If people work longer, their risk of dying early decreases
Have you often thought about sleeping in every day and enjoying life to the fullest? The thought of simply retiring overnight and leaving work behind should have been going through many older people's minds. But researchers have now discovered that it can help people to live longer if they retire later.
When people retire from work and retire could affect how long we live. Scientists from Oregon State University found in an investigation that people who worked longer than the age of 65 had a lower risk of death. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health".
Study examines nearly 3,000 subjects for their life expectancy
The long-term study collected data from 2,956 people for more than 18 years. The study looked at whether the time of retirement in particular affects our longevity, the authors explain. By 2010, all of the participating subjects had finally retired. At the beginning of the study, the participants were divided into two groups: a "healthy" group (with two thirds of all participants) and a "non-healthy" group (with a third of the subjects). In the span of almost two decades, about half of all participants retired before the age of 65. A third of all participants worked until the age of 66 or even beyond. Twelve percent worked exactly up to the age of 65, the scientists report.
Reduced risk of death from prolonged employment
Overall, 12.1 percent of the subjects from the healthy group and 25.6 percent from the unhealthy group died in the course of the study. After taking lifestyle and financial and educational differences into account in the healthy group, the researchers found that people who were still working at 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of dying during the study period.
The risk continued to decrease, the longer the test subjects continued to work, the experts say. If participants only retired from their professional life at the age of 67, this was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of death. For people who retired at the age of 70, the risk was reduced by 44 percent. If the participants worked until the age of 72, their risk decreased by 56 percent, compared to people who retired at the age of 65, the doctors report.
Activity and commitment in old age seem to bring health benefits
The healthy group has a general advantage in terms of education, wealth, health behavior and lifestyle. But even if all of these factors were taken into account, the pattern persisted, explains co-author Professor Robert Stawski. People who stay active and committed seem to benefit from health benefits.
This observation may not apply to everyone, of course, but work gives many people economic and social benefits that can affect the length of their lives, says lead author Chenkai Wu of Oregon State University. These benefits were not only found among healthy pensioners. The so-called unhealthy group also had a nine percent lower risk of death if they only retired at the age of 66. If these people worked until the age of 72, their risk decreased by 48 percent, the authors explain.
When should people retire?
Analysis of this data could have a significant impact on the average age at which workers retire. Working years could be a factor that increases our lifespan, similar to exercise and healthy eating, the doctors suspect. Some studies have already shown that retirement later leads to greater joy in life and can reduce our stress. However, more studies are needed to fully understand the link between retirement and life expectancy, the researchers add. (as)