A ten-year study suggests that wealthy people can live up to nine years healthier than poorer people.
This study by researchers at University College London (UCL) tells us that the wealthiest people tend to live much longer without illness or disability than the poorest.
To reach this conclusion, which will no doubt appear obvious to many, the researchers analyzed data from more than 10,754 adults in the United Kingdom and 14,803 American adults aged fifty and over.
These participants were divided into three distinct groups according to their level of wealth. People in the “poor” and “rich” groups were then followed over ten years. The aim was to analyze which social and economic factors could influence the subjects’ expectation and quality of life.
At the end of this study, it emerged that the wealth gap was the main factor affecting people’s healthy life expectancy. This was the case in both countries.
Up to nine more years!
After 50 years, the richest men lived around 31 additional “healthy” years compared to only 22 years for the poorest people.
The same is true for women. The wealthiest lived around 33 additional “healthy” years after 50 years, compared to 24.6 and 24 years respectively for the poorest women in England and the United States.
“While life expectancy is a useful indicator of health, quality of life as we age is also crucial,” said Paola Zaninotto, lead author of the study. “Here, inequalities in healthy life expectancy are of a similar magnitude in the two countries.”
In view of these results, she suggests that efforts to reduce health inequalities should therefore “target people from disadvantaged socio-economic groups”.
How to explain these differences?
This study reminds us of another published by INSEE two years ago. She then suggested that the richest French people live up to thirteen years longer than the poorest.
These studies only make observations. In other words, they do not explain why the wealthiest people tend to live longer in good health than the poorest. However, previous research has already isolated possible explanations. Wealthier people, for example, tend to have more education than the poorest. It has also been found that those with the highest degrees have less “risky” behavior than those without degrees. These behaviors include the consumption of cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, for example, which promote premature death.
Other factors may also come into play. People with a higher standard of living can eat better. In addition, they can benefit from better access to health care.