The Youngish Old Grow Less Robust

Though healthier than the semi-old folks of earlier generations, people in the 50-64 age bracket have begun deteriorating nonetheless. A new report by The Commonwealth Fund makes this plain in analyzing data on people this age who work or whose spouses work. In rating their overall health, 59 percent said it’s “excellent” or “very good”; 26 percent said it’s “good.” Just 15 percent said it’s “fair” or “poor.” However, a query about specific serious maladies found lots of 50-64s have one or more (see chart below). Sixty-two percent reported having at least one of the ills listed in the chart. As you’d expect, people with income under $25,000 were less likely than those making $60,000-plus to say their health is excellent/ very good (41 percent vs. 67 percent). The gaps vary, though, from ailment to ailment. Thirty-six percent in the low-income group have high blood pressure, vs. 29 percent in the high-income cohort; 35 percent of low-incomers have arthritis, vs. 28 percent of high-incomers. High-incomers are more likely than low-incomers to have high cholesterol (32 percent vs. 26 percent). But low-incomers are nearly twice as likely as high-incomers to suffer from heart trouble (14 percent vs. 8 percent).