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Int J Equity Health. 2018 Feb 5;17(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s12939-018-0719-y.

Health status and air pollution related socioeconomic concerns in urban China.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology, Minzu University of China, 27 Zhongguancun South Avenue, Beijing, 100081, China.
2
Department of Economics, Claremont Graduate University, 170 E. 10th Street, Claremont, CA, 91711, USA. mengjia.xu@cgu.edu.
3
Department of Social Work, China Women's University, 1 Yuhui Dong Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

China is experiencing environmental issues and related health effects due to its industrialization and urbanization. The health effects associated with air pollution are not just a matter of epidemiology and environmental science research, but also an important social science issue. Literature about the relationship of socioeconomic factors with the environment and health factors is inadequate. The relationship between air pollution exposure and health effects in China was investigated with consideration of the socioeconomic factors.

METHODS:

Based on nationwide survey data of China in 2014, we applied the multilevel mixed-effects model to evaluate how socioeconomic status (represented by education and income) contributed to the relationship between self-rated air pollution and self-rated health status at community level and individual level.

RESULTS:

The findings indicated that there was a non-linear relationship between the community socioeconomic status and community air pollution in urban China, with the highest level of air pollution presented in the communities with moderate socioeconomic status. In addition, health effects associated air pollution in different socioeconomic status groups were not equal. Self-rated air pollution had the greatest impact on self-rated health of the lower socioeconomic groups. With the increase of socioeconomic status, the effect of self-rated air pollution on self-rated health decreased.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study verified the different levels of exposure to air pollution and inequality in health effects among different socioeconomic groups in China. It is imperative for the government to urgently formulate public policies to enhance the ability of the lower socioeconomic groups to circumvent air pollution and reduce the health damage caused by air pollution.

KEYWORDS:

Air pollution; Health inequality; Mediation; Urban China

PMID:
29402280
PMCID:
PMC5800084
DOI:
10.1186/s12939-018-0719-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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