People with less money and less education die sooner and are more likely to suffer from virtually every health problem, the government reports, illustrating the breadth of one of public health's longest-standing challenges.
Poor, less-educated Americans are more likely to have underweight babies and are less likely to have them vaccinated. They're more likely to smoke and less likely to exercise, more likely to need aid in old age and less likely to avoid heart disease, lung cancer and diabetes.From cradle to grave, money matters in health, the report concludes. While some of the problems are well-known, this compilation of data shows how pervasive the disparities are.
"Clearly it requires some different communication strategies," said Donna Shalala, secretary of Health and Human Services, which released the report today. "We will simply not give up."
The trends continued across the spectrum of income and education, with the wealthiest and best-educated doing better than those in the middle, who in turn did better than those at the bottom.
"We cleaned up the air, and we cleaned up the water. Now we have to get to exercise and smoking and diet," Shalala said.
There were major differences among Americans depending on their income and education, which usually persisted despite race or sex. Even health insurance didn't balance the scales.