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Long life… and prosperity… January 17, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Hardly a surprise but:

Being wealthy adds nine years to healthy life expectancy: a life free from disability and pain, according to transatlantic research.
The 10-year study, conducted across the UK and US, looked at all the social and economic factors behind the reasons why people sink into ill-health as they age.
“We found that socio-economic inequalities in disability-free life expectancy were similar across all ages in England and the US but the biggest socio-economic advantage in both countries and across all age groups was wealth,” said Dr Paola Zaninotto, a professor in epidemiology and healthcare at University College London, which led the research.

In real terms how does this work?

The paper shows that at 50 the wealthiest men in England and the US lived about an additional 31 healthy years, compared with about 22 to 23 years for those in the poorest wealth groups.
Women from the wealthiest groups from the US and England lived around an additional 33 “healthy” years, compared with 24.6 and 24 years from the poorest wealth groups in England the US respectively.

Isn’t that genuinely shocking? Which reminds me, some years back, oh, mid-2000s, I recall seeing a programme on RTÉ, could have been Questions and Answers where a young politician seemed almost indignant at the idea that there could be a link between poverty and poor health outcomes. First name Leo…second name starts with a V.

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1. CL - January 17, 2020

And in related news:

“As minimum wage goes up, suicide rates go down. That’s according to a new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.”
https://www.krcc.org/post/raising-minimum-wage-could-reduce-suicide-mountain-west

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2. An Cathaoirleach - January 17, 2020

The Irish figures are substantially lower with a much smaller differential between quintiles, the figures were published last June by the CSO and link is available below.

Irish life expectancy is considerably better than that of the US or any of the constituent parts of the UK.
https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/in/mdi/mortalitydifferentialsinireland2016-2017/

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WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2020

Doesn’t entirely surprise me. Smaller polity. Closer relationship between different classes and sectors in society – indeed a flatter class profile.

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Dermot M O Connor - January 18, 2020

Also tighter family groups. Here in the US, the cult of the ‘family’ is really that of the Nuclear Family ™, which can be a very toxic thing for many people. You can see the ‘Family’ fetish as a recurring theme in US tv shows – and again, it’s mom/pop/bro/sis 99.99% of the time. Really kind of creepy when you notice how pervasive and suffocating it is.

In Ireland it tends to be toward the extended family; the kind of tight relationships between cousins / aunts / uncles etc., are not as common here. Many Americans hardly ever see first cousins, for example.

I’ve known family members who, had they had the misfortune to be in America, would have been homeless / dead long since.

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WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2020

I can see how that works, DMOC. It makes a lot of sense.

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CL - January 18, 2020

Apart from the absence or presence of family structure homelessness may also be related to government policy and the economic and social philosophy underlying these policies.

“Homes toppled, their occupants discarded without a second thought – thank goodness those days are gone. Evictions were a feature of Irish life under British rule in the 19th century but the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there….
This man’s back wasn’t broken by accident. It didn’t happen as a result of some unfortunate sequence of events over which no one had control….
Why was this unfortunate man sleeping under canvas in mid-January in the first place? Because of the outgoing Government’s chronic inability to tackle the interrelated housing and homeless crises.
Something is ugly. Irredeemably, disfiguringly ugly. It’s the policies which contribute to our homeless epidemic – not the supposed unsightliness of tents used to shelter human beings from the elements….
And now a man has a broken back as a result of policies which treat human beings as disposable.”
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/martina-devlin-we-must-elect-leaders-whose-policies-dont-treat-human-beings-as-disposable-38872111.html

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3. An Cathaoirleach - January 18, 2020

All of the points mentioned above are relevant, I think. When you compare the top quintile in England, the best performing part of the UK, with the top quintile in Ireland, the differential is still there, suggesting wider issues. The real difference is how much better those in the bottom quintile do here, compared particularly to the UK.

Health expenditure is also not an issue, the two countries, which perform the best in Europe across a range of measures, Spain & Italy spend approx. 40% less per capita than Ireland. Though over 65s in Ireland, show the highest level of good health, pointing to continuing improvement.

Also, while “austerity ” is blamed for many things, Irish health outcomes have improved substantially in recent years, suggesting little link between health and spending on ill health.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Ireland and other States is the GAA. No other country has a similar organisation, or anything of a similar size, which promotes activities at a local level. Less spending on ill health and more on sports is not a winning election slogan, though!

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4. yourcousin - January 18, 2020

Dermot,
All I can say is you paint a very broad brush. My experience is exactly the opposite. But then again, I have the misfortune of being an American 😉

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WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2020

Think both of you can be right. Could it be a function of where one lives? Or of being in preexisting networks

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yourcousin - January 18, 2020

Don’t disagree. It’s not an either or, just saying my experience has been different.

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5. roddy - January 18, 2020

People here tend to look after elderly and sick relatives to a greater extent than elsewhere.

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