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Socioeconomic inequality in health-related quality of life among Korean adults with chronic disease: an analysis of the Korean Community Health Survey
Thi Huyen Trang Nguyen, Thi Tra Bui, Jinhee Lee, Kui Son Choi, Hyunsoon Cho, Jin-Kyoung Oh
Epidemiol Health. 2024;46:e2024018.   Published online January 8, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024018
  • 1,486 View
  • 69 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
Health-related quality of life is crucial for people dealing with chronic illness. This study investigated the quality of life in individuals with 5 common chronic conditions in Korea. We also analyzed socioeconomic factors such as education, income, occupation, and urbanization to identify determinants of inequality.
METHODS
Using 2016 Korea Community Health Survey data, we examined individuals aged 30 or older with chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, arthritis) using the EuroQol 5-Dimension 3 Level tool. We analyzed the associations between socioeconomic factors (education, income, occupation, urbanization) and quality of life using descriptive statistics and regression analysis. Inequality indices (relative inequality index, absolute inequality index) were used to measure inequality in quality of life.
RESULTS
Individuals with higher income levels showed a 1.95-fold higher likelihood of a better quality of life than those with the lowest income. The lowest income group had higher odds of mobility (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.2), self-care (aOR, 2.1), activity limitations (aOR, 2.4), pain/discomfort (aOR, 1.8), and anxiety/depression (aOR, 2.3). Educational disparities included a 3-fold increase in mobility and daily activity problems for those with elementary or lower education. Well-educated participants had a 1.94 times higher quality of life, with smaller differences in anxiety/depression and self-management. The income gap accounted for 14.1% of variance in quality-of-life disparities.
CONCLUSIONS
Addressing socioeconomic disparities in the quality of life for individuals with chronic diseases necessitates tailored interventions and targeted health policies. This research informs policymakers in developing focused initiatives to alleviate health inequities. It emphasizes the importance of mental health support and ensuring affordable, accessible healthcare services.
Summary
Korean summary
- 지역사회건강조사 자료를 통해 확인한 한국인에게 호발하는 만성질환자(당뇨, 고혈압, 심혈관질환, 고지혈증, 관절염)에서 삶의 질 점수(EQ-5D)는 평균 0.7점으로, 남성에서 높고, 연령이 높을수록 낮다. - 소득이 낮거나 교육수준이 낮은 군에서 삶의 질이 상대적으로 낮으며, 특히 운동능력, 자기관리, 통증/불편, 불안/우울 각각에서 두배 가량 어려움을 겪는 것으로 나타났다. - 만성질환자에서 삶의 질은 사회경제적 여건에 따라 격차가 존재하므로, 취약한 계층 발굴과 지원이 필요하다.
Key Message
- Quality of life score (EQ-5D) in patients with chronic diseases (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, and arthritis) that are prevalent in Koreans identified through data from community health surveys averaged 0.7, lower in women than in men, and decreased by age. - Low-income or low-educated patients have relatively low quality of life, and they have more than twice as much problem in mobility, self-care, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression. - Disparities in quality of life in patients with chronic diseases according to socioeconomic conditions have been found, and support for the vulnerable is needed.
Socioeconomic inequalities in metabolic syndrome and its components in a sample of Iranian Kurdish adults
Pardis Mohammadzadeh, Farhad Moradpour, Bijan Nouri, Farideh Mostafavi, Farid Najafi, Ghobad Moradi
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023083.   Published online September 3, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023083
  • 4,271 View
  • 101 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The worldwide incidence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) has increased in recent decades. In this study, we investigated the socioeconomic inequalities associated with MetS and its components in a sample of the Iranian Kurdish population.
METHODS
We used data from 3,996 participants, aged 35 years to 70 years, from the baseline phase of the Dehgolan Prospective Cohort Study (February 2018 to March 2019). The concentration index and concentration curve were used to measure inequality and the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method was used to examine the contribution of various determinants to the observed socioeconomic inequality in MetS and its components.
RESULTS
The prevalence of MetS was 34.44% (95% confidence interval [CI], 32.97 to 35.93). The prevalence of MetS was 26.18% for those in the highest socioeconomic status (SES), compared with 40.51% for participants in the lowest SES. There was a significant negative concentration index for MetS (C=-0.13; 95% CI, -0.16 to -0.09), indicating a concentration of MetS among participants with a lower SES. The most prevalent component was abdominal obesity (59.14%) with a significant negative concentration index (C=-0.21; 95% CI, -0.25 to -0.18). According to decomposition analysis, age, gender, and education were the highest contributing factors to inequality in MetS and its components.
CONCLUSIONS
This study showed socioeconomic inequality in MetS. People with a low SES were more likely to have MetS. Therefore, policymakers and health managers need to develop appropriate strategies to reduce these inequalities in MetS across age groups, genders, and education levels, especially among women and the elderly.
