Introduction Monitoring of heath behaviour on a national level is an important vehicle for health promotion and disease prevention, planning and evaluation. The aim of the study was to analyse the time trends of socio-demographic differences in behaviours of population.
Methods From 1994 to 2010 nine health behaviour surveys have been carried out in Lithuania. For every survey random sample of 3000 Lithuanians aged 20–64 was taken from the National Population Register. The response rates varied from 54% to 74%. The study material was collected by mailed questionnaires covering socio-demographic characteristics and health behaviours factors.
Results Over the last 16 years the prevalence of daily smoking has decreased significantly among men (from 43.8% in 1994 to 34.2% in 2010) but it increased among women (from 6.8% to 15% respectively). Daily smoking and passive smoking at work has remained more prevalent among less educated persons than among highly educated persons. Bear consumption increased in both genders in all educational groups. The frequency of strong alcohol drinking rose among women in all educational groups, while among men it remained stable. Since 1994 nutrition habits have changed in the direction of more healthy diet in all educational groups. Daily consumption of fresh vegetables increased from 4.5% in 1994 to 20.4% in 2010. Educational inequalities in nutrition habits have diminished, but some differences have still remained significant.
Conclusions The established sociodemographic differences in health behaviour should be taken into account in elaboration of more effective health promotion programmers in Lithuania.
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