Week 4: Health Disparities, part 2

#11: Class — the ignored determinant of the nation’s health

This article is really an opinion piece (sorry! I don’t have good primary literature in my stockpile for this topic). Highlights:

  • From 1972 to 1989, people earning less than $15,000/year were three times as likely to die prematurely as those earning > $70k!
  • The difference in premature death between socioeconomic class is far greater than that between blacks and whites
  • In a study of British civil servants, every social class had higher mortality than the one above it
  • High-school dropouts are three times more likely to smoke than college graduates, and three times less likely to exercise during their time off
  • Health disparities due to race are easier to study, because race is on the death certificate, but not class

The article goes on to make the case that class-related health disparities provide an easier target than those due to race. I’m not sure about that, or at least they both seem equally challenging…


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