11/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Is The Bad Economy Good For Your Health?

Most people are worried about the health of the economy. But does the economy also affect your health?

It does, but not always in ways you might expect. The data on how an economic downturn influences an individual's health are surprisingly mixed.

It's clear that long-term economic gains lead to improvements in a population's overall health, in developing and industrialized societies alike.

But whether the current economic slump will take a toll on your own health depends, in part, on your health habits when times are good. And economic studies suggest that people tend not to take care of themselves in boom times -- drinking too much (especially before driving), dining on fat-laden restaurant meals and skipping exercise and doctors' appointments because of work-related time commitments.

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Click here to read HuffPost columnist Karen Salmansohn's take on the upside of these down times.