Feb 08, 2019 09:41 AM EST
In recent decades, Europe has experienced a downward trend in the annual number of deaths. Not only was this trend not arrested by the economic recession that started in 2008, in fact, the rate of decline increased during the recession years. This acceleration has been evidenced by the results of a study published in Nature Communications and led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by "la Caixa".
The objective of the study was to ascertain whether the pattern of mortality in Europe was procyclical or countercyclical, that is, whether the downward trend in the death rate accelerates or slows down during periods of economic recession. The researchers analysed data on daily mortality and variations in per capita gross domestic product (GDP) across 140 regions in 15 European countries for the period 2000-2010.
Statistical analysis of the dataset not only showed an acceleration in the decline in mortality during the recession years, but also revealed that the tendency towards a reduction in mortality was more marked in the countries and regions where the recession was most severe.
The authors cite several factors to explain this correlation between economic recession and a faster decline in mortality. In the opinion of Joan Ballester, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study, "Periods of macroeconomic recession are associated with lower levels of pollution and fewer accidents in the workplace and on the roads. These are the factors most likely to have the greatest influence on accelerating the decline in mortality. Alcohol and tobacco consumption also fall during periods of greater austerity, as do the prevalences of sedentary lifestyles and obesity. While the underlying mechanisms are still not well established, the findings of some studies also point to the influence of other factors, such as work stress and the fact that healthy habits demand time, something less available to a person working in a full-time job."
The study found considerable variations across Europe. For example, in Spain, where the mortality rate was declining at a rate of 2% per year before the economic crisis, the impact of the recession was marked and mortality started to decline at a rate of 3% annually. In Germany, by contrast, where the recession was short and less severe, the annual decline in mortality went from 2.4% annually to 0.7%. "Of course, recessions are not a desirable way to boost life expectancy" Joan Ballester adds, "What we need to ensure is that periods of economic expansion are also characterised by better air quality, fewer accidents and more healthy lifestyles".
The study also took into account the daily temperatures recorded during the whole study period to determine whether the trends observed were affected by the seasons. "The statistical analysis revealed that the relationship between variations in GDP and mortality was accentuated during the coldest months of the year, an indication that the causes of death may to some degree be dependent on the season", explains Xavier Rodó, head of ISGlobal's Climate and Health Programme and ICREA professor.
Currently, a driver of a UK-registered car is allowed to drive anywhere in the EU, the EEA (European Economic Area), Switzerland and Serbia, and not have to carry a green card that proves you have insurance cover.
President Trump on Friday announced the first concrete deal with China to come out of nearly three months of trade talks - a deal to prevent currency manipulation.
Europe's largest economy offered mixed signals on Friday that suggest it's down but not out.
New research finds that despite regulations, CEOs control information release and may do so for their own financial gain
Normally, it's good to believe in yourself. But research from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business indicates that it can be bad advice for amateurs investing online in unregulated, sometimes risky, equity crowdfunded ventures.
Nearly half of new moms and a quarter of new dads leave their full-time STEM jobs after they have their first child, according to a new study.
Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc, the two biggest U.S. card networks, are preparing to raise certain fees levied on U.S. merchants for processing transactions from this April, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
People who travel for business two weeks or more a month report more symptoms of anxiety and depression and are more likely to smoke, be sedentary and report trouble sleeping than those who travel one to six nights a month, according to a latest study conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and City University of New York.
President Trump said Friday he is declaring a national emergency on the southern border, tapping into executive powers in a bid to divert billions toward construction of a wall even as he plans to sign a funding package that includes just $1.4 billion for border security.