Determinants of Health Disparities in Italian Regions
There is an extensive literature on regional disparities in health, but much of thisliterature focuses on the United States. Among European countries, Italy is the country whereregional health disparities contribute the most to socioeconomic health disparities. In this paper,we report on regional differences in self-reported poor health and explore possible determinantsat the individual and regional levels in Italy. We use data from the “Indagine Multiscopo sulle Famiglie”, a survey of aspects ofeveryday life in the Italian population, to estimate multilevel logistic regressions that model poorself-reported health as a function of individual and regional socioeconomic factors. Next we usethe causal step approach to test if living conditions, healthcare characteristics, social isolation,2and health behaviors at the regional level mediate the relationship between regionalsocioeconomic factors and self-rated health. We find that residents living in regions with more poverty, more unemployment, andmore income inequality are more likely to report poor health and that poor living conditions andprivate share of healthcare expenditures at the regional level are determinants of socioeconomicdisparities in self-rated health among Italian regions. The implications are that regional contexts matter and that regional policies in Italyhave the potential to reduce health disparities by implementing interventions aimed at improvingliving conditions and access to quality healthcare.
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