Educational inequalities in avoidable deaths in Norway: A population based study

Dahl, Espen; Hofoss, Dag; Elstad, Jon Ivar
August 2007
Health Sociology Review;Aug2007, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p146
Academic Journal
The question we raise in this paper is whether the educational gradient in avoidable mortality differs from overall and non-avoidable mortality among men and women in Norway. By avoidable deaths we refer to deaths caused by diseases that are either treatable if given appropriate medical care, or preventable if available preventive measures were implemented. The data set is derived from official administrative registers and includes all Norwegian men (1 107 427) and women (1 087 842) aged 25-67 years with information about status alive/dead during the period 1994-1999. Adjusted for sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors, education forms a marked and independent gradient in overall and non-avoidable mortality and an even steeper gradient in avoidable mortality - in particular in ischemic heart disease and preventable deaths. The educational gradient is shallower for deaths considered treatable by health care, but is still present. These patterns apply to men and women alike. The findings of our study suggest that health care and health policies may play a role in reducing inequalities in deaths that are 'avoidable, unnecessary and unjust'.


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