Health Behavior among Lithuania's Adolescents in Context of European Union

Zaborskis, Apolinaras; Lenciauskiene, Ilona
April 2006
Croatian Medical Journal;2006, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p335
Academic Journal
Aim To compare health behavior patterns of adolescents in Lithuania with health behavior of adolescents in European Union (EU) in 2001/2002. Methods The study was carried out in conformity with the methodology of Health Behavior in School-aged Children: a World Health Organization cross-national study. Three country representative samples of schoolchildren, aged 11, 13, and 15, were surveyed in 25 EU countries and regions in 2001/2002 school year. The study instrument was a standardized questionnaire that included questions on alcohol consumption, smoking, illegal drugs use, physical activity, and other patterns of health behavior. The rate or mean values of the targeted health behavior of Lithuanian students were assessed and compared to those calculated as an average for the EU countries and regions. Results We found an early onset of alcohol consumption among Lithuanian boys. Lithuanian boys and girls across all age groups reported being drunk two and more times more often than their peers from other EU member states. Lithuanian 15-year-old boys smoked more often that did their European peers, while girls smoke more rarely. The prevalence of drugs (marihuana group) use among Lithuanian students is relatively low: the prevalence of drug use among 15-year-olds in Lithuania is two times lower than the prevalence in other EU countries and regions (11.2% vs 24.5% for boys and 4.5% vs 18.3% for girls, respectively). Physical activity of Lithuanian adolescents is rather high in comparison with their EU peers, although many students watch television for ≥4 hours a day. Lithuanian students did not eat sweets often, or drank soft drinks (Coca Cola and other), and they ate fruits and had breakfast every school day. With respect to hygienic habits, approximately only one in 3 boys and every second girl brushed their teeth more than once a day .Conclusions There are health behavior differences between adolescents in Lithuania and those in other EU countries. The disparities among health behavior of young people in EU countries and regions require Lithuanian and EU health policy to develop initiatives aimed at decreasing health behavior inequalities.


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