A Longevity Puzzle: Why Do Poor Costa Ricans Outlive Poor Americans?

A Longevity Puzzle: Why Do Poor Costa Ricans Outlive Poor Americans?

January 5th, 2016

Via: Bloomberg:

Why are the poor in one of the world’s wealthiest countries more likely to die at an earlier age than the poor in a small, middle-income country? Lifestyle factors have a lot to do with it. In the U.S., smoking and obesity are far more common at the bottom of the income scale. That’s not the case in Costa Rica.

“Poor people or lower socioeconomic-status people are thinner and less prone to obesity than rich people, while in the U.S., the inverse of that situation is true,â€� said Luis Rosero-Bixby, a demographer at the Universidad de Costa Rica and lead author of the study. Costa Ricans are more likely to adhere to traditional diets and lifestyles that don’t include junk food or cigarettes. Costa Rica’s health care system is not better than that of the U.S., according to Rosero-Bixby, but it manages to ensure that “the very basic needs are covered.”




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