Thursday, August 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Study links low wages to hypertension

By
From page A4 | January 20, 2013 |

Workers earning the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension than workers with the highest wages, according to new research from UC Davis.

The correlation between wages and hypertension was especially strong among women and persons between the ages of 25 to 44, the study found.

“We were surprised that low wages were such a strong risk factor for two populations not typically associated with hypertension, which is more often linked with being older and male,” said J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and professor of public health sciences.

“Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension as well.”

The study, published in the December issue of the European Journal of Public Health, is believed to be the first to isolate the role of wages in hypertension, which is diagnosed when the force of circulating blood against artery walls is too high.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension affects approximately 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. and costs more than $90 billion each year in health-care services, medications and missed work days. It also is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, both of which are leading causes of death and disability.

While there is a known association between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and hypertension, determining the specific reason for that association has been difficult, according to Leigh. Other researchers have focused on factors such as occupation, job strain, education and insurance coverage, with unclear results. Leigh’s study was the first to focus on wages and hypertension.

“By isolating a direct and fundamental aspect of work that people greatly value, we were able to shed light on the relationship between SES and circulatory health,” said Leigh. “Wages are also a part of the employment environment that easily can be changed. Policymakers can raise the minimum wage, which tends to increase wages overall and could have significant public-health benefits.”

In conducting the study, the team used data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a highly regarded database in social science. This longitudinal, representative study of families in the United States includes information on wages, employment and health, including hypertension status.

The team used information from a total of 5,651 household heads and their spouses for three time periods: 1999-2001, 2001-03 and 2003-05. The sample was limited to working adults between 25 and 65 years of age. Anyone with hypertension during the first year of each time period was eliminated from the final sample.

Wages were calculated as annual income from all sources divided by work hours and ranged from about $2.38 to $77 per hour in 1999 dollars. Hypertension was determined by respondents’ self-reports of a hypertension diagnosis from their physicians.

The team used logistic regressions for the statistical analysis, and found that doubling the wage was associated with a 16 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis. Doubling the wage reduced the risk of a hypertension diagnosis by 1.2 percent over two years and 0.6 percent for one year.

“That means that if there were 110 million persons employed in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 65 per year during the entire timeframe of the study — from 1999 until 2005 — then a 10 percent increase in everyone’s wages would have resulted in 132,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year,” said Leigh.

Additional logistic regression analyses by demographics such as age, gender, race and co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes and alcohol consumption revealed two standout outcomes. Being in the youngest age group — between 25 and 44 years old — or being female were strong predictors of hypertension.

In fact, doubling the wages of younger workers was associated with a 25 to 30 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis, and doubling the wages of women was associated with a 30 to 35 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis.

Leigh said that a potential limitation of the study regarding the gender disparity was its reliance on respondents’ self-reports of hypertension diagnoses.

“Other research has shown that women are more likely than men to report a health diagnosis,” said Leigh. “However, the longitudinal nature of the data used in our study helps mitigate that natural bias, and self-reports of health do typically correlate with clinical data.”

Leigh recommends additional research using different national data sets to investigate the potential relationship between low wages and hypertension.

“If the outcomes are the same, we could have identified a way to help reduce the costs and personal impact of a major health crisis,” Leigh said.

The study co-author was Juan Du, who recently completed her Ph.D. in economics at UCD.

— UC Davis Health News

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Here’s a guide to Fifth Street etiquette

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Marsh trial still scheduled to begin Monday

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
The show must go on: DMTC celebrates 30 years

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Village Feast offers a taste of Yolo County with a hint of Europe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

NAMI support group meets Sunday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Free electronic waste recycling service offered

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Sign up soon for Sac City’s fall classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Fish-friendly river water intake takes shape

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Grandmothers support group meets weekly

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Animal Services issues warning about rabid bats

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Peregrine School is open for tours, registration

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Museum sets brick dedication date

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Meet K9 officer Dexter at Davis Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Qigong class starts in September


By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Join the fun at the DMTC Gala on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Poets will read their original work on Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Forum

Where are the Water Police?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
I really miss cal.net, too

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Many thanks to Brooks Painting

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Will you help serve Davis’ senior citizens?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Frank Bruni: The trouble with tenure

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Aggie coaches nearer starting lineups for Stanford opener

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s lose to split series with Mets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

River Cats clip Redbirds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants cruise past Cubs in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Scoring machine propels Republic to another win

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers’ Dawson still learning to kick in new stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

Wineaux: A sparkling prescription for a new disease

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

 
Free classical concerts set at Covell Gardens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

‘La Cage aux Folles’: a refreshing take on a classic

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Dora Mae Clark Anderson

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6