life expectancy

Are we prioritizing what we need to for a healthy future? | GenPop

As an epidemiologist, Dr. Sandro Galea is always concerned with the aspects of our lives and environments that determine our health as individuals and society.

When he thinks What the Future, he’s worried that we’re not prioritizing the right things and that we don’t understand that the choices we’re making affect the policies we put in place. Those policies have huge impacts for equity of healthcare – even larger impacts than we might think.

GenPop: You asked about life expectancies and how those are different for the richest and poorest Americans. What did you think of the results?

Dr. Sandro Galea: I thought it was clear that most people had the general idea [about the differences] and also clear that only a minority of people actually got the specifics and understood how big the problem is. What struck me is that the narrative about health inequality is out there, yet about a quarter of the people thought there was no difference at all [in life expectancies of the rich and poor]. But I’m an optimist. I think the fact that most people know the difference is good.

The Public's Health: The Health of the Poorest 50 Percent | Public Health Post

No relationship is more clearly established in population health science than the one between income and health. Those among us who are fortunate enough to have higher income live longer, healthier lives. By way of example, those born in 1960 who are in the lowest income quintile, can expect to live till age 76; those in the highest income quintile can expect to live till age 89. Money buys access to the resources that create a healthier life, from safe neighborhoods to walk in, to clean air to breathe, to time off to care for sick children, to nutritious food to eat. We write about this today, not because it is news, but because, quite simply, the United States is on the brink of creating a class of permanent health have-nots, shaped by entrenched class divides and ever increasing income disparity.