Summary
Key Message
This study sheds light on the presence of socioeconomic inequalities in metabolic syndrome (MetS) among Iranian Kurds. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with a higher prevalence of MetS and its components. Addressing these socioeconomic factors is crucial to reduce health inequalities. Recognizing this association helps us understand the social determinants of health and design targeted interventions. Policymakers and health managers should prioritize developing strategies to reduce these inequalities in MetS across different age groups, genders, and educational levels, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations like women and the elderly.
Did the socioeconomic inequalities in avoidable and unavoidable mortality worsen during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea?
Rora Oh, Myoung-Hee Kim, Juyeon Lee, Rangkyoung Ha, Jungwook Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023072.   Published online August 3, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023072
  • 3,430 View
  • 118 Download
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
This study examined changes in socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in Korea before and after the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
METHODS
From 2017 to 2020, age-standardized mortality rates were calculated for all-cause deaths, avoidable deaths (preventable deaths, treatable deaths), and unavoidable deaths using National Health Insurance claims data and Statistics Korea’s cause of death data. In addition, the slope index of inequality (SII) and the relative index of inequality (RII) by six income levels (Medical Aid beneficiary group and quintile of health insurance premiums) were computed to analyze the magnitude and change of mortality inequalities.
RESULTS
All-cause and avoidable mortality rates decreased steadily between 2017 and 2020, whereas unavoidable mortality remained relatively stable. In the case of mortality inequalities, the disparity in all-cause mortality between income classes was exacerbated in 2020 compared to 2019, with the SII increasing from 185.44 to 189.22 and the RII increasing from 3.99 to 4.29. In particular, the preventable and unavoidable mortality rates showed an apparent increase in inequality, as both the SII (preventable: 91.31 to 92.01, unavoidable: 69.99 to 75.38) and RII (preventable: 3.42 to 3.66, unavoidable: 5.02 to 5.89) increased.
CONCLUSIONS
In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality inequality continued to increase, although there was no sign of exacerbation. It is necessary to continuously evaluate mortality inequalities, particularly for preventable and unavoidable deaths.
Summary
Korean summary
이 연구는 COVID-19 발생 전후 한국에서의 사망률 추이와 사망률 불평등 변화를 조사했다. 2017~2020년 사이에 총사망률과 회피가능사망률은 줄어들었지만, 사망률의 사회경제적 불평등은 더 커지는 경향을 보였다. 특히 예방가능사망과 회피불가능사망에서 불평등이 커져 지속적인 추적과 평가가 필요하다.
Key Message
This study examined the trends in mortality rates and changes in mortality inequality in Korea before and after the onset of COVID-19. Between 2017 and 2020, while the all-cause and avoidable mortality rates decreased, there was a growing trend of inequality in mortality rates based on income levels. Particularly, inequalities in preventable and unavoidable deaths have increased, emphasizing the need for ongoing evaluation.
Brief Communication
Occupational inequalities in mortality in Korea: an analysis using nationally representative mortality follow-up data from the late 2000s and after
Eunjeong Noh, Young-Ho Khang
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022038.   Published online April 6, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022038
  • 7,648 View
  • 353 Download
  • 1 Web of Science
  • 1 Crossref
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
Many Korean and international studies have found higher mortality rates and poorer health conditions among manual workers than among non-manual workers. However, a recent study using unlinked data argued that since the economic crisis in Korea in the late 2000s, the mortality estimates of male Korean non-manual workers have been higher than those of manual workers. Our work using individually linked data from the late 2000s and after aimed to examine mortality inequality by occupational class. We analyzed Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data that were individually linked to cause-of-death data. Cox regression analysis was used to identify the hazard ratios for mortality by occupational class. Of 11,766 males aged between 35 and 64, 397 died between 2007 and 2018: 142 died from cancer, 68 from cardiovascular disease, 88 from external causes, and 99 from other causes. After controlling for age, the mortality estimates for manual workers were 1.85 times higher than those for upper non-manual workers (p<0.05). We observed no evidence of reversed mortality inequality among occupational classes in Korea since the 2000s; this previously reported finding might have been due to numerator-denominator bias arising from the use of unlinked data.
Summary
Korean summary
개인 단위 연계자료가 아닌 분모(센서스)-분자(사망신고) 집합 자료를 사용하여 2000년대 후반 경제위기 이후 한국 남성 비육체직의 사망률이 육체직보다 높게 나타난다고 기존의 한 연구가 주장했다. 이 연구는 2000년대 이후 개인 단위로 연계된 코호트 자료를 활용하여 여전히 한국에서 육체직의 사망위험이 비육체직보다 높다는 점을 보임으로써, 기존 연구가 비연계자료의 사용으로 인한 분자-분모 바이어스(numerator-denominator bias) 때문에 그와 같은 결과를 보였다고 지적하였다.
Key Message
This paper using individually linked data from the late 2000s and after observed no evidence of reversed mortality inequality among occupational classes in Korea since the 2000s. The previously reported finding showing reversed occupational mortality inequality might have been due to numerator-denominator bias arising from the use of unlinked data.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Mortality of Suicide and Cerebro-Cardiovascular Diseases by Occupation in Korea, 1997–2020
    Jungwon Jang, Inah Kim
    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.2022; 19(16): 10001.     CrossRef

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