Last week we featured a new study co-authored by Pop Center faculty member SV Subramanian, which found that economic growth has little to no effect on the nutritional status of the world’s poorest children. The study was subsequently discussed on NPR’s health news site, Shots, and in The New York Times, where Paul Krugman quoted Subramanian in a blog post on economic growth and income distribution.
Its information-gathering abilities are no doubt impressive, but how good is Google at tracking cases of influenza? Pop Center faculty member Gary King, who recently co-authored a paper critiquing the accuracy of Google Flu Trends. A subsequent New York Times article discussed King’s paper and raised interesting questions about the strengths and limitations of big data.
We’ve long known that anxiety puts people at risk for coronary heart disease, but now a nationally representative longitudinal study of the US population has shown that anxiety also increases the risk of stroke. Pop Center faculty member Laura Kubzansky and RWJF alum Rebecca Thurston co-authored the study, which was published in Stroke.
And speaking of reducing anxiety, please join us for a cup of tea on April 28th, when we kick off our 50th Anniversary celebration with an Open House and Reception. All are welcome!
Given that health is improving at a greater rate among the better off than among those of lower socioeconomic status, will health inequities become greater over time? Pop Center faculty members Nancy Krieger and Jason Beckfield were part of a team that looked at 50 years of data on socioeconomic health inequities in the US. The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found that health inequities need not rise as population health improves.
What’s the best age at which to retire? This question is certainly a current hot topic. David Canning, who co-directs the Pop Center, and David Bloom, head of the Program on the Global Demography of Aging, have developed a new model for predicting the optimal age of retirement and have published their work in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics. Their model predicts continuing declines in the optimal retirement age, despite rising life expectancy, provided the rate of real wage growth remains as high as in the last century.
Although a growing literature suggests that low birth weight increases the risk of poor health outcomes in adulthood, a new study co-authored by Pop Center faculty members SV Subramanian and Gunther Fink has found evidence to the contrary. Their findings, published in PLoS One, reveal that low birth weight did not result in poor health outcomes among young adults in Brazil. The researchers hope to expand upon on these findings by conducting further studies using larger samples and longer follow-ups.
The FDA’s announcement that it planned to update nutrition labels got a lot of press last week, with many popular media outlets reaching out to experts for comment. The Pop Center’s own Jason Block and Christina Roberto were quoted in a LiveScience article that discussed the proposed changes. Block is the Associate Director of the Obesity Prevention Program in the Department of Population Medicine at HSPH, and Roberto is a RWJF Health and Society Scholar who has published and spoken extensively on the power of food labeling.
A new study in Pediatrics, co-authored by faculty member Mark Schuster, examines the longitudinal associations of bullying with mental and physical health from elementary to high school. The study, titled “Peer Victimization in Fifth Grade and Health in Tenth Grade,” revealed that bullying was associated with worse mental and physical health, greater depression symptoms, and lower self-worth over time. These findings suggest that if clinicians recognize bullying when it first starts and intervene accordingly, they may be able to reverse the downward health trajectory experienced by youth who are repeated targets.
Egypt has an extremely high obesity rate–much higher than would be expected given the country’s level of economic development. How does this paradox affect the correlation between SES and obesity? Faculty members Ichiro Kawachi, SV Subramanian, and Allan Hill conducted a study which found that obesity is prevalent across the SES spectrum in Cairo, i.e. there are no marked correlations between obesity and SES measures such as education, household expenditures, household assets, subjective wealth, and father’s education. The paper, published in Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, analyzes these findings and considers how they should inform health policy.
In a new study published in Population Research and Policy Review, former Bell fellow Hiram Beltran-Sanchez and colleagues use the concept of avoidable/amenable mortality to estimate cause-of-death contributions to the difference in life expectancy between whites and blacks by gender in the United States between 1980 and 2007. Their findings show that a substantial portion of black-white disparities in mortality could be reduced given more equitable access to medical care and health interventions.