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

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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objectives To compare the frequency 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. Binary logistic regression was used to assess associations between relationship status, and the frequency 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 limited fast food (OR = 1.12), alcohol consumption (OR = 1.27) and fruit and vegetable intake (OR = 1.24). Fruit and vegetable intake was not significantly associated with relationship status after adjusting for the other healthy lifestyle factors. Conversely, couples were significantly less likely to be within a normal weight range (OR = 0.81). In bo th 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). The BMI trend was no longer significant when adjusting for health behaviours. 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). These trends were not significant when adjusting for the other healthy lifestyle factors. In singles, rates of meeting alcohol recommendations significantly increased (OR = 1.08). Conclusions Health behaviour interventions are needed in both singles and couples, but relationship status needs to be considered in interventions targeting alcohol, fast food, smoking and BMI. Further research is needed to understand why health behaviours differ by relationship status in order to further improve interventions. © 2018 Schoeppe et al.






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Public Library of Science, USA

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CC BY 4.0

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The University of Newcastle

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