Posts Tagged ‘Women’s health’

Midlife death rate up more for U.S. white women

November 13, 2015

focus_group_3-1024x878Source: Andrew Gelman.

Last week I posted my thoughts about a study indicating a rising death rate among white American men age 45 to 54. Statistics expert Andrew Gelman writes that, if you make an apples-to-apples comparison, it is white American women we should be most concerned about.

He said the study did not take into account that the composition of the age 45 to 54 age group changed from 1999 to 2013. There was a higher proportion of white Americans in their early 50s and fewer in their late 40s.

If you make an age-adjusted comparison—45-year-olds to 45-year-olds, 46-year-olds to 46-year-olds and so on—the chart above shows what the trend looks like over time.

The age-adjusted death rate for middle-aged white American men is in fact higher than in 1999, but Gelman said it is white American women age 52 and under that should be the main concern.

LINKS

Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century by Anne Case and Angus Deaton of Princeton University.

Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men by Andrew Gelman for Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference and Social Science.

Correcting statistical biases in “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”. We need to adjust for the increase in the average age of people in the 45-54 age category by Andrew Gelman for Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference and Social Science.  (Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist)

To Understand Climbing Death Rates Among Whites, Look to Women of Childbearing Age by Laudan Aron, Lisa Debray, Elaine Waxman and Steven Martin for Health Affairs Blog.  (Hat tip to naked capitalism)

More American White Women Are Dying Prematurely by Stephanie Mencimer for Mother Jones.

What’s Killing Poor White Women? by Monica Potts for American Prospect (2013)

Where death rates of American women are rising

April 5, 2013
Click to enlarge.

Women’s mortality rates.  Double click to enlarge.

I always took it for granted that life expectancy of American men and women would increase as time went on.  But researchers David Kindig and Erika Cheng found a big exception to that expectation.  In 42.8 percent of American counties, the mortality rate for women was higher in the mid-2000s than it was in the mid-1990s.  These are the red counties in the map above.  The mortality rate for men increased in only 3.4 percent American counties.

Why?  What changed during that 10-year period?  Why women and not men?  Why mainly in Appalachia, the South, the Midwest and the northern Rockies and not in New England?  Notice that the high-mortality red counties are thinly-populated rural counties, so the chart doesn’t mean that four in 10 American women are living in places with increased risk of mortality.

Kindig’s and Cheng’s original article in Health Affairs is behind a pay wall.  Click on Women’s health and children’s health for a summary of the findings in The Incidental Economist.   Hat tip to Kevin Drum.

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“Our century’s greatest injustice”

September 20, 2010

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are husband and wife journalists who jointly won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on China.  In their book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, they argue that just as slavery and totalitarianism were the great moral issues of the 19th and 20th centuries, crimes against women will be the great moral issue of the 21st century.  After reading the book, I do not think that statement an exaggeration.

Millions of women are targeted for sexual slavery, rape, “honor” killing, and genital mutilation, and tens of millions allowed to die of neglect in childbirth or otherwise, specifically because they are women.  But the struggle for justice for women is a very different kind of struggle than the battles against slavery, fascism and Communism.

Nicholas Kristof was once at the India-Nepal border, and an Indian customs official went through his gear fairly thoroughly, to make sure he didn’t have any smuggled DVDs.  This was on a route where Nepali peasant girls are smuggled into India to be prostitutes, and Kristof asked what success the customs official had in stopping such trafficking.  The customs official said such an effort would be useless.  Young Indian men need access to prostitutes in order to protect the chastity of young Indian women.  The customs official said that if this means Nepali peasant girls have to be forced into prostitution make this possible, this is an unfortunate necessity.

As Kristof noted, the reason the customs official was so concerned about smuggled DVDs is that the United States government put pressure on the Indian government to protect intellectual property rights.  He was not concerned about human trafficking because this is not an issue any government has raised.

The authors are frankly propagandistic.  Reporting mainly from southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, they tell story after story, by turns gruesome and inspiring, about atrocities against women, the courageous responses of some of them, and what philanthropic Americans and other Westerners have done to help.  They throw in enough statistical information to persuade people like me that the stories they tell are not isolated instances.

The authors say that rape and prostitution are worst in countries such as India, Pakistan and Iran where male honor most requires protection of female virginity.  “Honor” requires prostitution to protect “decent” women, and it makes rape an effective tool of humiliation and social control.  Kristof and WuDann tell the story of a village girl in Pakistan who was sentenced by the village council to be stripped and publicly gang-raped to punish not her, but her brother, for some misdeed.  The expectation was that she would commit suicide out of shame, and this would be humiliating to the brother.  But her parents kept watch and prevented her from taking her life, a village Muslim elder denounced the rape as un-Islamic and she went to the police who, surprisingly, arrested the attackers.  With the help of money contributed by Americans, and publicity by Kristof, she founded a girls’ school and then many schools.

The suppression of prostitution, murder and rape is a question of law enforcement.  There are other problems no less serious, but harder to get a grip on.  Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, wrote an essay in 1990 on “100 million missing women.”  Women live longer than men, and so there are more women than men in much of the world, including Latin America and much of Africa.  Yet in China, India, Pakistan and certain other countries, men outnumber women.  The reason, Kristol and WuDunn say, is that parents don’t try as hard to keep their daughters alive as their sons.  Studies in India show that girls in India don”t get vaccinated as boys do, and are 50 percent more likely to die between ages 1 and 5.

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