Application of Socio-Economic and Health Deprivation Indices to study the relationships between socio-economic status and disease onset and outcome in a metropolitan area subjected to aging, demographic fall and socio-economic crisis.


Metropolitan area; Socioeconomic crisis; Deprivation indices; Mortality by cause; Diseases onset; Diseases outcomes.


Aims - Genoa is a city hit by a deep economic, demographic and social involution. The association between disease onset and outcome and socioeconomic status (SES) was assessed in the mortality by cause in two periods, using indices referred to the distribution of deprivation in the population ten years apart.

Material and Methods – Two Socio-Economic and Health Deprivation Indices (SEHDIs), computed at census tract level (2001 and 2011 Censuses), were applied to analyse the SMRs by cause, age (0-64 and 65+ years) and gender of the five normalised groups of deprivation individuated in the two population distribution. The associations between SES and onset of disease was described in the mortality 2008-11 using the index referred to 2001 population, while the second, referred to 2011 population, described the associations between SES and disease outcomes in the mortality 2009-13. Two ANOVAs evaluated the statistical significance (p<0.05) of differences in death distribution among groups.

Results – The population at medium-high deprivation increased in Genoa between 2001 and 2011. The mortality by age and gender showed different trends. Not significant trends (NS) in both periods regarded only the younger (respiratory diseases in both sexes, prostate cancer, diabetes in women). Linearly positives (L↑) trends in both periods were observed only in men (all cancers and lung cancers, overall mortality and cardiovascular diseases in younger, diabetes in older). Not linear trends (NL) in both periods interested both sexes for flu and pneumonia, women for lung cancer, old women for overall mortality and respiratory diseases, old men for colorectal cancers. Instead, L↑ trends in the final phases of disease interest all cancers in the elderly (NS trend at the disease onset), all cancers and breast cancer in young women, diabetes and colorectal cancers in young men (NL trends at the disease onset). On the contrary, L↑ trends at the disease onset and NL trends in the final phases regarded cardiovascular diseases in elderly, overall mortality, respiratory diseases and prostate cancer in old men, diabetes and colorectal cancers in old women. Finally, NL trends at the disease onset regarded colorectal cancers in young women (NS trend in the final phases) and breast cancer in the older (linearly negative trend, L↓, in the final phases).

Discussion - Deprivation trends confirmed the literature about populations lapsing towards poverty. Ageing-linked social risks were revealed, reflecting the weakening of social-health care, which worsened in elderly if alone. Serious problems in younger singles or in the single-parent families arose. Cardiovascular diseases, all cancers and colorectal cancers trends confirmed the advantage of less deprived when diseases are preventable and curable. Prostate and breast cancers trends reflected the rising incidence and increasing problems in care. The need of corrective interventions in social and health policies is emerging, adequate to support in a targeted way a population in an alarming condition of socio-economic deterioration.


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