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Life Expectancy Gap 'widest Since Great Depression'

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7904294/Life-expectancy-gap-widest-since-Great-Depression.html

Life expectancy gap 'widest since Great Depression'

The poorest people in Britain are twice as likely to die before the age of 65 than the richest - the highest inequality in mortality since the economic depression of the 1930s.

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor

Published: 6:10AM BST 23 Jul 2010

The health divide is at its widest for almost 80 years The gap between the two has not been greater for the last 80 years, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

Teams at the universities of Sheffield and Bristol calculated deaths before the age of 65 – considered premature – in areas of the top ten per cent down to the bottom ten per cent of wealth.

They said: "For every 100 people under the age of 65 dying in the best-off areas, 199 were dying in the poorest tenth of areas.

"This is the highest relative inequality recorded since at least 1921.

"When we looked at people aged under 75, for every 100 people dying in the best-off areas, 188 were dying in the poorest tenth of areas. That is the highest ratio of inequality recorded since at least 1990."

Inequalities in health between the rich and poor have persisted for decades and recent government efforts to reduce the gap have largely had little or no effect, the researchers said.

From the early peak between 1921 and 1930 when the ratio of premature deaths was 1.91 there was a steady decrease until the 1970s, probably due to improved medicine and the introduction of the National Health Service.

After that the ratio began to increase again and the trend has continued so that by the mid-2000s people in poor areas were twice as likely to die prematurely than those in rich areas.

Lead author Bethan Thomas, Research Fellow, at the University of Sheffield, wrote in the BMJ: "Inequalities in premature mortality between areas of Britain continued to rise steadily during the first decade of the 21st century.

"The last time in the long economic record that inequalities were almost as high was in the lead up to the economic crash of 1929 and the economic depression of the 1930s.

"The economic crash of 2008 might precede even greater inequalities in mortality between areas in Britain.

The previous government missed targets aimed at reducing the gap in health inequalities.

Nice to know we're "on track" for another depression landmark though, isn't it?

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Nice to know we're "on track" for another depression landmark though, isn't it?

The article's headline is (implicitly) a bit misleading.

I note that the last time inequalities in life expecancy were so high was [i[in the run up [/i] to the great depression, and did not follow as a result of it. The high inequalities now are not created during the recent depression but during the two or three decades of growth preceeding it.

So the answer to avoiding health inequlity is to avoid good economic times and the solution/leveller is a great big depression. Of course it levels things down rather than pull up those with lowest life expectancy.

Ought the headline to say health inequality peaks as consequence of economic growth? :)

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The article's headline is (implicitly) a bit misleading.

I note that the last time inequalities in life expecancy were so high was [i[in the run up [/i] to the great depression, and did not follow as a result of it. The high inequalities now are not created during the recent depression but during the two or three decades of growth preceeding it.

So the answer to avoiding health inequlity is to avoid good economic times and the solution/leveller is a great big depression. Of course it levels things down rather than pull up those with lowest life expectancy.

Ought the headline to say health inequality peaks as consequence of economic growth? :)

No, health inequality just tracks general inequality.

And high levels of economic inequality are associated with economic instability and poor growth (which is fairly trivial - if the proceeds of growth go only to the well off, overall consumption is unlikely to go up much, unless you build up a vast debt mountain to support it, which would clearly be stupid).

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Some of these results are not down to finances, but down to the way of life for people. I see many more people from poorer backgrounds smoking more, drinking more and eating poor diets. They would not need to spend more to live healthier lives. They could stop smoking, cut drinking and use some of the savings to buy better food. Some better food does not even have to cost more.

Edited by BalancedBear

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I worked for a central government department a few years ago and I did a speculative piece of work for my boss (a senior cheese in the civil service) where I correlated crime rates, teenage pregnancy, drug use, university education, life expectancy etc. No surprise to most folk on here but the Pareto rule works in social deprevation as well as it does in most businesses and a relatively small number of postcodes were contributing a relatively high amount of social issues. The problem is known but any politician trying to tackle this head on gets attacked by the press and other politicians. Most people i've met in high paid jobs assume that people live on council estates because they choose to and totally dismiss all the advantages of education and relative wealth that their own upbringing afforded them.

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Some of these results are not down to finances, but down to the way of life for people. I see many more people from poorer backgrounds smoking more, drinking more and eating poor diets. They would not need to spend more to live healthier lives. They could stop smoking, cut drinking and use some of the savings to buy better food. Some better food does not even have to cost more.

In some districts efforts are

now being made to teach the unemployed more about food-values and more

about the intelligent spending of money. When you hear of a thing like this

you feel yourself torn both ways. I have heard a Communist speaker on the

platform grow very angry about it. In London, he said, parties of Society

dames now have the cheek to walk into East End houses and give shopping-

lessons to the wives of the unemployed. He gave this as an instance of the

mentality of the English governing class. First you condemn a family to

live on thirty shillings a week, and then you have the damned impertinence

to tell them how they are to spend their money. He was quite right--I

agree heartily. Yet all the same it is a pity that, merely for the lack of

a proper tradition, people should pour muck like tinned milk down their

throats and not even know that it is inferior to the product of the cow.

I doubt, however, whether the unemployed would ultimately benefit if

they learned to spend their money more economically. For it is only the

fact that they are not economical that keeps their allowances so high. An

English-man on the P.A.C. gets fifteen shillings a week because fifteen

shillings is the smallest sum on which he can conceivably keep alive. If he

were, say, an Indian or Japanese coolie, who can live on rice and onions,

he wouldn't get fifteen shillings a week--he would be lucky if he got

fifteen shillings a month. Our unemployment allowances, miser-able though

they are, are framed to suit a population with very high standards and not

much notion of economy. If the unemployed learned to be better managers

they would be visibly better off, and I fancy it would not be long before

the dole was docked correspondingly.

George Orwell "The Road to Wigan Pier"

Plus ca change ...

Edited by Exit pursued by a bear

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  • 261 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • up 5%



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