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Richer = healthier?
Old 04-13-2015, 03:12 PM   #1
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Richer = healthier?

We E-R denizens come in every conceivable flavor in terms of nearly any dimension you care to mention. But one common thread I've noticed (aside from LBYM) is that we mostly tend to take a real interest in our health.

Interesting piece from Bloomberg:
More Proof That the Richer You Are, the Healthier You'll Be - Bloomberg Business

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It shouldn't surprise anyone that poverty is often associated with poor health. Less obvious: Health and income improve together all the way up the economic pyramid. The wealthiest have fewer illnesses than the upper-middle class, who are in better shape than the lower-middle class, and so on.
Although this article only talks in terms of income, not spending capability as we retired folks consider it, the point is probably valid for most people.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:22 PM   #2
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I'm surprised that good health continues to track with increased income even above "upper middle class".

It's not hard to understand why poor people are less healthy in general than those who are well off. Healthy food costs more than junk. Many low-income families live in urban food deserts where fruits and vegetables are hard to find, but the fast-food joints are on every corner. Plus, when parents are working multiple jobs to try to keep the family afloat, no one has the energy to shop for / prepare healthy meals.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
We E-R denizens come in every conceivable flavor in terms of nearly any dimension you care to mention. But one common thread I've noticed (aside from LBYM) is that we mostly tend to take a real interest in our health.
That isn't terribly surprising. Money buys options, like availability of health care, being in a position to take the time to attend to health issues (like having sick leave), and easier access to prescription drugs when needed.

People in low-income positions often have to choose between filling a prescription and paying the rent/mortgage. If taking time off work to have a vague symptom checked out means taking a heavy hit on the paycheck, they'll skip the doctor's visit until it becomes clear they need to see a doctor. That may complicate treatment or simply be too late to do much to treat an advanced condition.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:44 PM   #4
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Even at the middle class bracket, a person might have difficulty with things like sticking to specialized diets or following an exercise regimen. It's much easier when one has a personal chef and trainer on staff. Similarly, the sort of checkup one gets at, say, Kaiser might meet all the usual recommendations, but the annual checkup for a key executive or similar highly compensated position is a whole other world. (Google "executive physical")


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Old 04-13-2015, 03:51 PM   #5
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Lotta different levels. I've been burning through medicare and insurance company bucks at a great rate and am well pleased with my care - and aware that there are levels of (Dick "cyborg" Chaney) care way above mine and deplorable levels below.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:53 PM   #6
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Nice to see the acknowledgement that the causal link is intertwined:

Quote:
How health and money are related is complex. For both rich and poor, the two attributes likely reinforce one another. "Health and income affect each other in both directions: not only does higher income facilitate better health, but poor health and disabilities can make it harder for someone to succeed in school or to secure and retain a high-paying job," the Urban authors write.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:53 PM   #7
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This finding is only relevant in the United States. Those findings do not related to other developed economies since the disparity in income and well-being does not exist on the scale it exists in this country. In every other wealthy economy, the majority of the population is solidly middle class with the exception of some newly arrived immigrants or refugees. In poorer countries the rich tend to have poorer health outcomes because they gorge themselves on food that the poor cannot afford (a good example here is India).


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Old 04-13-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
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Sometimes (not always), economic prosperity results from making good choices. And delaying gratification for a more important later goal. Those attributes are also consistent with maintaining good health. Example: smoking is associated with low income and poor health. I'd guess that these underlying personality traits are more important than wealth>>good health or good health >>wealth.
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
We E-R denizens come in every conceivable flavor in terms of nearly any dimension you care to mention. But one common thread I've noticed (aside from LBYM) is that we mostly tend to take a real interest in our health.

Interesting piece from Bloomberg:
More Proof That the Richer You Are, the Healthier You'll Be - Bloomberg Business



Although this article only talks in terms of income, not spending capability as we retired folks consider it, the point is probably valid for most people.
Only true up to a maximum of $880k. Anything more and you don't need that much health.

Ha
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:07 PM   #10
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This finding is only relevant in the United States. Those findings do not related to other developed economies since the disparity in income and well-being does not exist on the scale it exists in this country. In every other wealthy economy, the majority of the population is solidly middle class with the exception of some newly arrived immigrants or refugees. In poorer countries the rich tend to have poorer health outcomes because they gorge themselves on food that the poor cannot afford (a good example here is India).
I doubt this is true--although the impact may be more or less in various rich countries (however defined/selected). For example, recent story on England: A 25 year gap between the life expectancy of rich and poor Londoners is a further indictment of our unequal society - Comment - Voices - The Independent
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:08 PM   #11
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The top income bracket in the article starts at only 100k (per family). I think this is still solidly middle class and I would hesitate to conclude anything about the "wealthy" vs "upper-middle classs" on this basis.
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:15 PM   #12
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I doubt this is true--although the impact may be more or less in various rich countries (however defined/selected). For example, recent story on England: A 25 year gap between the life expectancy of rich and poor Londoners is a further indictment of our unequal society - Comment - Voices - The Independent

You are correct. There's quite a bit of income disparity in the UK. In that respect it's similar to the U.S. but not on the same scale.


