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Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Health and Nutrition of Children in Low/Middle Income Countries: Discussion Summary

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Socioeconomic inequalities in the Health and Nutrition of Children in Low/Middle Income Countries: Discussion Summary
Antonio Taylor
Stratford University
HCA 505: Global Health
Professor Ostrander
January 27, 2016

Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Health and Nutrition of Children in Low/Middle income Countries: Discussion Summary
Introduction
Child malnutrition remains one of the world’s most fundamental challenges for improved human development. Because the time and capacities of caregivers are limited, there are too many children in the world that are unable to access and effectively use at all times the food and healthcare services they need for a healthy life. Hundreds of millions of children in less developed countries suffer from poor health can nutrition. Children in most less developed countries also complete far few years of schooling, and learn less per year in schooling, than their counterparts in developed countries. Recent research has shown that poor health and nutrition among children reduces their time in school and their learning during that time.
Background
There is a long standing tradition of research on socio-economic health inequalities in contemporary high income countries. Early studies in the socioeconomic inequalities were often done by physicians engaged in social movements, who focused on the influence of living conditions on health. Attention for socio-economic health inequalities have been changing since the 19th century. At the start of the 21st century, there is overwhelming evidence that there are systematic and substantial health inequalities between social and income groups, which run across the entire social hierarchy (Marmot, 2006). The research tends to focus on health outcomes in adults and sometimes old age, maybe because childhood mortality levels are relatively low in these countries. The contrast however, in the study of socioeconomic health inequalities in low and middle income countries, this study is relatively new. These studies are more focused on childhood mortality and its determinants, as it remains a public health problem in these countries.
Methods and Results The evidence on the socioeconomic inequalities in childhood mortality in low and middle income countries is based on the use of services, nutritional status, morbidity, and mortality. The researchers used five hierarchical categories to build the framework to find the results that effected inequalities: socioeconomic context and position, differential exposure, differential vulnerability, differential health outcomes, and differential consequences (Barros et. Al, 2010). Of the explanatory framework for health inequality, Dr. Barros searched the published literature and databases from two major initiatives (DHS and MICS) on the topic of socioeconomic differentials in child health and nutrition. Data from 100 countries suggest poor children and their mothers fall extremely behind their counterparts in the well-off countries. These inequalities in health outcomes result from the fact that poor children, relative to those from wealth families, are more likely to be exposed to disease causing agents.
Summary
This article provides and reviews some basic facts about child health and nutrition in less developed countries. It then provides a framework on the methods and the results from analyzing the data and the impact of health and nutrition. It shows that the adverse conditions were more prevalent in the less than well-off countries. The magnitude of inequality varies between countries and over time, suggesting its amenability to intervene. Reducing inequalities in childhood health and nutrition would substantially contribute in improving population health and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Questions for Discussion
1. What are some of the contribution of health and nutrition inequalities?
2. What are some things that might reduce these inequalities whether its healthcare related or some other condition?
3. Based on what you read, what is the potential long term impact on health and nutrition and reaching the Millennium Develop Goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger?

References
Barros, F. C., Victora, C. G., Scherpbier, R., & Gwatkin, D. (2010). Socioeconomic inequities in the health and nutrition of children in low/middle income countries. Revista de Saúde Pública, 44(1), 1-16. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Scherpbier/publication/41414829_Socioeconomic_inequities_in_the_health_and_nutrition_of_children_in_lowmiddle_income_countries/links/0c960519ef3aa69373000000.pdf on 22 January 2016.
Marmot, M. G. (2006). Status syndrome: a challenge to medicine. Jama, 295(11), 1304-1307. Retrieved from: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.471.9269&rep=rep1&type=pdf on 26 January 2016.

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