi Arabia and its relation to public health. Despite the scarcity of recent statistics and information regarding gender inequity in Saudi Arabia, this review is an attempt to explore this sensitive issue in this country. Women's roles and rights in Saudi society were examined, including education, marriage, polygamy, fertility, job opportunities, car driving and identification cards. Further research to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices towards health care of Saudi men and women is recommended.
Clouston, Sean A P; Richards, Marcus; Cadar, Dorina; Hofer, Scott M
Education is a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health because it influences the distribution of resources, including money, knowledge, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections, that can be used in situ to influence health. Recent studies have highlighted early-life cognition as commonly indicating the propensity for educational attainment and determining health and age of mortality. Health behaviors provide a plausible mechanism linking both education and cognition to later-life health and mortality. We examine the role of education and cognition in predicting smoking, heavy drinking, and physical inactivity at midlife using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (N = 10,317), National Survey of Health and Development (N = 5,362), and National Childhood Development Study (N = 16,782). Adolescent cognition was associated with education but was inconsistently associated with health behaviors. Education, however, was robustly associated with improved health behaviors after adjusting for cognition. Analyses highlight structural inequalities over individual capabilities when studying health behaviors.
Daley, Sandra P; Broyles, Shelia L; Rivera, Lourdes M; Reznik, Vivian M
In order to create a cohort of investigators who are engaged in health disparities research, scholarship, and practice, and to increase the amount of funding in the university that is invested in research focused on reducing health disparities, the San Diego EXPORT Center implemented 2 major initiatives: (1) the support of underrepresented minority (URM) junior faculty development and (2) the funding for pilot research grants in health disparities. This paper describes the activities employed by the center and summarizes the outcomes of these two initiatives. Ninety-five percent (18 of 19) URM junior faculty completed the faculty development program, and 83.3% (15 of 18) of the completers are advancing in their academic careers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) and are teaching, working with populations at risk and/or conducting research in health disparities. EXPORT awarded 7 investigators a total of $429186 to conduct pilot research, and 71.4% (5/7) have now obtained $4.7 million in independent extramural funding. The San Diego EXPORT Center has increased the research capacity, strengthened the infrastructure for health disparities research, and created a cohort of successful URM junior faculty who are advancing in their academic careers. These investigators are already changing the climate at UCSD by their leadership activities, research focus, peer-networking, and mentoring of students.
Fierman, Arthur H; Beck, Andrew F; Chung, Esther K; Tschudy, Megan M; Coker, Tumaini R; Mistry, Kamila B; Siegel, Benjamin; Chamberlain, Lisa J; Conroy, Kathleen; Federico, Steven G; Flanagan, Patricia J; Garg, Arvin; Gitterman, Benjamin A; Grace, Aimee M; Gross, Rachel S; Hole, Michael K; Klass, Perri; Kraft, Colleen; Kuo, Alice; Lewis, Gena; Lobach, Katherine S; Long, Dayna; Ma, Christine T; Messito, Mary; Navsaria, Dipesh; Northrip, Kimberley R; Osman, Cynthia; Sadof, Matthew D; Schickedanz, Adam B; Cox, Joanne
Child poverty in the United States is widespread and has serious negative effects on the health and well-being of children throughout their life course. Child health providers are considering ways to redesign their practices in order to mitigate the negative effects of poverty on children and support the efforts of families to lift themselves out of poverty. To do so, practices need to adopt effective methods to identify poverty-related social determinants of health and provide effective interventions to address them. Identification of needs can be accomplished with a variety of established screening tools. Interventions may include resource directories, best maintained in collaboration with local/regional public health, community, and/or professional organizations; programs embedded in the practice (eg, Reach Out and Read, Healthy Steps for Young Children, Medical-Legal Partnership, Health Leads); and collaboration with home visiting programs. Changes to health care financing are needed to support the delivery of these enhanced services, and active advocacy by child health providers continues to be important in effecting change. We highlight the ongoing work of the Health Care Delivery Subcommittee of the Academic Pediatric Association Task Force on Child Poverty in defining the ways in which child health care practice can be adapted to improve the approach to addressing child poverty.
Freudenberg, Nicholas; Franzosa, Emily; Chisholm, Janice; Libman, Kimberly
Growing evidence shows that unequal distribution of wealth and power across race, class, and gender produces the differences in living conditions that are "upstream" drivers of health inequalities. Health educators and other public health professionals, however, still develop interventions that focus mainly on "downstream"…
Few sociologists dissent from the notion that the mid- to late 1970s witnessed a shift in capitalism’s modus operandi. Its association with a rapid increase of social and material inequality is beyond dispute. This article opens with a brief summation of contemporary British trends in economic inequalities, and finds an echo of these trends in health inequalities. It is suggested that the sociology of health inequalities in Britain lacks an analysis of agency, and that such an analysis is crucial. A case is made that the recent critical realist contribution of Margaret Archer on ‘internal conversations’ lends itself to an understanding of agency that is salient here. The article develops her typology of internal conversations to present characterizations of the ‘focused autonomous reflexives’ whose mind-sets are causally efficacious for producing and reproducing inequalities, and the ‘dedicated meta-reflexives’ whose casts of mind might yet predispose them to mobilize resistance to inequalities. PMID:25076798
Background: There is an enduring association between socioeconomic position and health, both over time and across major causes of death. Children and adults with intellectual disabilities are disproportionately represented among the poorer and less healthy sections of the population. But research on health inequalities, and on the broader societal…
Corna, Laurie M
Social scientists and public health researchers have long known that social position is related to health and that socioeconomic inequalities in health persist in later life. Increasingly, a life course perspective is adopted to understand the socioeconomic position (SEP)-health dynamic. This paper critically reviews the conceptual perspectives underlying empirical research seeking to better understand socioeconomic inequalities in health in the context of the life course. I comment on the contributions of this work, but also its limitations. In particular, I note the emphasis on understanding the mechanisms linking SEP to health, to the exclusion of research on the institutional and structural factors associated with socioeconomic inequalities over the life course. I also critique the relative absence of gender in this work, and how, by not linking individual experiences to the social policy contexts that shape resources and opportunities, the proximal, rather than the structural or institutional determinants of health are emphasized. I suggest that moving forward, a return to some of the key tenets of life course theory, including contributions from the comparative welfare states literature, may better inform life course analyses of socioeconomic inequalities in health. Specific suggestions for life scholarship are discussed.
Mellor, Jennifer M.; Milyo, Jeffrey
Current Population Survey data on self-reported health status and income for the general population and those in poverty were analyzed. No consistent association was found between income inequality and individual health status. Previous findings of such an association were attributed to ecological fallacy or failure to control for individual…
Carey, Gemma; Crammond, Brad; Malbon, Eleanor; Carey, Nic
Inequalities in the social determinants of health (SDH), which drive avoidable health disparities between different individuals or groups, is a major concern for a number of international organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite this, the pathways to changing inequalities in the SDH remain elusive. The methodologies and concepts within system science are now viewed as important domains of knowledge, ideas and skills for tackling issues of inequality, which are increasingly understood as emergent properties of complex systems. In this paper, we introduce and expand the concept of adaptive policies to reduce inequalities in the distribution of the SDH. The concept of adaptive policy for health equity was developed through reviewing the literature on learning and adaptive policies. Using a series of illustrative examples from education and poverty alleviation, which have their basis in real world policies, we demonstrate how an adaptive policy approach is more suited to the management of the emergent properties of inequalities in the SDH than traditional policy approaches. This is because they are better placed to handle future uncertainties. Our intention is that these examples are illustrative, rather than prescriptive, and serve to create a conversation regarding appropriate adaptive policies for progressing policy action on the SDH.
Carey, Gemma; Crammond, Brad; Malbon, Eleanor; Carey, Nic
Inequalities in the social determinants of health (SDH), which drive avoidable health disparities between different individuals or groups, is a major concern for a number of international organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite this, the pathways to changing inequalities in the SDH remain elusive. The methodologies and concepts within system science are now viewed as important domains of knowledge, ideas and skills for tackling issues of inequality, which are increasingly understood as emergent properties of complex systems. In this paper, we introduce and expand the concept of adaptive policies to reduce inequalities in the distribution of the SDH. The concept of adaptive policy for health equity was developed through reviewing the literature on learning and adaptive policies. Using a series of illustrative examples from education and poverty alleviation, which have their basis in real world policies, we demonstrate how an adaptive policy approach is more suited to the management of the emergent properties of inequalities in the SDH than traditional policy approaches. This is because they are better placed to handle future uncertainties. Our intention is that these examples are illustrative, rather than prescriptive, and serve to create a conversation regarding appropriate adaptive policies for progressing policy action on the SDH. PMID:26673337
Beers, Lee; Southammakosane, Cathy; Lewin, Amy
Adolescent parenthood is associated with a range of adverse outcomes for young mothers, including mental health problems such as depression, substance abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Teen mothers are also more likely to be impoverished and reside in communities and families that are socially and economically disadvantaged. These circumstances can adversely affect maternal mental health, parenting, and behavior outcomes for their children. In this report, we provide an overview of the mental health challenges associated with teen parenthood, barriers that often prevent teen mothers from seeking mental health services, and interventions for this vulnerable population that can be integrated into primary care services. Pediatricians in the primary care setting are in a unique position to address the mental health needs of adolescent parents because teens often turn to them first for assistance with emotional and behavioral concerns. Consequently, pediatricians can play a pivotal role in facilitating and encouraging teen parents’ engagement in mental health treatment. PMID:24298010
Pampalon, Robert; Hamel, Denis; Gamache, Philippe
Social health inequalities are smaller in rural than urban areas because, some argue, people's social conditions are estimated at a small-area level, hiding variability at the individual or household level. This paper compares inequalities in survival according to an individual and area-based version of a deprivation index among a large sample of Canadians living in various urban and rural settings. Results show that survival inequalities in small towns and rural areas are lower than elsewhere when an area-based index is used, except in the remote hinterland, but of equal magnitude when the individual version of this index is considered.
Walsemann, Katrina M.; Brondolo, Elizabeth
Recent studies show that racism may influence health inequities. As individuals grow from infancy into old age, they encounter social institutions that may create new exposures to racial bias. Yet, few studies have considered this idea fully. We suggest a framework that shows how racism and health inequities may be viewed from a life course perspective. It applies the ideas of age-patterned exposures, sensitive periods, linked lives, latency period, stress proliferation, historic period, and cohorts. It suggests an overarching idea that racism can structure one’s time in asset-building contexts (e.g., education) or disadvantaged contexts (e.g., prison). This variation in time and exposure can contribute to racial inequities in life expectancy and other health outcomes across the life course and over generations. PMID:22420802
...] [FR Doc No: 2010-20679] DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Request for Measures of Health Plan Efforts To Address Health Plan Members' Health Literacy Needs... or items that measure how well health plans and health providers address health plan...
Grundy, E; Holt, G
STUDY OBJECTIVE—To identify which of seven indicators of socioeconomic status used singly or combined with one other would be most useful in studies of health inequalities in the older population. DESIGN—Secondary analysis of socioeconomic and health data in a two wave survey. SETTING—Great Britain. Participants were interviewed at home by a trained interviewer. PARTICIPANTS—Nationally representative sample of 3543 adults aged 55-69 interviewed in 1988/9, 2243 of whom were interviewed again in 1994. METHODS—Desirable features of socioeconomic measurement systems for identifying health inequalities in older populations were identified with reference to the literature. Logistic regression was used to examine variations in self reported health by seven indicators of socioeconomic status. The pair of indicators with the greatest explanatory power was identified. MAIN RESULTS—All indicators were significantly associated with differences in self reported health. The best pair of variables, according to criteria used, was educational qualification or social class paired with a deprivation indicator. DISCUSSION—For a range of reasons the measurement of socioeconomic status is particularly challenging in older age groups. Extending our knowledge of which indicators work well in analyses and are relatively easy to collect should help both further study of health inequalities in the older population and appropriate planning. Keywords: health inequalities; elderly people; socioeconomic status PMID:11707484
Rosa Dias, Pedro
This paper proposes an empirical implementation of the concept of inequality of opportunity in health and applies this to data from the UK National Child Development Study. Drawing on the distinction between circumstance and effort variables in John Roemer's work on equality of opportunity, circumstances are proxied by parental socio-economic status and childhood health; effort is proxied by health-related lifestyles and educational attainment. Stochastic dominance tests are used to detect inequality of opportunity in the conditional distributions of self-assessed health in adulthood. Two alternative approaches are used to measure inequality of opportunity. Econometric models are estimated to illuminate and quantify the triangular relationship between circumstances, effort and health. The results indicate the existence of a considerable and persistent inequality of opportunity in health. Circumstances affect health in adulthood both directly and through effort factors such as educational attainment. This indicates that, while the influence of some unjust circumstances can only be tackled during childhood, the implementation of complementary educational policies may be of paramount importance.
Moss, Nancy E
This paper explores the interrelationship of gender equity and socioeconomic inequality and how they affect women's health at the macro- (country) and micro- (household and individual) levels. An integrated framework draws theoretical perspectives from both approaches and from public health. Determinants of women's health in the geopolitical environment include country-specific history and geography, policies and services, legal rights, organizations and institutions, and structures that shape gender and economic inequality. Culture, norms and sanctions at the country and community level, and sociodemographic characteristics at the individual level, influence women's productive and reproductive roles in the household and workplace. Social capital, roles, psychosocial stresses and resources. health services, and behaviors mediate social, economic and cultural effects on health outcomes. Inequality between and within households contributes to the patterning of women's health. Within the framework, relationships may vary depending upon women's lifestage and cohort experience. Examples of other relevant theoretical frameworks are discussed. The conclusion suggests strategies to improve data, influence policy, and extend research to better understand the effect of gender and socioeconomic inequality on women's health.
d’Uva, Teresa Bago; Lindeboom, Maarten; O’Donnell, Owen; van Doorslaer, Eddy
Summary Reliance on self-rated health to proxy medical need can bias estimation of education-related inequity in healthcare utilization. We correct this bias both by instrumenting self-rated health with objective health indicators and by purging self-rated health of reporting heterogeneity that is identified from health vignettes. Using data on elderly Europeans, we find that instrumenting self-rated health shifts the distribution of visits to a doctor in the direction of inequality favouring the better educated. There is a further, and typically larger, shift in the same direction when correction is made for the tendency of the better educated to rate their health more negatively. PMID:21938140
Heckley, Gawain; Gerdtham, Ulf-G; Kjellsson, Gustav
We introduce a general decomposition method applicable to all forms of bivariate rank dependent indices of socioeconomic inequality in health, including the concentration index. The technique is based on recentered influence function regression and requires only the application of OLS to a transformed variable with similar interpretation. Our method requires few identifying assumptions to yield valid estimates in most common empirical applications, unlike current methods favoured in the literature. Using the Swedish Twin Registry and a within twin pair fixed effects identification strategy, our new method finds no evidence of a causal effect of education on income-related health inequality.
McGinnis, Kara; Montiel-Ishino, F Alejandro; Standifer, Maisha Kambon; Wathington, Deanna; Goldsmith, Johnetta; Baldwin, Julie A
Medically underserved and underrepresented communities have high rates of health disparities. In the greater Tampa Bay area, communities of color are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases such as cancer. In response to these concerns and as part of a lay health advisory program being implemented by the Center for Equal Health, a University of South Florida/H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute partnership, our group created a photonovel, an educational tool which explains topics using a graphic novel style. The photonovel was designed to educate community members about prostate cancer and was compared to standard cancer educational materials currently used for cancer outreach. We found that our photonovel served as an effective health education tool to address cancer health disparities in medically underserved and underrepresented populations in Tampa Bay.
Rezapour, Aziz; Ebadifard Azar, Farbod; Azami Aghdash, Saber; Tanoomand, Asghar; Ahmadzadeh, Nahal; Sarabi Asiabar, Ali
Background: Health inequality monitoring especially in Health care financing field is very important. Hence, this study tends to assess the inequality in household's capacity to pay and out-of-pocket health carepaymentsin Tehran metropolis. Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed in 2013.Thestudy population was selected by stratified cluster sampling, and they constitute the typical households living in Tehran (2200 households). The required data were collected through questionnaires and analyzed using Excel and Stata v.11. Concentration Index on inequality was used for measuring inequality status in capacity to pay and household payments for health care expenses; and also the concentration index for out-of-pocket payments and capacity to pay was used to determine the extent of inequality. The recall period for inpatient care was one year and 1 month for outpatient. Results: The average of out-of-pocket payments for receiving the outpatient services was determined to be 44.33US$ and for each inpatient1861.11 US$. Concentration index for household's outof- pocket payments for inpatient health care, out-of-pocket payments for outpatient health care and health prepayments were calculated 0.13, -0.10 and -0.11, respectively. Also, concentration index in household’s capacity to pay was estimated to be 0.11whichindicatedinequality to the benefit of the rich. The households used financing strategies like savings, borrowing or lending to pay their health care expenditures. Conclusion: According to this study, the poor spend a greater portion of their capacity to pay for outpatient and inpatient health care costs and prepayment, in comparison to the rich. Thus, supporting the vulnerable groups of the society to decrease out-of-pocket payments and increasing the household’s capacity to pay through government support in order to improve the household economic potential, must be considered very important. PMID:26793636
Ozegowski, Susanne; Sundmacher, Leonie
Germany's ruling coalition has recently introduced a new bill to Parliament, the Care Structures Act (CSA), which aims to improve outpatient care supply structures, decentralize decision-making, facilitate cross-sectoral treatment, and strengthen innovation in the nation's health care sector. These objectives are to be achieved through a variety of measures, including changes in financial incentives for physicians, the transfer of decision-making to the regional level, and the creation of a new sector for highly specialized care. The opposition parties in Parliament and most health care stakeholders agree on the objectives of the reform package, but their evaluation of the bill is mixed. Physicians' representative organizations generally deem the law to be headed in the right direction, while the opposition parties, sickness funds, patients' rights groups and a majority of German federal states (Bundesländer) feel it does not adequately address the issues of supply inequity and sectoral division. This skepticism seems well founded. The reforms aimed at attracting physicians to high-need regions have significant shortcomings, and the measures to overcome sectoral barriers between the outpatient care and hospital sectors remain weak. Furthermore, the new procedure for including innovative treatment methods in the SHI benefits catalogue falls short of internationally recognized standards.
Yamada, Tetsuji; Chen, Chia-Ching; Murata, Chiyoe; Hirai, Hiroshi; Ojima, Toshiyuki; Kondo, Katsunori; Harris, Joseph R.
