Retire early – die early

The idea of a long, relaxed retirement may appeal to many after a life of hard work, but the results of a new Swedish study show that it might not be such a good idea after all.

A joint project from the Karolinska Institute and Linköping University has revealed that people who retire early are twice as likely to die earlier than the rest of the population. The increased risk affects both men and women, noted Dagens Medicin, which got hold of the unpublished results.

For twelve years researchers have studied almost a quarter of a million people in the county of Östergötland who was aged 16 to 64 in 1984.

They found that the risk of dying early was 2.5 times higher among women who retired early and 2.8 times higher among men who retired early.

Women who were forced into an early pension before the age of 24 run the greatest risk: their chances of dying early are 14 times higher than the average.

The news will disturb the 60% of Swedes who in a recent survey said that they are eager to retire early.

Professor Kristina Alexandersson, who led the project, said she was surprised by the result. She told Dagens Medicin that it is normally muscular and skeletal diagnoses, along with depression, which result in early retirement – conditions which do not normally lead to death.

The precise risk of dying early is unclear.

Researchers offer two explanations. One is that the health factors which result in early retirement are many and complex. Another is that the social isolation of early retirement can have a negative influence on health.

Planning an early retirement? Discuss!

TT/The Local