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April 29, 2007

Inequality widens health gap in retirement

The health gap between high- and low-status workers is greatest during retirement, according to the latest dispatch from the famous Whitehall study of British civil servants.

Researchers from University College London followed over 10,000 employees over a 20-year period.

After retirement, low-grade civil service employees reported a much steeper decline in their health than did their high-grade counterparts. In middle age, the average high-grade employee had health score equal to that of an average low-grade employee 4.5 years younger. The average score of a 70-year-old high-grade retiree was equal to that of a low-grade employee 7 years younger.

The authors say that both pre- and post-retirement factors contribute to the gap. They suggest that lower status retirees may not be able to afford the healthy food or the stimulating leisure that keep better off retirees spry. Also, the full health impact of a whole career of stressful, poorly paid, low-status work may not be fully felt until late life.


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I guess someone, somewhere has an absolute "fix" for this, and can make this inequality just magically disappear?

Why don't you just accept that there will always be this gap, Ms. Beyerstein, instead of being so damned preoccupied with the (incorrect) notion that because there might be some gap in income, someone is somehow getting short changed on their quality or length of life.

If this British study, or whatever, appeals to you, and you think it's so peachy, over there, then by all means, move, willya?

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