Evaluation of health behaviors among secondary school students in Baghdad city
AbstractObjectives The present study aims to assess the health behaviors among secondary school students of smoking, diet, and physical activity and to find out the relationship between health behaviors and socio-demographic characteristics of the students.Methods A descriptive, analytical study carried out from September 2015 to April, 2016 on a simple random sample of 500 students to achieve the objectives that are stated in this study. An assessment tool is constructed by the researcher based on previous literature regarding aspects of health behaviors. Content validity for the instrument was determined through the use of panel experts to investigate the clarity, relevancy, and adequacy of the study questionnaire. The internal consistency of the instrument was determined through the pilot study and the computation of Alpha Correlation Coefficient which was statistically adequate. The analysis of the data was employed by the use of SPSS version 15.0.Results The autonomous motivation is higher than the controlled motivation and a motivation regarding to “The reason I would not smoke”, [Mean (SD) = 76.93 ± 12.02; 36.08 ± 5.4; 11.7 ± 3.5], respectively. Regarding “The reason I would eat a healthy diet”, the autonomous motivation is higher than the controlled motivation and a motivation [Mean (SD) = 34.02 ± 5.5; 23.9 ± 5.7; 8.7 ± 3.8] respectively. Concerning “The reason I would exercise regularly”, the autonomous motivation is higher than the controlled motivation and a motivation [Mean (SD) = 33.4 ± 5.7; 22.9 ± 6.3; 9.5 ± 3.8], respectively. The perceived competence for not smoking is higher than the perceived competence for maintaining a healthy diet and the perceived competence for exercising regularly [Mean (SD) = 23.7 ± 5.5; 19.3 ± 3.0; 18.5 ± 3.2], respectively. There is a significant inverse association between gender and health behavior (r = −0.178 at P < 0.01). There is a significant positive associations between smoking status, having one or both smoker parent(s) and the overall health behavior (r = .417 at P < 0.01; r = .134 at P < 0.01) respectively.Conclusion The study concluded that non-smoking is the most prevalent health behavior among the students that revealed by high perceived competence related to non-smoking. Health behavior is negatively influenced by gender, and positively influenced by smoking status.
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