Social and regional variations in health status and health behaviours among Swiss young adults
Swiss Medical Weekly
OBJECTIVE: To provide nationwide data on health status and health behaviours among young adults in Switzerland, and to illustrate social and regional variations. METHODS: Data came from the Swiss Federal Surveys of Adolescents, conducted in 2010/11. The sample consisted of 32,424 young men and 1,467 young women. We used logistic regression models to examine patterns of social inequality for three measures of health status and three measures of health behaviour. RESULTS: Among men, lower
... men, lower self-rated health, overweight and lower physical fitness levels were associated with lower educational and fewer financial resources. Patterns were similar among young women. Unfavourable self-rated health (odds ratio [OR]: men 0.83, women 0.75) and overweight (OR: men 0.84, women 0.85; p >0.05) were less common in the French-than in the German-language region. Low physical fitness was more common in the French-than in the German-language region. In both sexes, daily smoking was associated with fewer educational resources, and physical inactivity was associated with lower educational and fewer financial resources. Males from the Italian-language region were three times more likely to be physically inactive than their German-speaking counterparts (OR 2.95). Risk drinking was more widespread among males in the French-than in the Germanspeaking language region (OR 1.47). CONCLUSIONS: Striking social and moderate regional differences exist in health status and health behaviours among young Swiss males and females. The current findings offer new empirical evidence on social determinants of health in Switzerland and suggest education, material resources and regional conditions to be addressed in public health practice and in more focused future research.