For decades, data has shown that middle aged adults with low education levels—that is high school or less—are twice as likely to die as those with higher education levels. Professor Richard Miech, of the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and his colleagues wanted to better understand why this persists.
They found that as new causes of death emerge, people with lower education levels are slower to respond with behavioral changes, creating a moving target that often remains a step ahead of prevention. Almost all causes of death that are on the increase are fueled by high rates of mortality among people with lower education, a trend that counters any progress made in the reduction of today's health disparities.
"Money, power, prestige, knowledge, and beneficial social connections allow people of higher education status to take better advantage of health developments," said Miech.
Despite efforts to reduce education-based mortality disparities, the gap remains because new health disparities counteract the efforts to reduce the death rates for those with less education. While the causes of death have changed, rates have not.
"One hundred years ago, the top causes of death were tuberculosis, diarrhea, and pneumonia," said Miech. "They've been replaced by heart disease, cancer, and stroke. But, one thing that hasn't changed is that people with lower levels of education continue to be the ones dying at greater rates."
For example, from 1999 to 2007 heart attacks came to play less of a role in mortality disparities by education, but this progress was countered by an increasing role for drug overdose deaths. The study finds that overall, mortality disparities by education today would be about 25 percent smaller than their current levels if new disparities had not emerged or widened since 1999.
This work points to the importance of preventing new disparities from emerging and growing as well as the importance of reducing the prominent ones of today. Without such prevention efforts, any progress in reducing disparities will be short lived as new disparities assert themselves in the causes of death that will come to predominate in the future.
About the American Sociological Association and the American Sociological Review
The American Sociological Association (http://www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. The American Sociological Review is the ASA's flagship journal.
The research article described above is available by request for members of the media. For a copy of the full study, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA's Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer, at 202-527-7885 or email@example.com.
For more information about the study, members of the media can also contact Jacque Montgomery, University of Colorado Denver, at 303-724-1528 or Jacque.Montgomery@ucdenver.edu
Daniel Fowler | EurekAlert!
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences