Skip to content

ISER Working Paper Series 2020-04

Biomarkers, disability and health care demand

Authors

Publication date

30 Mar 2020

Abstract

Using longitudinal data from a representative UK panel, we focus on a group of apparently healthy individuals with no history of disability or major chronic health condition at baseline. A latent variable structural equation model is used to analyse the predictive role of latent baseline biological health, indicated by a rich set of biomarkers, and other personal characteristics, in determining the individual’s disability state and health service utilisation five years later. We find that baseline health affects future health service utilisation very strongly, via functional disability as a mediating outcome. Our model reveals that observed income inequality in the access to health care, is driven by the fact that higher-income people tend to make greater use of healthcare treatment, for any given health and disability status. This leads to a slight rise in utilisation with income, despite the lower average need for treatment shown by the negative income gradients for both baseline health and disability outcomes. Factor loadings for latent baseline health show that a broader set of blood-based biomarkers, rather than the current focus mainly on blood pressure, cholesterol and adiposity, may need to be considered for public health screening programs.

Subjects

Disability, Economics, Income Dynamics, Health, Life Course Analysis, and Biology

Paper download  

#526050


Research home

Research home

News

Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author

Podcasts

Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society

Projects

Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs

Events

Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report

Themes

Key research themes and areas of interest