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Do singles or couples live healthier lifestyles?: Trends in Queensland between 2005-2014

Purpose: To compare the prevalence of and trends in healthy lifestyle factors between singles and couples. Methods: Cross-sectional data from annual surveys conducted from 2005-2014 were used. The pooled sample included 15,001 Australian adults (mean age: 52.9 years, 50% male, 74% couples) who participated in the annual Queensland Social Survey via computer-assisted telephone interviews. Relationship status was dichotomised into single and couple. Healthy lifestyle factors examined included fruit and vegetable intake, limited fast food, physical activity, limited TV time, limited alcohol consumption, no smoking and normal weight. Binary logistic regression was used to assess associations between relationship status, and the prevalence of and trends in healthy lifestyle factors. Results Compared to singles, couples were significantly more likely to be a non-smoker (OR = 1.82), and meet recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake (OR = 1.24), limited fast food (OR = 1.12) and alcohol consumption(OR = 1.27). However, couples were significantly less likely to be within a normal weight range (OR = 0.81). In both singles and couples, the trend data revealed significant declines in the rates of normal weight (singles: OR = 0.97, couples: OR = 0.97) and viewing TV for less than 14 hours per week (singles: OR = 0.85, couples: OR = 0.84), whilst non-smoking rates significantly increased (singles: OR = 1.12, couples: OR = 1.03). Further, in couples, rates of meeting recommendations for physical activity and fruit/vegetable consumption significantly decreased (OR = 0.97 and OR = 0.95, respectively), as did rates of eating no fast food (OR = 0.96). In singles, rates of meeting alcohol recommendations significantly increased (OR = 1.08). Conclusions Couples were more likely to engage in healthy behaviours than singles, yet they were more likely to be overweight. The findings suggest that in singles, promoting fruit and vegetable intake, and reducing fast food, alcohol consumption and smoking is most relevant. In couples, promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary TV time for the treatment of overweight is particularly important.


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Victoria, Canada


International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

ISBNPA 2017 Annual Meeting

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