Socioeconomic Status, Health Behaviors, Obesity and Self-Rated Health among Older Arabs in Israel
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Socioeconomic inequalities in health are well documented. Recently, researchers have shown interest in exploring the mechanisms by which measures of SES operate through it to impact SRH, such as material, psychosocial and behavioral factors. To examine the relationships between SES indicators and self-rated health (SRH); and to determine whether health behaviors and obesity mediate the association between SES indicators and SRH. A secondary analysis of data previously collected through the third survey of socioeconomic and health status of the Arab population in Israel, in which the SRH of 878 Arab-Israelis age 50 or older were analyzed using logistic regression. The results showed that higher education level and current employment in old age are associated with better SRH. However, neither subjective economic status nor family income was associated with SRH. Greater physical activity was found to be related to good\very good SRH, while obesity was associated with less than good SRH. Finally, health behaviors (physical activity) and obesity were revealed as mediators between SES indicators (education and employment status) and SRH. The results highlight the importance of high education level and employment status in old age to reduce health inequalities. The findings also show that the relationship between SES and SRH can operate through behavioral mechanisms (i.e., physical activity) and their consequences (i.e., obesity), that can, however, be changed in old age.
KeywordsHealth behaviors Obesity Older Arabs Self-rated health Socioeconomic status
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