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Did inequalities in mothers’ and children’s health and well-being in Japan increase through the pandemic?: evidence from nationwide surveys and routinely collected data
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health. School of Social Welfare, Bukkyo University, Kyoto, Japan.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2368-5087
Wakayama Seikyo Hospital, Wakayama, Japan.
Department of Community Paediatrics, South Western Sydney Local Health District, NSW, Liverpool, Australia.
Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.
2024 (English)In: Children, E-ISSN 2227-9067, Vol. 11, no 3, article id 330Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Marginalised families faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explores inequalities in Japanese mothers’ and children’s health and well-being and family economic stability before and during the pandemic. Data sources were as follows: nationwide surveys in 2019 and 2021 of families with children using medical institutions across Japan; infant mortality and adolescent suicide rates between 2018 and 2021 from publicly available sources. Outcomes by poor and non-poor families were compared for 2019 and 2021 using simple descriptive statistics. Poor mothers’ part-time working increased from 41% to 61% and regular employment was reduced by two thirds. The well-being of poor mothers worsened from 39% to 55%. Employment opportunities and well-being did not change for non-poor mothers. School subsidies among poor families increased from 23% to 55%. The infant mortality rate (IMR) among unemployed families increased significantly from 12.9/1000 to 18.2/1000 between 2018 and 2021 compared with a decreasing overall IMR from 1.9/1000 to 1.7/1000. Suicide rates in 10–19-year-olds increased over the same period although no socio-economic indicators were available. Inequalities in mothers’ and children’s health and well-being indicators and family economics increased between 2019 to 2021 in Japan. This study cannot attribute causes but suggests a possible role of the pandemic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2024. Vol. 11, no 3, article id 330
Keywords [en]
capability, COVID-19, inequalities, Japan, mothers’ and children’s health and well-being
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-222867DOI: 10.3390/children11030330ISI: 001191721200001PubMedID: 38539365Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85188751867OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-222867DiVA, id: diva2:1851581
Available from: 2024-04-15 Created: 2024-04-15 Last updated: 2024-04-15Bibliographically approved

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Takeuchi, Hajime

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