Being rich ‘adds nine years to your life’, UCL study reveals

Sophie Rainbow
Health: Improvements in life expectancy have almost "ground to a halt", a leading academic has warned: PA

A new study by University College London suggests a correlation between wealth and life expectancy.

Published in the Journal of Gerontology, the research puts forward the hypothesis that wealthier people live longer.

Data gathered from a study of more than 25,000 people aged 50 and above seemed to support the claim. Those who were richer not only lived longer, but also spent a greater percentage of that time free from illness and disability.

The wealthiest men in both the UK and the US enjoyed approximately 31 extra years in good health, as opposed to 22-23 years in the poorest group.

Wealthy women lived even longer, at an additional 33 years of good health instead of 24-25 years in the latter category.

There was no significant disparity between the health and wellbeing of those in the UK and the US.

The study did not delve too deeply into potential explanations for the data, but it is conceivable that increased wealth leads to reduced stress and greater access to treatments.

Dr Paola Zaninotto, lead author of the report, added that: "While life expectancy is a useful indicator of health, the quality of life as we get older is also crucial."

"By measuring healthy life expectancy we can get an estimate of the number of years of life spent in favourable states of health or without disability."

The team concluded that: "Inequalities in healthy life expectancy exist in both countries and are of similar magnitude."

"In both countries efforts in reducing health inequalities should target people from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.