News Release

Human health and the Great Recession

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A study examines the human health effects of the Great Recession (GR) of 2008. The effects of major economic downturns on human health are ambiguous. Teresa Seeman and colleagues examined the health effects of the 2008 Great Recession (GR) using longitudinal data on approximately 4,600 people from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. The authors collected data between 2000 and 2012 on participants ages 45-84 at the beginning of the study. The longitudinal nature of the data allowed the authors to compare postrecession blood pressure (BP) and fasting blood glucose levels to individuals' predicted values based on prerecession trends with age. The authors found significant increases in both BP and glucose postrecession, compared with predictions. The increases were especially large for individuals on BP or diabetes medications at the onset of the recession. Medication use and treatment intensity for BP and diabetes declined significantly postrecession, likely explaining part of the BP and glucose increases. The magnitude of the postrecession health changes was pronounced for groups that the authors suggest were likely to be severely affected by the recession, such as individuals under age 65 and home owners age 65 and over. According to the authors, the results suggest that stress associated with the GR may have had a deleterious impact on biological markers of human health.


Article #17-10502: "The Great Recession worsened blood pressure and blood glucose levels in American adults," by Teresa Seeman et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Teresa E. Seeman, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; tel: 310-825-8253, 310-689-8525; e-mail: <>

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