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Keywords

Ethnicity – Health aspects; Health surveys; Health status; Minorities – Health and hygiene; Racial status; Social status – Health aspects; Socioeconomic status

Abstract

This paper examines the relative consistency of economic and racial status as predictors of the individual’s physical and emotional health. The focus of the study is the covariates of (1) limited activity resulting from poor physical and (2) limited activity resulting from poor emotional health. Using data from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, the study was developed in two phases. In the first, logistic regression analysis was used to examine two binary variables that identified respondents who reported at least one day of limited activity that resulted from poor physical and then poor emotional or mental health. Limited to those who reported at least one day of limited activity, the second stage of the study examined variability in the number of days of limited activity that resulted from 1) poor physical health and; 2) poor mental or emotional health. After controlling for chronic conditions, risk factors, access to care and the demographic attributes of the individual, the results indicate that the economically disadvantaged consistently reported poor health while wealthier members of the study group reported good health. The coefficients derived for membership in minority groups, defined as African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos, were inconsistent and, in general, insignificant (P<.05).