Poverty can seriously damage your health

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The Independent Online
Men at the bottom of the social scale are three times as likely to die prematurely than the well off according to a new report by the Office For National Statistics. Although death rates have improved for everyone in the last twenty years the poor are likely not only to have shorter lives but have greater risks of ill-health and disability.

Life expectancy is five years less for men and three years less for women who are at the bottom of the social scale compared with the top. This difference has increased since the early 1970s (when for men there were 806 and 280 deaths per 100,000 in 1991-93 compared to 897 and 500 deaths per 100,000 in 1970-72). Men are also more likely to suffer from lung cancer or commit suicide.

Unemployment carries a high risk of premature mortality with men and women unemployed in 1981 having an excess mortality of a third over the period 1981-92. The risk was particularly high amongst the younger unemployed (ages 16-44) where men had a 58 per cent and women a 69 per cent excess.

Health Inequalities - Decennial Supplement is published by the Stationery Office, price pounds 35