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"Everyone dies, so you might as well have fun!" Attitudes of Dutch youths about their health lifestyle

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  • van Exel, N.J.A.
  • de Graaf, G.
  • Brouwer, W.B.F.

Abstract

Most Western societies seem to have embarked on a runaway weight-gain train, equipped with too many accelerators and not enough brakes. Adolescents have been identified as a public health risk group in this area. To uncover youths' attitudes about their health lifestyle, with a focus on overweightness, we conducted a discourse analysis using Q-methodology. Female, Dutch youths between 12 and 15 years rank-ordered statements on issues like eating behaviour, overweightness, health risks, health perceptions and motivations/obstacles for adopting a healthier lifestyle. Q-factor analysis revealed five attitudes: "carefree sporty", "worrying dependent", "contended independent", "looks over content" and "indifferent solitary". The youths were all more or less uninterested in their own health but for different reasons. For most of these youths, neither current nor future health is of major concern, because they feel physically fit, are generally satisfied and happy, or simply do not care. Some are concerned about their eating behaviour due to the consequences it has on appearance, being physically unfit or overweight. Even so, this preoccupation with eating appears far from healthy. Only one of the five health lifestyle attitudes identified combines healthy eating and exercising behaviour. Most youths appear to have little knowledge and many questions regarding health and overweightness.

Suggested Citation

  • van Exel, N.J.A. & de Graaf, G. & Brouwer, W.B.F., 2006. ""Everyone dies, so you might as well have fun!" Attitudes of Dutch youths about their health lifestyle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(10), pages 2628-2639, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:63:y:2006:i:10:p:2628-2639
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stenner, Paul H. D. & Cooper, Deborah & Skevington, Suzanne M., 2003. "Putting the Q into quality of life; the identification of subjective constructions of health-related quality of life using Q methodology," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(11), pages 2161-2172, December.
    2. repec:mpr:mprres:3649 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Robert C. Whitaker, "undated". "Obesity Prevention in Pediatric Primary Care: Four Behaviors to Target," Mathematica Policy Research Reports fb2a2ffd7d024ffa943e512c4, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. Stenner, P. H. D. & Dancey, C. P. & Watts, S., 2000. "The understanding of their illness amongst people with irritable bowel syndrome: a Q methodological study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 439-452, August.
    5. Risdon, Andrea & Eccleston, Chris & Crombez, Geert & McCracken, Lance, 2003. "How can we learn to live with pain? A Q-methodological analysis of the diverse understandings of acceptance of chronic pain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 375-386, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. van Exel, Job & Baker, Rachel & Mason, Helen & Donaldson, Cam & Brouwer, Werner, 2015. "Public views on principles for health care priority setting: Findings of a European cross-country study using Q methodology," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 128-137.
    2. Exel, Job van & Graaf, Gjalt de & Brouwer, Werner, 2007. "Care for a break? An investigation of informal caregivers' attitudes toward respite care using Q-methodology," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(2-3), pages 332-342, October.
    3. N. Exel & G. Graaf & P. Rietveld, 2011. "“I can do perfectly well without a car!”," Transportation, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 383-407, May.
    4. van Exel, Job & de Graaf, Gjalt & Brouwer, Werner, 2008. "Give me a break!: Informal caregiver attitudes towards respite care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 73-87, October.
    5. van de Wetering, E.J. & van Exel, N.J.A. & Brouwer, W.B.F., 2010. "Piecing the jigsaw puzzle of adolescent happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 923-935, December.

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