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      Widening of Socioeconomic Inequalities in U.S. Death Rates, 1993–2001

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          Abstract

          Background

          Socioeconomic inequalities in death rates from all causes combined widened from 1960 until 1990 in the U.S., largely because cardiovascular death rates decreased more slowly in lower than in higher socioeconomic groups. However, no studies have examined trends in inequalities using recent US national data.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          We calculated annual age-standardized death rates from 1993–2001 for 25–64 year old non-Hispanic whites and blacks by level of education for all causes and for the seven most common causes of death using death certificate information from 43 states and Washington, D.C. Regression analysis was used to estimate annual percent change. The inequalities in all cause death rates between Americans with less than high school education and college graduates increased rapidly from 1993 to 2001 due to both significant decreases in mortality from all causes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and other conditions in the most educated and lack of change or increases among the least educated. For white women, the all cause death rate increased significantly by 3.2 percent per year in the least educated and by 0.7 percent per year in high school graduates. The rate ratio (RR) comparing the least versus most educated increased from 2.9 (95% CI, 2.8–3.1) in 1993 to 4.4 (4.1–4.6) in 2001 among white men, from 2.1 (1.8–2.5) to 3.4 (2.9–3–9) in black men, and from 2.6 (2.4–2.7) to 3.8 (3.6–4.0) in white women.

          Conclusion

          Socioeconomic inequalities in mortality are increasing rapidly due to continued progress by educated white and black men and white women, and stable or worsening trends among the least educated.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Permutation tests for joinpoint regression with applications to cancer rates.

          The identification of changes in the recent trend is an important issue in the analysis of cancer mortality and incidence data. We apply a joinpoint regression model to describe such continuous changes and use the grid-search method to fit the regression function with unknown joinpoints assuming constant variance and uncorrelated errors. We find the number of significant joinpoints by performing several permutation tests, each of which has a correct significance level asymptotically. Each p-value is found using Monte Carlo methods, and the overall asymptotic significance level is maintained through a Bonferroni correction. These tests are extended to the situation with non-constant variance to handle rates with Poisson variation and possibly autocorrelated errors. The performance of these tests are studied via simulations and the tests are applied to U.S. prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates. Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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            Prevalence of obesity, diabetes, and obesity-related health risk factors, 2001.

            Obesity and diabetes are increasing in the United States. To estimate the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among US adults in 2001. Random-digit telephone survey of 195 005 adults aged 18 years or older residing in all states participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2001. Body mass index, based on self-reported weight and height and self-reported diabetes. In 2001 the prevalence of obesity (BMI > or =30) was 20.9% vs 19.8% in 2000, an increase of 5.6%. The prevalence of diabetes increased to 7.9% vs 7.3% in 2000, an increase of 8.2%. The prevalence of BMI of 40 or higher in 2001 was 2.3%. Overweight and obesity were significantly associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and poor health status. Compared with adults with normal weight, adults with a BMI of 40 or higher had an odds ratio (OR) of 7.37 (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.39-8.50) for diagnosed diabetes, 6.38 (95% CI, 5.67-7.17) for high blood pressure, 1.88 (95% CI,1.67-2.13) for high cholesterol levels, 2.72 (95% CI, 2.38-3.12) for asthma, 4.41 (95% CI, 3.91-4.97) for arthritis, and 4.19 (95% CI, 3.68-4.76) for fair or poor health. Increases in obesity and diabetes among US adults continue in both sexes, all ages, all races, all educational levels, and all smoking levels. Obesity is strongly associated with several major health risk factors.
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              Trends in prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in the United States, 1988-2000.

              Prior analyses of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data through 1991 have suggested that hypertension prevalence is declining, but more recent self-reported rates of hypertension suggest that the rate is increasing. To describe trends in the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in the United States using NHANES data. Survey using a stratified multistage probability sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. The most recent NHANES survey, conducted in 1999-2000 (n = 5448), was compared with the 2 phases of NHANES III conducted in 1988-1991 (n = 9901) and 1991-1994 (n = 9717). Individuals aged 18 years or older were included in this analysis. Hypertension, defined as a measured blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or greater or reported use of antihypertensive medications. Hypertension awareness and treatment were assessed with standardized questions. Hypertension control was defined as treatment with antihypertensive medication and a measured blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. In 1999-2000, 28.7% of NHANES participants had hypertension, an increase of 3.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0%-8.3%) from 1988-1991. Hypertension prevalence was highest in non-Hispanic blacks (33.5%), increased with age (65.4% among those aged > or =60 years), and tended to be higher in women (30.1%). In a multiple regression analysis, increasing age, increasing body mass index, and non-Hispanic black race/ethnicity were independently associated with increased rates of hypertension. Overall, in 1999-2000, 68.9% were aware of their hypertension (nonsignificant decline of -0.3%; 95% CI, -4.2% to 3.6%), 58.4% were treated (increase of 6.0%; 95% CI, 1.2%-10.8%), and hypertension was controlled in 31.0% (increase of 6.4%; 95% CI, 1.6%-11.2%). Women, Mexican Americans, and those aged 60 years or older had significantly lower rates of control compared with men, younger individuals, and non-Hispanic whites. Contrary to earlier reports, hypertension prevalence is increasing in the United States. Hypertension control rates, although improving, continue to be low. Programs targeting hypertension prevention and treatment are of utmost importance.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2008
                14 May 2008
                : 3
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
                [2 ]Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland, United States of America
                Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: AJ. Analyzed the data: MT AJ EW TM RA. Wrote the paper: MT AJ. Other: Helped in the interpretation of data: MT RA TM. Reviewed manuscript critically: MT RA TM EW.

                Article
                08-PONE-RA-03253R1
                10.1371/journal.pone.0002181
                2367434
                18478119
                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.
                Page count
                Pages: 8
                Categories
                Research Article
                Public Health and Epidemiology
                Public Health and Epidemiology/Health Policy
                Public Health and Epidemiology/Preventive Medicine
                Public Health and Epidemiology/Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health

                Uncategorized

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