Determinants of Health Behaviors and Obesity in Turkey

Creative Commons License

Tansel A., Karaoglan D.

SOSYOEKONOMI, vol.27, no.41, pp.11-40, 2019 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 41
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.17233/sosyoekonomi.2019.03.01
  • Title of Journal : SOSYOEKONOMI
  • Page Numbers: pp.11-40


The purpose of this paper is to examine the determinants of health behaviors and obesity with an emphasis on education in Turkey. We use Health Survey of Turkish Statistical Institute for the years 2008, 2010 and 2012. The health behaviors considered are smoking, alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, and exercise. We consider both the years of schooling and the different levels of education in order to better understand the association between education and health. We find that education is the most important factor associated with the health behaviors and obesity. Smoking is positively associated with education at all levels with a decreasing effect with the level of education unlike in the developed countries. Alcohol consumption is positively related with education and this association increases with the level of education. Higher educated individuals clearly eat more fruits, vegetables and exercise more and they are less likely to be obese compared to the less educated and the illiterate. We also highlight the importance of demographic factors, labor market status and household income in determining health behaviors and obesity.