Researcher Gera Nagelhout on the consequences of low socioeconomic status

Children from poorer families live shorter and less healthy (and the Dutch government is not adressing this well)

Children from underprivileged families in our country live on average fifteen years shorter in good health. According to Professor Gera Nagelhout, who herself grew up in a family with a lower social economic position, the government should do more to prevent poverty and increase health. 

Money stress

In an article for the Algemeen Dagblad, Nagelhout argues that the government should do more to help people with low incomes. The high costs of energy and groceries cause a lot of money stress for people who already had little to spend. Prolonged stress not only has direct health consequences, such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, sleep problems and anxiety disorders. It also makes people less able to plan and look further ahead. The latter makes it both difficult to live healthily and to keep money problems under control." People with lower incomes should be compensated for high inflation, Nagelhout argues. "We need to prevent people from falling into poverty. The consequences are profound.

Effects of a lower socioeconomic status

Nagelhout comes from a family with what she would describe in her own jargon as a "lower socioeconomic position. Families like hers often live unhealthy lives, and their children adopt those habits. "Baking a big bag of French fries is simpler and cheaper than putting boiled potatoes with vegetables and fish on the table," Nagelhout summarizes. "Starting to live healthier is not easy for anyone. But for families with financial stress it is even more difficult. They are mainly concerned with √≥verleven. If you're constantly worrying about how you're going to make it to the end of the month without getting further into debt, tobacco and alcohol can offer some relief. In such circumstances, you just have to try to quit an addiction, or find the energy to exercise." People with low education or low income are affected on average at a much younger age by ailments and diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease.

Go to the full article.