Feeling Better Lately?

It seems the recession may be good for your health. A new paper by Stephen Bezruchka in the Canadian Medical Association Journal confirms that economic recessions in the 20th century actually led to declines in mortality. The author points to factors like increased leisure time and healthier lifestyle and eating habits. [%comments]


john

Finally, bankers have done something for the common good.

Svavar

I imagine decreased alcohol consumption would help some. As would more home cooking (at the expense of restaurants and fast food).

As Socrates said; "...the
true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention."

Mia

Lower mortality does not mean higher happiness:
it could mean people are afraid to die because they'll leave their families screwed
it could mean fewer people can afford to go in for health care so doctors can prioritize sicker patients, thus lowering mortality

I guess I have a hard time believing recessions are good for health, but that may just be personal experience

Gary

Could this decrease in mortality be due to the reduced number of people on the roads, commuting to and from work? Seeing as the bulk of deaths between 20 and 40 years of age are from accidents, it may be a large part of the cause. In fact, aren't younger people more likely to be unemployed during a recession?

Tzipporah

Increased LEISURE time?

Not for those of us who are now working 2 jobs to make up for decreased pay.

Or those who switching to stay-at-home mommyhood or daddyhood because they lost their jobs and can't payb for childcare.

Certainly, an increase in home-cooked (thus healthier) meals may be part of it, but the increase in stress cannot be healthy for anyone.

R Matthew Songer

Socrates thinks too much.

For those of us striving in this recession...

...Necessity is a mutha'!

Natalie

Haha, remember people this is Canada we are talking about... life is totally different in a faster paced country such as the United States.

Personally, I would think the mortality rate would INCREASE due to the loss of income that would've provided food, shelter and medical attention for many families. I would like to know what was the economic status of the people who were tested... I'm assuming the wealthy.

jjm 63

Gary, there have been papers written about a correlation between economic recessions and expansions and traffic fatalities. The theory is two-fold: total vehicle miles traveled drops, and people drive more conservatively in recessions. Unfortunately, I can't find a link to cite for you right now.

If I may be so bold as to propose a homework assignment for Messrs. Dubner and Levitt, maybe they could find something?

Ian McKay

"it could mean people are afraid to die because they'll leave their families screwed" - Mia

Being afraid to die helps us live longer? So only the pious die young?

SDC

Death can smell fear...and it doesn't like it!

(so it leaves you alone)

Roger Hyam

"it could mean fewer people can afford to go in for health care so doctors can prioritize sicker patients, thus lowering mortality"

In most western European countries loss of your job in a recession does not mean loss of health care (i.e most people are not serfs - totally dependent on their employers for their families survival). One would think this would lead to less stress in a recession. I wonder if this shows in the stats...

Of course there were times in history when there was a shortage of serfs and they had a lot of power to move between feudal lords which is equivalent to high employment I guess.

That's an interesting theory. Less stress in the good times in the US. Less stress in the bad times in Europe. Perhaps a migratory lifestyle is called for...