Geographical inequalities in health in New Zealand, 1980-2001: the gap widens

J Pearce, D Dorling, BW Wheeler, R Barnett, J Rigby

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To monitor geographical inequalities in health in New Zealand during the period 1980 to 2001, a time of rapid social and economic change in society. Methods: Age-stanclardised mortality rates were calculated using mortality records aggregated to a consistent set of geographical areas (the 2001 District Health Boards) for the periods 1980-82, 1985-87, 1990-92, 1995-97 and 19992001. In addition, the Relative Index of Inequality (RII) was calculated for each period to provide a robust measure of mortality rates over time. Results: Although overall mortality rates have declined through the period 1980 to 2001, the reduction has not been consistent for all areas of New Zealand. Indeed for a small number of DHBs, mortality rates have increased slightly. There has been an increase in the geographical inequalities in health as measured by the RII between each time period except for between 1986 and 1991, where there was a small reduction. Conclusions: At the start of the 21 st century, geographical inequalities in health in New Zealand have reached very high levels and continue to increase. The excess mortality for the worst areas in New Zealand increased from 15% in 1981 to 25% in 2000. If policy makers are committed to reducing health inequalities then more redistributive economic policies are required.
    Translated title of the contributionGeographical inequalities in health in New Zealand, 1980-2001: the gap widens
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)461 - 466
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Volume30 (5)
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher: Blackwell

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