The purpose of this study is to investigate healthcare access disparity that will cause delayed and unmet healthcare needs for the elderly, and to examine health inequality and healthcare cost burden for the elderly. To produce clear policy applications, this study adapts a modified PRECEDE-PROCEED model for framing theoretical and experimental approaches. Data were collected from a large collection of the Community Tracking Study Household Survey 2003–2004 of the USA. Reliability and construct validity are examined for internal consistency and estimation of disparity and inequality are analyzed by using probit/ols regressions. The results show that predisposing factors (e.g., attitude, beliefs, and perception by socio-demographic differences) are negatively associated with delayed healthcare. A 10% increase in enabling factors (e.g., availability of health insurance coverage, and usual sources of healthcare providers) are significantly associated with a 1% increase in healthcare financing factors. In addition, information through a socio-economic network and support system has a 5% impact on an access disparity. Income, health status, and health inequality are exogenously determined. Designing and implementing easy healthcare accessibility (healthcare system) and healthcare financing methods, and developing a socio-economic support network (including public health information) are essential in reducing delayed healthcare and health inequality. PMID:25654774
Cooper, S. A.; McConnachie, A.; Allan, L. M.; Melville, C.; Smiley, E.; Morrison, J.
Background: Adults with intellectual disabilities (IDs) experience health inequalities and are more likely to live in deprived areas. The aim of this study was to determine whether the extent of deprivation of the area a person lives in affects their access to services, hence contributing to health inequalities. Method: A cross-sectional study…
Oliver, M Norman; Muntaner, Carles
Racial and ethnic inequities in health abound in many disease categories. African-American communities suffer from an increased burden of illness, with higher incidence and mortality rates and more severe morbidity in cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, several cancers, diabetes, and many other ailments. Healthy People 2010, the federal government's health plan, calls for eliminating health disparities by race, ethnicity, gender, education, income, disability, geographic location, or sexual orientation. Research aimed at increasing our understanding of these health disparities and designing and evaluating interventions to improve African-American health is hampered by a liberal, classless approach. The authors argue for a theoretical framework in this research that recognizes that class exploitation sets the stage for and interacts with racial discrimination to determine racial inequities in health.
Masuda, Jeffrey R; Teelucksingh, Cheryl; Zupancic, Tara; Crabtree, Alexis; Haber, Rebecca; Skinner, Emily; Poland, Blake; Frankish, Jim; Fridell, Mara
In this paper, we report the results of a three-year research project (2008-2011) that aimed to identify urban environmental health inequities using a photography-mediated qualitative approach adapted for comparative neighbourhood-level assessment. The project took place in Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnipeg, Canada and involved a total of 49 inner city community researchers who compared environmental health conditions in numerous neighbourhoods across each city. Using the social determinants of health as a guiding framework, community researchers observed a wide range of differences in health-influencing private and public spaces, including sanitation services, housing, parks and gardens, art displays, and community services. The comparative process enabled community researchers to articulate in five distinct ways how such observable conditions represented system level inequities. The findings inform efforts to shift environmental health intervention from constricted action within derelict urban districts to more coordinated mobilization for health equity in the city.
Mõttus, René; Marioni, Riccardo; Deary, Ian J
Associations between markers of ostensible psychological characteristics and social and health inequalities are pervasive but difficult to explain. In some cases, there may be causal influence flowing from social and health inequalities to psychological differences, whereas sometimes it may be the other way around. Here, we focus on the possibility that some markers that we often consider as indexing different domains of individual differences may in fact reflect at least partially overlapping genetic and/or phenotypic bases. For example, individual differences in cognitive abilities and educational attainment appear to reflect largely overlapping genetic influences, whereas cognitive abilities and health literacy may be almost identical phenomena at the phenotypic, never mind genetic, level. We make the case for employing molecular genetic data and quantitative genetic techniques to better understand the associations of psychological individual differences with social and health inequalities. We illustrate these arguments by using published findings from the Lothian Birth Cohort and the Generation Scotland studies. We also present novel findings pertaining to longitudinal stability and change in older age personality traits and some correlates of the change, molecular genetic data-based heritability estimates of Neuroticism and Extraversion, and the genetic correlations of these personality traits with markers of social and health inequalities.
Bacigalupe, Amaia; Escolar-Pujolar, Antonio
Since 2008, Western countries are going through a deep economic crisis whose health impacts seem to be fundamentally counter-cyclical: when economic conditions worsen, so does health, and mortality tends to rise. While a growing number of studies have presented evidence on the effect of crises on the average population health, a largely neglected aspect of research is the impact of crises and the related political responses on social inequalities in health, even if the negative consequences of the crises are primarily borne by the most disadvantaged populations. This commentary will reflect on the results of the studies that have analyzed the effect of economic crises on social inequalities in health up to 2013. With some exceptions, the studies show an increase in health inequalities during crises, especially during the Southeast Asian and Japanese crises and the Soviet Union crisis, although it is not always evident for both sexes or all health or socioeconomic variables. In the Nordic countries during the nineties, a clear worsening of health equity did not occur. Results about the impacts of the current economic recession on health equity are still inconsistent. Some of the factors that could explain this variability in results are the role of welfare state policies, the diversity of time periods used in the analyses, the heterogeneity of socioeconomic and health variables considered, the changes in the socioeconomic profile of the groups under comparison in times of crises, and the type of measures used to analyze the magnitude of social inequalities in health. Social epidemiology should further collaborate with other disciplines to help produce more accurate and useful evidence about the relationship between crises and health equity.
Petticrew, M.; Whitehead, M.; Macintyre, S.; Graham, H.; Egan, M.
Objective: To explore with UK and international policy advisors how research evidence influences public health policy making, and how its relevance and utility could be improved, with specific reference to the evidence on the production and reduction of health inequalities. Design, setting, and participants: Qualitative residential workshop involving senior policy advisors with a substantive role in policy development across a range of sectors (mainly public health, but also including education, social welfare, and health services). In four in depth sessions, facilitated by the authors, focused questions were presented to participants. Their responses were then analysed thematically to identify key themes, relating to the availability and utility of existing evidence on health inequalities. Main results: The lack of an equity dimension in much aetiological and evaluative research was highlighted by participants. Much public health research was also felt to have weak underlying theoretical underpinnings. As well as evaluations of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policy and other interventions, they identified a need for predictive research, and for methodological research to further develop methods for assessing the impact on health of clusters of interventions. Conclusions: This study reinforces the view that there is a lack of information on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies, and it uncovered additional gaps in the health inequalities evidence base. A companion paper discusses researchers' views of how the production of more relevant public health evidence can be stimulated. PMID:15365104
Currie, Candace; Molcho, Michal; Boyce, William; Holstein, Bjørn; Torsheim, Torbjørn; Richter, Matthias
Socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health have been little studied until recently, partly due to the lack of appropriate and agreed upon measures for this age group. The difficulties of measuring adolescent socioeconomic status (SES) are both conceptual and methodological. Conceptually, it is unclear whether parental SES should be used as a proxy, and if so, which aspect of SES is most relevant. Methodologically, parental SES information is difficult to obtain from adolescents resulting in high levels of missing data. These issues led to the development of a new measure, the Family Affluence Scale (FAS), in the context of an international study on adolescent health, the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) Study. The paper reviews the evolution of the measure over the past 10 years and its utility in examining and explaining health related inequalities at national and cross-national levels in over 30 countries in Europe and North America. We present an overview of HBSC papers published to date that examine FAS-related socioeconomic inequalities in health and health behaviour, using data from the HBSC study. Findings suggest consistent inequalities in self-reported health, psychosomatic symptoms, physical activity and aspects of eating habits at both the individual and country level. FAS has recently been adopted, and in some cases adapted, by other research and policy related studies and this work is also reviewed. Finally, ongoing FAS validation work is described together with ideas for future development of the measure.
Naghdi, Seyran; Ghiasvand, Hesam; Shaarbafchi Zadeh, Nasrin; Azami, Saeidreza; Moradi, Tayebeh
Background: Inequality in households’ and individuals' consumption expenditures is one of the most important aspects of health status difference among households and individuals. Objectives: We investigated the impact of some macro-economic factors specially inequality factors on the Iranian rural health status since 1986 through 2012. Patients and Methods: We conducted a longitudinal ecological and analytical study. The average sample size was 14602 households whom Iranian Statistics Center selected by a multi-stages clustering sampling approach. All required data has been collected from Iranian Statistics Centre and Deputy for Curial Affaires of Iranian Ministry of Health. We calculated the Gini coefficients for the rural food and health expenditures, then conducted a transloge autoregressive order one (AR1) to investigate the association between the Iranian rural households' key mortality rates and the food and health expenditure Gini coefficients, time trend, GDP per capita (PPP), and GDP per capita Gini coefficients. Results: The mean of Gini coefficients were 0.137 and 0.21 for the rural food expenditures inequality based on current and constant price, respectively. In addition, the mean of Gini coefficients were 0.26 and 0.31 for the rural health expenditures inequality based on current and constant price, respectively. The time trend, transloged form of Gini coefficients for health expenditures and GDP per capita Gini coefficients presented a significant negative correlation with transloged form of neonatal mortality rate. With regard to the transloged form of under five mortality we observed a significant negative correlation with time trend and transloged form of Gini coefficients for health expenditure and GDP per capita. Finally, there was a significant negative correlation between transloged forms of maternal mortality rate. Conclusions: Iranian policy makers should consider the rural health and food expenditures inequality and try to adopt more
Santric-Milicevic, Milena; Jankovic, Janko; Trajkovic, Goran; Terzic-Supic, Zorica; Babic, Uros; Petrovic, Marija
Background: The global burden of mental disorders is rising. In Serbia, anxiety is the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years. Serbia has no mental health survey at the population level. The information on prevalence of mental disorders and related socioeconomic inequalities are valuable for mental care improvement. Aims: To explore the prevalence of mental health disorders and socioeconomic inequalities in mental health of adult Serbian population, and to explore whether age years and employment status interact with mental health in urban and rural settlements. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: This study is an additional analysis of Serbian Health Survey 2006 that was carried out with standardized household questionnaires at the representative sample of 7673 randomly selected households – 15563 adults. The response rate was 93%. A multivariate logistic regression modeling highlighted the predictors of the 5 item Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5), and of chronic anxiety or depression within eight independent variables (age, gender, type of settlement, marital status and self-perceived health, education, employment status and Wealth Index). The significance level in descriptive statistics, chi square analysis and bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions was set at p<0.05. Results: Chronic anxiety or depression was seen in 4.9% of the respondents, and poor MHI-5 in 47% of respondents. Low education (Odds Ratios 1.32; 95% confidence intervals=1.16–1.51), unemployment (1.36; 1.18–1.56), single status (1.34; 1.23–1.45), and Wealth Index middle class (1.20; 1.08–1.32) or poor (1.33; 1.21–1.47) were significantly related with poor MHI-5. Unemployed persons in urban settlements had higher odds for poormMHI-5 than unemployed in rural areas (0.73; 0.59–0.89). Single (1.50; 1.26–1.78), unemployed (1.39; 1.07–1.80) and inactive respondents (1.42; 1.10–1.83) had a higher odds of chronic anxiety or depression than married
Garrett, Bridgette E.; Dube, Shanta R.; Babb, Stephen; McAfee, Tim
Introduction Comprehensive tobacco prevention and control efforts that include implementing smoke-free air laws, increasing tobacco prices, conducting hard-hitting mass media campaigns, and making evidence-based cessation treatments available are effective in reducing tobacco use in the general population. However, if these interventions are not implemented in an equitable manner, certain population groups may be left out causing or exacerbating disparities in tobacco use. Disparities in tobacco use have, in part, stemmed from inequities in the way tobacco control policies and programs have been adopted and implemented to reach and impact the most vulnerable segments of the population that have the highest rates of smokings (e.g., those with lower education and incomes). Methods Education and income are the 2 main social determinants of health that negatively impact health. However, there are other social determinants of health that must be considered for tobacco control policies to be effective in reducing tobacco-related disparities. This article will provide an overview of how tobacco control policies and programs can address key social determinants of health in order to achieve equity and eliminate disparities in tobacco prevention and control. Results Tobacco control policy interventions can be effective in addressing the social determinants of health in tobacco prevention and control to achieve equity and eliminate tobacco-related disparities when they are implemented consistently and equitably across all population groups. Conclusions Taking a social determinants of health approach in tobacco prevention and control will be necessary to achieve equity and eliminate tobacco-related disparities. PMID:25516538
Baeten, Steef; Van Ourti, Tom; van Doorslaer, Eddy
In recent decades, China has experienced double-digit economic growth rates and rising inequality. This paper implements a new decomposition approach using the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1991–2006) to examine the extent to which changes in level and distribution of incomes and in income mobility are related to health disparities between rich and poor. We find that health disparities in China relate to rising income inequality and in particular to the adverse health and income experience of older (wo)men, but not to the growth rate of average incomes over the last decades. These findings suggest that replacement incomes and pensions at older ages may be one of the most important policy levers for reducing health disparities between rich and poor Chinese. PMID:24189450
Muntaner, Carles; Chung, Haejoo; Solar, Orielle; Santana, Vilma; Castedo, Antía; Benach, Joan
The authors develop a macro-social theoretical framework to explain how employment and working conditions affect health inequalities. The theoretical framework represents the social origins and health consequences of various forms of employment conditions. The emphasis is thus on determinants and consequences of employment conditions, not on social determinants of health in general. The framework tries to make sense of the complex link between macro-social power relations among employers, government, and workers' organizations, labor market and social policies, employment and working conditions, and the health of workers. It also suggests further testing of hypothetical causal pathways not covered in the literature. This macro-social theoretical framework might help identify the main "entry points" through which to implement policies and interventions to reduce employment-related health inequalities. The theoretical framework should be approached from a historical perspective.
Butterfield, Patricia G
Thinking upstream was first introduced into the nursing vernacular in 1990 with the goal of advancing broad and context-rich perspectives of health. Initially invoked as conceptual framing language, upstream precepts were subsequently adopted and adapted by a generation of thoughtful nursing scholars. Their work reduced health inequities by redirecting actions further up etiologic pathways and by emphasizing economic, political, and environmental health determinants. US health care reform has fostered a much broader adoption of upstream language in policy documents. This article includes a semantic exploration of thinking upstream and a new model, the Butterfield Upstream Model for Population Health (BUMP Health).
Lai, Dejian; Huang, Jin; Risser, Jan M.; Kapadia, Asha S.
In this article, we report statistical properties of two classes of generalized Gini coefficients (G1 and G2). The theoretical results were assessed via Monte Carlo simulations. Further, we used G1 and G2 on life expectancy to measure health inequalities among the provinces of China and the states of the United States. For China, the results…
Morrison, Joana; Pons-Vigués, Mariona; Bécares, Laia; Burström, Bo; Gandarillas, Ana; Domínguez-Berjón, Felicitas; Diez, Èlia; Costa, Giuseppe; Ruiz, Milagros; Pikhart, Hynek; Marinacci, Chiara; Hoffmann, Rasmus; Santana, Paula; Borrell, Carme
Objective To describe the knowledge and beliefs of public policymakers on social inequalities in health and policies to reduce them in cities from different parts of Europe during 2010 and 2011. Design Phenomenological qualitative study. Setting 13 European cities. Participants 19 elected politicians and officers with a directive status from 13 European cities. Main outcome Policymaker's knowledge and beliefs. Results Three emerging discourses were identified among the interviewees, depending on the city of the interviewee. Health inequalities were perceived by most policymakers as differences in life-expectancy between population with economic, social and geographical differences. Reducing health inequalities was a priority for the majority of cities which use surveys as sources of information to analyse these. Bureaucracy, funding and population beliefs were the main barriers. Conclusions The majority of the interviewed policymakers gave an account of interventions focusing on the immediate determinants and aimed at modifying lifestyles and behaviours in the more disadvantaged classes. More funding should be put towards academic research on effective universal policies, evaluation of their impact and training policymakers and officers on health inequalities in city governments. PMID:24871536
Oliveira, Monica Duarte; Bevan, Gwyn
Portugal created a NHS to achieve greater equity of access to health care. Successive governments continued to assert the importance of equity in the face of evidence of inequities in supply of hospital resources, but lacked methods to provide sound information on the degree of inequities in Portugal and hence how to achieve greater equity. Capitation formulae have been increasingly used in other countries with a NHS to measure geographical inequities and allocate resources to reduce them. The main objective of this paper was to develop a capitation formula to measure need for hospital care for the Portuguese system by transferring this technology from methods used in other countries, and, in particular, in England. We find, however, problems with the common use of standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) as a measure of need and found age-specific mortality ratios to offer more soundly-based estimates. We also raise questions on the use of empirical estimates of utilisation of health care by age and sex as they appear to reflect inadequacies of health care in Portugal. We also believe it is important to improve knowledge of health insurance and care outside the NHS. Our results show that there are considerable inequities on the distribution of hospital resources in Portugal.
Freudenberg, Nicholas; Franzosa, Emily; Chisholm, Janice; Libman, Kimberly
Growing evidence shows that unequal distribution of wealth and power across race, class, and gender produces the differences in living conditions that are "upstream" drivers of health inequalities. Health educators and other public health professionals, however, still develop interventions that focus mainly on "downstream" behavioral risks. Three factors explain the difficulty in translating this knowledge into practice. First, in their allegiance to the status quo, powerful elites often resist upstream policies and programs that redistribute wealth and power. Second, public health practice is often grounded in dominant biomedical and behavioral paradigms, and health departments also face legal and political limits on expanding their scope of activities. Finally, the evidence for the impact of upstream interventions is limited, in part because methodologies for evaluating upstream interventions are less developed. To illustrate strategies to overcome these obstacles, we profile recent campaigns in the United States to enact living wages, prevent mortgage foreclosures, and reduce exposure to air pollution. We then examine how health educators working in state and local health departments can transform their practice to contribute to campaigns that reallocate the wealth and power that shape the living conditions that determine health and health inequalities. We also consider health educators' role in producing the evidence that can guide transformative expansion of upstream interventions to reduce health inequalities.
