Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More money, more life

We have commented on this issue in the past, but it keeps coming up in slightly different permutations.

My general take on matters is that as a whole, U.S. health is stagnating if not actually declining.  As this article notes, the pain is not felt evenly across the board.

Research ties economic inequality to gap in life expectancy
Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post, 10 March 2013 (hat tip: NC)

The healthy lifestyles pay off. Women here can expect to live to be nearly 83, four years longer than they did just two decades earlier, according to research at the University of Washington. Male life expectancy is more than 78 years, six years longer than two decades ago.
But in neighboring Putnam County, life is neither as idyllic nor as long.
Incomes and housing values are about half what they are in St. Johns. And life expectancy in Putnam has barely budged since 1989, rising less than a year for women to just over 78. Meanwhile, it has crept up by a year and a half for men, who can expect to live to be just over 71, seven years less than the men living a few miles away in St. Johns.
The widening gap in life expectancy between these two adjacent Florida counties reflects perhaps the starkest outcome of the nation’s growing economic inequality: Even as the nation’s life expectancy has marched steadily upward, reaching 78.5 years in 2009, a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the upper end of the income ladder.

Of course as the article points out within a few conflicted paragraphs, it's not just about money, it's about life style.  I have seen access-based arguments about some of the dietary differences between economic groups, but having been at the lower end of the spectrum myself in the past, I don't buy that as a universal phenomena.

No comments: