The paper compares a set of health and labour market outcomes for three populations from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We analyse differences between the Polish aged 50+ and the respective German population divided into those who prior to the unification in 1989 lived in the East and West Germany. In terms of most analysed outcomes we find a \”West-East gradient\” with the most favourable statistics found for the west German population and the worst for Poland. The unfavourable situation on the labour market in Poland goes along poor health and lifestyle outcomes on most measures, and it seems that employment and health-related policies should be designed in combination to address the problems. The East–West divide in Germany still seems to present a policy challenge. We find important differences in such outcomes as labour market arrangements and such health outcomes as incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes. The East–West gradient is also found in the so-called underused capacity, i.e. the proportion of healthy individuals aged 50–65 who are not employed. The main factor behind this in Poland is retirement, while the difference in Germany is largely caused by higher levels of unemployment in the east.