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Study Sees Link Between Unemployment, Mortality Rates

March 16, 2009
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Unemployment and reduced spending on health care have a direct effect on the country’s mortality rate, according to a new study from the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s School of Public Health in Fort Worth.

As workers lose their jobs, they often lose their health insurance, suffer from stress and adopt unhealthy behaviors.

They also might delay preventive care because of cost or coverage issues. In a news release, the school of public health said that research since World War II has found that economic development is good for health in developing countries; however, the new study’s findings suggest that unemployment is a much more important factor in health and well-being than economic development.

“Interestingly, this economic downturn is showing how quickly the effects of unemployment, and, thus, reduction of health care expenditures is resulting in mortality,” said Harvey Brenner, a professor of public health at the school, in a news release about the study.

“In the past, we saw people die within 10 years after their job loss,” Brenner said. “Now, we are seeing them die as early as the same year.”

The University of North Texas Health Science Center is composed of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Public Health and the School of Health Professions.

Filed by Jessica Zigmond of Modern Health Care, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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