An American study has revealed that the poor are not as healthy as the rich even in communist China.
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Chicago set out to investigate two key questions: ow does the health gap between people with higher and lower socio-economic status (SES) in China change when they age? And, is the process different for people who belong to different generations? To find the answers, the researchers analysed data gathered from over 7,000 adults over the course of 13 years to track changes in the health of the study participants.
They discovered that the health gap between people of high and low SES increased significantly over their lifetime, taking generational differences into account.
Lead author Dr. Feinian Chen, associate professor of sociology at NC State, said: "This reflects the cumulative disadvantage of the lower socioeconomic classes, who have less access to medical care, nutrition and other health-related factors over time.
"This finding is consistent with similar studies done recently on the U.S. population."
But the researchers also found that the health gap between Chinese study participants with high SES and those with low SES has decreased in recent generations.
Chen said: "Even accounting for the fact that more recent generations are younger, the health gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged has shrunk with each successive generation.
"This is the exact opposite of what has been found in studies of the U.S. population, where the health gap has been shown to widen with each generation."
While it is not yet clear what is causing this narrowing of the health gap across generations, Chen and her co-authors are planning more research to explore the issue.
Chen said: "We suspect this narrowing of the health gap in China is due to significant social and economic changes over the past 20 years, including changes in health behaviors and access to health care."
The research, "Social Change and Socioeconomic Disparities in Health over the Life Course in China: A Cohort Analysis," has appeared in the American Sociological Review. (ANI)