An economic downturn may be better for your health than you realize.

The 2008 financial crisis in Iceland improved the health of the country’s population, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Iceland, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center and Rider University. In the aftermath of the crisis, Icelandians cut back on behaviors that put their health at risk and even boosted some behaviors that promote good health.

Between 2007 and 2009, Iceland’s residents reduced their smoking, heavy drinking, indoor tanning and consumption of unhealthy foods like sugary drinks, sweets and fast food, the study found. Though Icelandians cut back on healthy behaviors like eating fruits and vegetables in the aftermath of the recession, they consumed more fish oil and were more likely to get the recommended amounts of sleep.

Iceland’s banking sector came crashing down in the span of a week amid the global financial crisis of 2008. The banks collapsed under pressure from large debts they built up attempting to expand overseas in the lead up to the crisis….Read more

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