Life-course socioeconomic environment and health risk behaviours. A multilevel small-area analysis of young-old persons in an urban neighbourhood in Lausanne, Switzerland

Health Place. 2009 Mar;15(1):273-83. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.05.007. Epub 2008 Jun 5.


With a life expectancy at the age of 65 of around 20 years, damaging health risk behaviours of young-old adults have become a target for preventive actions. Such risk factors necessitate an accurate understanding of the present and past socioeconomic conditions associated with health risk behaviours. The aim of our study is to assess the impact of certain life events as well as economic and environmental factors on health risk behaviours. We included 1309 participants of the Lausanne Cohort Lc65+ aged 65-70 years and employed logistic regression analyses, with individuals nested within areas. The results illustrate the influences of socioeconomic factors from childhood to young-old age. Life experiences in adulthood and economic resources in young-old age are both associated with unfavourable health behaviours. Neighbourhood is a modest determinant as well, particularly regarding alcohol consumption. Therefore, prevention against health risk behaviours should focus on population subgroups defined on the basis of their socioeconomic and living contexts.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Small-Area Analysis
  • Social Class
  • Switzerland
  • Urban Population*