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A study in 15 European cities confirmed the existence of socioeconomic inequalities in many of the main causes of mortality.
A study carried out in 15 European countries has detected inequalities for most causes of mortality, and concludes that the higher the poverty, the higher mortality will be, with big differences among territories.
Socioeconomic inequalities are increasingly recognised as an important public health issue, although their role in the leading causes of mortality in urban areas in Europe has not been fully evaluated.
A new study analyses those inequalities in the urban areas of 15 European cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Helsinki, Kosice, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Prague, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Turin and Zurich), between 2000 and 2008.
The authors, an international group of investigators from the 12 countries participating in the study, analysed 9 of the leading specific causes of death related to mortality Ratios, and a socioeconomic deprivation index, separately for men and women.
They studied the ischaemic heart and cerebrovascular diseases, prostatic and lung cancer (men), breast cancer (women). Respiratory diseases, like pneumonia and flu; chronic liver diseases like hepatitis; and endocrine diseases like diabetes, were also studied.
BIG NORTH –SOUTH DIFFERENCES
“We detected spatial socioeconomic inequalities for most causes of mortality studied”, Marí-Dell'Olmo, scientist of the Barcelona Public Health Agency, explained.
However, “these inequalities differed markedly between cities, being more pronounced in Northern and Central-Eastern Europe”, she added.
In the majority of cities, most of these causes of death were positively associated with deprivation among men, with the exception of prostatic cancer. Among women, diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic liver diseases and respiratory diseases were also positively associated with deprivation in most cities.
“In some cases, we have perceived a specific pattern for the inequalities in Europe”, commented Dell'Olmo. “Those results emphasises the necessity of implementing effective policies to reduce them, and the importance that those policies were adapted to the different contexts of each country”, the scientist concluded.
Lung cancer mortality was positively associated with deprivation in Northern European cities and in Kosice (Slovakia), but this association was non-existent or even negative in Southern European cities.
And breast cancer risk was inversely associated with deprivation in three Southern European cities: Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon.