[Building of a local deprivation index to measure the health status in the Liguria Region]

Epidemiol Prev. 2012 May-Aug;36(3-4):180-7.
[Article in Italian]


Aims: During the last twenty years, in the most of the European nations, studies on how measuring socioeconomic differences related to inequities in take in charge of patients, health care and outcomes have been developed. The aim of this paper is the computation of a Liguria Region Deprivation Index (IDR), able to describe the peculiar health characteristics of the Liguria population, economically and socially quite homogeneous, on the basis of the socioeconomic (SE) differences related to health outcomes according to the differences in general mortality.

Design: All the population and households variables from the 2001 Italian Census have been considered at municipal level and, for Genoa and Savona, at lower administrative area level, selecting only the ones significantly correlated to the general mortality by Pearson correlation. The Standard Mortality Ratios (SMR on 2001 standard Liguria population) for Overall Mortality by gender and age groups (0-64 years and 65+ years) have been used as dependent variables. In order to build the RDI and classify the areas on the basis of increasing socioeconomic deprivation, a multivariate methodology have been used by means of principal component factor analysis of the previous selected variables and k-means clustering of the geographical areas; then these results have been compared with the SMR by analysis of variance. Finally, the RDI has been applied to the SMR of some groups of principal causes of death (all tumours and cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive system diseases), in order to differentiate the population by health outcomes.

Results: Two factors have been identified: an economic-educational factor and a socio-familiar one. The first factor describes the educational level and occupation, while the second one the marital status, the family dimension and the house peculiarities. The clustering procedure has allowed to identify five groups of geographical areas, distributed by the increasing of the SE deprivation. The most problematic areas are located in the countryside or in some spot places of the seaside, far from the health care centres and with difficult access by travel connection. The association between RDI and overall mortality SMRs confirms the relationship between deprivation and mortality increases, according to a statistically significant linear trend. Similar relationships have been observed for cardiovascular and digestive system diseases, while no associations have been found for respiratory illness and overall cancers.

Conclusions: The RDI is able to give information on the health differences in the population, by differentiating the mortality trend on the basis of specific situations of richness and social hardship. It is useful not only for disentangling by economic condition, but also by the resources of the social and familiar support to cope with the illness situations. So, the relationship between deprivation and mortality, according to a statistically significant linear trend, shows how groups of Liguria people suffer by a lack of familiar resources, which strongly reduces the possibility of a quick take in charge and the adhesion to the more adequate therapeutic procedure, till to fatal results. In this way, areas of aimed actions can be defined by the local decision-makers, in order to optimize the health resources allocation and to reduce inequities.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult