Social and Economic Disparities in Health: Thoughts about Intervention

We have found that the social class gradient exists throughout most of the industrialized world and applies to almost all diseases

S. Leonard Syme

2003

Scholarcy highlights

  • University of California, Berkeley t has been known for centuries that people in the lowest social classes have the highest morbidity and mortality rates
  • Social class is not a priority in research for another reason: epidemiologists tend to choose research topics that will lead to practical programs of improvement
  • Many feel that the study of social class is not useful because the challenge of coming up with an intervention designed to eliminate class divisions from our society is too daunting
  • Because we are only beginning to study the reasons for social class differences, we cannot be sure that money is the critical element
  • Two findings on social class in recent years have inspired researchers to think about this problem more productively: one concerns the gradient in social class; the other involves the study of inequalities in social class
  • We have found that the social class gradient exists throughout most of the industrialized world and applies to almost all diseases
  • Their idea was to offer drivers instruction in coping skills so they could deal with stress more effectively, to provide classes in nutrition and exercise, and to encourage drivers to seek medical help for high blood pressure

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