This paper uses the Colombian National Health Survey to analyze the relationship between education and risky health behaviors, namely smoking, heavy drinking, being obese, and unsafe sexual behavior, by estimating the education gradient using Logit models. We also provide evidence on the effect of education, socio-economic and knowledge variables on these health behaviors by gender and area of residence. Results indicate that there is a negative and significant effect of years of schooling on the probability of smoking, whereas the probability of heavy drinking and unsafe sexual behaviors increases with education, highlighting the importance of social and cultural factors. Knowledge variables not only reduce the probability of smoking, but also the probability of heavy drinking and being obese, indicating that campaigns and research on the negative effects of these behaviors have raised awareness about how harmful they are.
The series Borradores de Economía is published by the Economic Studies Department at the Banco de la República (Central Bank of Colombia). The works published are provisional, and their authors are fully responsible for the opinions expressed in them, as well as for possible mistakes. The contents of the works published do not compromise Banco de la República or its Board of Directors.
This content has been translated into English for informational purposes. Upon any query regarding its interpretation or enforceability, the Spanish version shall be deemed official, and will prevail over the English version. The authors of specific texts such as working papers or articles select the language of publication; therefore, there might be cases in which the content may only be available in English.