Risky Behaviors and Health-Promoting Behaviors in Young Adults: An Epidemiological Study
Objective: Health behaviors are defined as activities that affect either health status or disease risk. They can be divided into 2 categories: risky behaviors and health promoting behaviors. The growing body of evidence indicates that unhealthy behaviors often cluster in young individuals. Patterns of health-related behaviors are significantly different among countries and even among various regions of a certain country.
Method: The present study was conducted to assess the youths’ patterns of health attitude, health-related behaviors, and their mental and physical wellbeing. In this cross-sectional study, 800 university undergraduate students were selected using multistage cluster sampling method. Standard questionnaires were filled by students.
Results: About 13.3% of students smoked regularly and 14.3% reported at least one occasion of drinking, and heavy drinking was quite prevalent. Of the students, 95% reported regular physical activity and exercise. Eating habits were not healthy among the majority of students, as there was a high consumption of fast food and salt, and only 23.9% had normal body weight. Self-care behaviors were not prevalent among the students (3.2% breast self-exam and 8.5% testicular self-examination).
Conclusion: Many factors may affect positive and negative heath behaviors, including knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, legal constrains, social context, and economic status. However, lower health literacy leads to more negative health behaviors.
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