Community-based health promotion is poorly theorised and lacks an agreed evidence-base. This paper examines characteristics of community-based health promotion and the challenges they present to evaluation. A review of health promotion evaluation leads to an exploration of more recent approaches, drawing on ideas from complexity theory and developmental evaluation. A reflexive analysis of three program evaluations previously undertaken as an evaluation consultant is used to develop a conceptual model to help in the design and conduct of health promotion evaluation. The model is further explored by applying it retrospectively to one evaluation. Findings suggest that the context-contingent nature of health promotion programs; turbulence in the community context and players; multiple stakeholders, goals and strategies; and uncertainty of outcomes all contribute to the complexity of interventions. Bringing together insights from developmental evaluation and complexity theory can help to address some evaluation challenges. The proposed model emphasises recognising and responding to changing contexts and emerging outcomes, providing rapid feedback and facilitating reflexive practice. This will enable the evaluator to gain a better understanding of the influence of context and other implementation factors in a complex setting. Use of the model should contribute to building cumulative evidence and knowledge in order to identify the principles of health promotion effectiveness that may be transferable to new situations.
Backett-Milburn, Kathryn; Cunningham-Burley, Sarah; Davis, John
Children's differing socio-economic, cultural and familial circumstances and experiences are part of the pathways implicated in health and illness in adulthood. However, in the existing, mainly survey based, work children's own voices tend to be absent and adult-defined data about health and illness accumulated. Little is known about the social and cultural processes, in children's very different childhoods, which underpin and ultimately constitute these epidemiological findings. This paper reports findings from a qualitative study examining the socio-economic and cultural contexts of children's lifestyles and the production of inequalities in health, carried out in a large Scottish city. Two rounds of semi-structured interviews, using a range of child-friendly techniques (photographs, drawings, vignettes), were carried out with 35 girls and boys aged 9-12 years living in two contrasting but contiguous areas, one relatively advantaged and one relatively disadvantaged. Thirty of their parents were also interviewed and community profiling and observational work undertaken. Children and parents described often starkly contrasting lives and opportunities, regularly involving material differences. However, children appeared to locate inequalities as much in relationships and social life as in material concerns; in this their direct experiences of relationships and unfairness were central to their making sense of inequality and its impact on health. Although children from both areas highlighted several different inequalities, including those related to material resources, they also spoke of the importance of control over their life world; of care and love particularly from parents; of friendship and acceptance by their peer group. Many children challenged straightforward causal explanations for future ill-health, privileging some explanations, such as psychological or lifestyle factors. The accounts of children from both areas displayed considerable resilience to and
Prasad, Amit; Kano, Megumi; Dagg, Kendra Ann-Masako; Mori, Hanako; Senkoro, Hawa Hamisi; Ardakani, Mohammad Assai; Elfeky, Samar; Good, Suvajee; Engelhardt, Katrin; Ross, Alex; Armada, Francisco
Following the recommendations of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (2008), the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (HEART) to support local stakeholders in identifying and planning action on health inequities. The objective of this report is to analyze the experiences of cities in implementing Urban HEART in order to inform how the future development of the tool could support local stakeholders better in addressing health inequities. The study method is documentary analysis from independent evaluations and city implementation reports submitted to WHO. Independent evaluations were conducted in 2011-12 on Urban HEART piloting in 15 cities from seven countries in Asia and Africa: Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mongolia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Local or national health departments led Urban HEART piloting in 12 of the 15 cities. Other stakeholders commonly engaged included the city council, budget and planning departments, education sector, urban planning department, and the Mayor's office. Ten of the 12 core indicators recommended in Urban HEART were collected by at least 10 of the 15 cities. Improving access to safe water and sanitation was a priority equity-oriented intervention in 12 of the 15 cities, while unemployment was addressed in seven cities. Cities who piloted Urban HEART displayed confidence in its potential by sustaining or scaling up its use within their countries. Engagement of a wider group of stakeholders was more likely to lead to actions for improving health equity. Indicators that were collected were more likely to be acted upon. Quality of data for neighbourhoods within cities was one of the major issues. As local governments and stakeholders around the world gain greater control of decisions regarding their health, Urban HEART could prove to be a valuable tool in helping them pursue the goal of health equity.
Simpson, Sarah; Kelly, Michael P; Morgan, Antony
This paper presents work using case studies as a source of data to see if we could extrapolate from the specific to the general particularly with regard to understanding what constitutes effective practice in taking action on SDHI and as a way of enabling policy makers to make better use of knowledge within the case studies and as a way of better understanding what works, in what context and why. Case studies are important to evaluators in that they are relatively straightforward to undertake and because those involved in implementing an intervention are usually keen to profile the intervention. A checklist described in this paper will enable policy advisers and evaluators to quickly review a case study and right away see if it contains enough information to assist in the development of policy options for reducing socially determined health inequalities.
Huisman, Martijn; Read, Sanna; Towriss, Catriona A; Deeg, Dorly J H; Grundy, Emily
Socioeconomic adversity is among the foremost fundamental causes of human suffering, and this is no less true in old age. Recent reports on socioeconomic inequalities in mortality rate in old age suggest that a low socioeconomic position continues to increase the risk of death even among the oldest old. We aimed to examine the evidence for socioeconomic mortality rate inequalities in old age, including information about associations with various indicators of socioeconomic position and for various geographic locations within the World Health Organization Region for Europe. The articles included in this review leave no doubt that inequalities in mortality rate by socioeconomic position persist into the oldest ages for both men and women in all countries for which information is available, although the relative risk measures observed were rarely higher than 2.00. Still, the available evidence base is heavily biased geographically, inasmuch as it is based largely on national studies from Nordic and Western European countries and local studies from urban areas in Southern Europe. This bias will hamper the design of European-wide policies to reduce inequalities in mortality rate. We call for a continuous update of the empiric evidence on socioeconomic inequalities in mortality rate.
Anyangwe, Stella C E; Mtonga, Chipayeni
Health systems played a key role in the dramatic rise in global life expectancy that occurred during the 20th century, and have continued to contribute enormously to the improvement of the health of most of the world's population. The health workforce is the backbone of each health system, the lubricant that facilitates the smooth implementation of health action for sustainable socio-economic development. It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the density of the health workforce is directly correlated with positive health outcomes. In other words, health workers save lives and improve health. About 59 million people make up the health workforce of paid full-time health workers world-wide. However, enormous gaps remain between the potential of health systems and their actual performance, and there are far too many inequities in the distribution of health workers between countries and within countries. The Americas (mainly USA and Canada) are home to 14% of the world's population, bear only 10% of the world's disease burden, have 37% of the global health workforce and spend about 50% of the world's financial resources for health. Conversely, sub-Saharan Africa, with about 11% of the world's population bears over 24% of the global disease burden, is home to only 3% of the global health workforce, and spends less than 1% of the world's financial resources on health. In most developing countries, the health workforce is concentrated in the major towns and cities, while rural areas can only boast of about 23% and 38% of the country's doctors and nurses respectively. The imbalances exist not only in the total numbers and geographical distribution of health workers, but also in the skills mix of available health workers. WHO estimates that 57 countries world wide have a critical shortage of health workers, equivalent to a global deficit of about 2.4 million doctors, nurses and midwives. Thirty six of these countries are in sub- Saharan Africa. They would need to
Background Early childhood is recognised as a key developmental phase with implications for social, academic, health and wellbeing outcomes in later childhood and indeed throughout the adult lifespan. Community level data on inequalities in early child development are therefore required to establish the impact of government early years’ policies and programmes on children’s strengths and vulnerabilities at local and national level. This would allow local leaders to target tailored interventions according to community needs to improve children’s readiness for the transition to school. The challenge is collecting valid data on sufficient samples of children entering school to derive robust inferences about each local birth cohort’s developmental status. This information needs to be presented in a way that allows community stakeholders to understand the results, expediting the improvement of preschool programming to improve future cohorts’ development in the early years. The aim of the study was to carry out a pilot to test the feasibility and ease of use in Scotland of the 104-item teacher-administered Early Development Instrument, an internationally validated measure of children’s global development at school entry developed in Canada. Methods Phase 1 was piloted in an education district with 14 Primary 1 teachers assessing a cohort of 154 children, following which the instrument was adapted for the Scottish context (Scottish Early Development Instrument: SEDI). Phase 2 was then carried out using the SEDI. Data were analysed from a larger sample of 1090 participants, comprising all Primary 1 children within this school district, evaluated by 68 teachers. Results The SEDI displayed adequate psychometric and discriminatory properties and is appropriate for use across Scotland without any further modifications. Children in the lowest socioeconomic status quintiles were 2–3 times more likely than children in the most affluent quintile to score low in at
Raittio, Eero; Aromaa, Arpo; Kiiskinen, Urpo; Helminen, Sari; Suominen, Anna Liisa
Objectives In Finland, a dental subsidization reform, implemented in 2001-2002, abolished age restrictions on subsidized dental care. The aim of this study was to investigate income-related inequality in the perceived oral health and its determinants among adult Finns before and after the reform. Materials and methods Three identical cross-sectional nationally representative postal surveys, concerning perceived oral health and the use of dental services among people born before 1971, were conducted in 2001 (n = 2157), in 2004 (n = 1814) and in 2007 (n = 1671). Three measures of perceived oral health were used: toothache or oral discomfort during the past 12 months, current need for dental care and self-reported oral health status. Concentration index was used to analyse the income-related inequalities. Its decomposition was used to study factors related to the inequalities. Results The proportion of respondents reporting need for dental care decreased from 2001 to 2007, while no changes were seen in reports of toothache or self-reported oral health status. Income-related inequalities in reports of toothache and perceived need for care widened, while the inequality in self-reported oral health remained stable. Most of the inequalities were related to income itself, perceived general health and the time since the last visit to dental care. Conclusions It seems that the income-related inequalities in perceived oral health remained or even widened after the reform.
Goryakin, Yevgeniy; Suhrcke, Marc; Roberts, Bayard; McKee, Martin
In the previous two decades, countries of the former Soviet Union underwent substantive economic and social changes. While there has been some limited evidence on the relationship between socioeconomic well-being and mental health in the developing and transitional economies, the evidence on economic inequalities in mental health has so far been scarce. In this paper, we analyse two unique datasets collected in 2001 (N = 18,428) and in 2010 (N = 17,998) containing data on 9 countries of the former Soviet Union, exploring how mental health inequalities have changed between 2001 and 2010. Using regression analysis, as well as the indirect standardization approach, we found that mental health appears to have substantially improved in most studied countries during the past decade. Specifically, both the proportion of people with poor mental health, as well as wealth-related inequalities in poor mental health, decreased in almost all countries, except Georgia. Hence, we did not find evidence of a trade-off between changes in average and distributional mental health indicators between 2001 and 2010. Our findings give ground for optimism that at least on these measures, the most difficult times associated with the transition to a market economy in this region may be coming to an end.
Gelormino, Elena; Melis, Giulia; Marietta, Cristina; Costa, Giuseppe
Objective: The Health in All Policies strategy aims to engage every policy domain in health promotion. The more socially disadvantaged groups are usually more affected by potential negative impacts of policies if they are not health oriented. The built environment represents an important policy domain and, apart from its housing component, its impact on health inequalities is seldom assessed. Methods: A scoping review of evidence on the built environment and its health equity impact was carried out, searching both urban and medical literature since 2000 analysing socio-economic inequalities in relation to different components of the built environment. Results: The proposed explanatory framework assumes that key features of built environment (identified as density, functional mix and public spaces and services), may influence individual health through their impact on both natural environment and social context, as well as behaviours, and that these effects may be unequally distributed according to the social position of individuals. Conclusion: In general, the expected links proposed by the framework are well documented in the literature; however, evidence of their impact on health inequalities remains uncertain due to confounding factors, heterogeneity in study design, and difficulty to generalize evidence that is still very embedded to local contexts. PMID:26844145
Pérez, Glòria; Gotsens, Mercè; Palència, Laia; Marí-Dell'Olmo, Marc; Domínguez-Berjón, M Felicitas; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Puig, Vanessa; Bartoll, Xavier; Gandarillas, Ana; Martín, Unai; Bacigalupe, Amaia; Díez, Elia; Ruiz, Miguel; Esnaola, Santiago; Calvo, Montserrat; Sánchez, Pablo; Luque Fernández, Miguel Ángel; Borrell, Carme
The aim is to present the protocol of the two sub-studies on the effect of the economic crisis on mortality and reproductive health and health inequalities in Spain. Substudy 1: describe the evolution of mortality and reproductive health between 1990 and 2013 through a longitudinal ecological study in the Autonomous Communities. This study will identify changes caused by the economic crisis in trends or reproductive health and mortality indicators using panel data (17 Autonomous Communities per study year) and adjusting Poisson models with random effects variance. Substudy 2: analyse inequalities by socioeconomic deprivation in mortality and reproductive health in several areas of Spain. An ecological study analysing trends in the pre-crisis (1999-2003 and 2004-2008) and crisis (2009-2013) periods will be performed. Random effects models Besag York and Mollié will be adjusted to estimate mortality indicators softened in reproductive health and census tracts.
Gottfredson, Linda S
Virtually all indicators of physical health and mental competence favor persons of higher socioeconomic status (SES). Conventional theories in the social sciences assume that the material disadvantages of lower SES are primarily responsible for these inequalities, either directly or by inducing psychosocial harm. These theories cannot explain, however, why the relation between SES and health outcomes (knowledge, behavior, morbidity, and mortality) is not only remarkably general across time, place, disease, and kind of health system but also so finely graded up the entire SES continuum. Epidemiologists have therefore posited, but not yet identified, a more general "fundamental cause" of health inequalities. This article concatenates various bodies of evidence to demonstrate that differences in general intelligence (g) may be that fundamental cause.
Meskarpour-Amiri, Mohammad; Dopeykar, Nooredin; Ameryoun, Ahmad; Mehrabi Tavana, Ali
Background: Timely access to cardiovascular health services is necessary to prevent heart damages. The present study examined inequality in geographical distribution of cardiovascular health services in Iran. Methods: Present study is a cross-sectional study conducted using demographic data from all Iranian provinces (31 provinces) from 2012 census by the Statistics Center of Iran (SCI). The Gini coefficients of CCU beds and cardiologists were used to assess equality in access to cardiovascular health services in Iran. MS Excel software was used to calculate Gini coefficients. Results: The proportions of CCU bed and cardiologist per 100,000 population were 4.88 and 1.27, respectively; also the Gini coefficients were 0.129 and 0.045, respectively. Conclusion: Descriptive statistics showed a skewness in distribution of pubic cardiovascular health services in Iran, though Gini coefficient revealed no significant inequality. However, equal distribution of CCU beds and cardiovascular specialists does not mean they are sufficiently available in Iran. PMID:28210585
Bertelsen, Pernille; Kanstrup, Anne Marie; Madsen, Jacob
This paper explores participatory design walks (PD walks) as a first step toward a participatory design of health information technology (HIT) aimed at tackling health inequality in a neighbourhood identified as a high-risk health area. Existing research shows that traditional methods for health promotion, such as campaigns and teaching, have little to no effect in high-risk health areas. Rather, initiatives must be locally anchored - integrated into the local culture, and based on social relationships and group activities. This paper explains how we conducted PD walks with residents and community workers in the neighbourhood and how this participatory approach supported a first step toward HIT design that tackles health inequality. This is important, as people in neighbourhoods with high health risks are not the target audience for the health technology innovation currently taking place despite the fact that this group suffers the most from health inequality and weigh most on the public healthcare services and costs. The study identifies social and cultural aspects that influence everyday health management and presents how a citizen-driven approach like PD walks, can contribute valuable insights for design of HIT. The paper provides concrete methodological recommendations on how to conduct PD walks that are valuable to HIT designers and developers who aim to do PD with neighbourhoods.
Pampel, Fred C.; Denney, Justin T.; Krueger, Patrick M.
The spread of tobacco use from the West to other parts of the world, especially among disadvantaged socioeconomic groups, raises concerns not only about the indisputable harm to global health but also about worsening health inequality. Arguments relating to economic cost and diffusion posit that rising educational disparities in tobacco use—and associated disparities in health and premature mortality—are associated with higher national income and more advanced stages of cigarette diffusion, particularly among younger persons and males. To test these arguments, we use World Health Survey data for 99,661 men and 123,953 women from 50 low-income to upper-middle-income nations. Multilevel logistic regression models show that increases in national income and cigarette diffusion widen educational disparities in smoking among young persons and men, but have weaker influences among older persons and women. The results suggest that the social and economic patterns of cigarette adoption across low- and middle-income nations foretell continuing, perhaps widening disparities in mortality. PMID:21491184
Popham, Frank; Dibben, Chris; Bambra, Clare
Background Research comparing mortality by socioeconomic status has found that inequalities are not the smallest in the Nordic countries. This is in contrast to expectations given these countries’ policy focus on equity. An alternative way of studying inequality has been little used to compare inequalities across welfare states and may yield a different conclusion. Methods We used average life expectancy lost per death as a measure of total inequality in mortality derived from death rates from the Human Mortality Database for 37 countries in 2006 that we grouped by welfare state type. We constructed a theoretical ‘lowest mortality comparator country’ to study, by age, why countries were not achieving the smallest inequality and the highest life expectancy. We also studied life expectancy as there is an important correlation between it and inequality. Results On average, Nordic countries had the highest life expectancy and smallest inequalities for men but not women. For both men and women, Nordic countries had particularly low younger age mortality contributing to smaller inequality and higher life expectancy. Although older age mortality in the Nordic countries is not the smallest. There was variation within Nordic countries with Sweden, Iceland and Norway having higher life expectancy and smaller inequalities than Denmark and Finland (for men). Conclusions Our analysis suggests that the Nordic countries do have the smallest inequalities in mortality for men and for younger age groups. However, this is not the case for women. Reducing premature mortality among older age groups would increase life expectancy and reduce inequality further in Nordic countries. PMID:23386671
Barros, Marilisa Berti de Azevedo
This study describes the frequency and types of articles on social inequalities in health published in 50 years of the Revista de Saúde Pública, taking as reference some milestones that were used as guidelines to develop the research on this theme. Checking titles, keywords and abstracts or full texts, we identified 288 articles whose central or secondary focus was social inequalities in health. Corresponding to just 1.8% in the initial years, articles on social inequalities in health have represent 10.1% of the articles published in the last decade. The designs used were mainly cross-sectional (58.0%) and ecological (18.1%). The most analyzed themes were: food/nutrition (20.8%), mortality (13.5%), infectious diseases (10.1%), oral health (9.0%), and health services (8.7%). Articles focused on the analysis of racial inequalities in health amounted to 6.9%. Few articles monitored the trends of social inequalities in health, essential enterprise to assess and support interventions, and an even smaller number evaluated the impact of policies and programs on the reduction of social inequalities in health. RESUMO Este estudo descreve a frequência e os tipos de artigos sobre desigualdades sociais em saúde publicados nos 50 anos da Revista de Saúde Pública, tomando por referência alguns marcos que balizaram o desenvolvimento das investigações nessa temática. Checando títulos, palavras-chave e resumos ou textos completos, foram identificados 288 artigos cujo foco central ou secundário era desigualdades sociais em saúde. Correspondendo a apenas 1,8% nos anos iniciais, artigos sobre desigualdades sociais em saúde chegaram a representar 10,1% dos publicados na última década. Os desenhos utilizados foram principalmente transversais (58,0%) e ecológicos espaciais (18,1%). Os temas mais analisados foram: alimentação/nutrição (20,8%), mortalidade (13,5%), doenças infecciosas (10,1%), saúde bucal (9,0%) e serviços de saúde (8,7%). Artigos voltados à an
Ferre, Juan Cruz
There is increasing evidence supporting the existence of a link between income inequalities and health outcomes. The main purpose of this article is to test whether economic inequalities are associated with poor population health in Latin American countries. Multi-country data from 1970 to 2012 were used to assess this question. The results show that the Gini coefficient has a strong correlation with health outcomes. Moreover, multiple linear regression analysis using fixed effects shows that after controlling for gross national income per capita, literacy rate, and health expenditure, the Gini coefficient is independently negatively associated with health outcomes. In Latin American countries, for every percentage point increase in the Gini coefficient, the infant mortality rate grows by 0.467 deaths per 1,000 live births, holding all other variables constant. Additionally, an ordinary least squares estimation model suggests that countries that do not use International Monetary Fund loans perform better on health outcomes. These findings should alert policymakers, elected officials, and the public of the need to fight income inequalities and rethink the role of international financial institutions that dictate state policies.
