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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article reviews the age specifics of the Russian population’s health dynamics during the post-Soviet period. The analysis relies on the data collected by the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey at the Higher School of Economics (RLMS–HSE). We consider the age-related peculiarities of the proliferation of chronic illness, disability, and self-preserving behavior among Russians. Significant focus is given to such detrimental factors as smoking and alcoholic beverage consumption. The monitoring survey included a special set of questions that allowed us to collect a wealth of information on Russians’ physical health and self-preservation activities. Our analysis shows that the last two decades’ public health dynamics in Russia have largely been governed by the scope and degree of changes in all aspects of public life. It must be noted that the negative dynamics, typical for the especially challenging early 1990s, gradually gave way to a more positive trend. And even though at the end of the new century’s first decade, Russia was dragged into the global financial and economic crisis, this bore no impact whatsoever on the way Russians saw their health. Quite on the contrary, it was during this period that the overall share of respondents with good and excellent health grew at the highest rate. Nevertheless, the issue of promoting the virtues of a healthy lifestyle among Russians continues to be sensitive. It is especially troubling that teenagers and young adults lack a proper sense of responsibility for their health; furthermore, while the working-age population has high sickness rates, employers are negligent, if not outright disdainful, of their employees’ health issues; and medical aid to people of pensionable age is not given enough attention. Because of the problems highlighted above, top priority, along with making healthcare universally accessible and ensuring its quality, should be given to creating an efficient disease prevention and early diagnosis system, providing the public with factual and timely information on how to maintain their health, encouraging a sustainable motivation to pursue a healthy lifestyle, and nurturing a favorable environment for such a lifestyle.
population’s health, age-related health status, chronic disease, illness diagnostics, disability, risk factors, self-preservation behavior