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Although life expectancy for both countries has markedly increased over the past century, previous studies have shown that life expectancy is falling in the U.S. and leveling off in the U.K., with growing rates of chronic conditions and disability among older adults. This brings financial challenges and problems for health care systems and governments across the globe. Lower life expectancy for poorest people
The team also found that people from the poorest sections from both countries could expect to live about 7 to 9 years fewer without disability than those in the wealthiest groups when they reach 50 years old. The wealth gap was discovered to be the largest socioeconomic factor that impacted the participants’ healthy life expectancies.
“Socioeconomic inequalities in disability-free life expectancy were of a similar magnitude (in absolute terms) in England and the United States. The socioeconomic disadvantage in disability-free life expectancy was largest for wealth, in both countries: people in the poorest group could expect to live seven to nine fewer years without disability than those in the richest group at the age of 50,” the researchers wrote on the paper.
“Inequalities in healthy life expectancy exist in both countries and are of similar magnitude. In both countries, efforts in reducing health inequalities should target people from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups,” the researchers concluded. Study implications
The study findings can help policymakers to reduce health expectancy inequalities by improving the quantity and quality of years that people are expected to live. Inequalities impact income, public expenditure on health, and long-term care required for older people.
The researchers said that despite life expectancy is an important health indicator, the quality of life as people grow old is vital. By measuring healthy life expectancy, health experts can estimate the number of years of life spent without diseases and disabilities. The study can help raise awareness by social inequality and its impact on health, and subsequently, help improve opportunities for health attainment, and reduce health inequalities. Source:
Wealth adds nine years to ‘healthy’ life expectancy - https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/jan/wealth-adds-nine-years-healthy-life-expectancy Journal reference:
Paola Zaninotto, George David Batty, Sari Stenholm, Ichiro Kawachi, Martin Hyde, Marcel Goldberg, Hugo Westerlund, Jussi Vahtera, Jenny Head, Socioeconomic Inequalities in Disability-free Life Expectancy in Older People from England and the United States: A Cross-national Population-Based Study, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, , glz266, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glz266
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