Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, May 16, 2005

It's against my religion . . .

but I'm gonna give a link to the NYWT. Life at the top. (Registration required, I believe, and it only stays up for a couple of days, so get it while you can.)

This story follows three people of varying social circumstances who have heart attacks. It offers decent context concerning what we know about the origins of class disparities in health. Although the article focuses largely on health care per se, it does show how people's social circumstances affect their ability to follow medical advice. It's long, but even the first few paragraphs give a pretty good synopsis of the health disparities issue, at least as far as social class is concerned.

They are not, however, focusing on the racial and ethnic disparities that remain in both health and quality of health care, even after we control for education, income, and occupational status. There are also differences among low income communities that appear to influence the health of their residents, and many other complexities.

The overall theme of justice, in various dimensions, is an effective principle for organizing around public health and health care reform. The issue of health disparities is potentially very powerful because of the constituencies it can unite. While I could be grumpy and say it's about time the NYWT ran such a story, I will just be gracious and say thanks to reporter Janny Scott and the editors.

Now if they would just cover that funny little memo about Tony Blair's cabinet meeting where it turns out Tony and Chimpy were committed to invading Iraq nine months before they actually did it, even though they knew perfectly well that Saddam was not a threat to anyone . . . Well, I guess that's news that isn't fit to print.

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