Unemployed and unhealthy

By Alyssa LaRenzie • Published: September 15th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Downsizing the office could be downsizing Americans’ health too.

A new study shows that job loss can lead to physical health problems, including diabetes, arthritis and especially conditions related to stress, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, according to a researcher at the State University of New York.

The study examined health problems reported by workers before and after losing a job. The number of ailments reported in the wake of a pink slip increased significantly. A connection between the job loss and illness has been recognized for a long time, but until now it’s been difficult to tell which caused the other.

The national study evaluated data on people who lost jobs through no fault of their own… such as a factory closing… in order to eliminate the possibility that health problems led to job loss.

For people without pre-existing health conditions, job loss nearly doubled the chance of developing a new condition. Overall, those who lost jobs had a ten percent chance of developing a new health problem, compared to six percent of those steadily employed.

Regardless of how long people were unemployed, losing a job gave people a one in ten chance of developing a new health problem with lifetime effects.

Losing a job can do more than just keep you feeling down. The stress can cause serious health problems. So if you do lose your position, remember that exercise and a regular, balanced diet can help alleviate some stress, keeping you a bit happier… and healthier.