We regularly scan eleven journals for new studies of particular population health relevance (the list of journals is at the end of this post). A recent paper caught our eye:
The two overarching goals of population health improvement are improving overall health and reducing disparities. Successive generations of Americans enjoyed upward trends in life expectancy and improved general health during the twentieth century. However, in spite of the technological advancements in modern medicine and escalating health care expenditures, disparities in longevity based on race/ethnicity and educational attainment remain persistent and damaging to our society. This article by a distinguished group of investigators from the MacArthur Research Network on an Aging Society quantifies these life expectancy disparities in terms of race and education level, using data from NCHS as well as the American Community Survey (the largest household survey in the U.S.). Investigators found the largest disparity in life expectancy at birth to be between highest educated whites and lowest educated blacks: 14.2 years for males and 10.3 years for females (2008 data). The authors found that while race plays a role in longevity, education level is even more important across all groups, except Hispanic females. Educational attainment at age 25 correlated more strongly with expected life years, both within and among racial groupings. For example, highly educated blacks had a life expectancy 7.5 years higher than their less educated white counterparts, which defies the overall racial disparity.
Journals we follow:
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
American Journal of Public Health
Annual Review of Public Health
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
New England Journal of Medicine
Preventing Chronic Disease
Social Science and Medicine
David A. Kindig, MD, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Follow him on twitter: @DAKindig.