To Understand Climbing Death Rates Among Whites, Look To Women Of Childbearing Age

The news that mortality is increasing among middle-aged white Americans spread like wildfire last week (see here and here and here) thanks to a study by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who recently won the Nobel Prize in Economics. As researchers who study the social determinants of health, we were very pleased to see such widespread interest in this urgent national problem. Unfortunately, there are a couple of pieces of the puzzle that we think the Case and Deaton study missed. By not looking at men and women separately, Case and Deaton failed to see that rising mortality is especially pronounced among women. The authors parenthetically note that “patterns are similar for men and women when analyzed separately,” but several recent studies have shown otherwise. Two studies from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Institute of Medicine (one of which was directed by the first author of this post) have shown that Americans are slipping behind other high-income countries when it comes to mortality and survival, and that this “US health disadvantage” has been growing particularly among women. Another study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison shows that in the decade between 1992-96 and 2002-06, female mortality rates increased in 42.8 percent of US counties. Only 3.4 percent of counties, by comparison, saw an increase in male mortality rates. Furthermore, our own analysis of the same data used by Case and D...
Source: Health Affairs Blog - Category: Health Management Authors: Tags: Equity and Disparities Featured Population Health Public Health alcohol abuse drug abuse low-income women mortality rates safety net programs Social Determinants of Health Women's Health Source Type: blogs

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