BACKGROUND: Health behaviours like smoking, nutrition, alcohol consumption and physical activity (SNAP) are often studied separately, while combinations can be particularly harmful. This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of lifestyle choices by studying the prevalence of (combinations of) unhealthy SNAP behaviours in relation to attitudinal factors (time orientation, risk attitude) and subjective health (self-rated health, life expectancy) among the adult Dutch population.
METHODS: In total 1006 respondents, representative of the Dutch adult population (18-75 years) in terms of sex, age, and education, were drawn from a panel in 2016. They completed an online questionnaire. Groups comparisons and logistic regression analyses (crude and adjusted) were applied to analyse (combinations of) SNAP behaviours in relation to time orientation (using the Consideration of Future Consequences scale comprising Immediate (CFC-I) and Future (CFC-F) scales) and risk attitude (Health-Risk Attitude Scale; HRAS-6), as well as subjective health (visual analogue scale and subjective life expectancy).
RESULTS: In the analyses, 989 respondents (51% men, average 52 years, 22% low, 48% middle, and 30% high educated) were included. About 8% of respondents engaged in four unhealthy SNAP behaviours and 18% in none. Self-rated health varied from 5.5 to 7.6 in these groups, whilst subjective life expectancy ranged between 73.7 and 85.5 years. Logistic regression analyses, adjusted for socio-demographic variables, showed that smoking, excessive drinking and combining two or more unhealthy SNAP behaviours were significantly associated with CFC-I scores, which increased the odds by 30%, 18% and 19%, respectively. Only physical inactivity was significantly associated with CFC-F scores, which increased the odds by 20%. Three out of the four SNAP behaviours were significantly associated with HRAS-6, which increased the odds between 6% and 12%. An unhealthy diet, excessive drinking, and physical inactivity were significantly associated with SRH, which decreased the odds by 11%. Only smoking was significantly associated with subjective life expectancy, which decreased the odds by 3%.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that attitudinal factors and subjective health are relevant in the context of understanding unhealthy SNAP behaviours and their clustering. This emphasizes the relevance of a holistic approach to health prevention rather than focusing on a single unhealthy SNAP behaviour.

Clustering risk attitude, Health behaviours, Subjective health, Time orientation,
BMC Public Health
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Dieteren, C.M, Brouwer, W.B.F, & van Exel, N.J.A. (2020). How do combinations of unhealthy behaviors relate to attitudinal factors and subjective health among the adult population in the Netherlands?. BMC Public Health, 20(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-020-8429-y