Jan 24, 2020 10:35 UTC

Nearly, 32 percent of the poorest third of UK’s women born in 1968-1970 reported a limiting long-term illness when aged between 30 and 59, compared with 12 percent of the richest third. In those born in 1920-22, the prevalence was 23 percent among the poorest and 13 percent among the richest.

In other words, the later generation had a far larger health gap than the earlier one. In men the gap was 24 percentage points in the later generation and nine percentage points in the earlier one. A widening gap across generations was also seen when it came to reports of general health, although the overall trend was less stark.

In this regard, we have prepared for you an article authored by staff writers of ‘The Guardian’ daily under the heading: “Uk’s poorest adults in worse health now than older generation.”

According to research that also shows the health gap between rich and poor is growing , the poorest third of the UK’s older working-age adults today have worse health than people born a century ago had at the same age.

The study is the latest to show widening health inequalities. A report compiled by the Center for Progressive Policy think tank last year found dramatic regional differences in healthy life expectancy around the UK.

According to Theguardian.com, it found that people living in former mining towns in Blaenau Gwent spend about 16 fewer years in good health than those living in Wokingham.

Meanwhile, official figures show the number of general practitioners (GPs) working in more deprived areas is falling.

Stephen Jivraj, the author of the new study from University College London, said it took a different approach to other research as it focused on generational differences rather than differences across survey years.

It found that the poorest people are experiencing ill health earlier in life — a situation that means, given the size of postwar cohorts, that public health services will face rising demands.

Jivraj said “The pressure on the National Health Service (NHS), for example, is going to be even greater than expected given the ageing population.”

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, involved an analysis of data collected from the annual British General Household Survey between 1979 and 2011, and focused on adults aged between 30 and 59. In general, participants were not surveyed more than once.

Jivraj found that among men and women in the lowest third for household income, those born in the late 1960s reported higher levels of limiting long-term illness than those born in the early 1920s.

No such trend was seen for women among the middle or richest third of the population. Among men in the wealthier two-thirds of the population there was a drop in limiting long-term illness among later cohorts.

Overall, 32 percent of the poorest third of women born in 1968-1970 reported a limiting long-term illness when aged between 30 and 59, compared with 12 percent of the richest third.

In those born in 1920-22, the prevalence was 23 percent among the poorest and 13 percent among the richest. In other words, the later generation had a far larger health gap than the earlier one.

In men the gap was 24 percentage points in the later generation and nine percentage points in the earlier one.

A widening gap across generations was also seen when it came to reports of general health, although the overall trend was less stark.

The study has limitations, including that it is based on self-reporting, and that data from 29,058 individuals was used for the 1947-49 birth cohort and only 2,457 individuals for the 1920-22 cohort.

While the study does not unpick what may be driving the widening health gap, Jivraj noted that the trends were similar to those seen in household income where the gap has widened over the years. He said it may also be linked to factors such as smoking or lack of secure housing.

Ben Franklin, the Head of Research at the Centre for Progressive Policy, said the study added to a growing body of literature showing a widening gap in the health of people with higher and lower socioeconomic status.

He said “We have got the NHS and it helps to level up the UK in terms of ensuring equality of access to world-class health care, but that alone is not going to solve persistent and growing health inequalities,” adding,
“Obviously there are things in society that are happening to poorer people that are meaning that they get ill more than wealthier people. So actually if we are going to deal with our health inequalities in society, we need much greater upstream prevention.”

ME

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