Ill-health is more likely to lead to early retirment for men and women living in regional areas than for those residing in cities, according to University of Sydney research.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Public Health, also found men and women that had health problems including stroke, cancer, osteoarthritis, depression, osteoporosis, or anxiety were more likely to be fully retired as a result of ill-health than people without those problems.
The largest association with early retirement due to ill-health for men and women was stroke, followed by cancers other than melanoma, skin or breast cancer, said lead author Dr Sabrina Pit, from the Centre for Rural Health, School of Public Health, at the University of Sydney.
"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,” Dr Pit said.
Using data from the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study, the investigation looked at the self-reported data of 21,719 women and 16,393 men aged 45 to 65 living in New South Wales.
It found that five percent of working aged men in cities were fully retired due to ill-health, compared to eight percent in inner regional areas and nine per cent in outer regional areas.
In comparison, four percent of working aged women in cities were fully retired because of ill-health compared to five percent for women in inner regions and six percent in outer regions.
Men from outer regional areas were also more likely to be partially retired due to ill-health than their city counterparts, the study found.
Full retirement due to ill-health was more common for women who reported having had a stroke, 'other' cancer, osteoarthritis, depression, osteoporosis, thrombosis, or anxiety, the researchers found.
Similarly, men who reported having stroke, 'other' cancer, heart disease, anxiety, depression, diabetes, thyroid problems, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, were more likely to be fully retired due to ill-health than those without those health problems.
This research could inform health policies for mature-age workers aimed at reducing early retirement, Dr Pit said.
“Government spending on pensions and disability payments could be reduced by putting in place more programs that specifically address health problems leading to early retirement.
"Our results could also be used by managers of large pension/superannuation or private health funds to support people who are at higher risk of early retirement.
“For example, an industry-specific fund could subsidise health promotion programs in its industry that reduce the likelihood of people retiring early," Dr Pit said.