Navigation Links
Great Depression did not significantly improve life expectancy in the US
Date:3/25/2011

A study published today provides a new perspective on the Great Depression of the 1930s. A widely held view is that there were remarkable improvements in life expectancy of over five years. Using data from urban populations, researchers found that it was actually associated with an increase in suicides but reduction in motor-vehicle accidents, a pattern consistent with the impacts of the current recession in Europe and the U.S. The study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is published in today's issue of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Senior author of the study, Dr David Stuckler, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health, said: "Our study provides evidence that even major depressions do not imply mortality crises. Whether health improves or worsens during hard times depends mainly on how governments choose to respond."

Professor Martin McKee, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "This study reminds us of the importance of learning the lessons of the Great Depression for the situation we face now, both in terms of the implications for the economy and for health."

Previous studies had mainly relied on countrywide data to study trends in health during the Great Depression. For the first time, the authors looked at mortality data on 30 causes of death covering 114 US cities and 36 US states between 1929 and 1937. Banking crises were an iconic feature of the depression, and also one of the very few measures available to capture the variation in the impact of the Great Depression among states. Importantly, at that time, banks were not allowed to operate across state borders, whereas workers and production could do. Banks may 'suspend' temporarily, but no one knew at the time how permanent this would be, creating a loss of a sense of control. The authors investigated the relationships of bank suspensions and personal income with the rises and falls in mortality.

Overall, the authors found that a higher rate of bank suspensions was significantly associated with higher suicide but lower death rates from motor-vehicle accidents; no significant effects were observed for 30 other causes of death. Consistent with smaller-scale studies of this period, the authors found no evidence of a delayed, longer-term effect of the Great Depression on population health. Using alternative measures, such as economic output and personal income, the authors found similar patterns.

The authors concluded: "We found that mortalities in US urban populations significantly fell during the Great Depression. We were able to confirm our hypothesis that, within this overall change, there were some components, such as reductions in infectious disease mortality and increases in deaths from chronic diseases that were independent of bank suspensions. Thus, these changes cannot clearly be linked to the Great Depression."

The authors note that it is likely that the New Deal, the birth of the U.S. social security system and large fiscal stimulus, combined with Prohibition of alcohol, helped to prevent a major mortality crisis. They show that, after Prohibition was lifted in 1933, in an effort to stimulate the economy, alcohol-related mortality increased significantly. Other regions that introduced major cuts to social welfare had differing patterns of mortality during crises, the authors note, pointing to the mortality crises in eastern European during their economic depressions of the 1990s. They conclude, "Future work is needed to understand the potentially protective effects of the New Deal and Prohibition."


'/>"/>

Contact: Martin McKee
martin.mckee@lshtm.ac.uk
44-079-738-32576
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. ADHDs Upside: Greater Creativity?
2. Report: International collaboration between researchers results in greater recognition
3. WSU study may lead to greater understanding of human genome regulation
4. Researchers pinpoint patients who receive greatest benefit from heart failure treatment
5. Experts call for greater pain assessment in hospitals as 65 percent of patients report problems
6. Poor sleep quality is associated with greater disability in rheumatoid arthritis patients
7. Study finds that electronic fetal heart rate monitoring greatly reduces infant mortality
8. Greater Caution Urged for X-Rays in Pregnancy, Infants
9. Experts call for greater awareness of the links between diabetes and kidney disease
10. The great tonsil dilemma
11. Suicide risk greater for people living at higher elevations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... , Roberta Jordan is a Certified Nurse Midwife who was born and ... and then went on to complete her masters degree from the University of ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... services today announced a strategic partnership with Five9 (Nasdaq: FIVN), a leading ... one of Avaya’s largest Platinum Business Partners, is a leading provider of ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... New Brunswick, New Jersey: This year marks Children’s Specialized ... potential. To commemorate the anniversary, the hospital has themed the milestone “Hats Off” and ... Specialized Hospital Foundation on Saturday, May 21, at Johnson Park in Piscataway, New Jersey. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Loma Linda University Health ... adult hospital and expanded Children’s Hospital. Over 3,000 people looked on as the shovels ... out the event photo slidehsow. , During the program, Richard H. Hart, MD, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... A newly released report reveals that ... access to trusted resources, both in face-to-face interactions and online. In “Heard, Not Judged ... concluded that the creative use of mobile digital devices can be an effective tool ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... Mich. , May 23, 2016 Diplomat Pharmacy, ... third annual Fellowship and Internship programs. The hands-on learning ... The full-time, paid Fellowship and ... Flint, Michigan . Fellows and interns are provided ... Flint at the Riverfront Residence ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 The World Health Organization (WHO) ... device to include adolescents aged 13 years, and above. Effective ... offered for adult and adolescent males in the 14 priority ... PrePex was the first male circumcision device to receive WHO ... Eddy Horowitz said: " The expanded ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 The global  reprocessed ... billion by 2022, according to a new study by ... waste coupled with the lack of centralized support for ... drive the demand for reprocessed medical devices market. Additionally, ... to that of the original device is the high ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: