Monday, August 22, 2011

Singles more likely to die early

A new study conducted at the University of Louisville suggests that singles are at a greater risk of dying early compared with their married counterparts.

Researchers reviewed 90 previous studies about 500 million people and found that never married women were at risk of dying 7 to 15 years earlier than married females.

The condition was even worse for single men who were more likely to die 8 to 17 years younger than their married peers.

According to the report published in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, bachelors were at 32 percent greater odds of dying earlier and spinsters were at a 23 percent higher risk of death compared to married individuals.

The results contained good news for senior single individuals, however, saying that while the mortality risk for single people aged 30 to 39 year was 128 percent higher than married people of the same age, the risk dropped to 16 percent in 70-year-olds.

The study only compared people who were never married with married individuals and not those who had been widowed or had a divorce.

Researchers suggested the difference in life expectancy between singles and married people may be tied to a number of socio-economic factors such as poorer health benefits, meager public assistance and less income for singles.

In addition, some singles may not have the same social support that married couples have “by default.”

“With the concurrent decline in public assistance, health benefits and the family wage in Western societies, single women are more economically and medically marginalized now than in previous years and are therefore at a higher risk for health problems and early death,” the researchers wrote.

“If you're a couple, a spouse may be after you to eat better and go the doctor,” said senior author David Roelfs. “Sometimes it's just easier to be healthier and less of a risk taker when you're married.”

Roelfs, however, believes singles can get part of the marital support from their parents, relatives and friends.