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Health Policy. 2010 Feb;94(2):175-81. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Health problems and retirement due to ill-health among Australian retirees aged 45-64 years.

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Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Lismore, NSW, Australia.



To examine which health problems are associated with retirement due to ill-health among Australians aged 45-64 years.


Cross-sectional analysis of self-reported data of 1933 retired men and 3160 retired women aged 45 and over, living in NSW in 2008, who took part in the 45 and Up Study.


retirement due to ill-health versus retirement for other reasons.


Among retired women, those who reported ever having been told by a doctor that they had thrombosis, depression, osteoarthritis or cancer (except melanoma and skin and breast cancer), were twice as likely to have retired early due to ill-health as those without these health problems. The number of health problems associated with early retirement due to ill-health appeared to be slightly greater for men than for women. From most to least significant stroke, cancer (except melanoma and skin and prostate cancer), osteoarthritis, depression, anxiety and heart disease had significant associations with early retirement. In men and women, the strongest association with retirement due to ill-health was in self-reported health status.


Legislators, decision-makers, and health policymakers should be aware that several health problems are associated with early retirement due to ill-health among men and women aged 45-64 years. Interventions to prevent or treat these health problems would not only bring immediate health gains to the individuals themselves but would increase their ability to participate in the workforce and/or be otherwise productive in society. Interventions would need to be tailored for men and women separately, given the gender differences in disease profiles and social roles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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