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Gender and age disparity in health-related behaviors and behavioral patterns based on a national survey of Taiwan

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Background: This is a population-based study based on the 2002 National Survey of Taiwan on Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Health Promotion. Purpose: The objective of this study is to examine health-related behaviors and behavioral patterns among different gender and age groups. Method: A total of 26,755 participants were interviewed, resulting in a response rate of 81.9%. Factor analysis with orthogonal rotation was applied to identify the underlying factor structure for the health-related behaviors, including cigarette smoking, betel nut chewing, alcohol drinking, intake of fruits or vegetables, prevention service utilization, physical activity, and tooth brushing. Results: Protective and risk behavioral patterns were selected consistently among various gender and age subgroups. These two behavior patterns were negatively associated with each other. In younger age groups (age < 55), a risk behavioral pattern was more dominant than a protective behavioral pattern. In the older age group (age ≥ 55), the pattern order was reversed. Conclusion: An effective health intervention program should be based on behavioral patterns instead of an individual behavior. Gender and age play an important role in the behavioral patterns and need to be taken into consideration when designing intervention programs.

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Author information

Correspondence to Tung-Sung Tseng or Hui-Yi Lin.

Additional information

This study is based on the data from 2002 National Survey on Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Health Promotion provided by the Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, Republic of China (Taiwan). The descriptions or conclusions herein do not represent the viewpoint of the Bureau.

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Tseng, T., Lin, H. Gender and age disparity in health-related behaviors and behavioral patterns based on a national survey of Taiwan. Int. J. Behav. Med. 15, 14–20 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03003069

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Key words

  • health behavior
  • risk behavior
  • age
  • gender
  • factor analysis