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Mortality increases with increasing socioeconomic deprivation, study shows

Posted July 16, 2014
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

More and more researchers investigate how public health is influenced by various situational factors, such as living place or social environment. Team containing twenty three social scientists working at fifteen different scientific institutions explored relationships between socioeconomic inequality and mortality rates throughout European cities. Study demonstrates that mortality rates are strongly affected by various inequalities.

Authors of the article published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health are sure that health statistics cannot be explained by individual factors alone. „It is becoming increasingly clear that the social and physical characteristics of geographical areas contribute to health outcomes (contextual effect) independently of the profile of the individuals who live in those areas (compositional effect),“ they write. Scholars analyzed how geographic, social and economic differences interplay with mortality rates in 16 different urban areas across Europe.

Researchers report that „patterns of inequality in mortality are consistent across all of the cities studied, and that mortality increases with increasing socioeconomic deprivation“ Interestingly, this observation is universal despite the fact that cities were located in different places having different historical and cultural background. The highest level of inequalities is present in Northern and Eastern European cities. Interestingly, males are more vulnerable to socioeconomic deprivations than females.

Scientists hope that their research will be noticed and used by the policy-makers. „The results of this study may be useful for designing public health policies because city areas with greater socioeconomic deprivation and mortality are specific areas to tailor interventions to reduce social inequalities in health or to make greater investments when implementing universal strategies to reduce inequalities in health,“ they say. Map depicting mortality inequalities in European cities was created and is freely available on the web. They also expect that their work will be continued. „Future studies should further investigate specific causes of death in order to determine if the general patterns observed in this study persist for each cause of death,“ they write.

Article: Puigpinós, J. M. et al., 2014, Socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in 16 European cities, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 42: 245, source link.

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