March 28, 2014
The fifth edition of the County Health Rankings released today continues to show us that where we live matters to our health. Large gaps remain between the least healthy counties and healthiest counties. For instance, the least healthy counties have twice the death rates and twice as many children living in poverty and teen births as the nation’s healthiest counties.
A collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), the County Health Rankings allow each state to see how its counties compare on 29 factors that impact health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, unemployment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. The Rankings are available at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org.
via County Health Rankings Show People Living in Least Healthy Counties Twice as Likely to Have Shorter Lives than People Living in Healthiest Counties – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
March 27, 2014
Published on March 27, 2014, in Science, research by Professor Heckman and colleagues at the University of Chicago, University College London, and Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina shows the potential of quality early child programs that incorporate health and nutrition to prevent disease and promote adult health.
via HEALTH RESEARCH | Heckman.
January 5, 2014
What is it about upward mobility that undermines the health of these young Americans? In our studies, most participants are the first in their families to attend college. They feel tremendous internal pressure to succeed, so as to ensure their parents’ sacrifices have been worthwhile. Many feel socially isolated and disconnected from peers from different backgrounds. They may encounter racism and discrimination.
Some young people respond to the pressure by doubling down on character strengths that have served them well, cultivating an even more determined persistence to succeed. This strategy, however, can backfire when it comes to health. Behaving diligently all of the time leaves people feeling exhausted and sapped of willpower. Worn out from having their noses to the grindstone all the time, they may let their health fall by the wayside, neglecting sleep and exercise, and like many of us, overindulging in comfort foods.
via Can Upward Mobility Cost You Your Health? – NYTimes.com.
November 19, 2013
True individualized health care arises when art and science unite to form a nimble and ever-evolving series of actions and treatments. Like an air traffic jam from altered flight patterns or delays, the body’s reaction to our environment and activities is dependent on each input and how those inputs interact. A delay in Topeka, Kansas could easily disrupt flight times at O’Hare. Just like a weakened immune system or twist of an ankle can lead to disease susceptibility or structural changes in the body. But, unlike a flight pattern that can be reset each morning, the impact of an alteration to our body means diagnoses and treatments must be ever-changing.Narain explains that currently, “We are not permitting oncologists to make an apples-to-apples comparison when treating cancer patients. You can sequence a tumor before and after chemotherapy, and the sequence will be different.” The Berg model goes much deeper than the genome, focusing more on the metabolic and microenvironment changes in the proteome, lipidome, and metabolome. The differential seen from the artificial intelligence then directly becomes drug targets and biomarkers.
via Pharma Company Aims To Change Policy By Revolutionizing Drug Therapies – Forbes.
November 1, 2013
Over the long term, netting out the bubbles, Americans have achieved impressive increases in their ongoing wealth.The rate of increase may seem modest, but in fact represents a miracle of the market economy. The trend is for inflation-adjusted, per capita wealth in the US to increase by about 2% per year.
via “Wealth” and illusion | AEIdeas.
August 18, 2013
by Irena Dushi and Kalman Rupp
Using Health and Retirement Study data, the authors examine three groups of adults aged 51–56 in 1992 with different disability experiences over the following 8 years. Our analysis reveals three major findings. First, people who started and stayed nondisabled experienced stable financial security, with substantial improvement in household wealth despite substantial labor force withdrawal. Second, people who started as nondisabled but suffered a disability shock experienced a substantial increase in poverty rates and a sharp decline in median incomes. Average earnings loss was the greatest for that group, with public and private benefits replacing less than half of the loss, whereas the reduction in private health insurance coverage was more than alleviated by the increase in public health insurance coverage. Third, people who started and stayed disabled were behind at the baseline and have fallen further behind on most measures. An important exception is substantial improvement in health insurance coverage because of public safety nets.
via Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 3.
August 17, 2013
it’s clear that people with cancer diagnoses continued to have a higher rate of bankruptcy than people without such diagnoses.
How much higher? About 2 ½ times, on average, across all cancers.
via Beware Of Cancer Metastasizing To Your Wallet – Forbes.
April 1, 2013
This paper presents a theoretical and empirical analysis of the role of life expectancy for optimal schooling and lifetime labor supply. The results of a simple prototype Ben-Porath model with age-specific survival rates show that an increase in lifetime labor supply is not a necessary, nor a sufficient, condition for greater life expectancy to increase optimal schooling. The observed increase in survival rates during working ages that follows from the “rectangularization” of the survival function is crucial for schooling and labor supply. The empirical results suggest that the relative benefits of schooling have been increasing across cohorts of US men born 1840-1930. A simple quantitative analysis shows that a realistic shift in the survival function can lead to an increase in schooling and a reduction in lifetime labor hours.
via Life Expectancy, Schooling, and Lifetime Labor Supply: Theory and Evidence Revisited by Matteo Cervellati, Uwe Sunde :: SSRN.
March 11, 2013
Wealthier individuals engage in healthier behavior. This paper seeks to explain this phenomenon by developing a theory of health behavior, and exploiting both lottery winnings and inheritances to test the theory. We distinguish between the direct monetary cost and the indirect health cost (value of health lost) of unhealthy consumption. The health cost increases with wealth and the degree of unhealthiness, leading wealthier individuals to consume more healthy and moderately unhealthy, but fewer severely unhealthy goods. The empirical evidence presented suggests that differences in health costs may indeed provide an explanation for behavioral differences, and ultimately health outcomes, between wealth groups.
via Why the Rich Drink More But Smoke Less: The Impact of Wealth on Health by Hans Van Kippersluis, Titus Galama :: SSRN.
March 8, 2013
This paper focuses on the trends in debt levels among those ages 55 and older, as financial liabilities are a vital but often ignored component of retirement income security. The Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) is used in this paper to determine the level of debt. Debt is examined in two ways: (1) debt payments relative to income, and (2) debt relative to assets. Each measure provides insight regarding the financial abilities of these families to cover their debt before or during retirement. For example, higher debt-to-income ratios may be acceptable for younger families with long working careers ahead of them, because their incomes are likely to rise, and their debt (often related to housing or children) is likely to fall in the future. On the other hand, high debt-to-income ratios may represent more serious concerns for older families, which could be forced to reduce their accumulated assets to service the debt when their active earning years are winding down. However, if these high-debt-to-income older families have low-debt-to-asset ratios, the effect of paying off the debt may not be as financially difficult as it might be for those with high-debt-to-income and high-debt-to-asset ratios. The percentage of American families with heads age 55 or older that have debt held steady at around 63 percent from 2007-2010. Furthermore, the percentage of these families with debt payments greater than 40 percent of income — a traditional threshold measure of debt load trouble — decreased in 2010 to 8.5 percent from 9.9 percent in 2007. However, total debt payments as a percentage of income increased from 10.8 percent in 2007 to 11.4 percent in 2010, and average debt increased from $73,727 in 2007 to $75,082 in 2010, while debt as a percentage of assets increased from 7.4 percent in 2007 to 8.5 percent in 2010. Housing debt was the major component of debt for families with a head age 55 or older. The debt levels among those with housing debt have obvious and serious implications for the future retirement security of these Americans, perhaps most significantly that these families are potentially at risk of losing what is typically their most important asset — their home.
via Debt of the Elderly and Near Elderly, 1992-2010 by Craig Copeland :: SSRN.