Warum sind die Reichen gesünder?

DURHAM – Im Jahr 1842 dokumentierte der englische Sozialreformer Edwin Chadwick eine Diskrepanz von 30 Jahren zwischen der Lebenserwartung von Angehörigen der ärmsten sozialen Schichten und der des Adels. Heute können die Menschen in den wohlhabendsten Gegenden Großbritanniens, wie etwa in den Londoner Bezirken Kensington und Chelsea, damit rechnen, 14 Jahre länger zu leben als Bürger der ärmsten Städte wie etwa Glasgow.

Derartige Ungleichheiten bestehen in unterschiedlichem Ausmaß in allen Industrieländern. Besonders schlecht geht es ärmeren Gruppen im neoliberalen System der Vereinigten Staaten, wo die Unterschiede hinsichtlich der Lebenserwartung in manchen Städten wie New Orleans sogar 25 Jahre betragen.

Diese gesundheitlichen Ungleichheiten zu verstehen und zu vermindern, stellt weltweit eine beträchtliche politische Herausforderung dar. Dabei handelt es sich nicht nur um eine moralische Frage. Gesundheitliche Ungleichheiten bringen auch erhebliche wirtschaftliche Kosten mit sich. Doch die Ursachen dieser Ungleichheiten sind ebenso komplex wie umstritten und die Lösungen unklar.  

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