Lancet Public Health
Jul 2020 Volume 5 Number 7 e361-e413
Education and wealth inequalities in healthy ageing in eight harmonised cohorts in the ATHLOS consortium: a population-based study
Yu-Tzu Wu, et al on behalf of the ATHLOS consortium
The rapid growth of the size of the older population is having a substantial effect on health and social care services in many societies across the world. Maintaining health and functioning in older age is a key public health issue but few studies have examined factors associated with inequalities in trajectories of health and functioning across countries. The aim of this study was to investigate trajectories of healthy ageing in older men and women (aged ≥45 years) and the effect of education and wealth on these trajectories.
The apparent difference in baseline healthy ageing scores between those with high versus low education levels and wealth suggests that cumulative disadvantage due to low education and wealth might have largely deteriorated health conditions in early life stages, leading to persistent differences throughout older age, but no further increase in ageing disparity after age 70 years. Future research should adopt a lifecourse approach to investigate mechanisms of health inequalities across education and wealth in different societies.