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The Impact of Poor Health Behaviors on Workforce Disability


  • Caroline Richardson

    (University of Michigan)

  • Jennifer T. Hanlon

    (University of Michigan)

  • Hillary J. Mull

    (University of Michigan)

  • Sandeep Vijan

    (University of Michigan)

  • Rodney Hayward

    (University of Michigan)

  • Linda A. Wray

    (Pennsylvania State University)

  • Kenneth M. Langa

    (University of Michigan)


The effects of poor health habits on mortality have been studied extensively. However, few studies have examined the impact of these health behaviors on workforce disability. In the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative cohort of 6044 Americans who were between the ages of 51 and 61 and who were working in 1992, we found that both baseline smoking status and a sedentary lifestyle predict workforce disability six years later. If this relationship is causal, cost-benefit analyses of health behavior intervention that neglect workforce disability may substantially underestimate the benefits of such interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline Richardson & Jennifer T. Hanlon & Hillary J. Mull & Sandeep Vijan & Rodney Hayward & Linda A. Wray & Kenneth M. Langa, 2003. "The Impact of Poor Health Behaviors on Workforce Disability," Working Papers wp057, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp057

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser & Joseph F. Quinn, 1986. "Do Retirement Dreams Come True? The Effect of Unanticipated Events on Retirement Plans," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 39(4), pages 518-526, July.
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    12. Lee Lillard & Robert J. Willis, 2001. "Cognition and Wealth: The Importance of Probabilistic Thinking," Working Papers wp007, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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