Being rich 'adds nine years to your life'

Henrietta Strickland
January 16, 2020

M - Being wealthy adds nine years to healthy life expectancy: a life free from disability and pain, according to transatlantic research, Guardian reports.

How many things on this 50 before 50 bucket list have you achieved?

Researchers analysed data from 10,754 and 14,803 adults aged 50 and over, which was initially collected from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS).

The biggest socioeconomic factor in predicting when those problems began was wealth, the team discovered, with richer people enjoying nearly an extra decade before experiencing difficulties.

"The U.S. must make greater efforts into reducing health inequalities", Zaninotto said, adding that the "inequalities in healthy life expectancy exist in both countries and are of similar magnitude". This means that if you are 50 years old and in the richest group, you can expect to live for another 31 years in good health, whereas people in the poorest groups could only expect to live for another 22-23 years without health problems.

The results showed that at age 50 the wealthiest men in England and the USA lived around an additional 31 "healthy" years compared to around 22-23 years for those in the poorest wealth groups.

"By measuring healthy life expectancy we can get an estimate of the number of years of life spent in favourable states of health or without disability", said Zaninotto.

Interestingly, in England, health care is public and universal through the beloved National Health Service (NHS). Previous research also has shown that Americans are worse off in terms of health compared to the British.

People with more money, the study found, were living "disability-free" lives for almost a decade longer than those with less money. "Our study makes a unique contribution to understanding the levels of inequalities in health expectancies between England and the USA where health care systems are very different".

Echoing the study's conclusion, Zaninotto said that "our results suggest that policymakers in both England and the US must make greater efforts into reducing health inequalities".

People who ate a good diet, exercised, were a healthy body weight, did not smoke and did not drink too much, lived free of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer for far longer.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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