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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311X

Abstract

COLARES, Viviane; FRANCA, Carolina da  and  GONZALEZ, Emília. Health-related behavior in a sample of Brazilian college students: gender differences. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.3, pp. 521-528. ISSN 0102-311X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2009000300007.

This study investigated whether undergraduate students' health-risk behaviors differed according to gender. The sample consisted of 382 subjects, aged 20-29 years, from public universities in Pernambuco State, Brazil. Data were collected using the National College Health Risk Behavior Survey, previously validated in Portuguese. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used. Associations were analyzed with the chi-square test or Fisher's exact test. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. In general, females engaged in the following risk behaviors less frequently than males: alcohol consumption (p = 0.005), smoking (p = 0.002), experimenting with marijuana (p = 0.002), consumption of inhalants (p < 0.001), steroid use (p = 0.003), carrying weapons (p = 0.001), and involvement in physical fights (p = 0.014). Meanwhile, female students displayed more concern about losing or maintaining weight, although they exercised less frequently than males. The findings thus showed statistically different health behaviors between genders. In conclusion, different approaches need to be used for the two genders.

Keywords : Health Occupations; Students; Health Behavior; Risk Factors; Gender.

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