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Socioeconomic inequality in compliance with precautions and health behavior changes during the COVID-19 outbreak: an analysis of the Korean Community Health Survey 2020

 Ga Bin Lee  ;  Sun Jae Jung  ;  Yang Yiyi  ;  Jea Won Yang  ;  Hoang Manh Thang  ;  Hyeon Chang Kim 
 EPIDEMIOLOGY AND HEALTH, Vol.44 : e2022013, 2022-01 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adult ; COVID-19* ; Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control ; Female ; Health Behavior ; Health Status Disparities ; Humans ; Income ; Male ; Public Health ; Republic of Korea / epidemiology ; SARS-CoV-2 ; Socioeconomic Factors
Coronavirus ; Educational status ; Health behavior ; Income ; Public health
Objectives: This study examined socioeconomic inequalities in compliance with precautions and health behavior changes during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak using a representative Korean sample.

Methods: This exploratory study utilized around 210,000 participants aged ≥25 years in the Korean Community Health Survey 2020. Socioeconomic status was measured with educational attainment and household income. Outcomes included non-compliance with 8 precaution measures and deterioration in 6 health behaviors. The relative inequality index (RII) was calculated to quantify the degree of inequality by education and income level. RII values >1.0 indicate that deprived people have a higher frequency of health problems, and RII values <1.0 conversely indicate a higher frequency of health problems in more advantaged groups.

Results: People with lower education or income levels tended to have higher rates of non-compliance with COVID-19 safety precautions (RII range, 1.20 to 3.05). Lower education and income levels were associated with an increased smoking amount (RII=2.10 and 1.67, respectively) and sleep duration changes (RII=1.21 and 1.36, respectively). On the contrary, higher education and income levels were associated with decreased physical activity (RII=0.59 and 0.77, respectively) and increased delivery food consumption (RII=0.27 and 0.37, respectively). However, increased alcohol drinking was associated with lower education and income levels in younger men (RII=1.73 and 1.31, respectively), but with higher levels in younger women (RII=0.73 and 0.68, respectively).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest the need to develop customized strategies, considering the characteristics of the target population, to decrease the burden and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Hyeon Chang(김현창) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7867-1240
Jung, Sun Jae(정선재) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5194-7339
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