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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 701583, 9 pages
Research Article

Social Determinants of Active Aging: Differences in Mortality and the Loss of Healthy Life between Different Income Levels among Older Japanese in the AGES Cohort Study

1Department of Civil Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Iwate University, Iwate, Morioka 020-8551, Japan
2Center for Well-Being and Society, Nihon Fukushi University, Nagoya 460-0012, Japan
3Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 2 May 2012; Accepted 12 August 2012

Academic Editor: Jean Marie Robine

Copyright © 2012 Hiroshi Hirai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We examined the relationship between income, mortality, and loss of years of healthy life in a sample of older persons in Japan. We analyzed 22,829 persons aged 65 or older who were functionally independent at baseline as a part of the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation Study (AGES). Two outcome measures were adopted, mortality and loss of healthy life. Independent variables were income level and age. The occurrence of mortality and need for care during these 1,461 days were tracked. Cox regressions were used to calculate the hazard ratio for mortality and loss of healthy life by income level. We found that people with lower incomes were more likely than those with higher incomes to report worse health. For the overall sample, using the governmental administrative data, the hazard ratios of mortality and loss of healthy life-years comparing the lowest to the highest income level were 3.50 for men and 2.48 for women for mortality and 3.71 for men and 2.27 for women for loss of healthy life. When only those who responded to questions about income on the mail survey were included in the analysis, the relationships became weaker and lost statistical significance.