Economics ETDs

Publication Date



The prevalence of unhealthy habits and behaviors is undeniably felt and seen here in United States. Smoking and obesity are the two leading preventable causes of death today. The economic and societal costs are too high for such a preventable problem. The associated diseases and illnesses that stem from them account for billions of dollars in medical expenditures as well as billions more in lost productivity. This paper explores the degree to which people in different groups account for poor health habits on their health status. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, the self reported health status was used to determine the effect health habits had on the respondents perception of their health. The findings indicate that perceptions of health vary across age, years in the United States, race, and gender. Using this, policymakers can target different groups of people in a more successful way by aiming at the areas that most account for their perception of health. Through this process they can impact the lifestyle choices of those people towards a healthier way of living.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Economics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Krause, Kate

Second Committee Member

Santos, Richard




Health, Economics, habits, BMI, smoking, obesity

Document Type