Divorced, jobless women have fewer ‘healthy’ years

By: Kim Bo-eun

Divorced, separated, jobless and low-income women have fewer “healthy” years than other women, a report from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The report used data from the Korea Health Panel to conclude that a 20-year-old woman would live in good health until 53.7 years if she was divorced, separated or widowed. If she was married, it would be 60.05, whereas if she were single it would be 62.83.

Educational background, employment status and income were also factors. A 20-year-old woman who completed up to middle school would be healthy up to 59.39 years, a high school graduate 61.29 years and a college graduate 61.78 years.

An employed woman would be healthy to 60.34 years whereas for a jobless woman it would be 59.76.

The difference between life expectancy and the age up to which women would live in good health was greater for those with low incomes. For those in the top income tier it was 3.89 years, those in the second 4.72 years, those in the third 3.27 years, those in the fourth 3.76 years and those in the fifth 6.87 years.

“In Korea, women outlive men by 11 years, but when it comes to the age they live healthy up to, the gap is narrowed to two years,” said Park Hyun-young, director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Rare Diseases at the state health agency. “This means that Korean women live long, but in poor health.

“Socio-economic factors such as education, employment and income, where Korean women tend to be dependent on men, were influencing factors, in particular. In the coming years, we will conduct another study on how we can improve the health conditions of vulnerable women.”


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