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January 14, 2014 / Christian Clansky

New research demonstrates how poverty makes people sick

This won’t come as a surprise to most of you, but a new research paper finds that poverty has severe ramifications for health. With unreasonably tight budgets, low-income individuals are forced to compromise on things like healthy eating. Or eating anything at all. This sets off a chain reaction that can end in the hospital, or worse.

What’s especially interesting about this research is that it proves a link between money and health while also debunking an unfortunate misconception that low-income individuals are broadly unhealthy (Atlantic, 1/14):

[I]sn’t it possible that poorer people just tend to be less healthy in general? Sure. That’s why the researchers also looked at when people go the hospital for appendicitis, which doesn’t depend on diet. So there shouldn’t be any end-of-the-month increase for low-income people if tight budgets are the problem. There wasn’t. As you can see above, appendicitis cases were flat across the month for both high (blue) and low (purple) income people.

In other words, poorer people don’t need more care at the end of the month for every kind of condition. Just the ones that get worse when you don’t have enough to eat.

Related
– If you haven’t seen it, check out the documentary series Unnatural Causes. It digs deep into the connection between health and wealth, covering everything from food to geography.

– And, poverty isn’t just about money, according to a new book from economist Tim Harford. It’s also about how individuals perceive themselves, and how they are perceived by others. Harford talked with NPR about his research. (NPR, 1/14)

HOUSING | It’s been about six years since the housing crisis began, but its effects are still getting worse in Maryland. Foreclosures there have skyrocketed, increasing more than 250 percent and landing the state at the number three spot on the list of highest foreclosure rates in the nation. (WAMU, 1/10)

HEALTH
– In order for the Affordable Care Act to be economically viable – and ultimately successful – young adults need to represent a significant portion of health exchange consumers. At this point, the numbers are significantly lower than projected. (WaPo, 1/14)

Opinion: Maryland’s health exchange has had one of the worst launches in the nation. The Post’s Petula Dvorak calls it “a scandal of incompetence” and goes so far as to use the hilarious phrase “epic bungling.” (WaPo, 1/14)

WORKFORCE | Elevation DC writes about the HOPE Project, which helps bring District residents out of poverty by training them for information technology jobs. (EDC, 1/14)

EDUCATION
– A former interim D.C. state superintendent for education (IDCSSFE) has been named to a new DCPS post where she will oversee a plan to improve traditional middle and high schools. (WaPo, 1/14)

With More Choices And New Lottery, D.C. Parents Become School Shoppers (WAMU, 1/13)

LOCAL | Fate of Virginia’s Contested Bi-County Parkway Now Lies With McAuliffe (WAMU, 1/14)

TRANSIT | As the H Street streetcar line gets ready to roll, Aaron Wiener points out that traffic will be a long-term problem for efficiency. Since there’s no dedicated lane, the streetcars are subject to traffic jams and double-parked cars. (CP, 1/14)

To this, I say prepare for ramming speed!

BREAKING NEWS | Edward Snowden promised that more secrets would be coming, and one of Iran’s news agencies has dropped a bom…well, let’s avoid that phrase. They’ve revealed a huge secret. Are you sitting? It turns out that the United States is secretly run by Nazi aliens! (WaPo, 1/13)

So, either Iran’s news agency has a fiction department or Snowden managed to sneak the script of John Carpenter’s They Live into his data dump.


The only thing worse than alien Nazis are Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that everybody needs somebody to love!

Also, here’s a gif that was posted with the title “Life.” Very clever. And bleak!

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