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Blue-Collar Employees With Arthritis Working Past 65: Study
Date:7/25/2011

MONDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although many Americans continue to work beyond retirement age, blue-collar workers are more likely to remain on the job after they turn 65 than white-collar employees, a new study has found.

The researchers also found that lower-income workers are at greater risk for developing chronic and painful conditions, particularly arthritis, later in life. As a result, the study authors suggested, their quality of life and work productivity could suffer.

"Arthritis serves as a powerful lens for looking at these convergent phenomena," study author Dr. Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, of the department of epidemiology and public health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "We found that blue-collar workers with arthritis are in much worse health than are all other workers, suggesting that they are struggling to stay in the workforce despite their health condition."

In conducting the study, published in the July 21 online edition of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers compared age- and job-related information on 17,967 workers with and without arthritis. They found that at all ages, the health of blue-collar workers was worse than white-collar workers.

By the age of 65, 19 percent of white-collar workers with arthritis are still working, compared to 22 percent of blue-collar workers. The study also revealed that blue-collar workers can expect about 11 more years of health and white-collar workers can look forward to roughly 14 more years of health.

Service workers and farm workers are the blue-collar employees most likely to be among the 49 million adults in the United States with arthritis, the study showed.

Although 21 million adults with arthritis suffer some form of disability from the condition, the researchers pointed out service and farming jobs are unlikely to come with pension plans. That may be one
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