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Old 04-13-2015, 04:27 PM   #13
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You are correct. There's quite a bit of income disparity in the UK. In that respect it's similar to the U.S. but not on the same scale.


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The original researchers, in the UK, stated that everyone studies had access to and used NHS.

These investigators, in a strange burst of candor, interpreted this finding as an example of the very general finding that is known to almost all realists- it is really class that is being talked about, not income per se. I would like to see the excess longevity of those with English public school accents over all others.

Ranking in dominance hierarchies is basic, to all cultures, in all times. Do you think Putin is likely to enjoy better health than the guy who busses his dinner dishes?
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:24 PM   #14
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Do you think Putin is likely to enjoy better health than the guy who busses his dinner dishes?
Yes. Putin's servant may have to sample his food for check for poison. It's a high-risk job.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philliefan33 View Post
I'm surprised that good health continues to track with increased income even above "upper middle class".

It's not hard to understand why poor people are less healthy in general than those who are well off. Healthy food costs more than junk. Many low-income families live in urban food deserts where fruits and vegetables are hard to find, but the fast-food joints are on every corner. Plus, when parents are working multiple jobs to try to keep the family afloat, no one has the energy to shop for / prepare healthy meals.
I'll buy the fast food is cheaper argument, and maybe the no time to prepare healthy food (nope, never mind, I don't), but the urban food desert thing is totally bogus. I've never been in a major city where you can't find a decent grocery store, even if you have to hop on a bus to do it. It's not like Escape from New York where they've got a fence and land mines to keep people in. People move throughout their cities, and although the rich people might not go into the poor areas too often poor people go into the middle class areas all the time. Usually they work there. Heck, I have to go 5 miles or so to get to the nearest grocery store. I must live in a rural food desert! Oh noes!
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:01 PM   #16
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The top income bracket in the article starts at only 100k (per family). I think this is still solidly middle class and I would hesitate to conclude anything about the "wealthy" vs "upper-middle classs" on this basis.
+1

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Even at the middle class bracket, a person might have difficulty with things like sticking to specialized diets or following an exercise regimen. It's much easier when one has a personal chef and trainer on staff...
Well, the stats in the article only go up to 100K income. We never have a chef, nor trainer. We do not even have people come to clean our home.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:05 PM   #17
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Well, the stats in the article only go up to 100K income. We never have a chef, nor trainer. We do not even have people come to clean our home.

My word! I simply don't know how you could get by in such a state!

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Old 04-13-2015, 08:07 PM   #18
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I'll buy the fast food is cheaper argument, and maybe the no time to prepare healthy food (nope, never mind, I don't), but the urban food desert thing is totally bogus. I've never been in a major city where you can't find a decent grocery store, even if you have to hop on a bus to do it. It's not like Escape from New York where they've got a fence and land mines to keep people in. People move throughout their cities, and although the rich people might not go into the poor areas too often poor people go into the middle class areas all the time. Usually they work there. Heck, I have to go 5 miles or so to get to the nearest grocery store. I must live in a rural food desert! Oh noes!

Try hopping on a bus, maybe having to transfer to another, and then cart the groceries home. How many bags will you be able to cart or carry? Oh, and you have to bring the two kids because you can't afford to pay a babysitter every time you go to the grocery store.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just acknowledging that it is harder for some urban who can't hop in the minivan and drive to the grocery store.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:18 PM   #19
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Try hopping on a bus, maybe having to transfer to another, and then cart the groceries home. How many bags will you be able to cart or carry? Oh, and you have to bring the two kids because you can't afford to pay a babysitter every time you go to the grocery store.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just acknowledging that it is harder for some urban who can't hop in the minivan and drive to the grocery store.

We live in a suburban food desert. I've been trying to convince my wife to relocate to no avail, as she's very sentimental and attached to this pile of wallboard and 2x4s. I dread the day when I'm no longer able to drive, and we have to use the twice-a-day bus (or hope the town cabbie is sober) to run our errands.

Being found dead from starvation and desiccated, probably when the HOA notices the yard is unkempt, is not how I prefer to go.


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Old 04-13-2015, 08:32 PM   #20
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Article makes sense to me. I've noticed that the wealthy shoppers at Whole Foods look healthier than the less wealthy shoppers at Walmart. The wealthy shoppers generally buy healthier foods. And they exercise more IMO. And they generally have access to better health care.


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