A new study suggests that bad habits like smoking, poor diets and lack of exercise are responsible for over 75% of deaths in people belonging to the lower socioeconomic class.
"That includes suicide, accidents, injuries, poisonings, most cancers, heart disease, strokes, infectious disease -- almost everything that kills us and makes us sick," said James Dunn, an associate professor of applied public health at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.
In this study French researchers analyzed 24 years of data from the British Whitehall II longitudinal study. This long-term study has followed more than 10,000 British government workers aged 35 to 55 since 1985. They found that people in lower class had high rates of smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, while more affluent people were heavy drinkers.
"The study shows health behaviors are more important in explaining socioeconomic differences in health than previously thought," Dunn said.
The details of the study appear in the March 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.