Social disparities and cause-specific mortality during economic development
ABSTRACT Social patterning of disease is pervasive and persistent. Disease patterns change with economic development and the attendant epidemiological transition. It is becoming evident that social patterns of disease are epidemiologically stage specific. In a population with a recent history of rapid economic development we examined social patterns of all-cause and cause-specific mortality over time to elucidate how economic development impacts disparities in health. We used concentration indices to provide a summary measure of disparities by income in potential years of life lost (PYLL) for the Hong Kong population from 1976 to 2006. For all-cause mortality and for each of the specific causes considered the concentration curve in 2006 dominated the 1976 concentration curve. The concentration index for all-cause PYLL was negligible in 1976, but increased over the period. PYLL attributable to injury and poisoning was fairly consistently associated with lower income, but PYLL attributable to cardiovascular diseases and cancer reversed from an association with higher income in 1976 to an association with lower income in 2006. Social disparities in health are not universal or homogeneous in origin. Attention should be focused on disease-specific causes of disparities, so that contextually specific prevention strategies can be implemented. This is of particular relevance to China and other emerging economies where there may be a window of opportunity to prevent disparities in cancer and cardiovascular diseases occurring.
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ABSTRACT: Life expectancy is strongly related to national income, whether there is an additional contribution of income inequality is unclear. We used negative binomial regression to examine the association of neighborhood-level Gini, adjusted for age, sex, and income, with mortality rates in Hong Kong from 1976 to 2006. The association of neighborhood Gini with all-cause mortality varied over time (p-value for interaction < .01). Neighborhood Gini was positively associated with nonmedical mortality in 1976 to 1986; incident rate ratio (IRR) 1.09, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.02-1.16 per 0.1 change and in 1991 to 2006, IRR 1.24, 95% CI 1.13-1.36, adjusted for age, sex and absolute income. Similarly adjusted, Gini was not associated with all-cause mortality in 1976 to 1986 (IRR 0.96, 95% CI 0.93-1.00) but was in 1991 to 2006 (IRR 1.25, 95% CI 1.20-1.29), when Gini was also positively associated with death from cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and some cancers. Independent of income, income inequality was positively associated with nonmedical mortality rates at a low level of spatial aggregation, indicating the consistent harms of social disharmony. However, the impact on medical mortality was less consistent, suggesting the relevance of contextual factors.Annals of epidemiology 04/2012; 22(4):285-94. DOI:10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.01.009 · 2.15 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We established a working group to examine the burden of atherothrombotic and musculoskeletal diseases in Asia and made recommendations for safer prescribing of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and low-dose aspirin. By using a modified Delphi process, consensus was reached among 12 multidisciplinary experts from Asia. Statements were developed by the steering committee after a literature review, modified, and then approved through 3 rounds of anonymous voting by using a 6-point scale from A+ (strongly agree) to D+ (strongly disagree). Agreement (A+/A) by ≥ 80% of panelists was defined a priori as consensus. We identified unique aspects of atherothrombotic and musculoskeletal diseases in Asia. Asia has a lower prevalence of degenerative arthritis and coronary artery disease than Western countries. The age-adjusted mortality of coronary artery disease is lower in Asia; cerebrovascular accident has higher mortality than coronary artery disease. Ischemia has replaced hemorrhage as the predominant pattern of cerebrovascular accident. Low-dose aspirin use is less prevalent in Asia than in Western countries. Traditional Chinese medicine and mucoprotective agents are commonly used in Asia, but their efficacy is not established. For Asian populations, little is known about complications of the lower gastrointestinal tract from use of NSAIDs and underutilization of gastroprotective agents. Our recommendations for preventing ulcer bleeding among users of these drugs who are at high risk for these complications were largely derived from Asian studies and are similar to Western guidelines. By using an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach, we have identified unique aspects of musculoskeletal and atherothrombotic diseases and strategies for preventing NSAID-related and low-dose aspirin-related gastrointestinal toxicity in Asia.Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association 04/2012; 10(7):753-60. DOI:10.1016/j.cgh.2012.03.027 · 6.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Epidemiological transition (ET) theory, first postulated in 1971, has developed alongside changes in population structures over time. However, understandings of mortality transitions and associated epidemiological changes remain poorly defined for public health practitioners. Here, we review the concept and development of ET theory, contextualising this in empirical evidence, which variously supports and contradicts the original theoretical propositions. Design A Medline literature search covering publications over four decades, from 1971 to 2013, was conducted. Studies were included if they assessed human populations, were original articles, focused on mortality and health or demographic or ET and were in English. The reference lists of the selected articles were checked for additional sources. Results We found that there were changes in emphasis in the research field over the four decades. There was an increasing tendency to study wide-ranging aspects of the determinants of mortality, including risk factors, lifestyle changes, socio-economics, and macro factors such as climate change. Research on ET has focused increasingly on low- and middle-income countries rather than industrialised countries, despite its origins in industrialised countries. Countries have experienced different levels of progress in ET in terms of time, pace, and underlying mechanisms. Elements of ET are described for many countries, but observed transitions have not always followed pathways described in the original theory. Conclusions The classic ET theory largely neglected the critical role of social determinants, being largely a theoretical generalisation of mortality experience in some countries. This review shows increasing interest in ET all over the world but only partial concordance between established theory and empirical evidence. Empirical evidence suggests that some unconsidered aspects of social determinants contributed to deviations from classic theoretical pathways. A better-constructed, revised ET theory, with a stronger basis in evidence, is needed.Global Health Action 05/2014; 7(23574). DOI:10.3402/gha.v7.23574 · 1.65 Impact Factor