How individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantages jointly affect health-related behaviour
In our study recently published in the IJE, we found that socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals were more likely to have worse health-related lifestyle behaviour than their neighbours, even if they lived in neighbourhoods with little overall socioeconomic disadvantage.
We also observed a “double jeopardy” effect: an unhealthier lifestyle was found among people with greater individual disadvantage residing in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
Smoking, alcohol misuse and behaviours that result in obesity (such as an unhealthy diet and insufficient physical activity) have strong negative effects on individual health. Because these health behaviours are very common among people in Europe, smoking, alcohol and obesity also largely influence mortality rates and life expectancy in Europe.
However, the impact of these three lifestyle factors on life expectancy is likely changing over time. Smoking, obesity and alcohol misuse, like true epidemics, tend to first become more common in a population, followed (eventually) by a decline in their prevalence and associated mortality.