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Health lifestyle behaviour and socio-demographic characteristics. A study of Varna, Glasgow and Edinburgh


  • Uitenbroek, Daan G.
  • Kerekovska, Albena
  • Festchieva, Nevijana


In this paper a lifestyle perspective is taken to study the various influences on four health related behaviours, i.e. cigarette smoking, diet behaviour, alcohol use and exercise. Of interest is how these behaviours are distributed over four socio-demographic indicators, i.e. the respondents gender, educational level, employment status and age. As a third factor the respondent's city of residence, Varna in Bulgaria and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, is taken into consideration. Data collected by telephone from 268 respondents from Varna, 827 respondents from Glasgow and 275 respondents from Edinburgh are considered. Large differences in the prevalence of health behaviours are found, with respondents in Varna behaving least healthily and respondents in Edinburgh behaving most healthily, and this is also true at sub-group level. Alcohol use is the exception, and here the opposite relationship between health behaviour and city of residence is found. Females generally behave more healthily than males, however, this pattern is not consistent for all health behaviours. Better educated and employed respondents behave in a more healthy way compared with less well educated and unemployed respondents, and this is true in all three cities, with the difference being particularly large in Scotland. An 'economic' and a 'self-care' explanation are put forward to explain the patterns observed but both explanations are found wanting. It is proposed that integrating various theoretical models is necessary to further develop our understanding of health lifestyle behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Uitenbroek, Daan G. & Kerekovska, Albena & Festchieva, Nevijana, 1996. "Health lifestyle behaviour and socio-demographic characteristics. A study of Varna, Glasgow and Edinburgh," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 367-377, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:43:y:1996:i:3:p:367-377

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Halkos, George, 1993. "Economic incentives for optimal sulphur abatement in Europe," MPRA Paper 33705, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ger Klaassen & David Pearce, 1995. "Introduction," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 85-93, March.
    3. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January.
    4. Tietenberg, T H, 1990. "Economic Instruments for Environmental Regulation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 17-33, Spring.
    5. Halkos, George E., 1993. "Sulphur abatement policy: Implications of cost differentials," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1035-1043, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Avdic, Daniel & Johansson, Per, 2013. "Gender Differences in Preferences for Health-Related Absences from Work," IZA Discussion Papers 7480, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Thomas Abel & Nicole Graf & Steffen Niemann, 2001. "Gender bias in the assessment of physical activity in population studies," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 46(4), pages 268-272, July.
    3. Nora K Markova, 2006. "How Does the Introduction of Health Insurance Change the Equity of Health Care Provision in Bulgaria?," IMF Working Papers 06/285, International Monetary Fund.


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