Regional people more likely to retire due to ill health

ADULTS living in regional areas are more likely to be fully retired due to ill health than those living in the city, new research has revealed.

A study by the University of Sydney's Centre for Rural Health in Lismore investigated the correlation between retirement due to ill health and where people lived.

Study author Dr Sabrina Pit said the research found men and women living outside major cities were more likely to be either fully or partly retired due to ill health, than their city counterparts.

The proportion of working-aged men fully retired due to ill-health in cities was 5% with 8% for inner regional areas and 9% for outer regional areas.

For fully-retired working-aged women those figures were 4% for the city, 5% for inner regional and 6% for outer regional areas.

Dr Pit said the study found the biggest cause of early retirement in men and women was a stroke, followed by cancers other than melanoma, skin or breast cancer.

Women who reported having been told by a doctor that they had a stroke, "other" cancer, osteoarthritis, depression, osteoporosis, thrombosis or anxiety were more likely to be fully retired due to ill-health compared to those without these health problems.

Men who reported having had a stroke, "other" cancer, heart disease, anxiety, depression, diabetes, thyroid problems, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis were more likely to be fully retired due to ill-health compared to those without these health problems.

"Retirement is influenced by a multitude of factors of which health is one," Dr Pit said.

"While delaying retirement is not always in the best interest of those suffering illness, or their employers, we need to find better ways to keep people with health problems in the workforce."

Overall, men were more likely than women to retire early due to health problems.

"We believe this study, recently published in the Journal of Public Health, is the first to examine in detail the relationship between where people live and their full or partial retirement due to ill-health," Dr Pit said.

"Our findings could be used by health practitioners, governments and employers to address specific health problems and reduce early retirement due to ill health, particularly in areas outside capital cities."

The study analysed self-reported data from more than 21,000 women and 16,000 men, from a previous study by the Sax Institute into people older than 45.