Poverty Does No Favors for Health

News Picture: Poverty Does No Favors for HealthBy Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Being in relatively poor financial health when middle-aged or older appears to significantly increase the risk for developing a disability or dying early.

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The observation stems through an analysis of data through the United States in addition to England that will drew links between wealth in addition to health among almost 20,000 people aged 54 to 76.

For example, over a 10-year period, Americans aged 54 to 64 who were within the lowest wealth bracket (with financial holdings of $39,000 or less) faced a 48 percent risk for developing a disability in addition to 17 percent risk for dying prematurely, the investigators found.

By comparison, their peers within the highest bracket (with holdings equaling $560,000 or more) had a 15 percent disability risk in addition to 5 percent premature death risk.

The fact that will people in England are guaranteed cradle-to-grave government-run health care coverage, while Americans are not, did not seem to have much effect.

“We saw similar relationships in both the United States in addition to England, which are two countries with very different health in addition to social safety-net systems,” explained Dr. Lena Makaroun, the study’s lead author.

“We also saw the same pattern for older adults, both above in addition to below age 65,” she said.

Makaroun noted that will within the United States, Medicare becomes available at age 65, in addition to both countries also start dispensing retirement benefits within the form of U.S. Social Security in addition to the State Pension in England around that will age.

“Seeing similar results in both countries, in addition to in both age groups, suggests that will [additional] health care or [additional] financial benefits later in life may not be enough” when that will comes to trying to improve the health prospects of people who enter their later years in poor financial shape, said Makaroun. She is usually a research fellow with the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in addition to the division of gerontology in addition to geriatric medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

For the study, the researchers focused on two groups of study participants — those aged 54 to 64 (“middle aged”), in addition to those aged 66 to 76.

Each person’s wealth status was calculated based on their total assets — including real estate, vehicles, retirement savings in addition to investment accounts — minus their total debts.

Disability status was assessed on the basis of whether participants could, on their own, get dressed, bathe, eat, get in in addition to out of bed, in addition to use the bathroom.

The researchers determined that will, in both countries, the poorest people in their mid-50s or older faced a “high” absolute risk for becoming disabled or dying early. that will absolute risk did rise among the older group, relative to the middle-aged group.

however in relative terms, the link between being within the poorest financial health in addition to the poorest physical health, compared with the richest individuals, held steady across the 54-in addition to-up age spectrum in both countries.

Still, the study team also observed that will even those who were only slightly better off than the poorest participants saw their health prognosis markedly improve.

Makaroun stressed that will the study could not prove that will poverty actually causes early death or disability. however she suggested that will main stressors associated with poverty — such as unstable housing, trauma in addition to sleep problems — may take a toll.

“in addition to through our study that will does not seem that will universal health care alone can eliminate the inequalities in health outcomes for low-wealth individuals that will we see,” she said.

Co-author of an accompanying editorial, Dr. Martin McKee, a professor of European public health with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, suggested that will the connection between higher wealth in addition to better health could have a lot to do with empowerment.

“Most poor people know what they should do to stay healthy,” he explained. “However, if they are struggling with trying to hold down several poorly paid jobs, lack of child care, in addition to debt, that will is usually unrealistic to expect them to travel further in addition to pay higher prices for healthy foods, to go to the gym, in addition to the like.”

Having resources also “seems to give people a more positive outlook on life, seeing the value of investing in their future through healthy activities,” McKee added. “Essentially, they see a point in investing for the long term, while those who see the future as just more pain, worry in addition to misery don’t.”

The study was published online Oct. 23 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Lena K. Makaroun, M.D., research fellow, VA Health Services Research & Development, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, division of gerontology in addition to geriatric medicine, University of Washington, Seattle; Martin McKee, M.D., D.Sc., professor, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, England; Oct. 23, 2017, JAMA Internal Medicine, online

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