Recessions ‘could be good for health’

Living through a recession or economic downturn may be good for your health, a study on life during the Great Depression has claimed

Living through a recession or economic downturn may be good for your health, a study on life during the Great Depression has claimed.

American researchers have discovered that the recession allows us to enjoy life more as we are not working all the time and it forces us to cut back on guilty pleasures.

Cutting back on indulgences such as drinking, smoking and eating rich foods – perhaps through financial necessity – means we lead healthier lives.

The study, from the University of Michigan, looked closely at health trends during the Great Depression of the 1920s, and found that despite economic troubles, life expectancy increased by 6 years between 1929 and 1932, from 57 to 63.

Quoted in The Telegraph, lead researcher Jose Tapia Granados from the university’s Institute for Social Research said: ‘The finding is strong and counterintuitive.‘Most people assume that periods of high unemployment are harmful to health.’ But, ‘there is more time to sleep, and because people have less money, they are less likely to spend as much on alcohol and tobacco.’

He said that during recessions there was less work to do so employees could work at a slower pace.

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