May 20, 2008

health and poverty

We usually think of poverty's contribution to ill health as being something to do with the ability to afford a particular diet or to get preventive care. Some new research, written up in the BBC suggests that stress during pregnancy increases the baby's risk of asthma, and amplifies the effect of other risk factors. Poverty is certainly a risk factor for asthma. Even absent the material stressors involved in being poor, having low social status relative to the people around you leads to stress; and poor people feel more pain, which is its own stressor. Here's poverty making people sick, not just preventing them from getting the material resources they need to be healthy.

Not like having more/better stuff wouldn't help. All the links along the side of the BBC article are to material factors that affect asthma risk, like pollution and breast-feeding (a time resource) and maternal diet.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Hi, I really like your blog. You should read http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/18/opinion/18krugman.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=poverty%20children%20brain&st=cse&oref=slogin. And then try to find the original article, either on ft.com or through AAAS.