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14 October 2008

Can Bad Times Be Healthy?

Most people are worried about the health of the economy. But the economy also affects your health -- and not always in the way you might expect. The data on how an economic downturn influences health is surprisingly mixed.

Long-term economic gains do lead to improvements in a population’s overall health, in developing and industrialized societies alike. But whether the current economic slump will take a toll on your own health depends on your health habits when times are good.

Studies suggest that people tend not to take care of themselves in boom times. They can drink too much (especially before driving), dine on unhealthy restaurant meals and skip exercise and doctors’ appointments because of work-related time commitments.

During bad economic times, people may work less and do some more of the things that are good for them, like cooking at home and exercising.


* New York Times October 6, 2008

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