Bécue-Bertaut, Mónica and Kern, Josipa and Hernández-Maldonado, Maria-Luisa and Jureša, Vesna and Vuletić, Silvije (2008) Health-risk behaviour in Croatia. Public Health, 122 (2). pp. 140-150. ISSN 0033-3506
OBJECTIVE: To identify the health-risk behaviour of various homogeneous clusters of individuals. ----- STUDY DESIGN: The study was conducted in 13 of the 20 Croatian counties and in Zagreb, the Croatian capital. In the first stage, general practices were selected in each county. The second-stage sample was created by drawing a random subsample of 10% of the patients registered at each selected general practice. ----- METHODS: The sample was divided into seven homogenous clusters using statistical methodology, combining multiple factor analysis with a hybrid clustering method. ----- RESULTS: Seven homogeneous clusters were identified, three composed of males and four composed of females, based on statistically significant differences between selected characteristics (P<0.001). Although, in general, self-assessed health declined with age, significant variations were observed within specific age intervals. Higher levels of self-assessed health were associated with higher levels of education and/or socio-economic status. Many individuals, especially females, who self-reported poor health were heavy consumers of sleeping pills. Males and females reported different health-risk behaviours related to lifestyle, diet and use of the healthcare system. Heavy alcohol and tobacco use, unhealthy diet, risky physical activity and non-use of the healthcare system influenced self-assessed health in males. Females were slightly less satisfied with their health than males of the same age and educational level. Even highly educated females who took preventive healthcare tests and ate a healthy diet reported a less satisfactory self-assessed level of health than expected. ----- CONCLUSION: Sociodemographic characteristics, life style, self-assessed health and use of the healthcare system were used in the identification of seven homogeneous population clusters. A comprehensive analysis of these clusters suggests health-related prevention and intervention efforts geared towards specific populations.
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