Haas, Steven A.; Glymour, M. Maria; Berkman, Lisa F.
The authors use data from the Health and Retirement Study's Earnings Benefit File, which links Health and Retirement Study to Social Security Administration records, to estimate the impact of childhood health on earnings curves between the ages of 25 and 50 years. They also investigate the extent to which diminished educational attainment, earlier…
Hall, Nicole; Hipple, Bethany; Friebely, Joan; Ossip, Deborah J; Winickoff, Jonathan P
OBJECTIVE: To discuss strategies for integrating evidence-based tobacco use screening, cessation assistance, and referral to outside services into visits with families in outpatient child health care settings. METHODS: Presentation of counseling scenarios used in the Clinical Effort Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure (CEASE) training video and commentary. RESULTS: Demonstrated strategies include: eliciting information about interest and readiness to quit smoking, respectfully setting an agenda to discuss smoking, tailoring advice and education to the specific circumstances, keeping the dialogue open, prescribing cessation medication, helping the smoker set an action plan for cessation, enrolling the smoker in free telephone counseling through the state quitline, and working with family members to establish a completely smoke-free home and car. Video demonstrations of these techniques are available at www.ceasetobacco.org. CONCLUSION: Child health care clinicians have a unique opportunity to address family smoking and can be most effective by adapting evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling strategies for visits in the pediatric setting.
According to the theory of the developmental origins of adult health and disease, development in utero and in the first years of life are critical phases during which susceptibility to many chronic diseases is set. Diseases eventually occur only if the environment and lifestyle in later life is favorable. Exposure to chemicals (environmental or drug), to infectious agents, unbalanced nutrition, or psychosocial stress prenatally or in the first months/years of life are all factors which have been shown to impact long-term health of individuals. The consequences, however, are not limited to health. A demonstrative example was provided by the study of the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 in the United States. Nationwide, it was estimated that the loss of income over a lifetime for individuals exposed during fetal life to this epidemic amounted to 14 billion dollars. This example demonstrates that an exposure during fetal life, which is not socially differentiated, may affect the social situation of individuals in adulthood. In many situations, it is much more difficult to separate the specific effect of a given exposure from the overall effect of the social environment. Indeed, it has been shown that socioeconomic status in childhood is associated with increased risk of mortality in adulthood, even after accounting for the socioeconomic status and risky behaviors in adulthood. Among the explanations, the theory of developmental origins of health credits of biological plausibility the model of critical periods early in which the individual is particularly vulnerable to certain exposures. Thus, ensuring the best conditions for the biological, physical, emotional and cognitive development of children in early life will enable them to reach their potential in terms of health and socioeconomic return to society. Investment in this period also brings the hope of reducing the perpetuation of social inequalities and health from generation to generation.
Pannarunothai, S; Mills, A
This paper examines the equality of utilization for equal need and equity of out-of-pocket expenditure for health services in a large urban area in Thailand. Data from a household health interview survey were used to explore patterns of perceived morbidity, utilization of various treatment sources, and out-of-pocket payment. Financial access to health care, as reflected in medical benefit/ insurance cover, appeared to influence reported illness and hospitalization rates. Gross lack of access to health care amongst lower socio-economic groups was not the main problem in this densely populated urban area because people could choose and use alternative health services according to their ability and willingness to pay. The corollary, however, was an inequitable pattern of out-of-pocket health expenditure by income quintile and per capita. The underprivileged were more likely to pay out of their own pocket for their health problems, and to pay out of proportion to their household income when compared with more privileged groups. Furthermore, the underprivileged were least likely to be covered by government health benefit schemes, in contrast in particular to civil servants, who paid less out of pocket and did not contribute to their medical benefit fund. The private health sector (private clinics and private hospitals) was the major provider of health care to urban dwellers for both outpatient and inpatient services. Policy options for the short and long term to improve the equity of payment systems for health care are discussed.
Kien, Vu Duy; Van Minh, Hoang; Giang, Kim Bao; Weinehall, Lars; Ng, Nawi
Background A health system that provides equitable health care is a principal goal in many countries. Measuring horizontal inequity (HI) in health care utilization is important to develop appropriate and equitable public policies, especially policies related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Design A cross-sectional survey of 1,211 randomly selected households in slum and non-slum areas was carried out in four urban districts of Hanoi city in 2013. This study utilized data from 3,736 individuals aged 15 years and older. Respondents were asked about health care use during the previous 12 months; information included sex, age, and self-reported NCDs. We assessed the extent of inequity in utilization of public health care services. Concentration indexes for health care utilization and health care needs were constructed via probit regression of individual utilization of public health care services, controlling for age, sex, and NCDs. In addition, concentration indexes were decomposed to identify factors contributing to inequalities in health care utilization. Results The proportion of healthcare utilization in the slum and non-slum areas was 21.4 and 26.9%, respectively. HI in health care utilization in favor of the rich was observed in the slum areas, whereas horizontal equity was achieved among the non-slum areas. In the slum areas, we identified some key factors that affect the utilization of public health care services. Conclusion Our results suggest that to achieve horizontal equity in utilization of public health care services, policy should target preventive interventions for NCDs, focusing more on the poor in slum areas. PMID:25095780
Frank, John; Haw, Sally
Context In this article we present “best practice” guidelines for monitoring socioeconomic inequalities in health status in the general population, using routinely collected data. Methods First, we constructed a set of critical appraisal criteria to assess the utility of routinely collected outcomes for monitoring socioeconomic inequalities in population health status, using epidemiological principles to measure health status and quantify health inequalities. We then selected as case studies three recent “cutting-edge” reports on health inequalities from the Scottish government and assessed the extent to which each of the following outcomes met our critical appraisal criteria: natality (low birth weight rate, LBW), adult mortality (all-cause, coronary heart disease [CHD], alcohol-related, cancer, and healthy life expectancy at birth), cancer incidence, and mental health and well-being. Findings The critical appraisal criteria we derived were “completeness and accuracy of reporting”; “reversibility and sensitivity to intervention”; “avoidance of reverse causation”; and “statistical appropriateness.” Of these, the most commonly unmet criterion across the routinely collected outcomes was “reversibility and sensitivity to intervention.” The reasons were that most mortality events occur in later life and that the LBW rate has now become obsolete as a sole indicator of perinatal health. Other outcomes were also judged to fail other criteria, notably alcohol-related mortality after midlife (“avoidance of reverse causation”); all cancer sites’ incidence and mortality (statistical appropriateness due largely to heterogeneity of SEP gradients across different cancer sites, as well as long latency); and mental health and well-being (“uncertain reversibility and sensitivity to intervention”). Conclusions We conclude that even state-of-the-art data reports on health inequalities by SEP have only limited usefulness for most health and social
Assis, Ana Marlúcia O; Barreto, Maurício L; Santos, Nedja Silva; Oliveira, Lucivalda Pereira Magalhães de; Dos Santos, Sandra Maria Chaves; Pinheiro, Sandra Maria Conceição
This cross-sectional study analyzes the relationship between gradients of social inequalities and the household environment and health and nutritional conditions among 2,001 preschool children in ten counties (municipalities) in the State of Bahia, Brazil. The analysis used multinomial multivariate logistic regression. Children in the middle and lower tertiles on the poverty scale had significant and increasing odds of living in a household headed by a woman, an unemployed father, a mother with = years of schooling, more than one child sharing the same bed, severe stunting, and retinol consumption below the median as compared to those in the upper tertile. More than one child in the home, weight deficit, and lipid consumption below the median were also significantly associated with the poorest tertile. Specific emergency health policies and measures must be implemented to minimize the burden imposed by poverty and social inequalities on childhood health and nutrition.
René, A. A.; Daniels, D. E.; Martin, S. A.
A significant amount of evidence reveals a presence of environmental inequity. Although there is a disproportionate distribution of waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, and chemical and manufacturing plants in minority and low-income communities in the United States, little research has been devoted to show any associations based on analytic epidemiological methods. To date, attempts to quantify health disparities have included demographic data, race, sex, income, other socioeconomic factors, and broad symptomatic survey instruments. To study this, we examined the latest epidemiological evidence documenting the existence of adverse health impacts resulting from environmental inequity. We observed that the overwhelming majority of studies were descriptive in nature and lacked comparison populations. As a result, we believe that further research based on analytic epidemiological methods would further contribute to the determination of the cause-effect relationship between environmental exposure and health outcome. PMID:10918762
Olafsdottir, Sigrun; Bakhtiari, Elyas; Barman, Emily
Social scientists have long recognized that macro-level factors have the potential to shape the health of populations and individuals. Along these lines, they have theorized about the role of the welfare state in creating more equal opportunities and outcomes and how this intervention may benefit health. More recently, scholars and policymakers alike have pointed out how the involvement of civil society actors may replace or complement any state effort. Using data from the World Values Surveys and the European Values Study, combined with national-level indicators for welfare state and civil society involvement, we test the impact of each sector on health and health inequalities in 25 countries around the world. We find that both have a statistically significant effect on overall health, but the civil society sector may have a greater independent influence in societies with weaker welfare states. The health inequalities results are less conclusive, but suggest a strong civil society may be particularly beneficial to vulnerable populations, such as the low income and unemployed. Our paper represents an early step in providing empirical evidence for the impact of the welfare state and civil society on health and health inequalities.
Poder, Thomas G; He, Jie
This article seeks to understand in the ways in which income inequality can affect children's health (z-score of stunting) in Guatemala. We postulate that there are several transmission channels through which income inequality can affect health and that the children's ethnic and rural origins influence the size and direction of this effect. The methodology employed is systems of simultaneous equations (three-stage least squares and generalized method of moments). Our results highlight the importance of rural and indigenous characteristics in the relationship between income inequality and child health and indicate that the most important transmission channels are household income levels and maternal education.
Nunes, Bruno Pereira; Thumé, Elaine; Tomasi, Elaine; Duro, Suele Manjourany Silva; Facchini, Luiz Augusto
OBJECTIVE To assess the inequalities in access, utilization, and quality of health care services according to the socioeconomic status. METHODS This population-based cross-sectional study evaluated 2,927 individuals aged ≥ 20 years living in Pelotas, RS, Southern Brazil, in 2012. The associations between socioeconomic indicators and the following outcomes were evaluated: lack of access to health services, utilization of services, waiting period (in days) for assistance, and waiting time (in hours) in lines. We used Poisson regression for the crude and adjusted analyses. RESULTS The lack of access to health services was reported by 6.5% of the individuals who sought health care. The prevalence of use of health care services in the 30 days prior to the interview was 29.3%. Of these, 26.4% waited five days or more to receive care and 32.1% waited at least an hour in lines. Approximately 50.0% of the health care services were funded through the Unified Health System. The use of health care services was similar across socioeconomic groups. The lack of access to health care services and waiting time in lines were higher among individuals of lower economic status, even after adjusting for health care needs. The waiting period to receive care was higher among those with higher socioeconomic status. CONCLUSIONS Although no differences were observed in the use of health care services across socioeconomic groups, inequalities were evident in the access to and quality of these services. PMID:26039400
Anderson, Beth Ellen; Suk, William A.
Background Complex problems do not respect academic disciplinary boundaries. Environmental health research is complex and often moves beyond these boundaries, integrating diverse knowledge resources to solve such challenges. Here we describe an evolving paradigm for interweaving approaches that integrates widely diverse resources outside of traditional academic environments in full partnerships of mutual respect and understanding. We demonstrate that scientists, social scientists, and engineers can work with government agencies, industry, and communities to interweave their expertise into metaphorical knowledge fabrics to share understanding, resources, and enthusiasm. Objective Our goal is to acknowledge and validate how interweaving research approaches can contribute to research-driven, solution-oriented problem solving in environmental health, and to inspire more members of the environmental health community to consider this approach. Discussion The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program (SRP), as mandated by Congress, has evolved to become a program that reaches across a wide range of knowledge resources. SRP fosters interweaving multiple knowledge resources to develop innovative multidirectional partnerships for research and training. Here we describe examples of how motivation, ideas, knowledge, and expertise from different people, institutions, and agencies can integrate to tackle challenges that can be as complex as the resources they bring to bear on it. Conclusions By providing structure for interweaving science with its stakeholders, we are better able to leverage resources, increase potential for innovation, and proactively ensure a more fully developed spectrum of beneficial outcomes of research investments. Citation Anderson BE, Naujokas MF, Suk WA. 2015. Interweaving knowledge resources to address complex environmental health challenges. Environ Health Perspect 123:1095–1099
Muntaner, Carles; Solar, Orielle; Vanroelen, Christophe; Martínez, José Miguel; Vergara, Montserrat; Santana, Vilma; Castedo, Antía; Kim, Il-Ho; Benach, Joan
The study explores the pathways and mechanisms of the relation between employment conditions and health inequalities. A significant amount of published research has proved that workers in several risky types of labor--precarious employment, unemployment, informal labor, child and bonded labor--are exposed to behavioral, psychosocial, and physio-pathological pathways leading to physical and mental health problems. Other pathways, linking employment to health inequalities, are closely connected to hazardous working conditions (material and social deprivation, lack of social protection, and job insecurity), excessive demands, and unattainable work effort, with little power and few rewards (in salaries, fringe benefits, or job stability). Differences across countries in the social contexts and types of jobs result in varying pathways, but the general conceptual model suggests that formal and informal power relations between employees and employers can determine health conditions. In addition, welfare state regimes (unionization and employment protection) can increase or decrease the risk of mortality, morbidity, and occupational injury. In a multilevel context, however, these micro- and macro-level pathways have yet to be fully studied, especially in middle- and low-income countries. The authors recommend some future areas of study on the pathways leading to employment-related health inequalities, using worldwide standard definitions of the different forms of labor, authentic data, and a theoretical framework.
A systems approach offers a novel conceptualization to natural and social systems. In recent years, this has led to perceiving population health outcomes as an emergent property of a dynamic and open, complex adaptive system. The current paper explores these themes further and applies the principles of systems approach and complexity science (i.e. systems science) to conceptualize social determinants of health inequalities. The conceptualization can be done in two steps: viewing health inequalities from a systems approach and extending it to include complexity science. Systems approach views health inequalities as patterns within the larger rubric of other facets of the human condition, such as educational outcomes and economic development. This anlysis requires more sophisticated models such as systems dynamic models. An extension of the approach is to view systems as complex adaptive systems, i.e. systems that are 'open' and adapt to the environment. They consist of dynamic adapting subsystems that exhibit non-linear interactions, while being 'open' to a similarly dynamic environment of interconnected systems. They exhibit emergent properties that cannot be estimated with precision by using the known interactions among its components (such as economic development, political freedom, health system, culture etc.). Different combinations of the same bundle of factors or determinants give rise to similar patterns or outcomes (i.e. property of convergence), and minor variations in the initial condition could give rise to widely divergent outcomes. Novel approaches using computer simulation models (e.g. agent-based models) would shed light on possible mechanisms as to how factors or determinants interact and lead to emergent patterns of health inequalities of populations.
Mithen, Johanna; Aitken, Zoe; Ziersch, Anne; Kavanagh, Anne M
The poor mental and physical health of people with disabilities has been well documented and there is evidence to suggest that inequalities in health between people with and without disabilities may be at least partly explained by the socioeconomic disadvantage (e.g. low education, unemployment) experienced by people with disabilities. Although there are fewer studies documenting inequalities in social capital, the evidence suggests that people with disabilities are also disadvantaged in this regard. We drew on Bourdieu's conceptualisation of social capital as the resources that flow to individuals from their membership of social networks. Using data from the General Social Survey 2010 of 15,028 adults living in private dwellings across non-remote areas of Australia, we measured social capital across three domains: informal networks (contact with family and friends); formal networks (group membership and contacts in influential organisations) and social support (financial, practical and emotional). We compared levels of social capital and self-rated health for people with and without disabilities and for people with different types of impairments (sensory and speech, physical, psychological and intellectual). Further, we assessed whether differences in levels of social capital contributed to inequalities in health between people with and without disabilities. We found that people with disabilities were worse off than people without disabilities in regard to informal and formal networks, social support and self-rated health status, and that inequalities were greatest for people with intellectual and psychological impairments. Differences in social capital did not explain the association between disability and health. These findings underscore the importance of developing social policies which promote the inclusion of people with disabilities, according to the varying needs of people with different impairments types. Given the changing policy environment, ongoing
Fleming, Erik S.; Perkins, James; Easa, David; Conde, José G.; Baker, Richard S.; Southerland, William M.; Dottin, Robert; Benabe, Julio E.; Ofili, Elizabeth O.; Bond, Vincent C.; McClure, Shelia A.; Sayre, Michael H.; Beanan, Maureen J.; Norris, Keith C.
