Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lifelong gap in health between rich and poor set by age 20, Canadian study finds

Date:
June 9, 2011
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Canadians who are less educated and have a lower income start out less healthy than their wealthier and better-educated compatriots, and remain so over the course of their lives, according to a new study.

Canadians who are less educated and have a lower income start out less healthy than their wealthier and better-educated compatriots, and remain so over the course of their lives, according to a new study.

"We can't buy our way out of aging," says Nancy Ross, a McGill geography professor. "As we get older we start to have vision problems, maybe some hearing loss, maybe lose some mobility -- aging is a kind of a social equalizer."

Ross is the lead author of a new study about how socio-economic and educational status affects Canadians' health-related quality of life over the course of a lifetime.

"My research looks at how poverty and social disadvantage affect your health status. Our work was about using social circumstances as a lens to look at how people's quality of life changes as they age."

The good news, according to Ross, is that there is no sign of an accelerated aging process for those who are lower on the social ladder. "The trajectories for declining health as people age look fairly similar across the social spectrum. That surprised me. I thought that there would be a bit more of a difference across social groups."

But the bad news is that Canadians who are less educated and have a lower income start out less healthy than their wealthier and better-educated compatriots, and remain so over the course of their lives. "What we found, basically, is that people who are more educated and with higher incomes have a better health-related quality of life over their whole lifespan, and that these health "tracks" stay pretty parallel over time.

"The message there is that if you start out with a health-related quality of life deficit through early life experience and a poor educational background, it's never made up for later on," says Ross. "Poorer Canadians are in poorer health and they have lower life expectancy than their more affluent counterparts, and by age 20 the pattern for health-related quality of life as people age is already fixed."

"We might speculate that universal health insurance and other social policies directed to adults and seniors have played a role in preventing accelerated decline in health-related quality of life of the poorer and less educated Canadians. That said, we would need some comparative research in other countries to test this more fully," she adds. "But this study suggests the need for policies aimed at making sure kids and teens are given the chances early in life to even out socio-economic inequalities that will affect their health as they age."

The study analyzed data gathered from 17,000 Canadians who were questioned about their health seven times over a period of 16 years, between 1994/1995 and 2006/2007, by the National Population Health Survey.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the Fonds de la recherche en santι du Quιbec.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. A. Ross, R. Garner, J. Bernier, D. H. Feeny, M. S. Kaplan, B. McFarland, H. M. Orpana, J. Oderkirk. Trajectories of health-related quality of life by socio-economic status in a nationally representative Canadian cohort. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2011; DOI: 10.1136/jech.2010.115378

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Lifelong gap in health between rich and poor set by age 20, Canadian study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608153546.htm>.
McGill University. (2011, June 9). Lifelong gap in health between rich and poor set by age 20, Canadian study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608153546.htm
McGill University. "Lifelong gap in health between rich and poor set by age 20, Canadian study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608153546.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins