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Impact of a Health Shock on Lifestyle Behaviours

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  • Date and time

    October 15, 2020
    12:00 - 13:00

Following a healthier lifestyle can improve living quality. Yet mixed evidence exists for whether a health shock induces individuals to change their lifestyle. I use data from Understanding Society to estimate the response to a health shock — heart attack or diabetes diagnosis — on a healthy lifestyle index, composed of eight lifestyle behaviour variables. Using a matching approach, to overcome the endogeneity of a health shock, I find a significant positive effect on the index, with a large effect for a strong shock but little to no effect for a weak one. The drivers of the overall effect are a decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked and an increase in the probability to quit drinking alcohol. Finally, there is heterogeneity by sex among the drivers, such as that only women increase their probability to quit smoking or to quit drinking alcohol.