The national research leadership has recently become aware of the tremendous potential of translational research as an approach to address health disparities. The Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Translational Research Network (RTRN) is a research network that supports multi-institutional, multidisciplinary collaboration with a focus on key diseases and conditions for which disproportionately adverse racial and ethnic health disparities exist. The RTRN is designed to facilitate the movement of scientific advances across the translational research spectrum by providing researchers at different institutions with the infrastructure and tools necessary to collaborate on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research projects relating to specific health outcomes for which major racial/ethnic disparities exist. In the past, the difficulty of overcoming the restrictions imposed by time and space have made it difficult to carry out this type of large-scale, multilevel collaboration efficiently. To address this formidable challenge, the RTRN will deploy a translational research cluster system that uses “cyber workspaces” to bring researchers with similar interests together by using online collaboratory technology. These virtual meeting environments will provide a number of tools, including videoconferences (seminars, works in progress, meetings); project management tools (WebCT, Microsoft Share Point); and posting areas for projects, concepts, and other research and educational activities. This technology will help enhance access to resources across institutions with a common mission, minimize many of the logistical hurdles that impede intellectual exchange, streamline the planning and implementation of innovative interdisciplinary research, and assess the use of protocols and practices to assist researchers in interacting across and within cyber workspaces. PMID:18646341
Hernandez, Virginia Rondero; Montana, Salvador; Clarke, Kris
Numerous studies acknowledge that the well-being of our nation hinges on the health of its people. There is specific concern about children because they represent the future. Ignoring children's health needs can compromise their educational preparedness, occupational pursuits, productivity, and longevity. Current science demonstrates that…
Chappell, Neena L.; Funk, Laura M.
This paper empirically examines the relationship between advantage, social capital and health status to assess (a) whether social capital adds explanatory power to what we already know about the relationship between advantage and health and (b) whether social capital adds anything beyond its component parts, namely social participation and trust.…
Song, Lijun; Lin, Nan
Does social capital, resources embedded in social relationships, influence health? This research examines whether social capital impacts depressive symptoms and overall perceived health status over and above the effects of social support. Our analyses use unique data from the Taiwan Social Change Survey collected in 1997, and measures social…
Staats, Susan; Robertson, Douglas
The Millennium Project is an international effort to improve the health, economic status, and environmental resources of the world's most vulnerable people. Using data associated with the Millennium Project, students use algebra to explore international development issues including poverty reduction and the relationship between health and economy.…
Blakely, Tony; Cobiac, Linda J.; Cleghorn, Christine L.; Pearson, Amber L.; van der Deen, Frederieke S.; Kvizhinadze, Giorgi; Nghiem, Nhung; McLeod, Melissa; Wilson, Nick
Background Countries are increasingly considering how to reduce or even end tobacco consumption, and raising tobacco taxes is a potential strategy to achieve these goals. We estimated the impacts on health, health inequalities, and health system costs of ongoing tobacco tax increases (10% annually from 2011 to 2031, compared to no tax increases from 2011 [“business as usual,” BAU]), in a country (New Zealand) with large ethnic inequalities in smoking-related and noncommunicable disease (NCD) burden. Methods and Findings We modeled 16 tobacco-related diseases in parallel, using rich national data by sex, age, and ethnicity, to estimate undiscounted quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained and net health system costs over the remaining life of the 2011 population (n = 4.4 million). A total of 260,000 (95% uncertainty interval [UI]: 155,000–419,000) QALYs were gained among the 2011 cohort exposed to annual tobacco tax increases, compared to BAU, and cost savings were US$2,550 million (95% UI: US$1,480 to US$4,000). QALY gains and cost savings took 50 y to peak, owing to such factors as the price sensitivity of youth and young adult smokers. The QALY gains per capita were 3.7 times greater for Māori (indigenous population) compared to non-Māori because of higher background smoking prevalence and price sensitivity in Māori. Health inequalities measured by differences in 45+ y-old standardized mortality rates between Māori and non-Māori were projected to be 2.31% (95% UI: 1.49% to 3.41%) less in 2041 with ongoing tax rises, compared to BAU. Percentage reductions in inequalities in 2041 were maximal for 45–64-y-old women (3.01%). As with all such modeling, there were limitations pertaining to the model structure and input parameters. Conclusions Ongoing tobacco tax increases deliver sizeable health gains and health sector cost savings and are likely to reduce health inequalities. However, if policy makers are to achieve more rapid reductions in the NCD
Phelan, Jo C.
Bodies of research pertaining to specific stigmatized statuses have typically developed in separate domains and have focused on single outcomes at 1 level of analysis, thereby obscuring the full significance of stigma as a fundamental driver of population health. Here we provide illustrative evidence on the health consequences of stigma and present a conceptual framework describing the psychological and structural pathways through which stigma influences health. Because of its pervasiveness, its disruption of multiple life domains (e.g., resources, social relationships, and coping behaviors), and its corrosive impact on the health of populations, stigma should be considered alongside the other major organizing concepts for research on social determinants of population health. PMID:23488505
Schröders, Julia; Wall, Stig; Kusnanto, Hari; Ng, Nawi
Introduction Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 calls for reducing mortality of children under-five years by two-thirds by 2015. Indonesia is on track to officially meet the MDG 4 targets by 2015 but progress has been far from universal. It has been argued that national level statistics, on which MDG 4 relies, obscure persistent health inequities within the country. Particularly inequities in child health are a major global public health challenge both for achieving MDG 4 in 2015 and beyond. This review aims to map out the situation of MDG 4 with respect to disadvantaged populations in Indonesia applying the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) framework. The specific objectives are to answer: Who are the disadvantaged populations? Where do they live? And why and how is the inequitable distribution of health explained in terms of the SDH framework? Methods and Findings We retrieved studies through a systematic review of peer-reviewed and gray literature published in 1995-2014. The PRISMA-Equity 2012 statement was adapted to guide the methods of this review. The dependent variables were MDG 4-related indicators; the independent variable “disadvantaged populations” was defined by different categories of social differentiation using PROGRESS. Included texts were analyzed following the guidelines for deductive content analysis operationalized on the basis of the SDH framework. We identified 83 studies establishing evidence on more than 40 different determinants hindering an equitable distribution of child health in Indonesia. The most prominent determinants arise from the shortcomings within the rural health care system, the repercussions of food poverty coupled with low health literacy among parents, the impact of low household decision-making power of mothers, and the consequences of high persistent use of traditional birth attendants among ethnic minorities. Conclusion This review calls for enhanced understanding of the determinants and pathways that create
Kegler, Michelle C.; Hall, Sarah M.; Kiser, Mimi
Interest in partnering with faith-based organizations (FBOs) to address health disparities has grown in recent years. Yet relatively little is known about these types of partnerships. As part of an evaluation of the Institute for Faith and Public Health Collaborations, representatives of 34 faith--health teams (n = 61) completed semi-structured…
Ritsatakis, Anna; Ostergren, Per-Olof; Webster, Premila
The WHO European Healthy Cities Network has from its inception aimed at tackling inequalities in health. In carrying out an evaluation of Phase V of the project (2009-13), an attempt was made to examine how far the concept of equity in health is understood and accepted; whether cities had moved further from a disease/medical model to looking at the social determinants of inequalities in health; how far the HC project contributed to cities determining the extent and causes of inequalities in health; what efforts were made to tackle such inequalities and how far inequalities in health may have increased or decreased during Phase V. A broader range of resources was utilized for this evaluation than in previous phases of the project. These indicated that most cities were definitely looking at the broader determinants. Equality in health was better understood and had been included as a value in a range of city policies. This was facilitated by stronger involvement of the HC project in city planning processes. Although almost half the cities participating had prepared a City Health Profile, only few cities had the necessary local level data to monitor changes in inequalities in health.
van Deurzen, Ioana; van Oorschot, Wim; van Ingen, Erik
An influential policy idea states that reducing inequality is beneficial for improving health in the low and middle income countries (LMICs). Our study provides an empirical test of this idea: we utilized data collected by the Demographic and Health Surveys between 2000 and 2011 in as much as 52 LMICs, and we examined the relationship between household wealth inequality and two health outcomes: anemia status (of the children and their mothers) and the women' experience of child mortality. Based on multi-level analyses, we found that higher levels of household wealth inequality related to worse health, but this effect was strongly reduced when we took into account the level of individuals' wealth. However, even after accounting for the differences between individuals in terms of household wealth and other characteristics, in those LMICs with higher household wealth inequality more women experienced child mortality and more children were tested with anemia. This effect was partially mediated by the country's level and coverage of the health services and infrastructure. Furthermore, we found higher inequality to be related to a larger health gap between the poor and the rich in only one of the three examined samples. We conclude that an effective way to improve the health in the LMICs is to increase the wealth among the poor, which in turn also would lead to lower overall inequality and potential investments in public health infrastructure and services.
Erreygers, Guido; Van Ourti, Tom
The tools to be used and other choices to be made when measuring socioeconomic inequalities with rank-dependent inequality indices have recently been debated in this journal. This paper adds to this debate by stressing the importance of the measurement scale, by providing formal proofs of several issues in the debate, and by lifting the curtain on the confusing debate between adherents of absolute versus relative health differences. We end this paper with a ‘matrix’ that provides guidelines on the usefulness of several rank-dependent inequality indices under varying circumstances. PMID:21683462
Krokstad, S; Kunst, A; Westin, S
Objective: To describe levels of inequality and trends in self reported morbidity by educational level in a total Norwegian county population in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Design: Two cross sectional health surveys at an interval of 10 years in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, HUNT I (1984–86) and HUNT II (1995–97). Setting: Primary health care, total county population study. Participants: Men and women, 25–69 years. Main results: There was a consistent pattern of increasing self reported health problems with decreasing educational level for three health variables: perceived health, any longstanding health problem, and having a chronic condition. A stable or slight decrease in inequalities over time was found. The prevalence odds ratio for perceived health less than good were 2.71 for men (95% confidence intervals (CI): 2.39 to 3.09) and 2.13 for women (95% CI: 1.85 to 2.46) in the first survey, 2.51 for men (95% CI: 2.27 to 2.78) and 2.06 for women (95% CI: 1.88 to 2.26) 10 years later. Conclusions: The magnitude of the socioeconomic gradients in health in this population seemed somewhat lower than in Norway as a whole and close to the average in studies from other European countries. There was a slight trend towards smaller differences despite rapid structural changes in working life, turbulence in economy, and more people experiencing unemployment. PMID:11964436
The present study examines how growing socio-economic inequalities in transitional countries that have followed different health policy paths affect women's access to reproductive health care. I conducted surveys in Kazakhstan and Belarus and used logistic regression analyses to determine accessibility to and satisfaction with reproductive health services, reproductive status, and reproductive history based on country of residence. By all measures, access to reproductive health services was most problematic for the low-income women in Kazakhstan but to a significantly lesser extent for economically disadvantaged respondents in Belarus. Differences in education had a significant effect on women's access to reproductive health services in Kazakhstan but were not present in Belarus. Household income was the most powerful predictor of self-perceived health in Kazakhstan, but not in Belarus. The unreformed health-care system in Belarus appears to be more accessible for all women than Kazakhstan's health-care system that underwent significant market-oriented reform.
At the end of the first decade of the present century debates arose in social epidemiology. These debates set those who defend the existence of a relation between the political and/or welfare stage regime and the magnitude of socioeconomic inequalities in health against those who maintain the facts do not support such a relation. These debates are similar to other debates in epidemiology in the 1990s related with theories of how diseases are produced and the factors that determine their distribution in the population. Whereas some authors find it impossible to separate ethical and political aspects and professional values from scientific arguments, others consider that epidemiologists and other scientists should make an effort to distinguish between scientific and unscientific considerations. In this paper the author reflects about the harmony that keep science, politics and ethics in the scientific practice on health inequalities, although the empirical evidence is contrary to that harmonious effect.
Rappert, Brian; Moyes, Richard; Lang, Iain
In recent years, states and non-governmental organizations have expressed concern about the humanitarian consequences of the category of technologies labelled 'explosive weapons', particularly in relation to their use in populated areas. This article seeks to outline the magnitude of these consequences as well as what can be done to reduce harms. In particular, it makes a case for how health approaches could help prevent the harms associated with this category of weapons. Attention is given to the types of evidence and argument that might be required to characterize explosive weapons. An overarching aim is to consider how alternative ways of understanding weapons and violence can create new opportunities for addressing harms from conflict.
Cushing, Lara; Morello-Frosch, Rachel; Wander, Madeline; Pastor, Manuel
A growing body of literature suggests that more unequal societies have more polluted and degraded environments, perhaps helping explain why more unequal societies are often less healthy. We summarize the mechanisms by which inequality can lead to environmental degradation and their relevance for public health. We review the evidence of a relationship between environmental quality and social inequality along the axes of income, wealth, political power, and race and ethnicity. Our review suggests that the evidence is strongest for air- and water-quality measures that have more immediate health implications; evidence is less strong for more dispersed pollutants that have longer-term health impacts. More attention should be paid in research and in practice to links among inequality, the environment, and health, including more within-country studies that may elucidate causal pathways and points of intervention. We synthesize common metrics of inequality and methodological considerations in an effort to bring cohesion to such efforts.
Banerjee, Amitava; Pogge, Thomas
Global health inequities persist despite significant increases in funding and a growing number of global health initiatives. Especially vulnerable to disease, the poor majority of the world's population currently cannot afford advanced medicines, and the diseases confined to the poor receive little attention from pharmaceutical research. As a complement to the existing intellectual property regime, we have proposed the Health Impact Fund (HIF) as a mechanism that would create incentives for the development and optimal promotion of new high-impact medicines sold at the cost of manufacture. In this article, we outline the HIF and its ethical significance.
Global disparities in health among rich and poor nations have been well documented. Health disparities are even worse for women in resource-poor countries than for men. Obstacles to women's health and access to health services include deeply rooted customs or cultural norms, including religious teachings and practices; ideological and political factors; poor health infrastructure; and discriminatory laws or failure to enforce laws designed to protect the rights of women. The most striking inequalities exist in the area of reproductive and sexual health. The situation is worse in those parts of the world in which women are systematically oppressed, have few civil rights, or are in such dire poverty that they are unable to afford preventive and therapeutic services that are otherwise available to women of greater means even in their own countries. These gender inequalities can be remedied, in part, by economic development that would improve women's access to prenatal care and skilled maternity services. In large measure, however, significant improvement in women's health, especially reproductive and sexual health, will only come about with a change in cultural attitudes and practices, in addition to legal reforms and better enforcement of existing human rights provisions.
Ochoa-Díaz López, H; Sánchez-Pérez, H J; Ruíz-Flores, M; Fuller, M
The objective of this study was to investigate the association between farmers' socioeconomic conditions and their children's health in La Fraylesca, Chiapas. Data were collected using a cross-sectional survey of 1046 households (5546 individuals) sampled from locations in two counties situated in the study area. The survey included anthropometric measurements, a 24-hour dietary recall, stool tests, and childhood mortality data. Children of private farmers and "wealthy peasants" displayed better nutritional status, higher quality diet, lower prevalence of intestinal parasites, and a lower risk of dying than those whose parents were communal farmers, from ejidos, or "poor peasants". The results suggest that using volume of maize production as a classification method proved more valuable than land tenure to identify agricultural groups with different health status. It appears that the main determinants of health differentials are structural inequities in resource distribution. Thus, the impact of medical interventions on inequalities will be limited unless they are accompanied by redistribution of resources.
Razum, Oliver; Karrasch, Laura; Spallek, Jacob
Over the past 70 years, several million people have immigrated into Germany-from different countries of origin and for different reasons. The categories used by society to label immigrants ("guest workers", "persons with a migration background") have changed over time. This change has occurred in parallel with changes in the societal attitude towards immigrants and in their legal position. There is unequivocal evidence that the forms that migration takes, in addition to the societal responses towards immigrants, have an effect on their health. The spectrum of migration to Germany is likely to remain fluent because of the continuing process of globalization; also, societal responses to migration will change over time. Thus, migration will continue to pose challenges to society and to health. Only through continuous attentiveness will it be possible to identify, and then avoid or reduce, health disadvantages faced by persons with a migration background.
Introduction Mexico faces important problems concerning income and health inequity. Mexico’s national public agenda prioritizes remedying current inequities between its indigenous and non-indigenous population groups. This study explores the changes in social inequalities among Mexico’s indigenous and non-indigenous populations for the time period 2000 to 2010 using routinely collected poverty, welfare and health indicator data. Methods We described changes in socioeconomic indicators (housing condition), poverty (Foster-Greer-Thorbecke and Sen-Shorrocks-Sen indexes), health indicators (childhood stunting and infant mortality) using diverse sources of nationally representative data. Results This analysis provides consistent evidence of disparities in the Mexican indigenous population regarding both basic and crucial developmental indicators. Although developmental indicators have improved among the indigenous population, when we compare indigenous and non-indigenous people, the gap in socio-economic and developmental indicators persists. Conclusions Despite a decade of efforts to promote public programs, poverty persists and is a particular burden for indigenous populations within Mexican society. In light of the results, it would be advisable to review public policy and to specifically target future policy to the needs of the indigenous population. PMID:24576113
Yang, Weikang; Li, Haitao; Fu, Xiaoyuan; Lu, Junqiang; Xue, Zhiqiang; Wu, Chuan’an
Abstract Household registration status is one social determinant that influences health disparities. This study aimed to investigate the disparities in cardiovascular health between local and migrant residents, which may provide important implications for public health services and may help improve cardiovascular health for residents in Shenzhen. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Shenzhen City Longhua district. Participants were selected for face-to-face interview surveys by using a multistage cluster random sampling design. Chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression models were constructed to compare cardiovascular health between the migrant and local residents. A total of 6934 eligible respondents, of whom 1400 were local and 5534 were migrants, completed the face-to-face interview surveys. The local residents were more likely to have hypertension (3.1% vs. 2.0%, P < 0.05) and diabetes mellitus (1.4% vs. 0.5%, P < 0.05), whilst to be overweight or obese (20.3% vs. 16.4%, P < 0.05) when compared with their migrant counterparts. A higher proportion of local residents than migrant ones had ≥2 cardiovascular risk factors, 2.4% and 1.2%, respectively (P < 0.01). Compared with migrants, the locals were more likely to know their BP values (65.4% vs. 54.5%, P < 0.05) and know the symptoms of diabetes (63.1% vs. 49.7%, P < 0.01). Our study suggests that household registration status is an important driver of social disparities in cardiovascular health except for the factors regarding socioeconomic status. Programs to improve the awareness of hypertension and diabetes are suggested to be initiated among the migrants. PMID:26656335
Stanley, Mary Jo; Rojas, Deb
Schools of nursing are challenged to find clinical placements in public health settings. Use of simulation can address situations unique to public health, with attention to specific concerns, such as environmental health. Environmental health is an integral part of public health nursing and is a standard of professional practice. Current simulations focus on acute care situations, offering limited scenarios with a public health perspective and excluding environmental health. This study's simulation scenario was created to enhance nursing students' understanding of public health concepts within an environmental health context. Outcomes from the simulation include the need for integration of environmental issues in public health teaching. Students stated that this scenario provided a broader understanding of the environmental influences that can affect the client's and family's health. This scenario fills a void in simulation content, while providing an interactive teaching and learning strategy to help students to apply knowledge to practice.
