Who’da Thunk It? Great Economic Times Causes A Shorter Life Expectancy

October 16, 2013  |  

You’d think during an economic boom, the quality of life is heightened and therefore the population generally lives longer. Au contraire! A new study finds that fruitful eras in developed nations actually lowers life expectancy, Business Recorder, reports.

Researchers analyzed mortality rates and economic figures in 19 developed countries –the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and several European countries. The authors were baffled with a “highly unexpected” conclusion that short-term economic booms lead to higher mortality rates. “For every rise of one percentage point in a country’s gross domestic product, mortality among 70-74-year-old men rose by 0.36 percent and for women of the same age by 0.18 percent,” Business Recorder stated.

Among older adults (40 to 45-year-olds), there was a 0.38 percent rise in mortality for men and 0.16 percent for women.

“Since many developed countries are currently in a recession, one could expect that this has a dampening effect on old age survival. However, it has been found that annual increases in unemployment, or decreases in gross domestic product (GDP) are associated with LOWER mortality rates,”Business Recorder cited from the study.

Speculators believe that since blossoming economies leads to higher employment, workers experience more stress and even more traffic accidents. Another theory blames the “change in social structure, with younger relatives and friends working longer and having less time to care for the elderly,” the publication adds.

But ultimately, the reasons behind this odd pattern is unknown. This study was commissioned by the Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing in the Netherlands.

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