Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jan 18;19(3):1049. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19031049.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily lives, which in turn has impacted health behaviors. Young people have been particularly affected. This study aimed to assess health behaviors in Austrian apprentices and high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether vaccination willingness is affected by health behaviors.
METHODS: Two online surveys were conducted via REDCap with 1442 apprentices (female: 53.5%, male: 45.4%) from 29 March to 18 May 2021 and 563 school students (female: 79.6%, male: 18.6%) from 19 June to 2 July 2021. The two samples were matched to account for sociodemographic differences and analyses were run on the matched sample. Besides the health behaviors, namely, smoking, alcohol consumption, cannabis consumption, and exercise, health status and vaccination willingness were also assessed.
RESULTS: Health behaviors were affected by both education group and gender. Apprentices reported significantly more smoking than high school students and this difference was more pronounced in women (all p < 0.01). Alcohol consumption was higher in apprentices than school students, but only in women (p < 0.01). There was a trend for the two education groups to differ in their cannabis use as well (p = 0.05). Apprentices took part in more weekly exercise (p < 0.0001), but high school students reported better average health status (p < 0.001). When included in the same model, health behaviors did not affect vaccine willingness, but education group did, with high school students showing a higher willingness to receive the COVD-19 vaccine than apprentices.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the argument that education type is an important factor for health behaviors, but this is also mediated by gender. Appropriate interventions for adolescents are needed to prevent adverse health behavior changes following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: ncbi 2