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Abstract

Studies in the area of health economics and public health have shown that low socioeconomic status (SES) and poverty are related to lower levels of health. Attempts to explain these differences have often made reference to the observation that poor health behaviours cluster in low SES respectively poverty groups. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the defining concept of SES and its appropriate measurement. Therefore data from the German Socio-Economic Panel are used to analyse the relationship between two multidimensional measurements to describe a) poverty respectively b) a low SES and health behaviour, including dietary behaviour, weight status and health behaviour in general. This study shows that both multidimensional indicators allow identifying an inverse relationship between low SES respectively poverty and several types of health behaviour. However, comparing both indicators it is evident that individuals may be affected by poverty in different ways which has various effects on their health behaviour. Additionally, future research should focus not only on multidimensional poverty measurements but also on dynamic effects.

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