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International Journal for Equity in Health

, 13:128

First Online: 19 December 2014Received: 08 August 2014Accepted: 09 December 2014DOI: 10.1186-s12939-014-0128-9

Cite this article as: Oshio, T. & Kan, M. Int J Equity Health 2014 13: 128. doi:10.1186-s12939-014-0128-9


IntroductionIt is well known that lower income is associated with poorer health, but poverty has several dimensions other than income. In the current study, we investigated the associations between multidimensional poverty and health variables.

MethodsUsing micro data obtained from a nationwide population survey in Japan N = 24,905, we focused on four dimensions of poverty income, education, social protection, and housing conditions and three health variables self-rated health SRH, psychological distress, and current smoking. We examined how health variables were associated with multidimensional poverty measures, based on descriptive and multivariable logistic regression analyses.

ResultsUnions as composite measures of multiple poverty dimensions were more useful for identifying individuals in poor SRH or psychological distress than a single dimension such as income. In comparison, intersections of poverty dimensions reduced the coverage of individuals considered to be in poverty and tend to be difficult to justify without any explicit policy objective. Meanwhile, education as a unidimensional poverty indicator could be useful for predicting current smoking.

ConclusionsResults obtained from the current study confirmed the practical relevance of multidimensional poverty for health.

KeywordsMultidimensional poverty Self-rated health Psychological distress Current smoking AbbreviationsCSLCPHWComprehensive Survey of the Living Conditions of People on Health and Welfare

K6Kessler 6

MHLWMinistry of Health, Labour and Welfare

MLITMinistry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

MPIMultidimensional Poverty Index

OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

OPHIOxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative

SRHSelf-rated health

UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12939-014-0128-9 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Takashi Oshio - Mari Kan


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