Valantine, Hannah A; Collins, Francis S
The US biomedical research workforce does not currently mirror the nation's population demographically, despite numerous attempts to increase diversity. This imbalance is limiting the promise of our biomedical enterprise for building knowledge and improving the nation's health. Beyond ensuring fairness in scientific workforce representation, recruiting and retaining a diverse set of minds and approaches is vital to harnessing the complete intellectual capital of the nation. The complexity inherent in diversifying the research workforce underscores the need for a rigorous scientific approach, consistent with the ways we address the challenges of science discovery and translation to human health. Herein, we identify four cross-cutting diversity challenges ripe for scientific exploration and opportunity: research evidence for diversity's impact on the quality and outputs of science; evidence-based approaches to recruitment and training; individual and institutional barriers to workforce diversity; and a national strategy for eliminating barriers to career transition, with scientifically based approaches for scaling and dissemination. Evidence-based data for each of these challenges should provide an integrated, stepwise approach to programs that enhance diversity rapidly within the biomedical research workforce.
Valantine, Hannah A.; Collins, Francis S.
The US biomedical research workforce does not currently mirror the nation’s population demographically, despite numerous attempts to increase diversity. This imbalance is limiting the promise of our biomedical enterprise for building knowledge and improving the nation’s health. Beyond ensuring fairness in scientific workforce representation, recruiting and retaining a diverse set of minds and approaches is vital to harnessing the complete intellectual capital of the nation. The complexity inherent in diversifying the research workforce underscores the need for a rigorous scientific approach, consistent with the ways we address the challenges of science discovery and translation to human health. Herein, we identify four cross-cutting diversity challenges ripe for scientific exploration and opportunity: research evidence for diversity’s impact on the quality and outputs of science; evidence-based approaches to recruitment and training; individual and institutional barriers to workforce diversity; and a national strategy for eliminating barriers to career transition, with scientifically based approaches for scaling and dissemination. Evidence-based data for each of these challenges should provide an integrated, stepwise approach to programs that enhance diversity rapidly within the biomedical research workforce. PMID:26392553
Hall, Nicole; Hipple, Bethany; Friebely, Joan; Ossip, Deborah J.; Winickoff, Jonathan P.
Objective To discuss strategies for integrating evidence-based tobacco use screening, cessation assistance, and referral to outside services into visits with families in outpatient child health care settings. Methods Presentation of counseling scenarios used in the Clinical Effort Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure (CEASE) training video and commentary. Results Demonstrated strategies include: eliciting information about interest and readiness to quit smoking, respectfully setting an agenda to discuss smoking, tailoring advice and education to the specific circumstances, keeping the dialogue open, prescribing cessation medication, helping the smoker set an action plan for cessation, enrolling the smoker in free telephone counseling through the state quitline, and working with family members to establish a completely smoke-free home and car. Video demonstrations of these techniques are available at www.ceasetobacco.org. Conclusion Child health care clinicians have a unique opportunity to address family smoking and can be most effective by adapting evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling strategies for visits in the pediatric setting. PMID:20448841
Rocco, Gennaro; Stievano, Alessandro
Until the early Eighties, critical social theory as a philosophical orientation informing nursing science, theory development and practice did not exist. Interest on this topic began to arise only after the mid-Eighties. In fact, nursing scholars questioned the validity of empiricism as the historical foundation for nursing science and the limitations of interpretivism in strengthening nursing knowledge, and thus started to focus on the lack of epistemological perspectives in nursing, giving particular prominence to the peculiar social, political, historical and economic conditions involving those who needed nursing care. The theoretical reflection began to develop, like the empirical paradigm, the post-positivist paradigm and, later, the interpretative paradigm, expanded thanks to the early works by Martha Rogers and Rosemarie Rizzo Parse, were seen as unable to address issues related to power inequities, structural constraints and oppression suffered by vulnerable groups such as the homeless, mental health individuals, people affected by HIV+ and other infectious diseases, unemployed, etc.. Empiricism and interpretative paradigms did not manage to bridge the gap between theory and praxis, and a new theoretical and philosophical approach gradually gained ground. This paradigm, based on critical social theory, was developed by distinguished scholars and intellectuals, such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfurt School in the Thirties, and, in recent years, by Giddens, Bourdieu, Foucault, Habermas. On this social field the first works of Allen, Thompson, Stevens, Campbell and Bunting, Kendall, allowed to work out a new paradigmatic nursing approach that would have predicted the employment of the critical theory for particular nursing aspects, as a conceptual framework for nursing education, as a paradigm to carry out participatory action-research and for the development of the discipline. The purpose of this article was to describe this
I would like to thank Jamie Pearce for his warm commentary
Parish, Susan L; Rose, Roderick A; Dababnah, Sarah; Yoo, Joan; Cassiman, Shawn A
Growing evidence supports the hypothesis that income inequality within a nation influences health outcomes net of the effect of any given household's absolute income. We tested the hypothesis that state-level income inequality in the United States is associated with increased family burden for care and health-related expenditures for low-income families of children with special health care needs. We analyzed the 2005-06 wave of the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, a probability sample of approximately 750 children with special health care needs in each state and the District of Columbia in the US Our measure of state-level income inequality was the Gini coefficient. Dependent measures of family caregiving burden included whether the parent received help arranging or coordinating the child's care and whether the parent stopped working due to the child's health. Dependent measures of family financial burden included absolute burden (spending in past 12 months for child's health care needs) and relative burden (spending as a proportion of total family income). After controlling for a host of child, family, and state factors, including family income and measures of the severity of a child's impairments, state-level income inequality has a significant and independent association with family burden related to the health care of their children with special health care needs. Families of children with special health care needs living in states with greater levels of income inequality report higher rates of absolute and relative financial burden.
Muntaner, Carles; Ng, Edwin; Chung, Haejoo; Prins, Seth J
Most population health researchers conceptualize social class as a set of attributes and material conditions of life of individuals. The empiricist tradition of ‘class as an individual attribute' equates class to an ‘observation', precluding the investigation of unobservable social mechanisms. Another consequence of this view of social class is that it cannot be conceptualized, measured, or intervened upon at the meso- or macro levels, being reduced to a personal attribute. Thus, population health disciplines marginalize rich traditions in Marxist theory whereby ‘class' is understood as a ‘hidden' social mechanism such as exploitation. Yet Neo-Marxist social class has been used over the last two decades in population health research as a way of understanding how health inequalities are produced. The Neo-Marxist approach views social class in terms of class relations that give persons control over productive assets and the labour power of others (property and managerial relations). We critically appraise the contribution of the Neo-Marxist approach during the last two decades and suggest realist amendments to understand class effects on the social determinants of health and health outcomes. We argue that when social class is viewed as a social causal mechanism it can inform social change to reduce health inequalities. PMID:26345311
Biggs, Brian; King, Lawrence; Basu, Sanjay; Stuckler, David
Despite findings indicating that both national income level and income inequality are each determinants of public health, few have studied how national income level, poverty and inequality interact with each other to influence public health outcomes. We analyzed the relationship between gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in purchasing power parity, extreme poverty rates, the gini coefficient for personal income and three common measures of public health: life expectancy, infant mortality rates, and tuberculosis (TB) mortality rates. Introducing poverty and inequality as modifying factors, we then assessed whether the relationship between GDP and health differed during times of increasing, decreasing, and decreasing or constant poverty and inequality. Data were taken from twenty-two Latin American countries from 1960 to 2007 from the December 2008 World Bank World Development Indicators, World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Database 2008, and the Socio-Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean. Consistent with previous studies, we found increases in GDP have a sizable positive impact on population health. However, the strength of the relationship is powerfully influenced by changing levels of poverty and inequality. When poverty was increasing, greater GDP had no significant effect on life expectancy or TB mortality, and only led to a small reduction in infant mortality rates. When inequality was rising, greater GDP had only a modest effect on life expectancy and infant mortality rates, and no effect on TB mortality rates. In sharp contrast, during times of decreasing or constant poverty and inequality, there was a very strong relationship between increasing GDP and higher life expectancy and lower TB and infant mortality rates. Finally, inequality and poverty were found to exert independent, substantial effects on the relationship between national income level and health. Wealthier is indeed healthier, but how much healthier depends on how
Ki, Myung; Kim, Yong-Soo; Shin, Ji-Yeon; Lim, Jiseun; Nazroo, James
Socioeconomic inequalities in health are commonly known to decrease at late age. Yet, it remains unclear whether socioeconomic inequalities in health at late age appear in relation to multimorbidity, particularly in Korea where social support remains unsatisfactory for older people. Using three waves of Korea Health Panel, data of 19,942 observations with repeated measure were constructed to ensure a temporal sequence between three socioeconomic measures (i.e., poverty, employment status, and education) and multimorbidity with a t to t+1 year transition. A multilevel multinomial model was applied to quantify the socioeconomic impact across different age, diseases and disease groups, both separately and in combination. There were associations between socioeconomic position (SEP) and multimorbidity, and increasing trends of socioeconomic inequalities not only with greater number of morbidity but also with age. The latter result was only observed with employment status through mid-to-early old age; i.e., between the 40s (odds ratio (OR) = 2.45, 95% confidence interval (CI):1.08–5.57) and 70s (OR = 3.48, 95%CI: 1.24–9.74). The patterns of socioeconomic inequalities in multimorbidity varied for particular pairs of diseases and were stronger in the disease pairs co-occurring with mental and cardiovascular diseases but weaker in the disease pairs co-occurring with cancer. Accumulation of adversity tended to intensify with increase in number of diseases and older age, though this finding was not consistently supported. The labour market should be encouraged to actively participate in actions to promote healthy aging needs to be complemented by the provision of more generous and universal income support to the elderly in Korea. PMID:28296975
Ki, Myung; Lee, Yo Han; Kim, Yong-Soo; Shin, Ji-Yeon; Lim, Jiseun; Nazroo, James
Socioeconomic inequalities in health are commonly known to decrease at late age. Yet, it remains unclear whether socioeconomic inequalities in health at late age appear in relation to multimorbidity, particularly in Korea where social support remains unsatisfactory for older people. Using three waves of Korea Health Panel, data of 19,942 observations with repeated measure were constructed to ensure a temporal sequence between three socioeconomic measures (i.e., poverty, employment status, and education) and multimorbidity with a t to t+1 year transition. A multilevel multinomial model was applied to quantify the socioeconomic impact across different age, diseases and disease groups, both separately and in combination. There were associations between socioeconomic position (SEP) and multimorbidity, and increasing trends of socioeconomic inequalities not only with greater number of morbidity but also with age. The latter result was only observed with employment status through mid-to-early old age; i.e., between the 40s (odds ratio (OR) = 2.45, 95% confidence interval (CI):1.08-5.57) and 70s (OR = 3.48, 95%CI: 1.24-9.74). The patterns of socioeconomic inequalities in multimorbidity varied for particular pairs of diseases and were stronger in the disease pairs co-occurring with mental and cardiovascular diseases but weaker in the disease pairs co-occurring with cancer. Accumulation of adversity tended to intensify with increase in number of diseases and older age, though this finding was not consistently supported. The labour market should be encouraged to actively participate in actions to promote healthy aging needs to be complemented by the provision of more generous and universal income support to the elderly in Korea.
My laboratory has previously shown that the sex differences in tumor incidence in Europe can be related to the female social condition and that the pattern of this relationship varies according to the different historical contexts. In this article, I have extended the study worldwide to all cancer registries, and I present the sex differences in life expectancy at birth. A close link between the health of the populations and socioeconomic and cultural factors was confirmed. The sex-related indicators had a distribution independent from the parent variables cancer incidence and life expectancy; thus, they carry complementary information and provide an additional, sensitive probe for monitoring the health of the populations. PMID:12676593
Andermann, Anne; Pang, Tikki; Newton, John N; Davis, Adrian; Panisset, Ulysses
In an ideal world, researchers and decision-makers would be involved from the outset in co-producing evidence, with local health needs assessments informing the research agenda and research evidence informing the actions taken to improve health. The first step in improving the health of individuals and populations is therefore gaining a better understanding of what the main health problems are, and of these, which are the most urgent priorities by using both quantitative data to develop a health portrait and qualitative data to better understand why the local population thinks that addressing certain health challenges should be prioritized in their context. Understanding the causes of these health problems often involves analytical research, such as case-control and cohort studies, or qualitative studies to better understand how more complex exposures lead to specific health problems (e.g. by interviewing local teenagers discovering that watching teachers smoke in the school yard, peer pressure, and media influence smoking initiation among youth). Such research helps to develop a logic model to better map out the proximal and distal causes of poor health and to determine potential pathways for intervening and impacting health outcomes. Rarely is there a single 'cure' or stand-alone intervention, but rather, a continuum of strategies are needed from diagnosis and treatment of patients already affected, to disease prevention, health promotion and addressing the upstream social determinants of health. Research for developing and testing more upstream interventions must often go beyond randomized controlled trials, which are expensive, less amenable to more complex interventions, and can be associated with certain ethical challenges. Indeed, a much neglected area of the research cycle is implementation and evaluation research, which often involves quasi-experimental research study designs as well as qualitative research, to better understand how to derive the greatest
Powell-Jackson, Timothy; Basu, Sanjay; Balabanova, Dina; McKee, Martin; Stuckler, David
Despite a tremendous increase in financial resources, many countries are not on track to achieve the child and maternal mortality targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. It is commonly argued that two main social factors - improved democratic governance and aggregate income - will ultimately lead to progress in reducing child and maternal mortality. However, these two factors alone may be insufficient to achieve progress in settings where there is a high level of social division. To test the effects of growth and democratisation, and their interaction with social inequalities, we regressed data on child and maternal mortality rates for 192 countries against internationally used indexes of income, democracy, and population inequality (including income, ethnic, linguistic, and religious divisions) covering the period 1970-2007. We found that a higher degree of social division, especially ethnic and linguistic fractionalisation, was significantly associated with greater child and maternal mortality rates. We further found that, even in democratic states, greater social division was associated with lower overall population access to healthcare and lesser expansion of health system infrastructure. Perversely, while greater democratisation and aggregate income were associated with reduced maternal and child mortality overall, in regions with high levels of ethnic fragmentation the health benefits of democratisation and rising income were undermined and, at high levels of inequality reversed, so that democracy and growth were adversely related to child and maternal mortality. These findings are consistent with literature suggesting that high degrees of social division in the context of democratisation can strengthen the power of dominant elite and ethnic groups in political decision-making, resulting in health and welfare policies that deprive minority groups (a health-inequality trap). Thus, we show that improving economic growth and democratic
Do socioeconomic differences in health status increase as people age, reflecting cumulative advantage or disadvantage in health trajectories? Life course research hypothesises that cumulative advantage/disadvantage (CAD) is an important underlying social process that shape inequalities as people age. The objective of this study is to examine whether health trajectories are diverging as people age across socioeconomic positions (education, employment status and income). In a random sample of 3,665 respondents living in Switzerland (Swiss Household Panel 2004-2011), trajectories of self-rated health, body mass index, depression and medicated functioning were examined with multilevel regression models. The results showed that employment status and income were associated with diverging health trajectories among men; however, only a few associations supported the CAD hypothesis. Education was rarely associated with diverging health trajectories. In conclusion, little evidence was found to support the CAD model.
Birkett, Michelle; Greene, George J.; Hatzenbuehler, Mark L.; Newcomb, Michael E.
This article explicates a vision for social change throughout multiple levels of society necessary to eliminate sexual orientation health disparities in youths. We utilized the framework of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of development, a multisystemic model of development that considers direct and indirect influences of multiple levels of the environment. Within this multisystem model we discuss societal and political influences, educational systems, neighborhoods and communities, romantic relationships, families, and individuals. We stress that continued change toward equity in the treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths across these levels will break down the barriers for these youths to achieve healthy development on par with their heterosexual peers. PMID:24328618
Mustanski, Brian; Birkett, Michelle; Greene, George J; Hatzenbuehler, Mark L; Newcomb, Michael E
This article explicates a vision for social change throughout multiple levels of society necessary to eliminate sexual orientation health disparities in youths. We utilized the framework of Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory of development, a multisystemic model of development that considers direct and indirect influences of multiple levels of the environment. Within this multisystem model we discuss societal and political influences, educational systems, neighborhoods and communities, romantic relationships, families, and individuals. We stress that continued change toward equity in the treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths across these levels will break down the barriers for these youths to achieve healthy development on par with their heterosexual peers.
Stephens, Dionne P.; Thomas, Tami L.
