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Health Promot Int. 2010 Sep;25(3):277-88. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daq025. Epub 2010 Apr 22.

Determinants of health-promoting lifestyle behaviour in the rural areas of Hungary.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.


Today chronic non-communicable diseases are the major cause of death and disability worldwide. Chronic diseases are determined by common risk factors (e.g. smoking). The purpose of this study was to develop a health-promoting behaviour index, and to evaluate the impact of the social and the demographic characteristics of the individuals, self-rated health and certain features of settlements on the score of this index. A population-based, cross-sectional health survey was conducted. Altogether 91 settlements with various sizes of population, and at various stages of social, economic and infrastructural development took part in the survey. The survey was based on interviewer-administered questionnaires, 3380 subjects filled in the questionnaires correctly, and the response rate was 82.4%. Questions on lifestyle factors referred to smoking, nutritional habits and physical activity. Low level (5.5%) of people have achieved the 'complete' health-promoting behaviour, including non-smoking, healthy nutrition and physical activity. There were significant associations between health-promoting behaviour and demographic, social and economic characteristics of the individuals and their dwelling place. The lower prevalence of healthy lifestyle activities among lower educated, lower income and aged people living in small settlements call the attention to the higher risk of these people. On planning interventions, special attention should be paid to the geographically, infrastructurally, socially and demographically disadvantaged population groups to provide equal opportunities for them, to live a healthy way of life. The application of the health-promoting index might be used to monitor the effects of interventions to alter lifestyle at community level.

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