Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wealth buys health -- even in China

Date:
March 15, 2010
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
A new study shows that rich people tend to be healthier than poor people in China - a trend also seen in the US. However, there is one key difference. In China, the overall health gap across generations is getting narrower -- and it's getting wider in the US.

Studies in the United States have long shown that rich people tend to be healthier than poor people, and that this "health gap" between the haves and have-nots gets worse as people get older. But is that because the U.S. is a capitalist society? Apparently not. A new study from North Carolina State University shows that the same is true in China. However, there is one key difference. In China, the overall health gap across generations is getting narrower -- and it's getting wider in the U.S.

Researchers from NC State and the University of Chicago set out to address two key questions: How does the health gap between people with higher and lower socioeconomic status (SES) in China change when they age? And, is the process different for people who belong to different generations? To address these questions, the researchers analyzed data collected from more than 7,000 adults over the course of 13 years to track changes in the health of the study participants.

They found that the health gap between people of high and low SES increased significantly over their lifetime, taking generational differences into account. "This reflects the cumulative disadvantage of the lower socioeconomic classes, who have less access to medical care, nutrition and other health-related factors over time," says Dr. Feinian Chen, associate professor of sociology at NC State and lead author of the new paper. "This finding is consistent with similar studies done recently on the U.S. population."

But the researchers also found that the health gap between Chinese study participants with high SES and those with low SES has decreased in recent generations.

"Even accounting for the fact that more recent generations are younger, the health gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged has shrunk with each successive generation," Chen says. "This is the exact opposite of what has been found in studies of the U.S. population, where the health gap has been shown to widen with each generation."

While it is not immediately clear what is causing this narrowing of the health gap across generations, Chen and her co-authors are planning future research to explore the issue. "We suspect this narrowing of the health gap in China is due to significant social and economic changes over the past 20 years, including changes in health behaviors and access to health care," Chen says.

The research, "Social Change and Socioeconomic Disparities in Health over the Life Course in China: A Cohort Analysis," was published in March by American Sociological Review and was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study was co-authored by Chen, Dr. Yang Yang of the University of Chicago, and NC State Ph.D. student Guangya Liu.

NC State's Department of Sociology and Anthropology is a joint department of the university's College of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Feinian Chen, Yang Yang, Guangya Liu. Social Change and Socioeconomic Disparities in Health over the Life Course in China: A Cohort Analysis. American Sociological Review, 2010; 75 (1): 126 DOI: 10.1177/0003122409359165

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Wealth buys health -- even in China." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315103946.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2010, March 15). Wealth buys health -- even in China. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315103946.htm
North Carolina State University. "Wealth buys health -- even in China." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315103946.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
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