This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Being Empowered is Good for Your Health

A new study from the UK shows that doctors are less likely to refer older people, women, and the poor to specialists in cases where those patients could, in fact, likely benefit from treatment by a specialist. Although the study did not delve into the reasons for these inequalities in referrals, the authors speculated that older people in general, women, and the less well-off were less likely to ask for a referral, and so the general practitioner did not offer one. Why are they less likely to ask for a referral? Malcolm Gladwell, in his book "Outliers" reviews research showing that children who grow up being empowered by their parents to interact with and question adults are more apt to succeed in life. "Success" (i.e., getting that needed referral) in talking with your physician may well improve your health, and this type of empowering behavior is more characteristic of younger people, and the middle or higher classes. This does not excuse the potentially discriminatory behavior of these physicians, but it is a reminder that being being a little pushy may be good for you.

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