Risk health behaviour patterns in Germany. Results from the German Health Update 2009

Elena von der Lippe, Robert Koch Institute
Stephan Müters, Robert Koch Institute
Panagiotis Kamtsiuris, Robert Koch Institute

Lifestyle related risks are known to have strong impact on health. Health outcomes depend on many factors, like environmental pollution, use of public health services, but a very important factor also is the lifestyle. In our study we investigate the health risk behaviour of people and try to outline differences in the behaviour in the German population. We study risk behaviours like smoking, alcohol consumption, sport activity, and diet. The empirical analysis is based on the data from the German Health Update 2009. We use hierarchical cluster analysis in order to define the different groups of risk behaviour patterns and then logistic regression to outline the most influential demographic characteristics on certain behaviour patterns. Our results show that there are five main groups of health risk behaviours in the German population. The first is a no-risk health behaviour and with each cluser there is one more risky behaviour included in the pattern. The last cluster consists of people who have risk health behaviour in all of the four indicators. Our results show that health behaviour is influenced by many demographic factors of the individuals, but also by health and social factors. People's health behaviour is to highly extend driven by the own health conditions – the healthiest one feels, the riskier behaviour he has. Good health conditions, young ages, and gender are the most important preconditions for risky health behaviours. Certainly, the health behaviour is a part of dynamic and interactive processes of daily living. The change of the health behaviour over the lifecourse of the individuals involves looking backwards over previous experience and anticipating future experience often in terms of stereotypical realities. In consistency with our results we consider that public health preventive programs should aim at explaining young people the long-term consequences that certain risk behaviours may have.

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Presented in Session 26: Smoking, alcohol and climate related health/mortality