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Am J Epidemiol. 1987 Jun;125(6):989-98.

Poverty and health. Prospective evidence from the Alameda County Study.


To examine the reasons for the association between socioeconomic status and poor health, the authors examined the nine-year mortality experience of a random sample of residents aged 35 and over in Oakland, California. Residents of a federally designated poverty area experienced higher age-, race-, and sex-adjusted mortality over the follow-up period compared with residents of nonpoverty areas (relative risk = 1.71, 95 per cent confidence interval 1.20-2.44). This increased risk of death persisted when there was multivariate adjustment for baseline health status, race, income, employment status, access to medical care, health insurance coverage, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, body mass index, sleep patterns, social isolation, marital status, depression, and personal uncertainty. These results support the hypothesis that properties of the sociophysical environment may be important contributors to the association between low socioeconomic status and excess mortality, and that this contribution is independent of individual behaviors.

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