Although the number of Hispanic women attending postsecondary institutions has significantly increased in the past decade, knowledge about their use of campus health services to address sexuality-related issues remains low. Increased information about this population is crucial given that sexual health indicators have shown Hispanic women in…
De Oliveira, Cesar; Macinko, James; Marmot, Michael
Objectives. We examined socioeconomic inequalities in health among older adults in England and Brazil. Methods. We analyzed nationally representative samples of residents aged 50 years and older in 2008 data from the Brazilian National Household Survey (n = 75 527) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (n = 9589). We estimated prevalence ratios for self-rated health, functional limitations, and reported chronic diseases, by education level and household income tertiles. Results. Brazilians reported worse health than did English respondents. Country-specific differences were higher among the poorest, but also affected the wealthiest persons. We observed a strong inverse gradient of similar magnitude across education and household income levels for most health indicators in each country. Prevalence ratios (lowest vs highest education level) of poor self-rated health were 3.24 in Brazil and 3.50 in England; having 2 or more functional limitations, 1.81 in Brazil and 1.96 in England; and having 1 or more diseases, 1.14 in Brazil and 1.36 in England. Conclusions. Socioeconomic inequalities in health affect both populations, despite a less pronounced absolute difference in household income and education in Brazil than in England. PMID:22698020
The 1981-2 General Household Survey showed steep class gradients in limiting longstanding illness for men and women aged 20-59 that were very similar to the class gradients in mortality in the 1979-83 decennial supplement. The class gradient for women classified by their husband's occupation was stronger than that when they were classified by their own occupation. Men and women who lacked paid employment reported poorer health than the employed and were concentrated in the lower social classes. Inequalities in ill health due to class were partly caused by the higher proportion in the lower social classes who were without work. Class differences in ill health still existed, however, among the currently employed, with unskilled men reporting particularly poor health and women manual workers reporting poorer health than women in non-manual jobs. Class differences were greater for the occupationless than for the currently employed. Thus class remains an important indicator of health inequalities despite the current high level of unemployment. PMID:3107698
Hiyoshi, Ayako; Fukuda, Yoshiharu; Shipley, Martin J; Brunner, Eric J
The extent that risk factors, identified in Western countries, account for health inequalities in Japan remains unclear. We analysed a nationally representative sample (Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions surveyed in 2001 (n = 40,243)). The cross-sectional association between self-rated fair or poor health and household income and a theory-based occupational social class was summarised using the relative index of inequality [RII]. The percentage attenuation in RII accounted for by candidate contributory factors - material, psychosocial, social relational and behavioural - was computed. The results showed that the RII for household income based on self-rated fair or poor health was reduced after including the four candidate contributory factors in the model by 20% (95% CI 2.1, 43.6) and 44% (95% CI 18.2, 92.5) in men and women, respectively. The RII for the Japanese Socioeconomic Classification [J-SEC] was reduced, not significantly, by 22% (95% CI -6.3, 100.0) in men in the corresponding model, while J-SEC was not associated with self-rated health in women. Material factors produced the most consistent and strong attenuation in RII for both socioeconomic indicators, while the contributions attributable to behaviour alone were modest. Social relational factors consistently attenuated the RII for both socioeconomic indicators in men whereas they did not make an independent contribution in women. The influence of perceived stress was inconsistent and depended on the socioeconomic indicator used. In summary, social inequalities in self-rated fair or poor health were reduced to a degree by the factors included. The results indicate that the levelling of health across the socioeconomic hierarchy needs to consider a wide range of factors, including material and psychosocial factors, in addition to the behavioural factors upon which the current public health policies in Japan focus. The analyses in this study need to be replicated using a longitudinal study design
Background Socioeconomic inequalities in obesity and associated risk factors for obesity are widening throughout developed countries worldwide. Tackling obesity is high on the public health agenda both in the United Kingdom and internationally. However, what works in terms of interventions that are able to reduce inequalities in obesity is lacking. Methods/Design The review will examine public health interventions at the individual, community and societal level that might reduce inequalities in obesity among adults aged 18 years and over, in any setting and in any country. The following electronic databases will be searched: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Science Citation Index, ASSIA, IBSS, Sociological Abstracts, and the NHS Economic Evaluation Database. Database searches will be supplemented with website and gray literature searches. No studies will be excluded based on language, country or publication date. Randomized and non-randomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective cohort studies (with/without control groups) and prospective repeat cross-sectional studies (with/without control groups) that have a primary outcome that is a proxy for body fatness and have examined differential effects with regard to socioeconomic status (education, income, occupation, social class, deprivation, poverty) or where the intervention has been targeted specifically at disadvantaged groups or deprived areas will be included. Study inclusion, data extraction and quality appraisal will be conducted by two reviewers. Meta-analysis and narrative synthesis will be conducted. The main analysis will examine the effects of 1) individual, 2) community and 3) societal level public health interventions on socioeconomic inequalities in adult obesity. Interventions will be characterized by their level of action and their approach to tackling inequalities. Contextual information on how such public health interventions are organized, implemented and delivered will also
van Mierlo, Trevor; Hyatt, Douglas; Ching, Andrew T
Digital Health Social Networks (DHSNs) are common; however, there are few metrics that can be used to identify participation inequality. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the Gini coefficient, an economic measure of statistical dispersion traditionally used to measure income inequality, could be employed to measure DHSN inequality. Quarterly Gini coefficients were derived from four long-standing DHSNs. The combined data set included 625,736 posts that were generated from 15,181 actors over 18,671 days. The range of actors (8-2323), posts (29-28,684), and Gini coefficients (0.15-0.37) varied. Pearson correlations indicated statistically significant associations between number of actors and number of posts (0.527-0.835, p < .001), and Gini coefficients and number of posts (0.342-0.725, p < .001). However, the association between Gini coefficient and number of actors was only statistically significant for the addiction networks (0.619 and 0.276, p < .036). Linear regression models had positive but mixed R(2) results (0.333-0.527). In all four regression models, the association between Gini coefficient and posts was statistically significant (t = 3.346-7.381, p < .002). However, unlike the Pearson correlations, the association between Gini coefficient and number of actors was only statistically significant in the two mental health networks (t = -4.305 and -5.934, p < .000). The Gini coefficient is helpful in measuring shifts in DHSN inequality. However, as a standalone metric, the Gini coefficient does not indicate optimal numbers or ratios of actors to posts, or effective network engagement. Further, mixed-methods research investigating quantitative performance metrics is required.
The publication of The Spirit Level (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009) marked a paramount moment in the analysis of health and inequality, quickly attracting a remarkable degree of attention, both positive and negative, both in academic and in public discourse. Following at least 20 years of research, the book proposes a simple and powerful argument: inequality per se, more specifically income inequality, is harmful to every aspect of social life. In order to confirm this idea, the authors present a series of bivariate, cross-sectional associations showing comparisons across countries and within the United States. Despite the methodological limitations of this approach, the authors advance causal claims concerning the detrimental effects of income inequality. They also rule out poverty as a plausible alternative explanation, without directly measuring it. Meanwhile, over the last decade stratification scholars have demonstrated the nonlinear effect of economic factors, especially income, on health. The results suggest that a relative approach is best for analyzing dynamics at the top of the income distribution, whereas an absolute approach seems most appropriate for studying the bottom of the distribution. Consistent with this perspective, here I reanalyze data from The Spirit Level, adding a measure of poverty, in order to control the effect of inequality and explore its interaction with poverty. The findings show that inequality and poverty-which I contend are two interdependent but nonetheless distinct phenomena-interact across countries, such that the detrimental effects of inequality are present or stronger in countries with high poverty, and absent or weaker in countries with low poverty; poverty replaces inequality as the favored explanation of health and social ills across states. The new evidence suggests that income distributions are characterized by a complex interplay between inequality and poverty, whose interaction deserves further analysis.
Chang, E-Shien; Simon, Melissa A.; Dong, XinQi
ABSTRACT Although community-based participatory research (CBPR) has been recognized as a useful approach for eliminating health disparities, less attention is given to how CBPR projects may address gender inequalities in health for immigrant older women. The goal of this article is to share culturally sensitive strategies and lessons learned from the PINE study—a population-based study of U.S. Chinese older adults that was strictly guided by the CBPR approach. Working with Chinese older women requires trust, respect, and understanding of their unique historical, social, and cultural positions. We also discuss implications for developing impact-driven research partnerships that meet the needs of this vulnerable population. PMID:27310870
Carneiro, Fernando Ferreira; Franco Netto, Guilherme; Corvalan, Carlos; de Freitas, Carlos Machado; Sales, Luiz Belino Ferreira
Despite its progress in terms of socio-economic indicators, Brazil is still unequal, which is due to an unequal and exclusionary historical process. In this paper we selected the Human Development Index - HDI and other social, economic, environmental and health indicators to exemplify this situation. We selected the municipalities that had the lowest HDI in the country in 2000 comparing their evolution over time between 2000 and 2010 by means of indicators linked to the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development. These municipalities have an HDI classified as low (<0.500), and correspond to countries such as Laos, Yemen, Haiti and Madagascar. At national level, data for the decade show a significant improvement in economic indicators (decrease from 23% to 8.9% of people living on less than a quarter of the minimum wage); social indicators (increase from 86.5% to 90.2% of literacy in women), and the environmental indicator associated with access to the water grid, which also improved to a lesser extent (increase from 81% to 85%). It was concluded that in order to achieve sustainable development with quality of life, the improvement of sanitation and education indicators should be a priority for Brazil.
Muntaner, Carles; Li, Yong; Ng, Edwin; Benach, Joan; Chung, Haejoo
Building on previous multilevel studies in social epidemiology, this cross-sectional study examines, simultaneously, the contextual effects of workplace exploitation and area-of-residence economic inequality on social inequalities in health among low-income nursing assistants. A total of 868 nursing assistants recruited from 55 nursing homes in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia were surveyed between 1999 and 2001. Using a cross-classified multilevel design, the authors tested the effects of area-of-residence (income inequality and racial segregation), workplace (type of nursing home ownership and managerial pressure), and individual-level (age, gender, race/ethnicity, health insurance, length of employment, social support, type of nursing unit, preexisting psychopathology, physical health, education, and income) variables on health (self-reported health and activity limitations) and behavioral outcomes (alcohol use and caffeine consumption). Findings reveal that overall health was associated with both workplace exploitation and area-of-residence income inequality; area of residence was associated with activity limitations and binge drinking; and workplace exploitation was associated with caffeine consumption. This study explicitly accounts for the multiple contextual structure and effects of economic inequality on health. More work is necessary to replicate the current findings and establish robust conclusions on workplace and area of residence that might help inform interventions.
Climate and demographics are primary drivers of regional resource sustainability. In today's global economy, increasing trade has provided a mechanism to alleviate regional stresses. However, increasing regional income promotes consumption, aggravating regional and global resource pressures. South Asia, has the highest population density at a sub-continent scale. Given its monsoonal climate, and high intensity of agriculture it faces perhaps the most severe population weighted water stress in the world. Rapidly declining groundwater tables and the associated high energy use for pumping for irrigated agriculture translate into unsustainable energy imports and expenditure that contributed to the two largest blackouts in global history in summer 2012. Access to water has been progressively declining for both rural and urban populations for the last 3 decades. The increasing energy imports and poor grid reliability translate into limits to the growth of manufacturing and exports of goods and services. The growing income inequity within the population and across national borders, and the impacts of floods and droughts on access to water, food and energy collectively suggest a very high risk for social unrest and a conflict flashpoint. I present a scenario analysis that establishes this case for the emergence of internal and external strife in the region as an outcome of the current resource and natural disaster management policies in the region. Prospects for strategic policy changes for water and energy management and the design of a food procurement and distribution system that could lead to a better future are discussed.
Koller, Theadora; Morgan, Antony; Guerreiro, Ana; Currie, Candace; Ziglio, Erio
Over the past 25 years, the WHO collaborative cross-national Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study has been accumulating evidence that provides insights into how to promote the health and well-being of young people. HBSC has increased understanding of the determinants of young people's health, particularly in relation to the social contexts in which they live, learn and play. The study now spans 43 countries and regions in Europe and North America. HBSC provides intelligence for the development and evaluation of public health policy and practice at national, sub-national and international levels. However, the mere existence of evidence does not automatically change policy nor necessarily improve the lives of young people. Effective mechanisms to ensure use of evidence in policy-making and practice are needed. The WHO/HBSC Forum series is a platform designed to facilitate the translation of evidence into action. Forum processes convene researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from across Europe to analyse data, review policies and interventions, and identify lessons learned to improve the health of adolescents through actions that address the social contexts that influence their health. Each Forum process consists of case studies produced by interdisciplinary teams in countries and regions, cross-country evidence reviews, a European consultation, an outcomes statement within a final publication, and a Web-based knowledge platform. In addition to emphasizing the translation of research into action, the Forum series focuses on increasing know-how to scale up intersectoral policies and interventions; reduce health inequities; and involve young people in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and interventions. Interviews with selected participants in the 2007 Forum process revealed that national-level impacts of involvement were: brokering new or strengthening existing working relationships among members of case study drafting teams
Cahuas, Madelaine C; Wakefield, Sarah; Peng, Yun
There is a renewed interest in the potential of municipal governments working collaboratively with local communities to address health inequities. A growing body of literature has also highlighted the benefits and limitations of participatory approaches in neighbourhood interventions initiated by municipal governments. However, few studies have investigated how neighbourhood interventions tackling health inequities work in real-time and in context, from the perspectives of Community Developers (CDs) who promote community participation. This study uses a process evaluation approach and semi-structured interviews with CDs to explore the challenges they face in implementing a community development, participatory process in the City of Hamilton's strategy to reduce health inequities - Neighbourhood Action. Findings demonstrate that municipal government can facilitate and suppress community participation in complex ways. CDs serve as significant but conflicted intermediaries as they negotiate and navigate power differentials between city and community actors, while also facing structural challenges. We conclude that community participation is important to bottom-up, resident-led social change, and that CDs are central to this work.
Inequity in service provision for Indigenous Australians with communication disability is an issue requiring urgent attention. In the lead article, Wylie, McAllister, Davidson, and Marshall (2013) note that, even in the relatively affluent Minority World, including Australia, equity in service provision for people with communication disability has not been achieved. In remote communities in the Northern Territory (NT) almost all residents speak a language other than English as their primary language. However, there are no speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in the NT who speak an Indigenous language or who share their cultural background. Specific data on the prevalence of communication disability in this population are unavailable due to a range of factors. The disability data that are available, for example, demonstrating the high level of conductive hearing loss, indicates that the risk of communication disability in this population is particularly high. Change is urgently needed to address current inequities in both availability of, and access to, culturally responsive services for Indigenous people with communication disability. Such change must engage Indigenous people in a collaborative process that recognizes their expertise in identifying both their needs and the most effective form of response to these needs.
Song, Peige; Ren, Zhenghong; Chang, Xinlei; Liu, Xuebei; An, Lin
Child health has been addressed as a priority at both global and national levels for many decades. In China, difficulty of accessing paediatricians has been of debate for a long time, however, there is limited evidence to assess the population- and geography-related inequality of paediatric workforce distribution. This study aimed to analyse the inequality of the distributions of the paediatric workforce (including paediatricians and paediatric nurses) in China by using Lorenz curve, Gini coefficient, and Theil L index, data were obtained from the national maternal and child health human resource sampling survey conducted in 2010. In this study, we found that the paediatric workforce was the most inequitable regarding the distribution of children <7 years, the geographic distribution of the paediatric workforce highlighted very severe inequality across the nation, except the Central region. For different professional types, we found that, except the Central region, the level of inequality of paediatric nurses was higher than that of the paediatricians regarding both the demographic and geographic distributions. The inner-regional inequalities were the main sources of the paediatric workforce distribution inequality. To conclude, this study revealed the inadequate distribution of the paediatric workforce in China for the first time, substantial inequality of paediatric workforce distribution still existed across the nation in 2010, more research is still needed to explore the in-depth sources of inequality, especially the urban-rural variance and the inner- and inter-provincial differences, and to guide national and local health policy-making and resource allocation. PMID:27420083
This theoretical exploration is an attempt to conceptualize the link between gender and urban environmental health. The proposed ecofeminist framework enables an understanding of the link between the urban physical and social environments and health inequities mediated by gender and socioeconomic status. This framework is proposed as a theoretical magnifying glass to reveal the underlying logic that connects environmental exploitation on the one hand, and gendered health inequities on the other. Ecofeminism has the potential to reveal an inherent, normative conceptual analysis and argumentative justification of western society that permits the oppression of women and the exploitation of the environment. This insight will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying gendered environmental health inequities and inform healthy public policy that is supportive of urban environmental health, particularly for low-income mothers.
Carvalho, Renata Alves da Silva; Santos, Victor Santana; de Melo, Cláudia Moura; Gurgel, Ricardo Queiroz; Oliveira, Cristiane Costa da Cunha
OBJECTIVE To analyze the variation of infant mortality as per condition of life in the urban setting. METHODS Ecological study performed with data regarding registered deaths of children under the age of one who resided in Aracaju, SE, Northeastern Brazil, from 2001 to 2010. Infant mortality inequalities were assessed based on the spatial distribution of the Living Conditions Index for each neighborhood, classified into four strata. The average mortality rates of 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 were compared using the Student’s t-test. RESULTS Average infant mortality rates decreased from 25.3 during 2001-2005 to 17.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006-2010. Despite the decrease in the rates in all the strata during that decade, inequality of infant mortality risks increased in neighborhoods with worse living conditions compared with that in areas with better living conditions. CONCLUSIONS Infant mortality rates in Aracaju showed a decline, but with important differences among neighborhoods. The assessment based on a living condition perspective can explain the differences in the risks of infant mortality rates in urban areas, highlighting health inequalities in infant mortality as a multidimensional issue. PMID:25741650
Purtle, Jonathan; Klassen, Ann C; Kolker, Jennifer; Buehler, James W
Mental health has been recognized as a public health priority for nearly a century. Little is known, however, about what local health departments (LHDs) do to address the mental health needs of the populations they serve. Using data from the 2013 National Profile of Local Health Departments - a nationally representative survey of LHDs in the United States (N=505) - we characterized LHDs' engagement in eight mental health activities, factors associated with engagement, and estimated the proportion of the U.S. population residing in jurisdictions where these activities were performed. We used Handler's framework of the measurement of public health systems to select variables and examined associations between LHD characteristics and engagement in mental health activities using bivariate analyses and multilevel, multivariate logistic regression. Assessing gaps in access to mental healthcare services (39.3%) and implementing strategies to improve access to mental healthcare services (32.8%) were the most common mental health activities performed. LHDs that provided mental healthcare services were significantly more likely to perform population-based mental illness prevention activities (adjusted odds ratio: 7.1; 95% CI: 5.1, 10.0) and engage in policy/advocacy activities to address mental health (AOR: 3.9; 95% CI: 2.7, 5.6). Our study suggests that many LHDs are engaged in activities to address mental health, ranging from healthcare services to population-based interventions, and that LHDs that provide healthcare services are more likely than others to perform mental health activities. These findings have implications as LHDs reconsider their roles in the era of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and LHD accreditation.
Phelan, Jo C; Link, Bruce G; Tehranifar, Parisa
Link and Phelan (1995) developed the theory of fundamental causes to explain why the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and mortality has persisted despite radical changes in the diseases and risk factors that are presumed to explain it. They proposed that the enduring association results because SES embodies an array of resources, such as money, knowledge, prestige, power, and beneficial social connections that protect health no matter what mechanisms are relevant at any given time. In this article, we explicate the theory, review key findings, discuss refinements and limits to the theory, and discuss implications for health policies that might reduce health inequalities. We advocate policies that encourage medical and other health-promoting advances while at the same time breaking or weakening the link between these advances and socioeconomic resources. This can be accomplished either by reducing disparities in socioeconomic resources themselves or by developing interventions that, by their nature, are more equally distributed across SES groups.
