Family History of Chronic Disease and Participation in Healthy Behaviours

Godfrey A. Gibbison, Georgia Southern University
Douglas Johnson, Georgia Southern University

This paper presents an investigation into whether individuals incorporate information on their family genetic (health) endowment into decision making regarding participation in behaviours related to the production of health capital. Competing theoretical perspectives exist as to how genetic endowment should affect participation in health-related behaviours. There is also a growing consensus that the availability of genetic information holds important consequences for the individual in terms of investment in human capital, the pricing and availability of health insurance, and labour market opportunity. Therefore the question of how individuals use the greater availability of genetic data is important. Our empirical results indicate that poor genetic endowment tends to be associated with a lower probability of participation in alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking, but also a lower probability of participation in regular exercise.

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Presented in Poster Session 1