Friday June 24th 2011

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Health Inequality

Via Peter Orszag:

Americans are living longer than ever — but, as documented in a recent National Academy of Sciences report (“Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries”), people with more education and income are enjoying much more rapid increases in longevity than others are. Among 50-year-old men, for example, those in the highest education group are now projected to live almost six years longer on average than those in the lowest education group — and this differential has been rising sharply….

The leading explanations for this involve health behavior — including diet, exercise and smoking. For example, men 50 and older without a high-school education are more than twice as likely to smoke as those with a college degree. Exercise behavior also varies substantially. Among 45- to 54-year-olds in one study, only 16 percent of those without a high-school degree exercised vigorously at least once a week, whereas 56 percent of college graduates did.

This article was originally posted on Greg Mankiw’s Blog