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Health, Social Inequalities and Food Expenditure: The implications of the economic and financial crises

Paul Andrew Bourne.

Introduction: Economic and financial crises have resulted in changes in health indicators and health financing in many developing nations. Yet no single study has evaluated health indicators (including illness, self-rated health, health care utilization, purchased medication, typology of health conditions) and food expenditure, and disaggregated these by social hierarchies. Objectives: This work assesses health indicators (including illness, self-rated health, health care utilization, purchased medication, typology of health conditions), food expenditure and disaggregated these by social hierarchies. This paper models self-rated health by some explanatory variables as well as annual food expenditure. Methods: Using household survey for 2007, the present study evaluates various health indicators by income quintile; model logged annual food expenditure and good-to-very good health status. Ordinary least square and multiple logistic regressions were used to establish the models. Findings: The main findings are 1) females continue to report lower good-to-very good health than their male counterparts; 2) rural residents experienced lower health status; 3) the economically vulnerable’s health is lower; 4) quality of health of those in tertiary level education is adversely affected; 5) health status of elderly is being negatively influenced; 6) the poorest spent US $6.06 (SD = US $ 3.94) daily on food compared to US 13.87 (SD = US $8.84) for those in the wealthiest income quintile; 7) 43 out of every 100 in the poorest income quintile had chronic conditions and purchased the prescribed medications compared to 73 out of every 100 in the wealthiest income quintile; 8) the greatest prevalence of people not to visit a health care practitioner were the poorest, and this was due to inafffordability (33%). Conclusion: The findings provide a platform for action and policy framework.

Key words: Health, health conditions, chronic illness, economic crisis, food expenditure, social inequality, health disparity

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The articles in Bibliomed are open access articles licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
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