Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Poor Kids May Make Sicker Adults

Date:
November 9, 2007
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Scientists have known for years that people living in poverty have poorer health and shorter lifespans than the more affluent. Now researchers have identified several key mechanisms in 13-year-olds that may help explain how low socioeconomic status takes its toll on health.

Scientists have known for years that people living in poverty have poorer health and shorter life spans than the more affluent. Now, Cornell University researchers have identified several key mechanisms in 13-year-olds that may help explain how low socio-economic status takes its toll on health.

Related Articles


In the first longitudinal study on the physiological effects of poverty in young children, the Cornell researchers report that the longer 13-year-olds have lived in poverty, the less efficient their bodies become in handling environmental demands.

"We think that these mechanisms may be related to the fact that children who grow up in poverty have a steeper life trajectory of premature health problems than other children, regardless of their socio-economic status in adulthood," said Gary Evans, the Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology and professor of human development and of design and environmental analysis in Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

"These muted responses of stress regulatory mechanisms, which are part of the cardiovascular system, not only compromise the ability of the adolescents' bodies to respond to such stressors as noise, poor housing and family turmoil but also indicate they are suffering from more stress-induced physiological strain on their organs and tissues than other young people," said Evans.

"People need to understand that not leveling the playing field when it comes to poverty costs everyone money," Evans added. "It's very costly to society that low-income children end up getting sick prematurely and die younger than other people."

Many researchers over the years have shown that childhood poverty affects long-term morbidity (frequency of illnesses and diseases) and mortality, yet no one knows why.

The researchers assessed the neuroendocrine and cardiovascular markers of stress regulatory systems by measuring overnight levels of a stress hormone (cortisol) and blood pressure reactivity and recovery after an acute stressor (being asked unexpectedly to do mental math problems) in 217 low- and middle-income white adolescents -- at age 9 and then again at age 13 -- in rural areas of upstate New York. They assessed cumulative physical and social risk exposure by measuring crowding, noise and housing quality in conjunction with maternal and youth reports of family turmoil, youth separation from family and exposure to violence.

"The study provides yet another piece of evidence that poverty and other chronic risk factors induce physiological changes that appear to be related to long-term health problems," said Evans, who summarized his findings with policy recommendations before the planning committee of the Robert W. Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America, Oct. 17, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

His study, co-authored with graduate student Pilyoung Kim, is published in the November issue of Psychological Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Why Poor Kids May Make Sicker Adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107160155.htm>.
Cornell University. (2007, November 9). Why Poor Kids May Make Sicker Adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107160155.htm
Cornell University. "Why Poor Kids May Make Sicker Adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107160155.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr. Oz Under Fire For 'Quack Treatments' Yet Again

Dr. Oz Under Fire For 'Quack Treatments' Yet Again

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Ten doctors signed a letter urging Columbia University to drop Dr. Oz as vice chair of its department of surgery, saying he plugs "quack" treatments. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins