Between Country Inequalities in Health Lifestyles

Tom VanHeuvelen , University of Illinois at Chicago
Jane VanHeuvelen, University of Illinois

Where do individuals consolidate health behaviors into a universal set of healthy lifestyles, and to what extent are health lifestyles and subsequent health outcomes dependent on between country socioeconomic inequalities? To answer these questions, we harmonize information from the 2011 International Social Survey Programme and the 2014 European Social Survey to examine patterns of health lifestyles and subsequent associations with self-rated health and obesity in representative samples of 54 country-years nested in 36 countries, with repeated observations from 18 countries. We find individuals engage more frequently in all healthy behaviors in more affluent countries. Moreover, we find the positive health consequences of health lifestyles to be primarily concentrated in more affluent countries. Importantly, we show that growth in economic development increases the propensity of healthy lifestyles. Policy and theoretical implications are discussed.

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 Presented in Session 15. Lifestyle, Behavior, and Population Health