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Pop Stars Have Higher Risk of Early Mortality Than Masses

Music and health industries should help stars become better role models

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Pop stars often abuse drugs and alcohol and have about twice the risk of early mortality as other people their age, according to a report published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Mark Bellis, of Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed survival rates of 1,064 European and North American subjects who appeared on All-Time Top 1,000 albums, including genres such as rhythm and blues, rock, punk, rap, new age, and electronica.

In the three to 25 years after becoming famous, pop stars had a 1.7 times higher risk of mortality as non-stars. Death rates for European, but not North American, stars resembled those of non-stars after 25 years. The findings suggest that those who achieved fame prior to 1980 had a higher mortality risk compared to the general population than those who became famous later.

"Pop stars can suffer high levels of stress in environments where alcohol and drugs are widely available, leading to health-damaging risk behavior," the authors write. "However, their behavior can also influence would-be stars and devoted fans. Collaboration between health and music industries should focus on improving both pop star health and their image as role models to wider populations."

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