IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Health inequalities over the adult life course: the role of lifestyle choices

Listed author(s):
  • Ovrum, Arnstein
  • Gustavsen, Geir Waehler
  • Rickertsen, Kyrre

The relationship between socioeconomic status and health is dynamic and evolves throughout the adult life course. However, relatively little empirical attention has been directed to the role of health affecting lifestyle choices in explaining these dynamics. Using Norwegian repeated cross-section data from the period 1997–2009, this study explores how the income and education gradients in physical activity, the consumption of fruits and vegetables, cigarette smoking and self-assessed health evolve over the age range 25–79 years. The findings indicate that while the education gradients in physical activity and the consumption of fruits and vegetables remain relatively stable throughout the adult life course, the education gradient in smoking is clearly decreasing in age. Further, with the exception of the income gradient in physical activity among females, the income gradients in lifestyles are generally concave in age and slightly decreasing in older age. However, the role of lifestyles in moderating the relationship between income and self-assessed health appears modest. This result partly reflects that while the income gradients in lifestyles decrease substantially once we control for education, the reverse is not true. Overall, while income and education differences in lifestyles should generally contribute to cumulative advantage effects in health by socioeconomic status over the adult life course, our results provide some evidence of increased health consciousness and associated lifestyle improvements in age among lower socioeconomic status groups. This could potentially contribute to reducing cumulative advantage effects in health by socioeconomic status at older ages.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil with number 125862.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae12:125862
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Scott Lynch, 2003. "Cohort and life-course patterns in the relationship between education and health: A hierarchical approach," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(2), pages 309-331, May.
  2. Anne Case & Angus S. Deaton, 2005. "Broken Down by Work and Sex: How Our Health Declines," NBER Chapters,in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 185-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bayer, Ronald, 2008. "Stigma and the ethics of public health: Not can we but should we," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 463-472, August.
  4. Baum II, Charles L. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2009. "Age, socioeconomic status and obesity growth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 635-648, May.
  5. Kim, Jinyoung & Durden, Emily, 2007. "Socioeconomic status and age trajectories of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(12), pages 2489-2502, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:iaae12:125862. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.