Educational inequalities in risky health behaviours – Findings from the 2014 European Social Survey

This paper uses highly recent data (2014) to examine educational inequalities in risky health behaviour in 21 European countries from all regions of the continent to map cross-national variation in the extent to which educational level is associated with risky health behaviour. The focus is on four dimensions of risky health behaviour: smoking, alcohol use, lack of physical activity and lack of fruit and vegetable consumption. The results yield a complex picture: the lowest educational groups are more likely to smoke and less likely to engage in physical activity and to eat fruit and vegetables, but the highest educational groups are at greater risk of frequent alcohol consumption. Additionally, inequalities in risky health behaviour do not appear to be systematically weakest in the South or strongest in the North and West of Europe.

Authors: T. Huijts, A. Gkiouleka, N. Reibling, K. H. Thomson, T. A. Eikemo, C. Bambra

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Maternal health, pre- peri-natal, childhood conditions, adolescent health, education, Non-communicable diseases, alcohol, nutrition, obesity, cancer, smoking, physical activity

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