As reported in this HSPH release, an article in the Harvard Gazette and this NPR blog, a large study published in The Lancet Global Health, co-authored by Pop Center faculty member S V Subramanian and former PGDA Fellow Sebastian Vollmer, finds that, contrary to widely held beliefs, economic growth has little to no effect on the nutritional status of the world’s poorest children. “They [the findings] emphasize,” said Subramanian, “that focusing on improving economic growth does not necessarily translate to child health gains.” Pop Center research scientist and director of research core Jocelyn Finlay also contributed to the study.
A paper co-authored by Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, titled “Why Do Americans Have Shorter Life Expectancy and Worse Health Than Do People in Other High-Income Countries?” published in the Annual Review of Public Health examines whether crucial differences in social policy may play an important role in why US Americans lead shorter and less healthy lives than do people in other high-income countries.
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.
Former Pop Center RWJF Scholar Summer Hawkins, PhD, has co-authored a paper indicating that nearly half of nonsmoking pregnant women studied in NYC had elevated cotinine levels despite living in a city with comprehensive tobacco control policies. Study results suggest that “health professionals need to assess sources of SHS exposure during pregnancy and promote smoke-free environments to improve maternal and fetal health.”
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.
Mary Waters, Ph.D., M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Harvard University, and Pop Center Yerby Fellow Mariana Arcaya, ScD, are co-authors on a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies titled “Happily Ever After? Pre-and-Post Disaster Determinants of Happiness Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina.”
Pop Center faculty members Ichiro Kawachi, MD, Ph.D., and SV Subramanian , Ph.D., are co-authors on a study that examines this question in a paper titled “Prefecture-level economic conditions and risk of suicide in Japan: a repeated cross-sectional analysis 1975–2010″ which has been published in the European Journal of Public Health.
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.