Austerity, inequality, stress damage health

Austerity Costs

Austerity, inequality, stress and poor lifestyle impact negatively on health. Two useful sources of information on the topic are outlined below.

Sir Michael Marmot delivers the opening lecture of the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2013, exploring the traits that determine a healthy life span and arguing that we need to rethink the relationship between health, wealth and self-control. Professor Marmot is one of the global pioneers of research into health inequalities – how stress, inequality, status and diet can affect our wellbeing. His ground-breaking Whitehall Studies followed the health and stress levels of British civil servants over a decade and he coined the term “status syndrome” to describe his discovery that being lower down the pecking order leads to a shorter life span. Recorded on Friday 25 October 2013 in front of a live audience at Sage Gateshead. Follow the link to the radio discussion here and scroll to 25th Oct.’13 or click here

On the consequences of austerity on health: The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills is well researched. Austerity, it austerity inequalty health economicsargues, is seriously bad for your health. We can prevent financial crises from becoming epidemics, but to do so, we must acknowledge what the hard data tells us: that, throughout history, there is a causal link between the strength of a community’s health and its social protection systems. Now and for generations to come, our commitment to the building of fairer, more equal societies will determine the health of our body economic. In short, poverty sucks.

New research (Dec 2015) shows poverty causes people to die younger, mainly due to the detrimental effect on their hormones. The poor also tend to be “biologically older” than the wealthy. The study Socioeconomic conditions across life related to multiple measures of the endocrine system in older adults: Longitudinal findings from a British birth cohort study, is summarised here.

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