The Relationship between Medical Resources and Measures of Health

Some Additional Evidence

by Joseph P. Newhouse, L. J. Friedlander

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Examines the relationship between medical resources of an area and physiological measures of individual health status. To assess the effect of the area's medical resources on the individual's health, such variables as age, sex, race, education and household income were controlled for. The physiological variables include diastolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol concentration, abnormal electrocardiogram, abnormal chest X-ray, varicose veins, and periodontal disease. While additional education and income were found to reduce the prevalence of abnormal chest X-rays and periodontal disease, the physiological measures were affected little by additional medical resources. The results thus support the view that what an individual does (or does not) do for himself has greater impact on his health than additional medical services. The data come from the early 1960s, thus these results may no longer hold. This study should be repeated when more recent data become available.

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