Social inequalities in avoidable mortality: evidence from the ONS Longitudinal Study
Pevalin, D. (2009) British Society for Population Studies, Univ of Sussex, UK, 9 - 11 September 2009 [ONS LS]
Avoidable mortality accounts for a large proportion of premature deaths. Although the rates of avoidable mortality have declined in the last twenty years, it is expected that there are substantial social inequalities in risk. Previous research has established social inequalities in premature all-cause mortality (under 65 years). Recent research using death registration records has indicated declining trends in avoidable causes of death. This study investigates social inequalities in avoidable mortality not previously described in the UK.
Data come from the ONS Longitudinal Study with a 35 year follow up to a large sample from the 1971 Census traced on the NHS central registry (N = 370,000). Social inequalities are examined by social class, education, and housing tenure while two definitions of avoidable mortality are used. Analysis is by way of Cox proportional hazard regression models with results displayed graphically.
Results to date indicate that substantial and significant differences in risk of avoidable mortality exist between most measures of socio-economic position, adjusted for sex and age, whatever the definition of avoidable mortality is used. Hazard ratios for lower social classes are twice that of higher social classes.