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July 6, 2009

Poorer Health: The Persistent and Protean Connections Between Poverty, Social Inequality, and Child Well-being

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(7):668-670. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.118

Poverty is bad for children. This unassailable reality is hardly a news flash: beginning in the early 1800s with the studies by Louis-René Villermé in France and William Farr in England, investigations have firmly established the strong connection between poverty and the overall population mortality rate and, more dramatically, infant mortality rates.1-3 New evidence accumulated during the past several decades has refined our understanding, showing not only the association between an individual child's absolute or relative exposure to poverty and a greater risk of myriad diseases and conditions but also a similar association between ill health and the degree of nonuniform distribution of income across an entire population or society.4,5