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Income Inequalities Hurts Health Of Teenagers

May 4, 2015

child development

A new international study published in The Lancet has revealed that socioeconomic disparities between the richest and the poorest in 34 countries widened over the last decade. It revealed that poor teenagers overall were more likely to be less physically active, have higher body mass indexes (BMI), and report more physical and psychological troubles, such as headaches and “feeling low.”

“A strong international focus on reducing childhood poverty and mortality in children under 5 years has not been matched by a similar response in older age groups, resulting in widening socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent health,” said lead author Drank Elgar, a psychiatry professor at McGill University in Canada, in a press release. “If health inequalities are now widening in such abundantly rich countries, particularly during the so-called ‘healthy years’ of adolescence, then these trends are especially alarming for future populations.”

Motherhood

A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the UK notes: “The most plausible explanation for income inequality’s apparent effect on health and social problems is ‘status anxiety.’ This suggests that income inequality is harmful because it places people in a hierarchy that increases status competition and causes stress, which leads to poor health and other negative outcomes.”

Investment in youth now could pay huge dividends in health outcomes and reduce health disparities in later years,” researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health wrote in a comment on the study. “A focus should be on social factors that affect the health and wellbeing of young people.”

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From → Blog for Youth

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