Explaining US racial/ethnic disparities in health declines and mortality in late middle age: The roles of socioeconomic status, health behaviors, and health insurance.

By | February 22, 2006

A study published in the February 2006 issue of Social Science and Medicine by Center member Joseph Sudano, PhD and Dr. David Baker, a former Center member, showed that declines in the health of older adults were most strongly associated with low SES (socioeconomic status). Higher mortality rates for blacks compared to whites were also observed. The difference in mortality rates between blacks and whites was mostly explained by worse health status in blacks noted at the beginning of the study. These findings suggest that if public health initiatives are to be broadly effective, they must account for SES if poorer patients are to benefit equally with more affluent ones. Data for this study was from the Health Retirement Study conducted between 1992 and 1998. For this study about 6000 non-Hispanic whites, 1300 non-Hispanic blacks and 700 Hispanics were interviewed. (posted 2/2006)Social Science and Medicine

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