Arber, Sara; Fenn, Kirsty; Meadows, Robert
The relationship between health and income is well established, but the link between subjective financial well-being and self-reported health has been relatively ignored. This study investigates the relationship between income, subjective financial well-being and health in mid-life and later life in Britain. Analysis of the General Household Survey for 2006 examined these relationships at ages 45-64 (n = 4639) and 65 and over (n = 3104). Logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for income and other socio-economic factors associated with self-reported health. Both income and subjective financial well-being are independently associated with health in mid-life; those with lower incomes and greater subjective financial difficulties had higher risk of reporting 'less than good' health. In contrast in later life, subjective financial well-being was associated with health, but the effect of income on health was mediated entirely through subjective financial well-being. The poorer health of the divorced/separated was also entirely mediated by differences in subjective financial well-being. Research on health inequalities should pay greater attention to the link between subjective financial hardship and ill-health, especially during periods of greater economic difficulties and financial austerity.
Hong, Hannah; Mújica, Oscar J; Anaya, José; Lansingh, Van C; López, Ellery; Silva, Juan Carlos
Background No comprehensive study currently exists on the supply of ophthalmologists across Latin America. We explored sociogeographic inequalities in the availability and distribution of ophthalmologists across 14 Latin American countries. Methods The National Ophthalmologic Societies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela provided data on affiliated ophthalmologists by first-order subnational divisions in 2013. Human Development Index (HDI) estimates at the corresponding subnational division were used as equity stratifiers. Distributional inequality of ophthalmologists within each country was assessed by the health concentration index (HCI) and the index of dissimilarity (ID), along with the mean level of ophthalmologists per population. Results Across all countries studied, there were 5.2 ophthalmologists per 100 000 population on average (95% CI 5.0 to 5.4) in 2013, with a mean HCI of 0.26 (0.16 to 0.37) and a mean relative ID of 22.7% (20.9% to 24.7%). There was wide inequality in ophthalmologist availability between countries, ranging from 1.2 (1.1 to 1.4) in Ecuador to 8.6 (8.5 to 8.8) in Brazil. All countries had positive (ie, pro-rich) HCI values ranging from 0.68 (0.66 to 0.71) in Guatemala to 0.02 (−0.11 to 0.14) in Venezuela. Correspondingly, redistributive potential to achieve equity was closest in Venezuela (ID: 1.5%) and farthest in Guatemala (ID: 60.3%). Benchmarked against regional averages, most countries had a lower availability of ophthalmologists and higher relative inequality. Conclusions There is high inequality in the level and distribution of ophthalmologists between and within countries in Latin America, with a disproportionate number concentrated in more developed, socially advantaged areas. More equitable access to ophthalmologists could be achieved by implementing incentivised human resources redistribution programmes and
Thebault, Jean-Laurent; Ringa, Virginie; Bloy, Géraldine; Pendola-Luchel, Isabelle; Paquet, Sylvain; Panjo, Henri; Delpech, Raphaëlle; Bucher, Sophie; Casanova, Fanny; Falcoff, Hector; Rigal, Laurent
Our objective was to examine patients' health behaviors and the related practices of their primary-care physicians to determine whether physicians' actions might help to reduce the social inequalities in health behaviors among their patients. Fifty-two general practitioners, who were also medical school instructors in the Parisian area, volunteered to participate. A sample of 70 patients (stratified by sex) aged 40-70years was randomly chosen from each physician's patient panel and asked to complete a questionnaire about their social position and health behaviors: tobacco and alcohol use, diet, physical activity, and participation in breast and cervical cancer screening. Each physician reported their practices related to each such behavior of each patient. Mixed models were used to test for social differences. Questionnaires were collected in 2008-2009 from both patient and physician for 71% of the 3640 patients. Our results showed social inequalities disfavored those at the bottom of the social scale for all but one of the health behaviors studied among both men and women (exception: excessive alcohol consumption among women). Physicians' practices related to these health behaviors also appeared to be socially differentiated. Among men, this differentiation favored those with the lowest social position for all behaviors except physical activity. Among women, however, practices favored the most disadvantaged only for breast cancer screening. In all other cases, they were either socially neutral or unfavorable to the most disadvantaged. Physicians' practices related to their patients' health behaviors should focus more on those lowest in the social hierarchy, especially among women.
Craig, Shelley L; Bejan, Raluca; Muskat, Barbara
This study explored the ways in which health social workers (HSW) address the social determinants of health (SDH) within their social work practice. Social workers (n = 54) employed at major hospitals across Toronto had many years of practice in health care (M = 11 years; SD = 10.32) and indicated that SDH were a top priority in their daily work; with 98% intentionally intervening with at least one and 91% attending to three or more. Health care services were most often addressed (92%), followed by housing (72%), disability (79%), income (72%), and employment security (70%). Few HSW were tackling racism, Aboriginal status, gender, or social exclusion in their daily practice.
Shannon, I.S. )
Public health's promise for the future is inextricably related to efforts which maximize human potential and which realize the world's interdependence. Public health challenges are not only constant and complex but frequently surrounded by political activities. In this environment, the public health enterprise has been enhanced by the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences' report on The Future of Public Health and the assessment framework it provides. Risk reduction through preventive and health promotion activities is the primary focus of public health, but facilitation is often dependent upon society's understanding and willingness-to-pay for such services. The effectiveness of public health is related to an ability to coordinate public and private efforts at national, state, and local levels. Also in this environment, public health is empowered through its multidisciplinary approach. However, epidemiology provides a unifying framework for the collective public health effort. Based on the use of epidemiology, public health is empowered to make the argument for a national health program and to support the concept of health as a determinant of life options. Public health's promise for the future can be fulfilled by continuing to increase its scientific base for decision-making, by self-examination and correction, by advocating and promoting self-examination and correction, by advocating and promoting social justice and by promoting firm partnerships with the public.
Makinen, M.; Waters, H.; Rauch, M.; Almagambetova, N.; Bitran, R.; Gilson, L.; McIntyre, D.; Pannarunothai, S.; Prieto, A. L.; Ubilla, G.; Ram, S.
This paper summarizes eight country studies of inequality in the health sector. The analyses use household data to examine the distribution of service use and health expenditures. Each study divides the population into "income" quintiles, estimated using consumption expenditures. The studies measure inequality in the use of and spending on health services. Richer groups are found to have a higher probability of obtaining care when sick, to be more likely to be seen by a doctor, and to have a higher probability of receiving medicines when they are ill, than the poorer groups. The richer also spend more in absolute terms on care. In several instances there are unexpected findings. There is no consistent pattern in the use of private providers. Richer households do not devote a consistently higher percentage of their consumption expenditures to health care. The analyses indicate that intuition concerning inequalities could result in misguided decisions. It would thus be worthwhile to measure inequality to inform policy-making. Additional research could be performed using a common methodology for the collection of data and applying more sophisticated analytical techniques. These analyses could be used to measure the impact of health policy changes on inequality. PMID:10686733
The main aim of this study was to explore the mediating role made by work environment to health inequalities by wage income in Sweden. Gender differences were also analysed. Data from the Swedish Survey of Living Conditions for the years 1998 and 1999 were analysed. Employed 20-64-year olds with a registered wage were included (nearly 6000 respondents). Sex-specific logistic regressions in relation to global self-rated health were applied. Those in the lowest income quintile had 2.4 times (men) and 4.3 times (women) higher probability of less than good health than did those in the highest quintile (adjusted for age, family status, country of birth, education level, smoking and full-time work). The mediating contribution of work environment factors to the health gradient by income was 25 per cent (men) and 29 per cent (women), respectively. This contribution was observed mainly from ergonomic and physical exposure, decision authority and skill discretion. Psychological demands did not contribute to such inequalities because mentally demanding work tasks are more common in high income as compared with low income jobs. Using sex-specific income quintiles, instead of income quintiles for the entire sample, gave very similar results. In conclusion, work environment factors can be seen as important mediators for the association between wage income and ill health in Sweden. A larger residual effect of income on health for women as compared with men suggests that one's own income from work is a more important determinant of women's than men's ill health in Sweden.
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The past decade witnessed great progress in research on health inequities. The most widely cited definition of health inequity is, arguably, the one proposed by Whitehead and Dahlgren: "Health inequalities that are avoidable, unnecessary, and unfair are unjust." We argue that this definition is useful but in need of further clarification because it is not linked to broader theories of justice. We propose an alternative, pluralist notion of fair distribution of health that is compatible with several theories of distributive justice. Our proposed view consists of the weak principle of health equality and the principle of fair trade-offs. The weak principle of health equality offers an alternative definition of health equity to those proposed in the past. It maintains the all-encompassing nature of the popular Whitehead/Dahlgren definition of health equity, and at the same time offers a richer philosophical foundation. This principle states that every person or group should have equal health except when: (a) health equality is only possible by making someone less healthy, or (b) there are technological limitations on further health improvement. In short, health inequalities that are amenable to positive human intervention are unfair. The principle of fair trade-offs states that weak equality of health is morally objectionable if and only if: (c) further reduction of weak inequality leads to unacceptable sacrifices of average or overall health of the population, or (d) further reduction in weak health inequality would result in unacceptable sacrifices of other important goods, such as education, employment, and social security. PMID:19922612
Systems change is necessary for improving health care in the United States, especially for populations suffering from health disparities. Theoretical and methodological contributions of anthropology to health care design and delivery can inform systems change by providing a window into provider and patient perceptions and practices. Our community-engaged research teams conduct in-depth investigations of provider perceptions of patients, often uncovering gaps between patient and provider perceptions resulting in the degradation of health equity. We present examples of projects where collaborations between anthropologists and health professionals resulted in actionable data on functioning and malfunctioning systemic momentum toward efforts to eliminate disparities and support wellness. PMID:27158189
Nay, Olivier; Béjean, Sophie; Benamouzig, Daniel; Bergeron, Henri; Castel, Patrick; Ventelou, Bruno
Since 1945, the provision of health care in France has been grounded in a social conception promoting universalism and equality. The French health-care system is based on compulsory social insurance funded by social contributions, co-administered by workers' and employers' organisations under State control and driven by highly redistributive financial transfers. This system is described frequently as the French model. In this paper, the first in The Lancet's Series on France, we challenge conventional wisdom about health care in France. First, we focus on policy and institutional transformations that have affected deeply the governance of health care over past decades. We argue that the health system rests on a diversity of institutions, policy mechanisms, and health actors, while its governance has been marked by the reinforcement of national regulation under the aegis of the State. Second, we suggest the redistributive mechanisms of the health insurance system are impeded by social inequalities in health, which remain major hindrances to achieving objectives of justice and solidarity associated with the conception of health care in France.
Lampert, Thomas; Richter, Matthias; Schneider, Sven; Spallek, Jacob; Dragano, Nico
Social differences in morbidity and mortality have always been a central topic in public health research. In recent years, there has been a growing research interest that has clearly resonated with the general public and the political arena as well. This article describes the development and establishment of social epidemiology in Germany and presents the current status of research. In addition, it describes different models for explaining health inequalities. On this basis, selected challenges and prospects of socio-epidemiological research are demonstrated. The reason why the analysis of social differences in morbidity and mortality will continue to be a key task of public health research in the national and international context in the future is also explained.
In this paper we discuss the prioritisation of healthcare projects where there is a concern about health inequalities, but the decision maker is reluctant to make explicit quantitative value judgements and the data systems only allow the measurement of health at an aggregate level. Our analysis begins with a standard welfare economic model of healthcare resource allocation. We show how - under the assumption that the healthcare projects under consideration have a small impact on individual health--the problem can be reformulated as one of finding a particular subset of the class of efficient solutions to an implied multicriteria optimisation problem. Algorithms for finding such solutions are readily available, and we demonstrate our approach through a worked example of treatment for clinical depression.
Background The past decade has witnessed a growing body of research on welfare state characteristics and health inequalities but the picture is, despite this, inconsistent. We aim to review this research by focusing on theoretical and methodological differences between studies that at least in part may lead to these mixed findings. Methods Three reviews and relevant bibliographies were manually explored in order to find studies for the review. Related articles were searched for in PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar. Database searches were done in PubMed and Web of Science. The search period was restricted to 2005-01-01 to 2013-02-28. Fifty-four studies met the inclusion criteria. Results Three main approaches to comparative welfare state research are identified; the Regime approach, the Institutional approach, and the Expenditure approach. The Regime approach is the most common and regardless of the empirical regime theory employed and the amendments made to these, results are diverse and contradictory. When stratifying studies according to other features, not much added clarity is achieved. The Institutional approach shows more consistent results; generous policies and benefits seem to be associated with health in a positive way for all people in a population, not only those who are directly affected or targeted. The Expenditure approach finds that social and health spending is associated with increased levels of health and smaller health inequalities in one way or another but the studies are few in numbers making it somewhat difficult to get coherent results. Conclusions Based on earlier reviews and our results we suggest that future research should focus less on welfare regimes and health inequalities and more on a multitude of different types of studies, including larger analyses of social spending and social rights in various policy areas and how these are linked to health in different social strata. But, we also need more detailed evaluation of
Canadian research indicates that individuals with lower incomes, less education or lower occupational skill levels tend to be less healthy than those who enjoy greater advantages in these areas. This uneven distribution of health across different socioeconomic status (SES) groups is referred to as "socioeconomic inequality in health." Evidence of the economic cost of health inequalities helps us understand the benefits of reducing these inequalities. However, the data needed to generate such evidence is difficult to obtain. A lack of Canadian data linking health costs and socioeconomic characteristics means that assessment of the degree to which health costs are associated with socioeconomic inequalities at the national level is limited. In order to build evidence on the cost of socioeconomic health inequalities, the Public Health Agency of Canada worked with Statistics Canada to test the feasibility of a "bottom-up" approach to compiling national health cost data. A bottom-up approach relies on individual-level data, which allows costs to be calculated by individual-level characteristics not always found in other data sources. This includes indicators of SES such as level of education or income. In this study, the population was divided into quintiles based on income, and the health care costs incurred by these five income groups were examined for a single year (2007-2008).
Rougeaux, Emeline; Hope, Steven; Law, Catherine; Pearce, Anna
Objectives To examine how population-level socioeconomic health inequalities developed during childhood, for children born at the turn of the 21st century and who grew up with major initiatives to tackle health inequalities (under the New Labour Government). Setting The UK. Participants Singleton children in the Millennium Cohort Study at ages 3 (n=15 381), 5 (n=15 041), 7 (n=13 681) and 11 (n=13 112) years. Primary outcomes Relative (prevalence ratios (PR)) and absolute health inequalities (prevalence differences (PD)) were estimated in longitudinal models by socioeconomic circumstances (SEC; using highest maternal academic attainment, ranging from ‘no academic qualifications’ to ‘degree’ (baseline)). Three health outcomes were examined: overweight (including obesity), limiting long-standing illness (LLSI), and socio-emotional difficulties (SED). Results Relative and absolute inequalities in overweight, across the social gradient, emerged by age 5 and increased with age. By age 11, children with mothers who had no academic qualifications were considerably more likely to be overweight as compared with those with degree-educated mothers (PR=1.6 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.8), PD=12.9% (9.1% to 16.8%)). For LLSI, inequalities emerged by age 7 and remained at 11, but only for children whose mothers had no academic qualifications (PR=1.7 (1.3 to 2.3), PD=4.8% (2% to 7.5%)). Inequalities in SED (observed across the social gradient and at all ages) declined between 3 and 11, although remained large at 11 (eg, PR=2.4 (1.9 to 2.9), PD=13.4% (10.2% to 16.7%) comparing children whose mothers had no academic qualifications with those of degree-educated mothers). Conclusions Although health inequalities have been well documented in cross-sectional and trend data in the UK, it is less clear how they develop during childhood. We found that relative and absolute health inequalities persisted, and in some cases widened, for a cohort of children born at the turn of the century
Kia-Keating, Maryam; Santacrose, Diana E; Liu, Sabrina R; Adams, Jessica
High rates of exposure to violence and other adversities among Latino/a youth contribute to health disparities. The current article addresses the ways in which community-based participatory research (CBPR) and human-centered design (HCD) can help engage communities in dialogue and action. We present a project exemplifying how community forums, with researchers, practitioners, and key stakeholders, including youths and parents, integrated HCD strategies with a CBPR approach. Given the potential for power inequities among these groups, CBPR + HCD acted as a catalyst for reciprocal dialogue and generated potential opportunity areas for health promotion and change. Future directions are described.
Peeran, Syed Wali; Altaher, Omar Basheer; Peeran, Syed Ali; Alsaid, Fatma Mojtaba; Mugrabi, Marei Hamed; Ahmed, Aisha Mojtaba; Grain, Abdulgader
Libya is a vast country situated in North Africa, having a relatively better functioning economy with a scanty population. This article is the first known attempt to review the current state of oral health care in Libya and to explore the present trends and future challenges. Libyan health system, oral health care, and human resources with the present status of dental education are reviewed comprehensively. A bibliographic study of oral health research and publications has been carried out. The results point toward a common indicator that oral health-related research is low. Strategies have to be developed to educate the medical and dental professionals, to update the current curriculum and enable the system to be competent in all aspects of oral health care management.
Clarke, Christopher E.; Niederdeppe, Jeff; Lundell, Helen C.
Researchers have increasingly focused on how social determinants of health (SDH) influence health outcomes and disparities. They have also explored strategies for raising public awareness and mobilizing support for policies to address SDH, with particular attention to narrative and image-based information. These efforts will need to overcome low public awareness and concern about SDH; few organized campaigns; and limited descriptions of existing message content. To begin addressing these challenges, we analyzed characteristics of 58 narratives and 135 visual images disseminated by two national SDH awareness initiatives: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America and the PBS-produced documentary film Unnatural Causes. Certain types of SDH, including income/wealth and one’s home and workplace environment, were emphasized more heavily than others. Solutions for addressing SDH often involved combinations of self-driven motivation (such as changes in personal health behaviors) along with externally-driven factors such as government policy related to urban revitilization. Images, especially graphs and charts, drew connections among SDH, health outcomes, and other variables, such as the relationship between mother’s education and infant mortality as well as the link between heart disease and education levels within communities. We discuss implications of these findings for raising awareness of SDH and health disparities in the US through narrative and visual means. PMID:23330220
Clarke, Christopher E; Niederdeppe, Jeff; Lundell, Helen C
Researchers have increasingly focused on how social determinants of health (SDH) influence health outcomes and disparities. They have also explored strategies for raising public awareness and mobilizing support for policies to address SDH, with particular attention to narrative and image-based information. These efforts will need to overcome low public awareness and concern about SDH; few organized campaigns; and limited descriptions of existing message content. To begin addressi