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Soc Sci Med. 2000 Nov;51(9):1325-41.

Health-related lifestyles and alienation in Moscow and Helsinki.

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Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland. Hannele.Palosuo@Helsinki.Fi


Health-related lifestyles (smoking, drinking alcohol, exercise and diet) and feelings of alienation (powerlessness and hopelessness) of the citizens of Helsinki and Moscow are examined and discussed in a framework of life chances and life choices. The data were collected by a postal survey of 18-64 yr old citizens of Helsinki (N = 824) and Moscow (N = 545) in 1991. Almost all respondents in both cities used alcohol, but heavy drinking was more frequently reported in Helsinki. Muscovite men were smokers more often and Muscovite women less often than their counterparts in Helsinki. Nearly half of the Muscovites, but less than one-fifth of the Helsinki respondents considered their diet unhealthy or of poor quality. Regular exercise was much more common among the Finns compared to the Muscovites. The sex difference in health-related lifestyles was wider in Moscow than in Helsinki, especially concerning health-damaging behaviour. Feelings of alienation were more pronounced in Moscow. In both cities alienation was more clearly associated with socioeconomic life chance factors than with lifestyle factors. In Helsinki feelings of alienation had stronger associations both with health and health related lifestyles, which possibly points to a conventional stratification effect of a market-based class society. In Moscow, which represents a more traditional community, alienation seemed to be part of a widely felt general discontent. Health was a highly salient value in both cities, especially among women. In Helsinki a high valuation of health was connected with less smoking, more exercise and a healthier diet. Valuing health did not seem to emerge as a distinct healthy lifestyle in Moscow where behavioural choices were limited by many material constraints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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