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Poor people have less healthy lives than rich by age 20


June 9, 2011 - Washington

A new study has revealed that people who are less educated and have a lower income have a lower health-related quality of life over their whole lifespan than their wealthier and better-educated counterparts, and the gap is already fixed at age 20.

Lead author Nancy Ross, a McGill geography professor, studied 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," she said.

Her study found 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.

"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," she added.

ANI

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