For societies plagued by the diseases of poverty, life expectancy is higher and infant and maternal mortality is lower. However, even if life expectancy increases, this does not necessarily guarantee well-being. Lifestyle diseases are caused by the same causes as infectious diseases: stress, poverty, and unhealthy lifestyles. The poor must learn how to minimize stress, burnout, and other negative emotions, and the rich must find a sense of rootedness in their values.
While both groups consume more than they earn, the poor spend all their money. This makes them appear poor and insecure. The real definition of poverty is spending money you don’t have. One hundred dollars spent on a credit card can easily turn into $10,000 in debt. Meanwhile, the rich spend on things they need and want and rarely worry about debt. It’s a cycle that repeats itself in the years to come.
In many low and middle-income countries, there is a transition from communicable to non-communicable diseases, which imposes a rising burden on society and hampers human capital development. Lifestyle factors contribute to these inequalities, and evidence-based assessments of these factors can help formulate policies to reduce unhealthy behaviors. This knowledge has proven useful in anti-smoking policies and for the formulation of other public health policies.