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As we grow up, we learn that we are loved for our abilities but hated for our disabilities. This happens at home,and at work and etc. Sometimes, this even happens with our doctors, especially if our disabilities mystify them or remind them of their own disabilities specially for our health.

Regression analysis starting in the 1920's? One word: "Automobile"

My intuition on the meaning of these results was that health is determined by some combination of leisure and consumption. Even though consumption was reduced during the recession, the increased leisure makes up for it.

Higher wages during booms means people substitute away from leisure and subsequently away from health.

One should not minimize the increase in the suicide rate, and people killing themselves after getting laid off is a well-known phenomenon. Getting laid off is exceeded in measured unhappiness only by death of a spouse or child and getting arrested and thrown in jail.

The suicide rate as of last reported year (2007) was 11.1 per 100,000 population. In 1920 it was 12.3. In 1932 it was 21.3, a big increase.

In terms of greater life expectancy, another factor may be dietary changes.

Obviously things were so bad that people couldn't even afford to die.

I think Bryan may be right. People may do more unhealthy things like eating rich food in restaurants and drinking more alcohol.

Here in Ireland the pubs are much emptier than they were, though this doesn't necessarily mean people are drinking less.

It would be interesting to know if the same effect occurs in poorer countries.

Maybe people eat healthier, since they can no longer afford to eat so much junk food (contrary to popular myth, eating healthy is cheaper than eating junk food).

I'm going to echo some of the sentiment above. As an unemployed man, I've rarely eaten healthier, compared to previous lean times. I make each meal count; buy good food at discount.

And, I'm only suicidal on Mondays...

The results lack credibility, unless there is a long lag factor. People in the 1930s were not stuffing themselves with junk food before they became unemployed.

As though the benefits of "leisure" by living in poverty without work would improve your health! Try it sometime!

Rafe -

That's what I'm saying. I am living it, and maybe it's general quality of life that keeps it good: retailers of basic goods (Target, Costco, Wal-Mart), the upsurge of farmer's markets, et al.

Would you think that the cost of a good diet is more or less than the '30's?

Honestly asking...

"What's your hypothesis?"

The Cuban phenomenon explains it: The unemployed at those times had to eat little, hence, he tends to live longer.

Poverty with unchanged technology and medical care tends to increase life expectancy.

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