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Easing Poverty Can Boost Health and Well-Being of Mexico's Aging, Study Finds

Merrill Balassone - Futurity
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December 26, 2014





Above, a woman sells dresses in Oaxaca, Mexico. (iStockphoto)

Raising the incomes of poor, elderly people in developing countries by $67 a month can significantly improve their health and well-being, particularly in lung function and memory, researchers report.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared 2,474 residents 70 years and older of two Mexican cities in the state of Yucatan. Those in the city of Motul received no extra income, while those in Valladolid received a 44 percent increase in average household income.

After six months, participants in Valladolid showed significant improvements in lung function and memory. The study’s authors also found that participants spent a significant portion of the extra money on doctor visits, medications, and food.

“Both state and national governments in Mexico, like those throughout Latin America, have expanded pension programs in recent years,” says study coauthor Emma Aguila, assistant professor at the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy.

“This study shows that such programs can benefit greatly the growing older population in Mexico and developing nations facing similar demographic challenges.”

Read the rest at Futurity

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