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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


WOLFSON, Michael  and  ROWE, Geoff. On measuring inequalities in health. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2001, vol.79, n.6, pp.553-560. ISSN 0042-9686.

ABSTRACT: In a recent series of papers, Murray et al. have put forward a number of important ideas regarding the measurement of inequalities in health. In this paper we agree with some of these ideas but draw attention to one key aspect of their approach - measuring inequalities on the basis of small area data - which is flawed. A numerical example is presented to illustrate the problem. An alternative approach drawing on longitudinal data is outlined, which preserves and enhances the most desirable aspects of their proposal. These include the use of a life course perspective, and the consideration of non-fatal health outcomes as well as the more usual information on mortality patterns.

Keywords : Health status; Socioeconomic factors; Mortality [trends]; Longevity; Outcome assessment (Health care); Analysis of variance; Longitudinal studies; Models, Statistical.

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