Is com­mu­nism a health hazard?

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - DR MIRIAM STOPPARD -

Living in a com­mu­nist coun­try is bad for your health, ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­na­tional study by re­searchers from Bri­tain, Ger­many and New Zealand, who looked at the UN Hu­man Devel­op­ment In­dex scores.

These mea­sure the per capita in­come, life ex­pectancy and num­ber of years ci­ti­zens spend in ed­u­ca­tion in 44 coun­tries across Europe and Asia.

The study also showed how the neg­a­tive ef­fects linger long af­ter com­mu­nism has been aban­doned.

They also com­pared re­li­gions, ge­og­ra­phy, sys­tems of govern­ment and dom­i­nant lan­guage.

The most re­li­able pre­dic­tor of a coun­try’s health, they found, was whether it had once been com­mu­nist.

In ad­di­tion, com­mu­nism was the sec­ond best pre­dic­tor of poverty, af­ter ge­og­ra­phy.

Writ­ing in the jour­nal Royal So­ci­ety Open Sci­ence, the re­searchers said the “resid­ual ef­fect” of com­mu­nism was still ap­par­ent in lower life ex­pectan­cies, poorer di­ets and greater al­co­hol con­sump­tion of for­mer Eastern bloc coun­tries.

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