Economic Opportunity, Health Behaviors, and Mortality in the United States
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CitationVenkataramani, Atheendar S., Paula Chatterjee, Ichiro Kawachi, and Alexander C. Tsai. 2016. “Economic Opportunity, Health Behaviors, and Mortality in the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 106 (3): 478–84. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2015.302941.
AbstractObjectives. We assessed whether economic opportunity was independently associated with health behaviors and outcomes in the United States.Methods. Using newly available, cross-sectional, county-level data from the Equality of Opportunity Project Database and vital statistics, we estimated associations between all-cause mortality rates (averaged over 2000-2012) and economic opportunity, adjusting for socioeconomic, demographic, and health system covariates. Our measure of economic opportunity was the county-average rank in the national income distribution attained by individuals born to families in the bottom income quartile. Secondary outcomes included rates of age-and race-specific mortality, smoking, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.Results. An increase in economic opportunity from the lowest to the highest quintile was associated with a 16.7% decrease in mortality. The magnitudes of association were largest for working-age adults and African Americans. Greater economic opportunity was also associated with health behaviors and risk factors.Conclusions. Economic opportunity is a robust, independent predictor of health. Future work should investigate underlying causal links and mechanisms.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41275543
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