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Am J Public Health. 2005 Jul;95(7):1252-8.

The health of poor women under welfare reform.

Author information

1
Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, 1214 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA. gkaplan@umich.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We compared the health of single mothers affected by welfare reform with the health of a nationally representative sample of women to document the prevalence of poor health as single mothers experience the effects of welfare reform.

METHODS:

We compared risk factors and measures of health among women randomly sampled from the welfare rolls with similar data from a nationally representative sample of women.

RESULTS:

Women in our welfare recipient sample had higher rates of elevated glycosylated hemoglobin (> or = 6%; prevalence ratio [PR]=4.87; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.69, 7.04), hypertension (systole > or = 140 or diastole > or = 90; PR=2.36; 95% CI = 1.47, 3.24), high body mass index ( > or = 30; PR = 1.78; 95% CI = 1.49, 2.08), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (< or = 35 mg/dL; PR=1.91; 95% CI=1.17, 2.65); lower peak expiratory flow; and less physical functioning. Current smoking rates were higher (PR = 1.85; 95% CI = 1.50, 2.19) and smoking cessation rates were lower (PR=0.62; 95% CI=0.37, 0.86) than in the national sample.

CONCLUSIONS:

Current and former welfare recipients bear a substantial burden of illness. Further studies are necessary to interpret our findings of worsened health in the wake of welfare reform.

PMID:
15983277
PMCID:
PMC1449348
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2004.037804
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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