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Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2016 Apr-Jun;52(2):158-66. doi: 10.4415/ANN_16_02_06.

Gender-related differences in lifestyle may affect health status.

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Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria e Sicurezza Alimentare, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.
Dipartimento di Ematologia, Oncologia e Medicina Molecolare, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Consistent epidemiological and clinical evidence strongly indicates that chronic non-communicable diseases are largely associated with four lifestyle risk factors: inadequate diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use. Notably, obesity, a worldwide-growing pathological condition determined by the combination between inadequate diet and insufficient physical activity, is now considered a main risk factor for most chronic diseases. Dietary habits and physical activity are strongly influenced by gender attitudes and behaviors that promote different patterns of healthy or unhealthy lifestyles among women and men. Furthermore, different roles and unequal relations between genders strongly interact with differences in social and economic aspects as well as cultural and societal environment. Because of the complex network of factors involved in determining the risk for chronic diseases, it has been promoting a systemic approach that, by integrating sex and gender analysis, explores how sex-specific biological factors and gender-related social factors can interact to influence the health status.

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