Navigation Links
Study reveals new wrinkle in growing US health gap
Date:2/1/2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio Most studies that have examined growing levels of health disparity in the United States have focused on the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" in terms of socioeconomic factors such as education and income.

But a new study has found, for the first time, that health disparities have grown dramatically among people in the same socioeconomic groups often times more than the disparities have grown between groups.

For example, researchers found that health disparities between employed and unemployed men decreased over the course of the study, while disparities among men who were employed actually increased.

"People with the same socioeconomic status differ much more from each other in terms of health than they did 20 or so years ago," said Hui Zheng, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

"This is an issue that really hasn't been studied before and needs to be examined more closely."

Zheng conducted the study with Kenneth Land of Duke University. Their results appear in the March 2012 issue of the journal Social Science Research.

The study is based on data from the National Health Interview Survey for the 24-year period from 1984 to 2007. The survey, which includes about 30,000 people each year, is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The survey asked respondents to rate their own health on a five-point scale from poor to excellent. While this is a self-report and not based on any objective health data, previous studies have shown that self-reported health status is a good indicator of objective health and is actually better at predicting mortality among the elderly than assessments by doctors, Zheng said.

For one part of the study, the researchers separated the respondents into 432 groups based on various combinations of family income, education, employment status, age, race and marital status.

"Health scholars often emphasize between-groups disparities in health, but here we found that within-group disparities often far exceed the between-groups disparities, and the changes in total health disparities in the last two decades are mainly driven by the changes in the within-group disparities," Zheng said.

The data from this study can't say why within-group health disparities have increased over the past 24 years. Several factors may be in play, depending on the group. For example, the increase in disparity among employed men may be partially due to an increase in the number of men employed only part-time, which may reduce their access to health care services compared to full-time employees.

Overall, other studies have suggested that within-group income instability has increased over the past decades, due to declining unionization and increasing number of people with lower-wage, insecure jobs. This type of instability may lead to greater health disparities within groups, he said.

"We need to find out more about how rising within-group income instability affects rising within-group health disparities," he said.

Zheng said the study identified another source of the growing health gap in the overall population, and that has to do with changes in population composition.

Generally, the researchers found that there are fewer Americans in groups that enjoy the best levels of self-rated health. That was especially true for men. Over the 24 years of the study, men became increasingly less likely to be employed, and less likely to attain middle or upper-income levels both of which are associated with less health disparity.

In contrast, women saw increases in college attainment, employment rate, and middle and upper-income attainment, all of which led to declining health disparities for women in this time period.

These results show how positive changes in the nation's population composition can help reduce the health gap, Zheng said.

"If we can increase educational attainment and labor force participation, and increase social mobility, we will also probably decrease health disparities in our population," he said.

"So, in a sense, economic policy and social policy can also be viewed as health policy."


'/>"/>
Contact: Hui Zheng
Zheng.64@sociology.osu.edu
614-688-8348
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Infections Might Raise Stroke Risk in Children: Study
2. Exercise a Good Pick-Me-Up After Cancer Treatment: Study
3. MSK ultrasound volume increase higher among non-radiologists, study suggests
4. Surgical breast biopsy not overused, study suggests
5. Study Compares 3 Common Prostate Cancer Treatments
6. Too Much Testosterone Linked to Inflated Ego: Study
7. Popular Diabetes Drug Might Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risk: Study
8. Hospitality Not a Friendly Industry for Disabled Workers: Study
9. Massachusetts General study defines a new genetic subtype of lung cancer
10. New target for cancer therapy identified, preclinical study shows
11. Gene linked to pancreatic cancer growth, U-M study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... ... With over 60 percent of acute stroke survivors being left unable to ... in the rehabilitation process has steadily increased. Ekso Bionics had been working to help ... stroke. , Ekso Bionics has now received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Aimed ... by inspiring human interest stories, courtesy of leaders in the nursing and health ... the industry, from leading advocates and associations—namely Jones & Bartlett Learning. , Jones ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... ... There are many ways to cook a hot dog, but new research commissioned ... dogs straight off the grill. Of the 90 percent of Americans who say they ... hot dog, far outpacing other cooking methods such as steaming (12 percent), microwaving (9 ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... ... Connor Sports, through its Connor Cares initiative, will continue to expand ... Tour that will commemorate the Indiana Fever legend’s hall-of-fame career and final WNBA ... levels of the game, Connor Sports has committed to a significantly increased focus on ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... ... MadgeTech will be showcasing its line of data logging products , ... MadgeTech headquarters. With products sold in more than 100 countries around the world, MadgeTech ... , In 2012, NASA strategically set up 17 RHTemp101A MadgeTech data loggers around ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... May 27, 2016 Amarantus BioScience Holdings, ... developing products for Regenerative Medicine, Neurology and Orphan Diseases, today announced ... presenting at two upcoming investor conferences: SeeThru Equity ... Avenue, New York City , NY ... Marcum MicroCap Conference   Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 ... With Both Cost Savings and Overall Decreased ... (LSE: BTG), an international specialist healthcare company, has ... the 21st Annual Meeting of ISPOR (International Society ... of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using yttrium-90 glass microspheres ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... by Therapeutic Area (Oncology, Cosmeceutical/Plastic Surgery), by Application (Drug ... Hospitals/ Clinics) - Forecast to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This market ... from USD 117.3 Million in 2016, at a CAGR ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: