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Poverty and health behaviour: Comparing socioeconomic status and a combined poverty indicator as a determinant of health behaviour


  • Aue, Katja
  • Roosen, Jutta


Studies in the area of health economics and public health have shown that low socioeconomic status (SES) and poverty are related to lower levels of health. Attempts to explain these differences have often made reference to the observation that poor health behaviours cluster in low SES respectively poverty groups. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the defining concept of SES and its appropriate measurement. Therefore data from the German Socio-Economic Panel are used to analyse the relationship between two multidimensional measurements to describe a) poverty respectively b) a low SES and health behaviour, including dietary behaviour, weight status and health behaviour in general. This study shows that both multidimensional indicators allow identifying an inverse relationship between low SES respectively poverty and several types of health behaviour. However, comparing both indicators it is evident that individuals may be affected by poverty in different ways which has various effects on their health behaviour. Additionally, future research should focus not only on multidimensional poverty measurements but also on dynamic effects.

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  • Aue, Katja & Roosen, Jutta, 2010. "Poverty and health behaviour: Comparing socioeconomic status and a combined poverty indicator as a determinant of health behaviour," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116401, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa115:116401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lynch, J. W. & Kaplan, G. A. & Salonen, J. T., 1997. "Why do poor people behave poorly? Variation in adult health behaviours and psychosocial characteristics by stages of the socioeconomic lifecourse," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 809-819, March.
    2. Contoyannis, Paul & Jones, Andrew M., 2004. "Socio-economic status, health and lifestyle," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 965-995, September.
    3. Karl Ashworth & Martha Hill & Robert Walker, 1994. "Patterns of childhood poverty: New challenges for policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 658-680.
    4. Oakes, J. Michael & Rossi, Peter H., 2003. "The measurement of SES in health research: current practice and steps toward a new approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 769-784, February.
    5. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    6. Martikainen, Pekka & Brunner, Eric & Marmot, Michael, 2003. "Socioeconomic differences in dietary patterns among middle-aged men and women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1397-1410, April.
    7. Brit S. Schneider & Udo Schneider, 2009. "Determinants and Consequences of Health Behaviour: New Evidence from German Micro Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 253, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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    More about this item


    poverty; social inequality; diet; BMI; health behaviour; Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Health Economics and Policy; I1; I3;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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