Socioeconomic disparities in health: Pathways and policies

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.32). 03/2002; 21(2):60-76. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.21.2.60
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Socioeconomic status (SES) underlies three major determinants of health: health care, environmental exposure, and health behavior. In addition, chronic stress associated with lower SES may also increase morbidity and mortality. Reducing SES disparities in health will require policy initiatives addressing the components of socioeconomic status (income, education, and occupation) as well as the pathways by which these affect health. Lessons for U.S. policy approaches are taken from the Acheson Commission in England, which was charged with reducing health disparities in that country.

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    ABSTRACT: Social class gradients have been explored in adults and children, but not extensively during adolescence. The first objective of this study was to examine the association between adolescent risk behaviors and a new indicator of adolescent relative social position, adolescent "perceived social mobility." Second, it investigated potential underlying demographic, socioeconomic, and psychosocial determinants of this indicator. Data were taken from the 2004 urban adolescent module of Oportunidades, a cross-sectional study of Mexican adolescents living in poverty. Perceived social mobility was calculated for each subject by taking the difference between their rankings on two 10-rung ladder scales that measured (1) projected future social status and (2) current subjective social status within Mexican society. Adolescents with higher perceived social mobility were significantly less likely to report alcohol consumption, drinking with repercussions, compensated sex, police detainment, physical fighting, consumption of junk food or soda, or watching ≥4 h of television during the last viewing. They were significantly more likely to report exercising during the past week and using a condom during last sexual intercourse. These associations remained significant with the inclusion of covariates, including parental education and household expenditures. Multiple logistic regression analyses show higher perceived social mobility to be associated with staying in school longer and having higher perceived control. The present study provides evidence for the usefulness of perceived social mobility as an indicator for understanding the social gradient in health during adolescence. This research suggests the possibility of implementing policies and interventions that provide adolescents with real reasons to be hopeful about their trajectories.
    Frontiers in Public Health 04/2015; 3:62. DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2015.00062
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The objectives of this study were to investigate differences on health protection status between two generations (born pre- vs. post- 1980) of rural-to-urban migrants in China, and whether the differences are associated with spatial contexts. Methods Respondent-Driven Sampling (RDS) approach was used to recruit migrants in Chengdu city from September 2008 to July 2009. All migrants’ residences were geo-coded on the map. Hepatitis B Vaccination serves as a surrogate for the Health protection status. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between independent variables and the Hepatitis B vaccination status. Spatial scan statistics were used to explore the spatial pattern of the Hepatitis B vaccination status. Results Among the 1045 rural-to-urban migrants, higher education, better employment condition and post-80 generation are positively associated with the Hepatitis B vaccination status, while marriage status, the insurance status and the income are not. The spatial scan statistics identified three spatial clusters of low vaccination rate. Two of them were in urban villages and the other was a declining workers’ community. Conclusions The migrant population is heterogeneous, and the post-80 generation migrants get more health protection. Spatial analytical techniques illustrated clusters of low vaccination rate are highly linked with pre-1980 generation migrants and other socioeconomic factors, especially the employment condition. Such information might shed light on the differences and needs across migrant subgroups and may be useful for developing more targeted health policies for Chinese migrants.
    International Journal for Equity in Health 03/2015; 14(1). DOI:10.1186/s12939-015-0159-x · 1.71 Impact Factor


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