Inequalities in self-reported physical health in the United States, 1993-1999

Health Econ. 2005 Apr;14(4):377-89. doi: 10.1002/hec.951.


This study investigated inequalities in physically healthy days in the United States during 1993-1999, by socioeconomic and demographic group. The generalized entropy GE(2) and other indices were computed using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, 1993-1999. The results indicate that GE(2) for the US population increased by 17% during 1993-1999. Low-to-middle income groups had the highest increases in inequalities during this time (51-66%), whereas the least educated, Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indians/Alaska Natives, the oldest, the youngest, and the richest had the lowest (-14-10%). In 1999, inequalities ranged from 0.0153 (income>or=$50 000) to 0.112 (income<$10 000). Inequalities have increased during 1993-1999 and vary substantially across groups. The American Indians/Alaska Natives experienced the highest inequalities whereas Asians/Pacific-Islanders exhibited the lowest inequalities. More attention should be given to within-group inequalities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States