(HealthDay News) – Mortality rates among the middle-aged and elderly rise during better economic times and fall during worse economic times in developed countries, which cannot be explained by traditional explanations such as work stress or traffic accidents, according to a study published online Oct. 7 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
Herbert J.A. Rolden, from the Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing in Leiden, Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed the association between gross domestic product from 1950–2008 and mortality among middle-aged (40–44 years) and elderly people (70–74 years) in 19 developed countries.
The researchers found that as gross domestic product increased, mortality increased among both men and women and among the middle-aged and elderly. For each 1% increase in gross domestic product, men had an increase in mortality of 0.38% and 0.36% among the middle-aged and elderly, respectively, while women had an increase of 0.15% and 0.18%, respectively. The higher mortality could not be explained by work-stress or traffic accidents.
“In developed countries, mortality rates increase during upward cycles in the economy, and decrease during downward cycles,” Rolden and colleagues conclude.