Association between Health Behaviours and Religion in Austrian High School Pupils—A Cross-Sectional Survey
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AbstractThe prevalence of risk factors for chronic diseases such as smoking, alcohol abuse, low fruit and vegetable consumption, and lack of physical activity is high among young adults. Health behaviours are influenced by many factors and also by religious orientation, as American studies show. The aim of the present study was to explore whether a similar association with religion exists in Austria (Europe). A cross-sectional survey was carried out in seven randomly selected high schools, whereby a total of 225 11th-grade pupils (64% girls, 36% boys; average age 16.4 years) were surveyed by means of an online questionnaire. The study reveals a positive association between religion and healthy food choices as well as meal patterns. Smoking (number of cigarettes smoked daily) and alcohol consumption (getting drunk) was negatively associated with religion. These negative associations remained after adjusting for confounding factors using logistic regression analysis. Thus, the study showed that religion is associated with a reduction in these risky health behaviours in Austrian high school pupils. However, due to the limitations of the study design, causality cannot be inferred.