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Epidemiology and Health 2022;e2022013.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022013    [Accepted] Published online Jan 9, 2022.
Socioeconomic inequality in precautions compliance and health behavior changes during COVID-19 outbreak: analysis of the Korean Community Health Survey 2020
Ga Bin Lee1  , Sun Jae Jung1,2  , Yiyi Yang2  , Jae Won Yang2  , Thang Manh Hoang2  , Hyeon Chang Kim1,2 
1Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
2Yonsei University Graduate School, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence  Hyeon Chang Kim ,Tel: 82-2-2228-1873, Fax: 2021년 5월 15일 편집장위촉, Email: hckim@yuhs.ac
Received: Oct 25, 2021  Accepted after revision: Jan 9, 2022
To examine socioeconomic inequalities in precautions compliance and health behavior changes during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak using a representative Korean sample.
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 eight precaution measures and deterioration in six 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 indicate that those have a lower frequency of the problems.
People with lower education or income level tended to have a higher rate of non-compliance with COVID-19 safety precautions (RII ranges 1.20 to 3.05). Lower education and income levels were associated with increased smoking amount (RII 2.10 and 1.67, respectively) sleep duration changes (RII 1.21 and 1.36, respectively). On the contrary, higher education and income 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).
Our findings suggest the need to develop customized strategies, considering the characteristics of the target population, to decrease the burden and impact of COVID-19 outbreak.
Keywords: Public Health; Educational Status; Income; Coronavirus; Health Behavior


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