Exposure to Violence Aggravates Health Inequalities

July 15, 2008

Exposure to violence makes a direct contribution to health inequalities by restricting people's ability to exercise outdoors and inhibiting delivery of health-related services, according to a report published online July 15 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

TUESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to violence makes a direct contribution to health inequalities by restricting people's ability to exercise outdoors and inhibiting delivery of health-related services, according to a report published online July 15 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Mark A. Bellis, Ph.D., of Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, U.K., and colleagues used data on 120,643 emergency hospital admissions for assault between 2002 and 2006 in order to assess its demography and the impact on health inequalities.

There was a 29.56 percent increase in admission rates from 2002 to 2006 and across all age groups, including children, and social deprivation was associated with higher rates of hospital admissions for assault, the investigators found. The rate of admission for the quintile in the poorest area was six times higher than the rate for those living in the richest quintile. Males were 5.59 times more likely to be hospitalized for assault, with those aged 15 to 29 most at risk. Saturdays and Sundays accounted for 22.34 percent and 20.38 percent of total admissions, respectively.

"With disproportionate exposure to violence in poorer areas, even in those under 15, early-life primary prevention initiatives are required in disadvantaged communities to reduce childhood harm and the development of adult perpetrators and victims of violence," the authors write.

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