Monday, April 12, 2010

Commuter stress takes up to two years off your life

This study is better than most in that it compared people of similar income. It did not however compare them on purchasing power. People who need more purchasing power from their incomes (to fund larger families, for instance), may tend to move to generally less desirable locations and the health effects of that could be complex, with commuting times being only one factor

RESIDENTS of commuter towns should be worrying about more than the price of their season tickets. Those with long journeys face stresses that are taking up to two years off their life expectancy, new research has found.

People living in Watford, Hertfordshire, can expect to die 1.8 years earlier than the national average of 79.6 years, while the residents of Windsor, Maidenhead and Reading in Berkshire, and Brighton in East Sussex were all found to have a life expectancy of a year less than the national average for those earning similar incomes.

An area’s average life expectancy is usually closely correlated to average income, with London’s Kensington and Chelsea, one of the richest boroughs in the country, having the highest life spans.

However, new analysis by Club Vita, a pensions consultant owned by Hymans Robertson, an actuary, identified the areas where people of a given income level can expect to live significantly longer or shorter lives.

Andrew Gaches, a longevity consultant at Club Vita, said the research suggested the faster pace of life that is often blamed for a shorter life expectancy in London was now spreading beyond the capital.

“In all these commuter towns, life expectancy falls short of the level that you would expect people to have,” said Gaches. “It’s possible the pace of London life is starting to move outside the M25.”

Within London, however, there are more drastic anomalies, with life expectancy in some boroughs three years less than it should be. The usual life span in Islington, north London, regarded as the birthplace of new Labour, is 79.1, while the average across Britain for people who enjoy the same weekly household income of £817 is 81.3 years.

In Lambeth and Wandsworth, south London, residents also have a life span of around three years less than those on similar incomes living elsewhere in the UK.

By contrast, residents in nearby Westminster, central London, who earn slightly less than their neighbours in Wandsworth, tend to live 2.3 years longer than those earning a similar amount living elsewhere.

Best of all for those seeking a long retirement is Ceredigion in Wales, where people typically live 3.8 years longer than people on a comparable income elsewhere in the country.

The inhabitants of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, have an average household income of £533, which usually equates to a life expectancy of 78.9. However, they actually live to 81.8 years — a gain of nearly three years.


Tall women's salaries leave short girls in the shade

Research showing an advantage for tall people goes back many years but what is less clear is why. Certainly in Britain, upper class people are distinctly taller than the rest and class is undoubtedly still a major influence in British society. But why are upper class people taller? It could be part of a general syndrome of biological good function or it could mean that rich men prefer tall brides. Then you have to ask why that is ....

Maybe it is quite primitive. Tall women have tall sons and tall sons make more successful warriors. Is that enough speculation? Disclosure: My last bride was 5'11" tall. That's her below. Isn't she gorgeous?

It may be a tall order for some women to accept. But shorter females earn less than their loftier colleagues, a study claims. Those who stand at 5ft8in and above are twice as likely to earn more than £30,000 a year - or up to £5,000 more than their vertically challenged friends.

The researchers asked 1,461 women over the age of 16 to give details about their salary and measurements. A fifth of those questioned who fell into the 'tall' category said they earned £30,000 and above compared with 10 per cent of women under 5ft8in.

At the same time, 20 per cent of the tall women said they saw their height as a source of 'empowerment and authority' compared with just 5 per cent of shorter females.

And the study revealed that the taller you are, the more comfortable you are likely to be with your body. A quarter of women over 5ft8in said they would not change anything about themselves. In contrast, 90 per cent of females in the 'short' category said they were unhappy with their looks, the study for clothing chain Long Tall Sally found.

Arianne Cohen, author of The Tall Book: A Celebration Of Life From On High, said: 'Research shows that tall people are consistently more successful in the workplace. 'Not only do they earn more but they're more likely to be in leadership positions. 'As taller people have a downward eyecast when speaking to shorter colleagues, they are instinctively perceived to have authority and confidence.

'It means that those who are taller are respected by their colleagues and bosses, giving them a thriving atmosphere that leads them to more success.'


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