Do attitudes towards healthy behaviors, and health prevention strategies matter? We analyze this issue in a setting where it is least likely to be important. Specifically, this paper contrasts health behaviors and outcomes on either side of two language regions in Switzerland. The central feature of this border is that health care supply and health insurance regulations are identical but health attitudes differ strongly on either side of the border. We find strong differences in health prevention. While one language group relies on prevention provided by the medical sector, the other language group relies more on individual investments in health, such as sports, or avoids behaviors endangering health. Interestingly, we find that these differences in preventive activities lead to negligible differences in terms of self-assessed health and gross mortality. Yet, differences in health behaviors do lead to differences in mortality by type of cause of death and have strong implications for health inequality.
LAMIRAUD, K. and LALIVE, R. (2011). Does Culture Matter for Health ? In: iHEA Congress 2011.