Early findings from a current research study, funded by the University of Washington (UW), evaluating over 160 countries show that demographics may more significantly affect life expectancy and child mortality rates, than do the resources of the developed or developing country. The study led by Sue Hegyvary, RN, PhD, FAAN, an Emory nursing alumna and professor and dean emeritus of the School of Nursing at UW, also indicates that the United States lags behind peer countries in life expectancy and child mortality rates.
Hegyvary says that while her team of UW researchers did find the typical expected variations in life expectancy and child mortality related to the accessible resources of each country, "Our greatest surprise was the importance of demography, even more significant than resources in developing countries," she says.
Demography refers to the characteristics of human populations, such as size, growth, density, distribution and birth and death rates. Standard demographics may include age, ethnicity, gender, income, educational level and region. Using this knowledge, the group derived an explanatory model showing three types of determinants of health outcomes: resources, empowerment and demography. They will use this model to further evaluate life expectancy and child mortality on a global level.
Hegyvary will discuss this project on March 2 for the annual Hugh P. Davis lecture, titled "Understanding and Improving Global Health." She will also review hypotheses on why U.S. life expectancy and child mortality rates may be lower than those of other developed countries.
Sponsored by Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, the lecture will be held at 4 p.m. in Room 101 in the School of Nursing building, located at 1520 Clifton Road on the Emory campus.