The Nation’s Health: Earnings influential as lifelong social determinant of health

When it comes to health, there are many factors that influence how long and how well people will live, from the quality of their education to the cleanliness of their environment. But of all social determinants of health, research shows there is one that is perhaps the most influential: income.

Public health workers have long been witness to the inextricable links between poor health and poverty. Science consistently shows that low incomes are a significant risk factor in disease incidence and severity as well as life expectancy.

For example, in a study published in April in the Journal of the American Medical Association that examined more than 1 billion U.S. tax records from 1999 through 2014, researchers found that higher income was linked with longer life, with differences in life expectancy across income groups increasing over time.

Visit The Nation’s Health online to continue reading this story from the Oct. 2016 issue.